“The Klinefelter Legacy”
If you are a regular reader of this blog you know I seldom review books, especially recent releases, but today I’m breaking my own rules to recommend The Klinefelter Legacy by Andy Marso. Buy this book and a box of Kleenex.
Many of you from Central Minnesota will recall the killing of St. Joseph Police Officer Brian Klinefelter on a frigid January night in 1996. In some ways it became a sort of “urban legend” if a town the size of St. Joe can have an urban legend, but Marso’s well-researched book caps this event with a solid ring of truth. A truth that got the story right, and most important for Brian’s family and friends, went to the heart of such tragedies so commonplace on the evening news many of us expect them. Our daily dose of senseless violence.
The implications of this violence is obvious to those who experience it, but the real implications are universal. Senseless killing today is barely news. Now almost a game of numbers: How many murders in Minneapolis today? How many beheaded Christians for ISIS this week? How many Minnesota millions sent overseas to fund terrorism?
Marso approached his subject honestly, pulling no punches, but not ignoring the important role Christianity played in this story. Telling it from the point of view of those involved – physically and emotionally. I recall reading a story once about a man who came home to find his wife brutally murdered, her blood sprayed on the walls of their bedroom, along a hallway and finally into the bathroom where her body was discarded. After all the excitement of emergency responses by police, TV news crews, paramedics, and medical examiners the husband was finally left alone to clean up the mess. Mopping up his wife’s blood was a memory he carried throughout his life. Hadn’t he been through enough? Now he had to clean up.
The Klinefelter family had to clean up too, but the way they did it is seldom articulated on the evening news. Marso tells this story honestly, and as a reader, I was impressed with his straightforward approach to what it takes for average people to transcend typical responses to personal tragedy. Anger, but not hatred. Sorrow, but not hopelessness. Healing, but not forgetting.
As a mystery writer, I can tell you this story is not a boring, laborious account. Even if you think you know the plot, don’t be too sure. “Doug Thomsen maneuvered his Buick SUV down a straight, slim stretch of country road between St. Cloud and St. Stephen, retracing a path he took almost twenty years earlier with a gun to his head.” And that’s just the first sentence of the Preface. This is a page turner. Don’t start it too late in the evening or you will be up all night.
There’s nothing worse than a reviewer giving so much away you don’t want to read the book, so as to plot, it’s like so much good writing, it depends on the “characters”- their thoughts and actions. You get to know the people whose lives were changed that cold winter night. What they did, was vastly more enduring and significant than what the murderer did. The ending will surprise you.
(I bought my copy at KEEPRS on Division Street near Hwy 15 in St. Cloud, or try Books Revisited downtown across St. Germain Street from Herberger’s, or Books Revisited in Crossroads.)