Bringing Adam Home: The Abduction That Changed America by Les Standiford, Joe Matthews | | NOOK Book (eBook) | Barnes & Noble
Bringing Adam Home: The Abduction That Changed America

Bringing Adam Home: The Abduction That Changed America

3.9 96
by Les Standiford, Joe Matthews
     
 

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“Les Standiford’s account of the decades-long attempt to solve the murder of Adam Walsh is chilling, heartbreaking, hopeful, and as relentlessly suspenseful as anything I’ve ever read. A triumph in every way.”
—Dennis Lehane, author of Mystic River

“The most significant missing child case since the

Overview

“Les Standiford’s account of the decades-long attempt to solve the murder of Adam Walsh is chilling, heartbreaking, hopeful, and as relentlessly suspenseful as anything I’ve ever read. A triumph in every way.”
—Dennis Lehane, author of Mystic River

“The most significant missing child case since the Lindbergh’s….A taut, compelling and often touching book about a long march to justice.”
—Scott Turow, author of Presumed Innocent

The abduction that changed America forever, the 1981 kidnapping and murder of six-year-old Adam Walsh—son of John Walsh, host of the Fox TV series America’s Most Wanted—in Hollywood, Florida, was a crime that went unsolved for a quarter of a century. Bringing Adam Home by author Les Standiford is a harrowing account of the terrible crime and its dramatic consequences, the emotional story of a father and mother’s efforts to seek justice and resolve the loss of their child, and a compelling portrait of Miami Beach Homicide Detective Joe Matthews, whose unwavering dedication brought the Adam Walsh case to its resolution.

Editorial Reviews

Del Quentin Wilber
At its heart, this well-written and well-told book isn't so much an account of discovering the truth behind one of the nation's most notorious slayings as an autopsy of a botched criminal investigation that identified a solid suspect but soon sputtered and took wrong turns for more two decades…Readers willing to confront the horrifying nature of this crime will come…to admire the determination of Matthews and the Walshes for refusing to give up…
—The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly
On July 27, 1981, six-year-old Adam Walsh disappeared from a Sears store in Hollywood, Fla., and his partial remains were found in a canal two weeks later. Novelist and nonfiction author Standiford (Last Train to Paradise) charts with devastating precision the decades-long search for the killer and the evolution of Revé and John Walsh (John was executive producer and host of America's Most Wanted) from grieving parents into powerful advocates for missing children. In 1983, Jacksonville police arrested drifter Otis Toole for arson and murder, and he began talking about a little boy he'd killed in south Florida. Myriad confessions (and retractions) followed, containing details only the killer would know, but evidence disappeared, potential witnesses were never interviewed, and Toole was never charged. Convicted on other charges, he died in prison in 1996. Twenty-five years after Adam's abduction, the Walshes asked Matthews, a renowned polygraph investigator and retired detective, to conduct an independent investigation; Matthews concluded that Toole was the killer. Standiford's account is riveting, heartbreaking, and supports John Walsh's statement: "it's not about closure; it's about justice." 8 pages of color photos. (Mar.)
Joyce Carol Oates
“BRINGING ADAM HOME is a riveting account of a child abduction and murder that goes unsolved for twenty-seven years—both an unsettling expose of police incompetence and a portrait of an extraordinary and dedicated detective.”
Orlando Home and Leisure
“Intertwined with this true-crime chronicle is the important story of how Adam’s abduction turned his parents into powerful advocates for crime victims and how law enforcement agencies across the country changed their response to missing children cases.”
Associated Press Staff
“Bringing Adam Home is one of the finest true-crime books since Thomas Thompson’s Blood and Money…This remarkable story will bring readers to tears of grief - and rage.”
BookReporter.com
“[M]ystery writer Les Standiford, in collaboration with Detective Sgt. Joe Matthews, has written a riveting and page-turning account of this heart-wrenching story.”
Miami Herald
“Compelling, bittersweet… ably fleshes out the difficult yet familiar story with style, pathos and relevant historical detail.”
Booklist
“While many true-crime books claim to shine a light on society by examining one particular case, this account actually does. No reader can come away from this without appreciating what it takes to keep pursuing an investigation, against the obstacles of police politics and bureaucracy. Wrenching and riveting.”
St. Petersburg Times
“A riveting, harrowing, tautly suspenseful book that reads like a crime novel…but is all the more chilling for being fact, not fiction.”
People
“[A] page turner…hopeful and heartbreaking, Bringing Adam Home is tough to forget.”
Los Angeles Times
“[A] heartbreaking story of incompetent police and determined parents… Novelist and nonfiction author Les Standiford does a masterful job of re-creation, reporting and research… readers will be haunted by the maladroit investigation and the added anguish this caused the Walshes.”
Dallas Morning News
“Standiford and Matthews relate Matthews’ quest skillfully.”
People Magazine
"[A] page turner…hopeful and heartbreaking, Bringing Adam Home is tough to forget."
Scott Turow
“Les Standiford’s account of the decades-long attempt to solve the murder of Adam Walsh is chilling, heartbreaking, hopeful, and as relentlessly suspenseful as anything I’ve ever read. A triumph in every way.”
Dennis Lehane
“Les Standiford’s account of the decades-long attempt to solve the murder of Adam Walsh is chilling, heartbreaking, hopeful, and as relentlessly suspenseful as anything I’ve ever read. A triumph in every way.”
Brad Meltzer
“I didn’t live far from the mall where Adam Walsh was kidnapped. I remember that story as if it were yesterday. It terrified me as a kid. But it’s the details that Les Standiford has found that terrify me as an adult. Insightful, horrifying, and just beautifully written.”
Ann Hood
“BRINGING ADAM HOME is a maddening, terrifying and ultimately triumphant book. Les Standiford explores the injustice and finally justice surrounding the murder of Adam Walsh. You will cry and rage but you will not be able to put this book down until you finish it. My God! What a book!”
Joseph Finder
“Not since IN COLD BLOOD has the story of a terrible crime been told with such elegance and power....Heartbreaking and hypnotically suspenseful.”
Library Journal
Novelist Standiford and investigating officer Matthews chronicle the riveting search for the murderer of Adam Walsh, a six-year-old boy abducted from outside a store in a Florida mall in July 1981. Most readers know the America's Most Wanted TV series and John Walsh, its host and the victim's father. The story behind the long and convoluted search for Adam's killer, which eventually became a cold case, takes many twists and turns. Few held out any hope of ever solving the mystery of who left the severed head of a child in a canal, and why Matthews, once part of the initial team brought in from another jurisdiction, was asked by Adam's parents to again try to unearth the truth. In December 2008, the case was finally resolved, thanks in large part to the dogged determination of a small team of experts with access to technology not available when the crime happened. The final gut-wrenching, horrific piece of evidence brought a long-awaited closure. VERDICT An essential read for those interested in forensic science and true crime.—Claire Franek, MSLS, Brockport, NY
Kirkus Reviews

