Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Darkest Night: The Murder of Innocence in a Small Town” as Want to Read:
The Darkest Night: The Murder of Innocence in a Small Town
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Darkest Night: The Murder of Innocence in a Small Town

3.96  ·  Rating details ·  1,417 Ratings  ·  95 Reviews

Casper, Wyoming:1973. Eleven-year-old Amy Burridge rides with her eighteen-year-old sister, Becky, to the grocery store. When they finish their shopping, Becky’s car gets a flat tire. Two men politely offer them a ride home. But they were anything but Good Samaritans. The girls would suffer unspeakable crimes at the hands of these men before being thrown from a bridge in

Mass Market Paperback, 282 pages
Published March 4th 2008 by St. Martin's True Crime (first published November 15th 2006)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Darkest Night, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Darkest Night

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Rating details
Sort: Default
Elle's Book Blog
Jul 04, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: true-crime
:: 3.5 Horrific Stars ::

This book details the heartbreaking, true account of the abduction of two sisters- one who was murdered and the other was left for dead. Franscell (the author) does a good job describing what happened on that horrific night and pays tribute to both of the victims in a caring way. This is how all true crime books should be written! I feel like the author did his research really well with this book and most of the facts seem to be legit according to fellow reviewers and t
John Ferak
Jul 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Franscell's investigative research is rock solid. His depiction of the killers is accurate, chilling and spot on.

It's my belief that The Darkest Night is one of those true-crime books that should -- or maybe it has -- wound up on your special reading shelf -- not just to read once, but to pull back out at a later point in your life. Maybe a year after you've read it. Maybe five or 10 years from now.

It's one of those special non-fiction books that makes you think about human life. Your values. Y
Despite the alleged title, this one is "The Darkest Night." Here's the scoop: two sisters in a small town in Wyoming (already scary to me) go to the store at 9 p.m. and come out to find a flat tire and two guys are there to offer help. They take them out in the boonies, throw the 8 year old off a bridge (down 120+ feet to the Platte River below) then rape the 18 year old and toss her over as well. Well, guess what? She lived to ID them, testified, etc. The two guys were just the scum of the eart ...more
3.75 stars

In a town in Wyoming in 1973, 18-year old Becky and her 11-year old sister Amy went to pick up some groceries. By the next morning, Amy was dead in a canyon, thrown of a high bridge, and Becky somehow managed to survive the night with a broken pelvis after having been raped and also thrown off the bridge. The author was the girls’ neighbour. The book not only looks at the crime, but it also looks at Becky and Amy’s lives, the lives of the two convicted murderers/rapists, and the author
Jun 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: an avid true crime reader
Shelves: true-crime, favorites
The Darkest night is a horrific true story about a night in 1973 in Casper, Wyoming when two half sister's lives (18 year old Becky and 11 year old Amy) would forever be changed. After going to the store to do some shopping they had a flat tire. They were picked up by Ronald Kennedy and Jerry Jenkins two people they thought were going to help and take them home. Instead they came face to face with pure EVIL! After suffering unspeakable crimes Becky and her little sister were thrown off a remote ...more
Gary Taylor
Jan 22, 2010 rated it it was amazing
The good, the bad and two kinds of ugly

By Wyoming standards, the horrifying 1973 murder of 11-year-old Amy Burridge and the rape of her older half-sister still looms as a contender for crime of the century. As a subject for traditional, in-depth true-crime treatment, however, the case pales beside more complex and gruesome events. It remained a mysterious “who-dunnit?” for just eight hours and the resulting trial unfolded as a slam-dunk conviction complicated only by a half-baked, desperate atte
Edwina Callan
Aug 30, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: bookcrossing, 2017
"Pain is the price we pay for memory."

This is the true story of a little girl murdered to keep her silent and of the sister who survived rape and attempted murder to tell the tale.

Written by the "boy next door" over 30 years later.

