It starts with some innocent family fun. Writer Stephen Barrow's divorced wife, involved in a second marriage, has given Barrow custody of their six-year-old daughter, Penny. Father and daughter share a relationship that is tender, poignant, and funny. Their home life in a small upstate New York town is a happy and entirely wholesome one.
One evening Penny, in her bath, playfully straightens her shampoo-stiffened hair into the horn of a "unicord," and her father takes her picture. When she "moons" him and says, "Take this one!" he clicks the shutter, although the roll of film was finished. Or so the mechanically challenged Barrow believed.
The next day, the local pharmacy clerk using the photo machine is shocked by the snapshot, decides Stephen is a child pornographer, and calls the police, who arrest him. That is only the first step in Stephen Barrow's descent into hell. A small-town police chief, a vengeful ex-wife, a fledgling psychologist, a district attorney facing re-election - all of these and more push Barrow deeper and deeper into the depths, until everything he has is taken from him, his freedom, his belongings, and most particularly his beloved daughter.
Best Intentions is a horror story. Not a horror story of monsters from the deep or roving homicidal psychopaths, but something much worse, something that batters at the listeners' defenses. As anyone familiar with Klempner's previous books will know, he is a writer with the talent to bring his story home to his listeners. As Best Intentions (based on an actual case) unfolds, its threat becomes more and more real. This could happen to anyone. It could happen to you.
Just read the publisher's summary and Shelley's review and then get and listen to this book. It is the true story of a complete legal system and child protective system failure that is finally set straight only by the strength and love of a 7 year old girl. There are plenty of evil people including the child psychologist and the prosecutor who should have ended up in jail, but they kept their jobs. Best Intentions, which is a bad title because their intentions were evil, was first released in September of 2016, but the story is from the 1990s.
The situations in this book will anger and upset you, but you need to listen to it.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful
Although this book is under the mystery/legal genre, the author makes a point of saying that this is a true story. He states that names and towns have been changed but the people and story are real. Keeping this in mind this book blew me away!
This must have been a few years ago because a camera with real film was used when a single custodial father takes pictures of his 6 year daughter in the bath tub. She's playing in bubbles and calls him to see her. Wanting to show her how silly she looked and not being able to find his handheld mirror he picks up the camera.
He drops the film off at the local pharmacy and the woman developing the film twists these innocent pictures in to child pornography. What happens next is very predictable, every local law enforcement gets involved. The father is arrested and looses custody of his daughter, he goes straight to jail. The months that follow are so horrible as I'm sure any parent can imagine especially if you have ever taken a picture of your child in the buff!
Jeff Cummings gives a super narrating performance.
This is my third Joseph T. Klempner book in three days. I am sorry that Audible only has one more book by him.
This and his other books are HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
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10 of 13 people found this review helpful
This is a good story, with excellent narration by Jeff Cummings. The prose is acceptable but somehow the telling is heavy handed. Inspired by a true story, we're told, This is not historical fiction, and I suspect that the author exercised a great deal of poetic license in the novel. The characters all seem so extreme-the father, so naive and unable to cope; the daughter, so precocious; the female reporter and love interest, so idealistic but relatively ineffectual; the news editor and his male reporter, so exploitative, unfair, and sensationalistic; the police, so abusive and vindictive even though the evidence is so ambiguous; the DA, so underhanded, less interested in justice than in politics. Sometimes reality is stranger than fiction, but somehow this cast of characters doesn't ring true. The father's attorney seems to be more realistic, perhaps because the author was himself a defense attorney for so many years.
1 of 2 people found this review helpful
"Best Intentions" is a really good read it just goes to show you that unjust bad things can happen to anyone.
you won't be sorry if you read this book. It was such a good read and the climax at the end was absolutely perfect
The story was okay but the telling of the story was extremely boring. If the book would have been half the length it would have been a better book.
0 of 1 people found this review helpful
And frustrating. Serious topic and one that had been covered better in other place. Caricatures rather than characters.
0 of 1 people found this review helpful