Ann's Reviews > Karly Sheehan: True Crime Story Behind Karly's Law

Karly Sheehan by Karen Spears Zacharias
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's review
Mar 29, 12

Read from March 09 to 29, 2012

I’m not sure I can do this book justice. Part of me wants to say read the book and find out for yourself how powerful it is. So please forgive me ahead of time for my bumbled effort to capture something so beautiful and brilliant into a short review.

“A Silence of Mockingbirds” by Karen Spears Zacharias is a memoir about the murder of three-year-old Karly Sheedan from Oregon. She was the daughter of David Sheedan, a native of Ireland, and Sarah Brill Sheedan.

Karen Spears Zacharias was visiting her grown daughter and son in Bend, Oregon when she saw a photo of Sarah Sheedan in the local paper. As a young woman, Sarah lived in the author’s home for an extended period of time and was thought of as one of the family until Ms. Zacharias and Sarah parted ways. Ms. Zacharias voiced her disapproval over Sarah’s intended divorce from David. She believed Sarah needed to give her daughter, Karly, more consideration. Karly and David were extremely close. And she worried if Sarah had custody Karly wouldn’t get the care and attention she needed.

The next day while out walking with her family at a local part, the author was surprised to see Sarah. The joy of the reunion dissipated quickly when Sarah was questioned about Karly’s whereabouts. She gave the devastating news that Karly had been murdered and was not forthcoming with any details. So Ms. Zacharias began digging on her own. For years the author had been a cop beat reporter and thought she had seen everything.
The story she found about Karly’s death sickened her. How had she fell out of touch with both Sarah and David? And so began what has turned out to be a stunning narrative. Karen Spears Zacharias knows this story from the inside out, literally. It’s more than a true-crime book. This work is personal and it shows in every scene. She could have pointed fingers and handed out judgments. No one would have faulted her. But her compassion and brutal honesty makes this story all the more poignant.

While I was reading this book, I called my three-year-old granddaughter every night. I was so affected I truly cannot put it into words. Yes A Silence of Mockingbirds is a book about a horrific murder that will rock the reader to the bottom of their souls. But, Karly’s story is so, so much more. This narrative is about love, the unrelenting love of a father. But mostly this memoir is a call for all of us to sit up and take notice. Speak out. Each one of us knows women like Sarah Sheedan. How many times do we turn our heads to a hint of something wrong? After all, it’s truly not our business or maybe we have the details mixed or we didn’t see things they way we thought.

A Silence Of Mockingbirds taught me a lesson. Give a voice to those that can’t speak loud enough to be heard. Step up. Say what you think. Don’t turn your head and look the other way.

Thank you Karen Sears Zacharias for this book and God Bless you for showing Karly was so much more than a victim.
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