03 July, 2014

Book Review: Blood Ties

From ABC Book Shop: In Australia an astonishing 80% of homicides are committed by someone related to the victim or within their close family circle. But why do people kill those close to them, and how do these killings affect the family circle - beyond normal trauma and grief? What causes a father or mother to turn on their children, a husband or wife to end the life of someone they once loved? In Blood Ties, renowned true crime author John Suter Linton tackles the subject of domestic murders, why they happen, how they happen and the long legacy they leave. Through high-profile cases such as that of Mark Galante, who was convicted of killing his wife, Jody, and of Arthur Freeman, who threw his small daughter off a bridge, Suter Linton examines the stories behind the headlines. He talks to survivors, providing a fascinating glimpse into the ties which bind - and sometimes destroy us.

Thoughts: It's been awhile since I've read a good true crime book and this caught my eye as I was reshelving one day. For a long time I've had a morbid fascination with serial killers and mass murders. So called crimes of passion not so much. When you see reports of murders like the ones in this book - children and mothers - my heart just breaks. How, as a mother, do you come to terms with the death of child, especially in such a terrifying and violent manner? How do you reconcile children losing not only a mother, but then also having to process the fact that it was dad that killed her?
As with most true crime books, this doesn't really offer an answer - most probably because there isn't one. It does show that answers to questions that arise from these type of killings are not black and white. No one deserves to die at the hands of what is suppose to be a loved one. Getting away from a violent and disturbed partner is not as easy as some like to think. Very few think that someone they love or have loved is capable of murder.
Murder in families truly leaves no winners. Children with out mothers, mothers with out children, families left trying to understand what went so terribly wrong. What I most probably find most depressing about this and other books in this genre is the fact that the names change but the story is pretty much the same. As Linton says in the final chapter of his book, called Conclusion:

There is no conclusion. The names will change, but the scenarios, sadly, will remain the same...There will always be partners whose hate and bitterness is so great they will take the lives of their children to hurt and spite the other. There will be parents who, suffering depression and believing they have no other choice, will kill their children to save them from a torturous future before killing themselves. 

This is not a bad book, but it's not a book to uplift or give answers. It's not a casual afternoon read. If, like me you're into books of this ilk, it's worth a look. Other than that, don't torture yourself, but hug your loved ones tighter. And if you are in a relationship with someone you are worried about, seek help - for you and them.

Domestic Violence Helpline:
1800 800 098, 24 hours, 7 days a week
Telephone counselling for victims of domestic violence and their concerned friends. Also provides information about services for those affected by domestic violence or who are troubled by their own behaviour.

Mensline Australia:
1300 78 99 78 24
hours a day, 7 days a week.
A dedicated telephone and online support, information and referral service, helping men to deal with relationship problems in a practical and effective way.

National Sexual Assault, Family & Domestic Violence Counselling Line:
1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732)

A free confidential service for any Australian experiencing or who has experienced domestic or family violence and/or sexual assault. Available 24hours a day, 7 days a week.

13 11 14
, 24 hours, 7 days a week
Lifeline provides access to crisis support, suicide prevention and mental health support services.

Kids Helpline
1800 55 1800
, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
A free 24 hour counselling service for Australian kids and young people aged 5-25 years. Support available over the phone, email or web.