Life Sentence

Life Sentence by Amy Bell

Brendan’s Alternate Tagline for Life Sentence:

No good deed goes unpunished.

Quick synopsis:

The story of how defending two killers ruined a man’s life.

Fun Fact for Non-History People:

Before the murder of the police officers in this story in 1974, no policeman had been killed on Moncton, Canada since 1892.

Fun Fact for History Nerds:

Pinpointing time of death is not nearly the exact science we are led to believe. Many variables exist which can complicate the process including the emotional state of the victim.

My Take on Life Sentence:

I absolutely love this book. While my threshold for true crime is not nearly as high as other genres, Amy Bell’s book is truly exceptional. It is a true crime book about the murder of two Canadian police officers, but also a memoir about how being the defense attorney for the murderers destroyed her father and family.

There are a few things which really drew me into this book. The first is the fact that it is very short. It is less than 200 pages. By itself, this is not necessarily a “good thing”, but Amy Bell is a fantastic writer. She does more with her words than most authors and it makes the story hit that much harder. For example, her passage about the funeral of the two officers is short but poignant. While some authors may take pages upon pages to talk about this episode while pushing numerous emotional buttons, Bell makes subtle word choices and sticks to the facts.

Finally, Bell tells her own story about her strained (to put it lightly) relationship with her father and what it has done to her. Just like the rest of the book, she doesn’t wallow or editorialize. It makes it that much easier to connect with the fact that she loved her father, but probably didn’t like him all that much. It’s a great book and you should read it.

(This book was provided as an advance copy by Netgalley and Nimbus Publishing.)


Great true crime. Read it! Buy it here!

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