A bestselling author and a veteran Miami police sergeant tell the whole story behind the 1981 kidnapping and murder of Adam Walsh.

After playing video games inside a department store in Florida, Revé Walsh's six-year-old son Adam vanished. Before the grisly details emerged of his kidnapping and dismemberment, the boy's disappearance garnered national media attention, thrusting the Florida police department—namely top-notch homicide detective Joe Matthews, a father of four—headfirst into the desperate search. Early on, Matthews notes that he became troubled by the disorganized, "chaotic" quality of the station handling the investigation, but his concerns went ignored. After suffering a nasty car accident, he was excused from the case altogether. When the boy's remains were discovered in a drainage ditch, the case was further fumbled by shotgun accusations and an absence of any tangible leads, until convicted serial killer Ottis Toole admitted to the murder during an arson indictment. Standiford (Washington Burning: How a Frenchman's Vision for Our Nation's Capital Survived Congress, the Founding Fathers, and the Invading British Army, 2008, etc.) documents the numerous instances of investigatory malfeasance routinely plaguing the case, as accusations flew over botched testimonies, circumstantial evidence and Toole's numerous recanted confessions. Further, during this time period, DNA forensic technology was rudimentary at best. As years passed, Adam's father John became a staunch advocate for missing and exploited children. As the host ofAmerica's Most Wanted, Walsh reunited with Matthews, who, with a renewed, heartfelt intent and an arsenal of forensic tools, reopened the Walsh case, formally indicted Toole with sufficient evidence and closed the case in 2008. Standiford's by-the-numbers reporting is consistently engrossing and fortified with statistics, police transcripts and chillingly reenacted kidnapping attempts by Toole, whose dark-hearted verbatim dialogue, even after nearly 30 years, still has the gruesome power to keep readers on edge.

