On March 4, 1980 my brother Ken Andre shot and killed four of his neighbors near Coos Bay, Oregon. My Brother Murdered His Neighbors (formerly titled Trying Not to Drown) is a straightforward account of what happened to him, my sister, our loving parents and me. Through time-laced lenses, it exposes the rawness of our feelings and the abandonment by family and friends. A story of victimization, religious hypocrisy, an extramarital affair and violence, it explores murder from inside the killer's family.
The brutal fiasco began on a rainy night. Standing on his neighbors' front porch, my brother Ken looked in on a husband, wife and one of their two young children as they watched Billy Graham. Ken tried the door. It was locked. He shot the doorknob. That failed to work. Taking aim from the front window he pulled the trigger again. The bullet passed through the man's head and into the easy chair. Knocking out the window with the butt of his rifle Ken climbed through, chased the woman down the hall and shot her point-blank in the head. The blast disintegrated the phone in her hand. Before his rampage was over he killed two more adults further down the country lane. All four died because of my big brother. My big brother. It was horrendous. That night and every night, thereafter, for a long time I was terrified. If my brother could do it, anyone could. There was no safety.
The murders triggered a cascade of events over which my immediate family and I had no control, resulting in far-reaching tragedies. For each of the bullets my brother discharged, I lost something I could not afford to lose, my brother, my father, my husband, my illusion of finding solace in family and friends, my career direction, my belief system, everything with meaning.
Alone with only minor help from my older sister, I took on the task of helping my parents sort through their guilt, grief and ongoing heartaches as they dealt with a system which sought to kill their only son. I lost belief in the good along with hope. I was stripped bare. My sentence for his crimes did not start coming to an end until nearly thirty years later. Our mother died. This is my story. I'd like to share it with you, so you will know what victimization is like from this side of the crime. During the age when mass shootings are becoming way too common, it is imperative that we understand all the issues. What my family went through gives a different and necessary perspective.
|Publisher:||V. M. Franck|
|File size:||506 KB|
About the Author
Living on a small farm without many playmates I was provided the opportunity to develop imaginary friends. These friends and I took trips around the world in the safety of the living room--with it's old upright piano, French windows and doors and water stains on the wallpapered ceiling. It overlooked pastureland, a slough, cattails and mud flats, all excellent fodder for a writer-to-be. Directly out of high school I made a series of life choices which didn't work. I learned I have no talents whatsoever for being a waitress, a secretary, clerk or a selfish man's wife. I enrolled in college and earned a B.S.. My first marriage disintegrated. I was planning on grad school when my brother shattered my life, shooting and killing four of his neighbors. My parents were devastated. Once the trial was over I began my first book. My husband at the time was ashamed of me because of what my brother had done. When I needed him most, he pulled away. Next snafu...a man I truly loved died of cancer. I nearly walked myself into the river over that one. Instead, it triggered my first novel. On to my next new life...my third husband and I moved to the boonies to follow our bliss. I am currently writing my eleven book. Some of my books are available through Smashwords. The genres of my works vary, but they are written with the depth of literary fiction. While following my bliss, I became a painter, thanks to art lessons by Jerry Yarnell on OPB. My art work is available for view on the website I share with my husband, one he created. A life well-lived means being true to one's dreams, regardless of what reality brings. The heart is where true success resides.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I will give this book a 5 star I think Mrs v m franck wrote about her brothers murdered his his neighbors was a great book to read it took a lot guts to write a book about her brother Linda jean
The title of author V. M. Franck’s book, Trying Not to Drown, couldn’t possibly be more appropriate. In this book, readers are given a close and personal glimpse into the real-life tragedy of mental illness, murder, and the devastation that it released on three families: the families of those murdered and the family of the murderer. Based on a true life story, readers follow the book’s main character, Violet Andre, through the tragic events that propelled her life, the lives of her family, and the lives of those murdered into a world of grief, despair, sorrow, and forgiveness. Lost in a labyrinth of emotions while searching to do the right things, the main character struggles to hold her life and the lives of her loved ones together after her own brother’s mental insanity blew a hole through them. Franck’s gift for writing gives readers a glimpse into the thoughts, feelings, and emotions surrounding herself and her family. Her ability to show their struggle to survive and not drown in the grief, the legal system that entangled them, the stigma that followed them, and the shame that gripped them is truly vivid and compelling. The writing style is so smooth and fluid, and the characters each possess unique, well-rounded traits that make them interesting to follow all on their own. There were one or two portions that were a bit slow, but that was easily overwhelmed by the poignant narrative and doesn’t subtract from the fact that I’d give it a full five stars for its impactful tone. Reading this book will encourage others to keep on treading and learn to build new dreams. The author’s account of her 36-year-long struggle shows readers her own personal growth, understanding, and resolution to live in spite of those forces which might otherwise have drowned her.