Well, it’s been twenty-nine years since the widely publicized Menendez murders. Journalist Robert Rand has covered the story since the grisly and ultimately heartbreaking case broke, and he is a recognized expert on the enigmatic Menendez family.
His truly amazing book, The Menendez Murders is just out from BenBella Books and covers the bizarre story of how two sons with seemingly everything going for them came to kill their own parents. Robert tells the story in detail from its onset to very recent discoveries in the case. He’s often the consultant for TV coverage of the case, including the recent Law & Order mini series.
Every time I work with a journalist turned book author, I’m in awe of their skills and nose for a compelling story, so I was delighted when BenBella asked me to join the editing team for this project.
I was even more delighted when I got a peek at the manuscript and then talked to Robert Rand about his many years of tireless research that culminated in this book. We all want to be so fast, and Robert knew the better choice was patience.
He could have sold the book years ago but opted to wait for the right publisher and the right time, which proved to be genius because the story kept changing over time as new facts were uncovered.
It’s an incredibly fascinating story and a model of patient, meticulous research and writing that creates a wildly compelling narrative. Perhaps even more so for those of us who followed the case years ago and kept changing our minds about who the Menendez brothers were.
From a craft standpoint, one of the things I have to applaud Robert for is brilliantly weaving the multiple and complex storylines together to show the many aspects of this strange story, including the brothers’ own account of the days leading to the murders as well as when witness statements conflicted on certain points.
He was still writing the final chapter as the book went into production because new facts kept coming up.
Normally that would be an editor’s nightmare, but in this case it was a welcome challenge to have an author able to capture the latest scoops.
Writers often talk about getting at the truth, and Robert’s book reminded me that sometimes pieces of truth remain elusive and the writer has to show that as well.
I sound like a paid advertisement for this book, which is not the case. I do just love it when I learn from an author’s technique, and that was certainly the case here.
Mad props, Robert, and thanks for being so awesome to work with.
Thank you, Laurel.
I’m sending the admiration right back at you and your amazing editing skills.
This was a challenging story to pull together and your contributions were invaluable and appreciated!
(Laurel Leigh photo courtesy Danielly Nobile. All Rights Reserved.)