More info here:
May 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: true-crime
I heard about this one first on a radio program detailing the crime, so I already knew how it would end. Still, the author has a way of telling this story that really appealed to me. Obviously, don't read this one if you are not prepared to hear details of a horrific crime, but also understand that there is a lot of healing and reflection in these pages as well.
Bill reilly
Sep 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
Thomas Wolfe famously wrote that you can’t go home again. Ron Franscell did precisely that when he decided to go back to his childhood home of Casper, Wyoming to investigate a crime from thirty years previous. A police report of September 1973 was his starting point. Eighteen year-old Becky Thomson and her eleven year-old sister Amy were shopping at a local store and discovered a flat tire on the family car. Two men offered help but then abducted them at knife point. Becky was raped and Amy was ...more
NCPL Teenzone
In 1973, two sisters were kidnapped from a grocery store parking lot after finding their car had a flat tire. The girls were brutally abused by the two men who had offered to help them and then thrown off the bridge at Fremont Canyon. The younger sister Amy hit her head and died instantly. The older sister Becky survived the fall, was able to crawl out and survive the brutal night, get to the road and later identify the men. But she never really recovered. Years later, Becky, visited the bridge ...more
Jul 24, 2014 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Tiana Harris
I moved to Casper, WY in 1979, 6 years after this happened but it was one of the first things I was told by other kids my age. Every time we went out to the lake, we remembered the story. I always got a cold chill when going over the bridge at Fremont Canyon. After all these years knowing the bits and pieces I had been told, I decided to read the book and get the whole story. The author can describe Wyoming as only someone who has lived here can. "The middle of April is not spring in Wyoming. It ...more
Sep 15, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: true-crime
Finally, a little relief from the "plucky survivor brings inspiration to all" theme that plagues the true-crime genre. This was an act of rare ugliness and I like that the author, a neighbor kid a little older than the younger victim and a little younger than the older one at the time it happened, really drew a picture of what it was like for the girls next door and for their family. Aren't they the ones who really count here? He also shows the perps for what they are, just by letting them speak ...more
Cynthia Sillitoe
Dec 28, 2014 rated it liked it
This is a heartbreaking case, but I felt the narrative didn't weave together as seamlessly as I would have liked. One highlight is the prison autobiography of one of the suspects. It's a primer in the megalomania of a sociopath.
Feb 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellently Written

I grew up in Casper long after this had happened and always heard the whispers, but this story still isn't talked about very often. It was difficult to read because of the intensity of crime. This crime affected and still affects that entire town.
Mrs. Danvers
Much better written than most true crime.
Steve Whitworth
Jun 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I first heard about this story on the podcast "Criminal" (which is one of the best podcasts out there). The story fascinated me. Two sisters, ages 18 and 11, simply running an errand for their mother one night in 1973, in Casper, Wyoming, run into two low-lifes who offer to assist with a flat tire, which they caused by slicing the tire. They got into the car with these two, who then terrorized them, threw the 11 year old to her death over a 115 foot bridge before raping the 18 year old and then ...more
Jason Morrison
Mar 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I started reading this on 1/3 and finished it on 1/4, not due to simplicity or it being chalked up as just a small book, but instead, because it simply captivated my attention and I didn't want to put it down.

