LAW & CRIME

Two Truths and a Lie: Murder, Obsession, and Justice in the Sunshine State

Random. Feb. 2021. 368p. ISBN 9780812998665. $28. CRIME
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Private investigator McGarrahan was haunted for decades after witnessing the botched execution of Jesse Tafero, who, along with two others, was convicted of murdering two police officers during a traffic stop in 1976 in Florida. The author became further consumed by the case when one of Tafero’s coconspirators, Sunny Jacobs, claiming that she and Tafero were innocent, was released from prison and another, Walter Rhodes, confessed to the murder. McGarrahan embarked on a years-long quest to discover who was telling the truth. Documenting dozens of interviews with friends, family, and associates of the three convicted killers and examining the evidence still available at the Broward County courthouse in Florida, she meticulously studied the case from all angles. McGarrahan passionately and unflinchingly conveys the emotional impact of her investigation on her and her husband. The book is engaging and fast-paced, though readers may be frustrated by some of McGarrahan’s unwise decisions, such as her choice to spend the night at the home of a suspect.
VERDICT Dark, foreboding, and emotional, this title is as gripping as a thriller and laced with cogent insights--McGarrahan stresses that sometimes there isn’t an objective truth to uncover. Fans of Michelle McNamara’s I’ll Be Gone in the Dark will be spellbound.
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