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Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Terror By Night

Terry Caffey and James H. Pence's Terror By Night is a true story, and one for which you have to have a strong stomach.

Terry Caffey was living a wonderful life.  He and his wife of 18 years were still happily married.  They had two young boys and a teenage daughter, and although there were the usual squabbles and rebellion, they were a tight-knit family who loved each other through thick and thin.  Or so he thought.  One night while the family lay sleeping, two men entered their home, shot Terry, his wife Penney, and their son Bubba, stabbed their youngest to death, then set the house on fire.  When Terry finds out his daughter survived, he is elated--until the truth comes out that she was involved.  

As I said, you have to have a strong stomach for this one.  Caffey has a no-holds-barred approach when telling his story.  I love true crime, so this book was a no-brainer for me.  Caffey is honest and makes sure that his readers understand what happened to him and to his family.  It's a heart-breaking story, to find out that the daughter you loved and with whom you thought you had a wonderful relationship actually hates you and has wanted you dead for some time.  The details are often sad to read, and the loss of life in the family, including Caffey's thirteen and eight year old sons, is overwhelming.

I am not one to be bothered by a lot of God talk in books, but I realize there are people out there who are.  Caffey is a professed Christian and uses his faith as a base in this book.  I like to give my readers fair warning when jumping into books that might not be their taste.  As I said, Caffey's deep faith and consistent references to leaning on the Lord did not faze me, but if you are anti-religion then this might not be the book for you.  If you have a deep and abiding faith, this book will certainly speak to you.

Caffey's power of forgiveness is amazing.  He went above and beyond to request life rather than death for the men who murdered his family, and he has chosen to stand by his daughter regardless of her choices and actions.  It's quite incredible, really, to read this book and to see the love and faith he has in his daughter even as the prosecution lays out the evidence of how they believe she planned this murder with her boyfriend.  If you take just one thing out of this book, this is the moral of the story.

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