If you are interested in true crime, this is a book that you need to pick up and read. The story centers around rape, murder, 2 young girls, and the two attackers. But beyond the actual crime itself, the author delves into a variety of background information. He also explores different aspe
Marie Carmean
Mar 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
Such a sad story of two young sisters attacked in the Midwest, one cast aside and murdered, the other raped and then almost murdered. It was one of the best True Crime books I have ever read. The author lived next door to the girls and goes into details of the lives of all the people involved, both victims and attackers...and all the events that lead up to the horrible event. He explains how the crime changed every person who lived in their small town, and particularly the family of the sisters. ...more
Elizabeth Kennedy
Jul 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I was so fascinated by this story. It was so haunting, so terrible that I think it will stay with me for a long time. The two girls affected by these monsters just break your heart. But it was the way Ron Franscell wrote about the story that made it better than most true crime. Since he knew the victims, it was with so much more feeling that this story was told. I liked the way that the fact that there was no reason for the crimes was related, fairly and evenly presenting what was presented in c ...more
Mar 14, 2018 rated it it was ok
This is a tragic true story for the 2 girls and the book does show how it affected the community. However I found no sympathy for the 2 criminals locked up for life escaping the death penalty. Ron Franscell obviously did much research and spoke to many people (good newspaper skills) to obtain some many angles and follow up with the outcome of the people embedded in the town in 1973. However, I felt that there were too many side tracks, other cases mentioned, stories that had no real connection t ...more
Aug 14, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook, true-crime
This book is a well researched and well written account of a horrible tragedy. I did not know about this murder and was driven to tears as I read about the terrible events surrounding the murder. Sadly, it is all too true. I thought the author did an excellent job handling such a sensitive topic. (Random side note... never really contemplated the unfairness between the victim of a crime having to pay for her medical bills while the accused receives his medical care free of charge as he awaits tr ...more
Jun 29, 2017 rated it it was ok
Ron Franschell is a great writer but this book is largely about the aftermath. I kept waiting for something to happen but you learn about the crime early on and then it just seems to drag for those of us who like page turners. A page turner, this is not. But it is an interesting story.
Gail Hedlund
Sep 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A very well-written book. Gave not only the horrific story of rape & murder, but insight into what a true sociopath is like. The lack of empathy, compassion....any basic humanity was thorough. This author is definitely on my list for more reads!!
Salena Moffat
Apr 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A thoroughly compelling and chilling read. I recommend this incredible book very highly to anyone interested in true crime. Poetically written, this one will stay with you long after the final page is reluctantly turned.
Sherry Haning
Nov 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Sad, but amazing book. Author needs to take grammar lessons.
Jim Thomsen
Sep 05, 2009 rated it really liked it
A dark, sad and lovingly rendered tale of a horrifying Wyoming murder ... and the second victim it claimed, nearly 20 years after the the first. This is no ordinary true-crime book, as author Ron Franscell — who grew up in Casper, Wyoming and was acquainted with the victims as a child himself — has an agenda here that's different from most books in the genre.

Franscell wants to tell the story like the newspaperman that he grew up to be, but he also wants to tell the story behind it — the story o
Carol Johnson
Dec 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 10, 2010 rated it really liked it
Fall is a true crime story about two girls who are abducted, raped, and murdered in the small town of Casper, Wyoming in 1973. The book is written by Ron Franscell, a Casper native who eventually became a newspaper journalist and knew the girls personally. Because of this very fact, Franscell's account is well-researched and questions surrounding the crime have been thoroughly answered because of Franscell's interest. The book is severely impacting from a personal standpoint and well-written.

Maryann MJS1228
Dec 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: true-crime
When someone who doesn't read true crime asks me why I'm devoted to a genre made up of quickie exploitation tales about serial killers I point them in the direction of one of the classics. Like any genre true crime has bad books, good books and some that are truly great which not only transcend the genre, they ennoble it. The Darkest Night has become one of those books that I recommend to anyone who thinks true crime is a wasteland.

The story itself is haunting. Two young sisters are kidnapped an
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
  • Cruel Deception
  • A Death in White Bear Lake: The True Chronicle of an All-American Town
  • A Beautiful Child
  • Whatever Mother Says...: A True Story of a Mother, Madness and Murder
  • Cellar of Horror: The Story of Gary Heidnik
  • House Of Secrets
  • Lethal Marriage: The Unspeakable Crimes of Paul Bernardo and Karla Homolka
  • Because You Loved Me
  • Dead And Buried: A Shocking Account of Rape, Torture, and Murder on the California Coast
  • Murder in Little Egypt
  • Cannibal: The True Story Behind the Maneater of Rotenburg
  • Bestial: The Savage Trail of a True American Monster
  • From Cradle to Grave: The Short Lives and Strange Deaths of Marybeth Tinning's Nine Children
  • By Their Father's Hand: The True Story of the Wesson Family Massacre
  • Under the Bridge: The True Story of the Murder of Reena Virk
  • Before He Wakes: A True Story of Money, Marriage, Sex and Murder
  • In Broad Daylight: A Murder in Skidmore, Missouri
  • Cruel Sacrifice
A lifelong journalist, Ron Franscell is the bestselling author of 16 books. He is currently working on his next true crime.

Over the years, Ron's books have earned high praise from bestselling authors such as Ann Rule, John Lescroart, Vincent Bugliosi, C.J. Box, Howard Frank Mosher, and Warren Adler. His writing has been compared to Truman Capote, Robert Olen Butler, Norman McLean, Cormac McCarthy
“Pain is the price we pay for memory. It’s some kind of sin to forget what hurts, as much as it is to forget what makes us smile. Suffering has its meaning, and memory has its graces.” 0 likes
More quotes…