McGarrahan’s obsession with rooting out the truth in the case leads her (and her unfailingly loyal husband) to Florida, Ireland and Australia, where she tracks down any detail that might potentially help her know what happened. It’s not a triumphant story ... At one point she writes that she’s wrecked her life with her quest for the truth. Some of those McGarrahan talks to feel she’s wrecked theirs; one yells at her, 'What you are doing is pointless and hurtful.' It feels like an accusation that could be aimed at the entire true-crime genre, no matter its intentions. Two Truths and a Lie is often extremely entertaining, but there’s a deep pain in its core.
... haunting memoir, which also unfolds as a gripping true-crime narrative ... McGarrahan’s rigorous investigation includes a set of hard-won interviews with the surviving witnesses to the 1976 shooting, including Rhodes and Jacobs ... McGarrahan must follow the story across a grim terrain that features drug dealers, armed robbers and other shady characters ... To her credit, McGarrahan resists the impulse to spin this tragedy into a “sentimental story with a feel-good ending.” In the book’s final pages, having sifted through a daunting tangle of conflicting accounts and agendas, she arrives at a set of wrenching conclusions about the crime ... This is a powerful, unsettling story, told with bracing honesty and skill.
What sets Ellen McGarrahan's just-published true crime book, Two Truths and a Lie , above so many others I've read is the moral gravity of her presence on the page and the hollow-voiced lyricism of her writing style ... Like Tafero's execution, the murder scene — as McGarrahan imagines it — haunts her. She finally allows herself three months to work on the case full time and her investigation spans continents. That's all I'm going to say because the experience of inhabiting that investigation with McGarrahan is so intense readers should experience it for themselves ... For me, the even deeper draw here is McGarrahan's struggle to come to terms with the evil she was drawn into as a young reporter.