Using nonfiction novel style, Los Angeles Times reporter Siegel tells the story of Harold and Lois Jurgens, a Minnesota couple who adopted two children and beat the younger one, Dennis, to death in 1963. The Jurgens later adopted four more children, all of whom were also abused. Lois Jurgens was successfully prosecuted for third-degree murder after Dennis's natural mother came looking for her son and expressed suspicions about his death, 22 years after it happened. Drawing from many sources, Siegel has produced a well-written account of a particularly troubling child abuse case. He also provides some informative commentary on the failure of society--in particular its social service, legal, and medical systems--to protect its children from abuse. Recommended for public libraries.-- Donna L. Miller, Lebanon Valley Coll. Lib., Annville, Pa.