Breaking Blue

Breaking Blue[Epub] ➚ Breaking Blue Author Timothy Egan – Oaklandjobs.co.uk On the night of September 4 1935 during a season of unsolved robberies the town marshal of Pend Oreille County in the state of Washington was shot to death Here is the story of how one man's hunt thro On the night of September during a season of unsolved robberies the town marshal of Pend Oreille County in the state of Washington was shot to death Here is the story of how one man's hunt through a half century of police cover ups unlocked the secret behind the nation's oldest continuing murder investigation. Timothy Egan is an important Western writer Not a writer of Westerns but a Western writer He documents forgotten stories of the American West with a particular emphasis on the Northwest Among his important works are The Worst Hard Time which departs from his usual northwestern setting and focuses on the people in the plains states during the Dust Bowl Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher and my personal favorite The Big Burn which opens with twenty of the most compelling pages of prose I've read in the past several years When he's at his best both in style and in choice of subject he's one of the greatest non fiction writers out there; when his subject is less interesting or his style a little less developed as I felt during the first half of Breaking Blue only his second book he's still one of the best non fiction writers out thereBreaking Blue tells the story of a police cover up in the town of Spokane a 1935 cop killing in which the murderer is another cop a corrupt brutal but larger than life character named Clyde Ralstin who shoots a marshal named George Conniff while participating in a burglary of a creamery That's right Ralstin was a moonlighting as a butter thief And while it may seem hard at first to take seriously the subject of Depression era butter burglary gangs as thievery goes it ain't exactly the Lufthansa Heist or a Wall Street hedge fund the death of Conniff was a heinous crime that demanded justice and received none Clyde Ralstin had too much dirt on too many people in Spokane and if he were to fall he would take them with himIt is fifty four years before Anthony Bamonte a nearby sheriff working on a master's thesis on the history of law enforcement in eastern Washington rediscovers the case and begins asking some uncomfortable and impertinent uestions of the Spokane police department which still seems intent on covering up the obvious guilt of one of their own I found this aspect of the story Bamonte's persistence in the face of stonewalling attacks on him in the press and the outright refusal of Spokane PD to cooperate in his investigation to be the best part of reading Breaking Blue To put it simply it took me several days to read the first 100 rather ho hum pages but only a day to read the last 150 Such is the power I think of people's desire to see justice done When the narrative reaches this point I found myself furiously gobbling up pages eager to see the sonofabitch Ralstin who is Bamonte discovers deep into his investigation still alive punished for his crime Along the way Bamonte faces the stiff resistance of Ralstin's fellow citizens in a small Montana town who regard him as a heroic figure who even if guilty deserves to live out his few remaining days in peace But Bamonte is driven on by his own conscience he considers himself the voice of the dead and by Conniff's orphaned children also advanced in age who wish to see justice done for the murder of their beloved fatherCold Case Files could do a two hour special on this one but it would fail to achieve the level of pathos Egan touches here His stories are always rooted in the land in this case the spoiled and defoliated region around the Spokane and Pend Oreille rivers waterways which once supported whole civilizations with their now extinct salmon runs Egan understands that the stories that come out of the American West are the product of greed rapaciousness and as Bamonte's own life suggests rampant loneliness It is a vision of the West that is a far cry from the triumphalist Manifest Destiny cliches that inform our usual view Very timely even though the case this book covers is in 1935 Not much has changed in law enforcement here in Spokane We just had the announcement today of the chief of police retiring and her second in command all when the Otto Zehm case is being looked at as being handled wrong It is sad the corruption still runs so deep in the police force here and that it has a long history as mentioned in this book This book is about crooked cops in Spokane Washington during the depression and the cop who uncovered a murder by a cop during that time while doing a college thesis in the 1980's Most of the players have passed on but there is one still livingThere were some interesting moments during this book but there were also some times that were slow going Worth a read to see how hopefully times have changed Wonderfully written story of a true life Don uixote type who couldn't let go of his unanswered uestions until he got to the bottom of the very last one This book took me to a place in the past and gave me a taste of what it was like to live in an utterly different world Just read this one; you won't be sorry One of Timothy Egan's earlier books Breaking Blue allows us to follow Anthony Bamonte a sheriff of Lake Pend Oreille pond er AY as he investigates the police cover up of a Depression era murder of a Newport WA