A riveting, sad coda to an American tragedy.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780062065872
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
03/01/2011
Sold by:
HARPERCOLLINS
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
320
Sales rank:
139,706
File size:
3 MB

What People are saying about this

Joyce Carol Oates
“BRINGING ADAM HOME is a riveting account of a child abduction and murder that goes unsolved for twenty-seven years—both an unsettling expose of police incompetence and a portrait of an extraordinary and dedicated detective.”
Scott Turow
“Les Standiford’s account of the decades-long attempt to solve the murder of Adam Walsh is chilling, heartbreaking, hopeful, and as relentlessly suspenseful as anything I’ve ever read. A triumph in every way.”
Joseph Finder
“Not since IN COLD BLOOD has the story of a terrible crime been told with such elegance and power....Heartbreaking and hypnotically suspenseful.”
Ann Hood
“BRINGING ADAM HOME is a maddening, terrifying and ultimately triumphant book. Les Standiford explores the injustice and finally justice surrounding the murder of Adam Walsh. You will cry and rage but you will not be able to put this book down until you finish it. My God! What a book!”
Brad Meltzer
“I didn’t live far from the mall where Adam Walsh was kidnapped. I remember that story as if it were yesterday. It terrified me as a kid. But it’s the details that Les Standiford has found that terrify me as an adult. Insightful, horrifying, and just beautifully written.”
Dennis Lehane
“Les Standiford’s account of the decades-long attempt to solve the murder of Adam Walsh is chilling, heartbreaking, hopeful, and as relentlessly suspenseful as anything I’ve ever read. A triumph in every way.”

Meet the Author

Les Standiford is the bestselling author of twenty books and novels, including the John Deal mystery series, and the works of narrative history The Man Who Invented Christmas (a New York Times Editors’ Choice) and Last Train to Paradise. He is the director of the creative writing program at Florida International University in Miami, where he lives with his wife, Kimberly, a psychotherapist and artist. Visit his website at www.les-standiford.com.


Det. Sgt. Joe Matthews, a thirty-year veteran of the Miami Beach Police Department, is a former Miami-Dade County Police Officer of the Year, credited with solving the infamous Baby Lollipop homicide, among many others. He is the founder and CEO of DNA LifePrint, Inc., a corporate-sponsored, national child-safety program. He also heads his own consulting firm, advising the media, the academic community, public safety organizations, and the private sector on security issues, investigation techniques, and cold-case homicides. 

Brief Biography

Hometown:
Miami, Florida
Date of Birth:
October 31, 1945
Place of Birth:
Cambridge, Ohio
Education:
B.A., Muskingum College; M.A. and Ph.D., University of Utah

