My Book World
This true crime book prides itself in presenting a story that is different from others about murder within a family, and I do believe it is an interesting approach. Brottman offers only a few chapters about the dysfunctional family of a young man who murders his parents and the circumstances that may lead him to do such a thing. The rest of the book concerns itself with the young man’s incarceration in the state of Maryland’s mental health and legal systems. Young Brian Bechtold, once he realizes the severity of what he has done, turns himself in to the police. He expects he will go to prison, because, of course, he has committed murder. Instead, to this day, over fifty years of age, Brian remains a resident of Clifton T. Perkins Hospital Center. His story is one of abuse by psychiatrists, other patients, and a legal system that does not give healthy support to people with mental problems. If only he were in prison, he would have far more freedom, including the freedom to rehabilitate, serve his time, and get out. But at Perkins he has become a lifer, and oddly, he may be saner than one or two of the professionals who “treat” him. Brottman’s prose is unrelentingly dead, a just-the-facts-ma’am kind of journalism, but perhaps that is what true fans of true crime expect.
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