sheriff who was shot dead by a Spokane detective The blue wall had protected the killer Clyde Ralstin for over 50 years Egan's narrative style and ability to peel away the investigation layer by layer had me turning the pages Even though we know the eventual outcome the story is un put downable Egan never disappoints Remember the police are your friends NOT At least not in 1930's Spokane or even until the 1990's according to this book This book is the true story of a murder committed in 1935 in the small NE Washington town of Newport by an off duty Spokane police detective and accomplices during a burglary of the local creamery The town night marshall happens upon the burglary of butter no less and is shot dead The Spokane police most of whom are corrupt and on the take closes ranks around one of their own and the murder investigation stalls for lack of evidence and effortFast forward nearly fifty years to when Anthony Bamonte the 46 year old sheriff of Pend Oreille County begins a graduate program at Gonzaga University and chooses to focus on the history of major crimes in his jurisdiction as his thesis project He becomes obsessed with finding out who committed what was at the time the longest unsolved murder case in the countryBamonte is an interesting character himself and his life has not been easy It is amazing that he was able to stick with the investigation in spite of the many distractions that would have stopped most people in their tracksEventually through sheer persistence and a bit of luck he is able to break through the blue wall and years of coverup to finally finger the perp and make him suirm a bit before his passing There is a a great deal of interesting history in this book about Depression era Spokane and the surrounding Northwest I'm a westerner through and through If I haven't punched cows through the region Timothy Egan has written about I've backpacked hunted or fished it It's God's country I now live in a region called The Palouse which is discussed It lies seventy miles south of the turret of Breaking Blue Spokane Of his books the three that I've read the style of Breaking Blue may be my favorite although born a child of the Dust Bowl I preferred the subject of The Worst Hard TimeAs you read Breaking Blue you come to understand the parasitic nature of the turbulence upheaval and corruption integral to law enforcement in eastern Washington North Idaho and parts of Montana These were not so much intentional acts of those involved as it was the inherent nature of the kind of individuals seeking refuge in this the last bastion of the Wild West during the 1930s These raw knuckled hard nosed characters were further provoked by the governments suggestion that fortune could be found in these areas bringing ill conditioned opportunists to an under developed area dispirited by the Great Depression One of the best nonfiction books I've read It reads like a fictional story than nonfiction It's not dry and boring It might have some embellishment but it's amazing I'm giving this book 3 stars but it's really closer to 35 This is an early book of Egan's and as some other reviewers have already mentioned it doesn't have the polish that his later books have as his writing skills evolved The story definitely held my interest but I felt like it meandered a little too much Egan does a great job of revealing the culture of law enforcement The reader will notice the improvements in the 1980's compared to the 1930's when many cops were criminals themselves but the 1980's pales in comparison with the professionalism and decency expected of law enforcement today Knowing and understanding this culture helps explain some of the issues we still see in the news today but also shows that improvements are slowly being madeOne thing I noticed was that there was no index and no list of sources Sources were mentioned throughout the book in terms of who Bamonte spoke to and the archives he accessed but I was surprised that Egan didn't include a list of exactly where he got all of his research from The lack of an index meant that when I wanted to find something from earlier in the book for example to cross reference what a suspect said in an interview with what he had done back in 1935 I had to flip back through pages in the book and wasn't always successful I'm not sure if the lack of citations and an index is indicative of the year this book was written 1992 or something elseOverall though if you like true crime mixed with history have any interest in the Spokane area of Washington or enjoy Egan's books you should give this one a try I'm glad I read it I read this book because the same author wrote Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher which I uite enjoyed Egan has a knack for telling history in a way that makes you feel like you are there as the subjects are speaking acting or being described This book looks at one specific person and his uest for justice To avoid a spoiler I will only say it is engrossing challenging troubling redemptive and surprising all at once The book reminds the reader that the past is never 'done' and 'gone' The past always effects the present and impacts our lives This book shows that in a small way but one that is uite profound The book helps the reader look at both fact and the story that arises out of a desire to change what people perceive

Paperback  ¿ Breaking Blue MOBI ¼
  • Paperback
  • 268 pages
  • Breaking Blue
  • Timothy Egan
  • English
  • 03 April 2016
  • 9781570610608