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Bringing Adam Home: The Abduction That Changed America 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 96 reviews.
norway_girl More than 1 year ago
As the author reminded me there was a time before Adam Walsh that I had not experienced as a parent. I definitely remember being a child and being allowed to roam free as long as I was home for dinner. My oldest child was born in July, 1981, just before Adam was abducted, and I remember vividly the national attention this case generated. I became a parent with a watchful eye, and while paranoia was not part of my mindset, we all knew the rules about 'stranger danger'. This case still draws attention today as the thirtieth anniversary of Adams abduction approaches. I learned things from this review of the case that I had not read earlier, but it was a struggle for me to finish this book. Not because of the violent content, or the horror of the crime, but for the way it was written. This book is mostly focused on the mismanagement and mishandling of evidence by the detectives in charge of the case, and it was appalling to realize that the person responsible for Adam's abduction and murder was never brought to justice. That is certainly well documented in the book, but unfortunately the writing is poor and a drudgery to get through. I needed to finish it to the end, and was glad that I did but the editors should have taken more time to help the Detective Sgt. Matthews bring this story to us. I think readers who are in law enforcement will find it interesting but as one who reads true crime, memoirs, and biographies on a regular basis it was a disappointment. Read it if you need to know what John and Reve Walsh went through to get justice for their son. Read it if you live in Florida and think police can do no wrong. Or if you know someone in law enforcement and want to see how things can really go wrong when prejudice and self righteousness rule. Otherwise remember Adam Walsh through the great work his family has done in his name, and give this book a pass.
ChristysBookBlog More than 1 year ago
Bringing Adam Home by Les Standiford & Joe Matthews is the true story behind the abduction and murder of Adam Walsh in 1981 and the subsequent investigation. The story is well known to most Americans because it changed how they viewed the world around them. It was no longer a safe place, and children needed close supervision, even in the corner store where they had previously been thought safe. Adam's father John turned his grief and frustration at the stalled investigation into crusading zeal and helped get the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children founded, as well as beginning Fox's longest running program America's Most Wanted. But even with all the good the Walshes accomplished in the wake of Adam's murder, they still lived daily with the question that haunted all of America: What had really happened to Adam? John and wife, Reve, asked friend and investigator Joe Matthews to take a look at the twenty-five year old evidence and interviews and see if he could finally give them an answer. What Matthews uncovered was incompetence by the Hollywood, Florida police department, including willful destruction of evidence by chief investigator, Jack Hoffman. Readers will find their own frustration and anger rising at Hoffman's repeated and deliberate refusal to acknowledge the truth. Ottis Toole, a serial killer associated with Henry Lee Lucas had confessed to Adam's murder multiple times, and almost as often recanted. The evidence is laid out before the readers in a logical manner, and readers will come to agree with Matthews' conclusion, especially with the inclusion of photographs that sat at the crime lab for a quarter century without being developed! The book is a powerful indictment of the Hollywood PD's refusal to request help when they knew they were over their heads, as well as their malicious sabotage of the careers of anyone who tried to stand in their way. The evidence is conclusive as to Adam's killer. Matthews should be commended for the great burden he has lifted not just from the Walshes but from everyone in American who has been haunted by this tragic story.
harstan More than 1 year ago
In July, 1981 in a Sears store in a Hollywood, Florida mall, six years old Adam Walsh vanishes. His frantic parents Reve and John worried about their son's safety until two weeks later when Adam's partial remains were found. In 1983, Jacksonville police arrested Otis Toole for arson and murder. He confessed and recanted his confession of killing a child. Over the years Toole continued to confess killing Adam, but also withdrew his confession though he knew details that only the killer would have known. Evidence was mishandled and vanished so he was never was charged with the little boys homicide. In 1996 Toole died in prison. Although John and Reve became voices of advocating the rights of children and strong laws to protect the young, they never found closure with Adam's death. Finally in 2006, they hired retired Florida police officer Joe Matthews, who was on the original inquiry, to look into the cold case murder of their son over two decades earlier. Matthews analyzed Toole's confessions and other deviance. In 2008, Matthews and his team using modern technology determined who killed Adam. This is not an easy read as John Walsh explains no one gets closure even with the case solved. Much of the true crime account faults the police for shoddy work, which can after awhile detract from the overall emotional impact of what the Walsh family emotionally went through (and still are going through) and the macabre riveting comments by Toole. This is a profound look at one of the key (and the first) "Abduction that Changed how America deals with crimes against children. Harriet Klausner
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is an amazingly horrible story... but it was told honestly and gave insight into John Walsh's life. So sad.
OneReadingMomma More than 1 year ago
This book is very well written. I found it extremely hard to put down. God bless Adam and his family.......heartwrenching.
KathyA52 More than 1 year ago
I had no idea the investigation into Adam Walsh's murder was such a debacle. I hope the changes in the way American law enforcement treats missing children cases because of Adam's story brings some small comfort to John and Reve.Very compelling story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It was definitely interesting but found myself lost or confused by the timeline at times.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The main reason I wanted to read this book is because I am a fan of AMW and John Walsh. Growing up and watching AMW I had always heard bits and pieces about John Walsh's son Adam being abducted and then murdered. I recently tuned into a recent episode of AMW and thought to myself that I should really learn about a crime that has impacted our society for so many years. My heart goes out to the Walsh Family. No one should ever have to go through so much pain for so many years trying to get to the bottom of what happened to their son. It sickens me to know that the man who stole Adam's life will never be brought to justice. He confessed almost 30 times to various people but the main investigator was so damn lazy when it came to his job!!! He literally did all he could to prove Toole didn't commit the crime instead of getting all the facts and evidence in order to prosecute him. It took almost 30 years but the Walsh family finally could say in truth without any doubts who murdered Adam. It should have been done 25 years earlier and especially while the killer was still alive!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The incompetence of the hollywood police dept.was mind boggling. Kudos to joe matthews to finally bringing justice to the walsh's.
iblog4books More than 1 year ago
I'm totally fascinated with true crime stories. Often I've heard bits and pieces on the news but have never heard the complete story from start to finish. Obviously the story of the kidnapping and murder of Adam Walsh completely changed the way the United States (both police, FBI, and individual parents) thought about child safety, so I was interested to read the story. While parts of the book really held my interest, there was a lot of repetition throughout. Part of that was just due to the way the investigation played out. However, it seemed that maybe the author could have summarized portions of the 27-year investigation a bit better. At nearly 10 hours long, this audio book took me nearly 2 months to finish. It was interesting, but I would have enjoyed it more if it had been about half as long. [2.5 stars]
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A quick read...difficult to keep track of all the people involved in the story
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I love this book. It takes you back to the time when i was a kid. Has alot of details. Could not put it down at times. Reminds you of how quickly it can happen.
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