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What I had come looking for were the secrets to my father's murder.
December 13, 2004 5:03 PM   Subscribe

What I had come looking for were the secrets to my father's murder. [LA Times link] In 1972, when Mark Arax was 15, his father was killed by two unknown gunmen. He spent nearly three decades trying to solve the crime, and wrote a book about his investigation. Then a break in the case led to some suprising discoveries.
posted by kirkaracha (27 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
Wow, thanks for the link. I read the book when it first came out on the strength of a review and loved it. I became fascinated by the mystery and by the portrait of Fresno, then and now. Unlike the author, I never thought another piece of the story would break. Now I feel thrown back into it.
posted by caseymcg at 5:33 PM on December 13, 2004


It's a too bit self-aggrandizing, film noir and sentimental for me. Who'll direct the HBO movie version?
posted by davy at 5:37 PM on December 13, 2004


Dad had a friend mold a three-pound hunk of lead that fit into my jock for weigh-ins.

I wonder if this was the first use of the [MI] tag?
posted by srboisvert at 5:48 PM on December 13, 2004


Fabulous story, thank you for the link. Intensely personal and moving.
posted by livii at 5:48 PM on December 13, 2004


Yes, thanks for the link. Ah, the tule fog...
posted by numlok at 6:19 PM on December 13, 2004


Wow, I couldn't stop, thanks for the link - powerful.
posted by jkaczor at 6:39 PM on December 13, 2004


90 feet between the bases and 60 feet, 6 inches from pitcher to home plate

Isn't that a strange-shaped baseball diamond?
posted by bingo at 6:46 PM on December 13, 2004


Back again, I also wanted to thank you because I looked up Mark Arax after this, and found his book "The King of California", and it's an absolutely perfect gift for my mother-in-law, and so now that's one more Christmas gift bought.

Er, that was quite the run-on sentence.
posted by livii at 6:48 PM on December 13, 2004


Good post, thanks.
posted by Colloquial Collision at 7:02 PM on December 13, 2004


great story, kirkaracha! Thanks!
posted by shoepal at 7:08 PM on December 13, 2004


got sucked right in! thanks, kirkaracha!
posted by quonsar at 7:19 PM on December 13, 2004


Complex. Reminds me of something that might be on This American Life.
posted by freedryk at 7:32 PM on December 13, 2004


That was an amazing 30 minutes. Sorry it took him so long.
posted by reflection at 7:33 PM on December 13, 2004


Isn't that a strange-shaped baseball diamond?
90' between bases and 60'6" from pitching rubber to home plate are the dimensions used for adult professional baseball for over a hundred years. So--unless you're pointing out that [1]it's a square, not a diamond, [2]that it's really 88'6" between bases (because of the width of the base) or [3]that the distance between two sets of two bases is really around 125'3"--then no, nothing is wrong with that diamond.
posted by cadastral at 7:41 PM on December 13, 2004


Great link. This reminds me of the story about the reporter who confronted the guy who had raped him as a child. It must be horrid to have one moment in time define your life for decades.
posted by arse_hat at 7:55 PM on December 13, 2004


I too read the book and am pleased to now read Mark Arax has learned enough truth and wisdom to find closure, finally.
posted by roboto at 8:01 PM on December 13, 2004


I don't know why that touched me so much, but it was a great read. Thank You for posting it.
posted by clubfoote at 8:57 PM on December 13, 2004


Mark's dad exhibits some of what I want to be with my son -
full of energetic focus
spending time making memories
enough of a hero to inspire.

Tomorrow I think I'll: 1) call my stepdad. 2) take my son grocery shopping (he's not yet one, otherwise we'd play baseball).
posted by iwearredsocks at 9:20 PM on December 13, 2004


srboisvert, you made me spit water on my laptop.
posted by metaculpa at 11:05 PM on December 13, 2004


Has anyone ever read My Dark Places by James Ellroy? Or Shot in the Heart by Mikal Gilmore? More biographic stories written by wounded boys living in haunted men's bodies... men who similarly became obsessive writers in order to find some way to cope with long-ago murders that took away their childhoods (James Ellroy's mother's murder & the serial killings committed by Mikal's brother Gary, respectively).

With James Ellroy in particular, his entire persona pivoted on his mother's murder at such a young age, it makes one wonder how different his life path would've been if the murder had never occurred. So sad, and yet... somehow it's even sadder to think he might have never become a writer had he not felt that gaping hole inside of him that writing filled. It's like you can feel his mother haunting every page he writes, even in the books that aren't about her.
posted by miss lynnster at 11:59 PM on December 13, 2004


90' between bases and 60'6" from pitching rubber to home plate are the dimensions used for adult professional baseball for over a hundred years.

Right, but that's not what he said. He said six inches from the pitcher's mound to home plate. Fastballs must be hell.
posted by bingo at 1:59 AM on December 14, 2004


Mark Arax is Batman!
posted by MrMoonPie at 7:10 AM on December 14, 2004


He said six inches from the pitcher's mound to home plate.

No he didn't. But if you're desperate to find motives for snark everywhere, I guess you take it where you can. (I note that even quonsar didn't feel the need to make a joke here.)

Great link -- thanks, kirkaracha!
posted by languagehat at 7:46 AM on December 14, 2004


Actually, I just read it wrong. It was the oddly-placed comma that threw me. And it wasn't a joke.
posted by bingo at 9:04 AM on December 14, 2004


Arax was interviewed on This American Life some time back and the archived recording can be found here.
posted by derangedlarid at 11:05 AM on December 14, 2004


What an engaging story! I had to read it twice to understand everything. I'm going to have to pick up the book now to read more about this.
posted by kartooner at 8:27 AM on December 15, 2004


Thanks for this, kirkaracha. Very moving.
posted by lia at 1:42 PM on December 16, 2004


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