Trout: A True Story of Murder, Teens, and the Death Penalty

Written by Jeff Kunerth

Peel: Centered mainly on the Trout murder in Florida, this piece of creative nonfiction examines giving the death penalty or life in prison to teenagers.

The beginning of the book reads more like a drama- the stage is set, characters are introduced, and the murder unfolds. Kunerth did a lovely job of building up suspense and I was hooked into the book quickly, and finished it in one sitting. The author also got into each of the character’s heads, and you wonder how close their portrayals are to reality. The story certainly encourages thinking about one’s stance on the death penalty in general, and in cases with an adolescent.

Regardless of where you stand on the death penalty though, the narrative was extremely biased. I would have preferred an unbiased account of just facts, or at least both sides of the argument represented equally. Because of how biased the author was, I questioned how true some of the characterizations it presented were. For example, was the investigator Patterson as manipulative and out-for-blood as he’s portrayed?

Nibble: “But in the debate over what we should do with teens who commit horrific crimes, we have to ask whether we want a criminal justice system that acts like a grieving, angry family.”

I would recommend this as an intriguing read, that’s worth critically thinking over.

My Rating: 6 out of 10 compelling red apples

I received an advanced electronic copy from the publisher, University Press of Florida, via NetGalley.

Pre-order the book from Amazon

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