BOOK REVIEW : LOSING JON BY DAVID PARRISH
TITLE : Losing Jon
AUTHOR : David Parrish
GENRE : Non-Fiction, True-Crime
FR RATING : 3.5 Stars
EXPECTED PUBLICATION : 28th April 2020
A PopSugar Best True Crime Book of 2020
“The twists and turns read like a page-turning thriller, but Losing Jon is all fact. This is true crime at the highest of levels. Scary, heartbreaking and completely insightful.”
–Brad Meltzer, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Escape Artist
David Parrish was in disbelief when he learned that nineteen-year-old Jon Bowie’s body had been found hanged from a backstop at the local high school’s baseball field and the death declared a suicide. David had known Jon and his twin brother since they were boys. He had coached them on the baseball field and welcomed them into his home for sleepovers with his own sons. However, when David learned how Jon’s body was found, he felt compelled to find the facts behind this incomprehensible tragedy.
Soon, David would learn of a brutal incident at a local motel where Jon and his brother had been severely beaten by police officers, the charges filed against those officers, and the months of harassment and intimidation Jon and his brother endured. Few in the utopian community of Columbia, Maryland, believed Jon could commit such a final act. Like many others, David wondered how a fateful night of teens blowing off steam could lead to such a tragic end. As law enforcement failed to find answers and seemed intent on preventing the truth from surfacing, David uncovered a system of cover-ups that could only lead to one conclusion–Jon’s death was an act of murder.
“A true page turner, filled with almost-too-unbelievable-to-be-true details of one community’s fight to find justice for one of its own . . . the issues raised, particularly when it comes to questions of police brutality and cover-ups, are very much relevant today.”
—New York Times bestselling author Lisa Pulitzer
DISCLAIMER : Thank you Netgalley and Kensington Books for providing me with an ARC of this book. I am leaving this review voluntarily.
Losing Jon is a true-crime book that is guaranteed to pull at your heartstrings. The story of young Jon Bowie is devastating to read about. The author used to coach the twins Jon and Mickey baseball in school. He knew them and their family very well. So the news of Jon’s death came as a shock to David Parrish. He learns about the circumstances leading up to Jon’s death and understands that something sinister was at play and decides to help the family uncover the truth. I was interested in finding out what had happened to Jon Bowie and hoped to God the murderer/murderers were caught.
The book takes us through Jon and Mickey’s lives as they navigate their school and college. Jon and Mickey were twins and they were one night partying at a motel with 12 other friends when police came knocking on their door. Everything that happened from there is quite surreal, almost movie-like but sadly true. The accounts from the witnesses and fellow students all report that excessive force was used on the students by the police. Later the kids were harassed and followed and stalked by the police.
Jon Bowie is said to have committed suicide. Jon was found hanging from the wire on the roof the backstop in the early morning by a jogger. The body was hanging from the top and Jon seems to be holding on to wires. There were a lot of things that didn’t add up to the story the police told. The lead investigators and other officials all seem to be in a hurry to close the investigation and reluctant to do a proper investigation. The events leading up to the death are all painting an unbelievably brutal and disturbing power play by the police. Everything about the whole situation screamed injustice and cover-up. The whole story we see in this book is from the author’s perspective and we get to learn from all the people connected to Jon tell us about different issues that led to the death of Jon. The other kids who were partying at the hotel, people who have faced brutality by the same police force unable to get justice for the pain they had to endure all paints a disturbing and frightening power structure that will stop at nothing to achieve their goals.
Every time we hear the police behave unprofessionally or even show reluctance to figure out the truth behind the young man’s death makes it difficult to continue reading. The struggle and the tests the family had to endure and the injustice they dealt with was simply criminal and unfair. The sad thing is we still don’t get a resolution for the story. We are left with more questions and the very questions that led to the whole fight for justice were never answered. The book takes a turn with psychics involvement and the family retreats from the fight. The sad part is that we will never know what exactly happened to Jon and it made me so frustrated to have all this fight to never give justice to the young man.
I cannot believe the strength and courage it must have taken for all the people who stood behind the family to fight against the corrupt justice system who let the murderer or murderers walk away scot-free. The whole situation is baffling to read about with the investigators, FBI, and other people blatantly ignoring the very evident inconsistencies in the death of Jon. None of it makes sense and for the justice system to simply side with the very same people who are capable of cover-up and police brutality is incomprehensible. The whole incident is horrifying and on top of that, the way the police and the FBI behaved towards the victims and their family was simply disturbing and cruel. They were intentionally framing the kids and also trying to make it seem like Jon committed suicide and not handling the proper investigation to solve the crime. The police’s effort to do the character assassination is also very telling of their involvement in the event. The blase way the whole case was handled and the other incidents surrounding it are all one big mess of incompetency on the legal system as well.
The whole psychic aspect led to more confusion than clarity in my opinion. The weak point in this story is the psychic predictions and vague clues they put out. If they were able to bring the murderers to light then we could have said it made sense. The book has left me unsettled and with lots of emotions, unresolved mostly and that is not something that I expected to be left with. I thought we will be able to get justice and the killer will be caught and punished, but unfortunately, that is not the case. Every time the family stood up to fight the people responsible for the young man’s death they were beaten down by the very system that vowed to protect them and uphold justice. The book is a harrowing account of a young man’s death which led to more devastation and confusion down the path.
I was hooked from the beginning and the more I read the more I was drawn to the case. I felt bad for the family, friends, and victims. I was frustrated and angry and emotional through the book. I thought the book was going to be a solid 5-stars book for me and it was going to be giving us the answers to the case and how it got resolved. Let’s just say that didn’t happen and I was highly disappointed by it. The book ended abruptly and we don’t get to see or find out how Jon Bowie dies. There are no answers to some of the questions that were frequently asked throughout the book, and adding to the confusion we have psychics and their predictions muddying everything as I mentioned before. I am confused and disappointed by the way the case was closed and on top of that, we do not get answers to the important points consistently asked throughout the book. I wish the author addressed them and help resolve the issues. The book simply leaves readers with the family moving on with their lives because Jon appeared to them and told them to let it go. After all of the struggle and pain and hard work, it just seems like we are left in the dark with more questions than answers. I don’t believe justice was served to the families involved, the case got closed without proper investigations, and there are too many people whose roles feels undefined in the entire case. I gave the book 3.5 stars and it would have been a 5 star read if not for the way the book ended. I sincerely hope the family got their answers and they are at peace. I can’t imagine the pain and turmoil the family must have been in following Jon’s untimely death. I pray the wrongdoers were all brought to justice and they answered for their failures to provide the closure for the family. I believe this is an important story and everyone should read this book to be aware of the brutality and possible cover-up of crimes committed by the police and other systems.
I hope everyone read this book and I highly recommend checking the book out. I sincerely hope people who played a key role in the murder and other illegal and criminal activities got punished. Definitely check the book out.