Monday, 23 September 2013

TBC: Cold A Long Time

With school back in session and training camps underway, it's time to start reading again! Teebz's Book Club took the summer off to relax a little, enjoy the sunshine and beautiful weather, and have as many barbecue nights as humanly possible. Inevitably, though, the autumn breeze blows in, giving way to tykes waiting for school buses and homework being assigned. TBC is hitting the books hard this season so I can get you ready for Christmas by giving you a number of excellent books to read. Today is the first great example as Teebz's Book Club is proud to review Cold A Long Time: An Alpine Mystery, written by John Leake and published independently. The story of Duncan MacPherson, covered in an article here on HBIC, is magnified and thoroughly examined by author John Leake in Cold A Long Time: An Alpine Mystery, and he does an outstanding job in showing the true crime that went on in the Austrian mountains some twenty-five years ago.

From his biography on the website, "Born in Dallas, Texas, John Leake went to Vienna, Austria on a graduate school scholarship and ended up living in the city for over a decade, working as a freelance writer and translator. His first book, Entering Hades: The Double Life of a Serial Killer (Sarah Crichton Books, FSG) was a New York Times Sunday Book Review "Editors' Choice," a Men's Vogue "Best Book of 2007," and the inspiration of The Infernal Comedy, starring John Malkovich. John can be reached by email at:"

Having had the privilege of speaking with Lynda and Bob MacPherson, Duncan's parents, I can honestly say that the work that Mr. Leake put into Cold A Long Time: An Alpine Mystery is incredible. I can honestly say that Mr. Leake left no stone unturned in discovering the lies, deceit, and cover-ups performed by the vast number of people working and living in Stubai Valley and Innsbruck, Austria. To read through the vast amount of lies that the MacPhersons endured, I would find it hard to trust anyone again if I were in their shoes. To come out of this tempest with a smile on their face shows the immense character and goodness in Lynda and Bob. They are truly saints.

Early on in the book, we learn all abut Duncan MacPherson and just how special he was as a person. His abilities on the ice led to him being drafted by the New York Islanders from the WHL's Saskatoon Blades, and the young man gave it his all before injuries resulted in New York not renewing his contract. Not be discouraged, Duncan heard of a potential job playing and coaching in Dundee, Scotland and jumped at the opportunity to see Europe while still playing the game he loved. After arriving in Nurenburg in early August, Duncan was going to do some traveling and sight-seeing before making his way to Dundee for August 12. However, he would never make it to Dundee as it appeared that Duncan vanished from the planet on August 9, 1989.

It is here where John Leake picks up the story of Lynda and Bob MacPherson's incredible ordeal in trying to find Duncan. When one reads the lies, deception, and manipulation from the vast number of people in Austria that were supposed to be helping the MacPhersons, it becomes clear that there is something foul happening behind the smoke and mirrors. From doctors to ski hill employees to police officers, everyone seems hellbent on trying to have the MacPhersons believe something other than the truth. Quite frankly, I was sickened by some of the lies they were told and how quickly they were dismissed as nuisances by those whose jobs were to actually find out if Duncan had disappeared.

While I certainly won't go through the details that Mr. Leake presents, the evidence he uncovers as an author makes me think that the doctors, scientists, and police officers in Austria are better suited as the Keystone Cops rather than authorities of anything. From Dr. Walter Rabl's deception in pretending to show empathy towards the MacPhersons to gain their trust to Walter Hinterhoelzl's lies about the snowboard equipment and Duncan's time on the hill to Officer Franz Brecher who simply found no reason to investigate anything, the evidence that they simply overlooked or ignored would be clear to even the least deductive mind, but these men chose to drive the MacPhersons off the path of justice instead.

In getting to know the MacPhersons, Mr. Leake wrote perhaps one of the most touching tributes to two people who deserved much better than the garbage they faced for fourteen years in searching for Duncan. Mr. Leake wrote,
If there is redemption in the MacPhersons' story, it is from their own fortitude. They did everything possible to find their child, and through terrible frustration they stuck together and refused to let their marriage become an additional casualty. In the face of endless deception, they persevered in their quest for the truth, and ultimately exposed public officials for accommodating powerful interests instead of enforcing the law. Treated with a long train of shabby behavior, they never yielded to the temptation of hate or cynicism. Tricked and manipulated, they remained honest. Encountering all that is lamentable about human nature, they responded with all that is best about it.
Cold A Long Time: An Alpine Mystery might be one of the best books I have read in 2013 thus far. Mr. Leake backs up discoveries with photos and reasoning, and his theories are logical and complete. His description of the battles that Lynda and Bob MacPherson fought may make one question how people can be so cold towards two parents who want answers about their child, but Mr. Leake is always quick to show how moral and honest the MacPhersons are in their quest. Cold A Long Time: An Alpine Mystery was an absolute delight to read with its short chapters over its 231 pages, and it absolutely deserves the Teebz's Book Club Seal of Approval for the outstanding work done by the MacPhersons and Mr. Leake.

Before we depart, I do want to point out a couple of things. Cold A Long Time: An Alpine Mystery, John's second book, was the winner of the 2012 Independent Publisher Award. The German translation, Eiskalter Tod, published by the Residenz Verlag, received extensive media coverage in Austria and became a bestseller. Congratulations to John on the accolade, and to Mr. Verlag for his success as well.

I had the privilege of speaking with Lynda and Bob MacPherson on The Hockey Show on August 15, 2013, and I really encourage everyone to give the podcast a listen. The MacPhersons were fantastic in explaining their story and I wish we would have had more than an hour to talk in order to get into some of the details of their journey for the truth. I want to thank Lynda and Bob once more for joining us!

Lastly, if you have the means to do so, please purchase a copy of Cold A Long Time: An Alpine Mystery through the website. 25% of all sales goes back to the MacPhersons who, as you'll read in the book, spent a pile of money trying to find the truth about Duncan. If there is only one thing that I ask of you ever on this blog, please help the MacPhersons out by buying Cold A Long Time: An Alpine Mystery. The book is fantastic, and it even comes in an e-book format for e-readers if you prefer electronic books!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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