An American Tragedy (Peter O'Keefe Book 4) re...
Age Range - Adult
Genre - Fiction
Five Star Award

LitPick Review

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Age at time of review - 41
Reviewer's Location - Orange City, IA, United States
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An American Tragedy by Dan Flanigan is Book 4 in the Peter O'Keefe series. O'Keefe is a no-nonsense, seemingly lackadaisical private investigator. He's not pretentious, bordering on humble. He's no slouch. O'Keefe is a kindhearted, dedicated, honorable, and insightful private investigator. We find him caring for justice in this particular case, and seeing through the twists and motives in a tumultuous time. The "Tragedy" in this story is the horrific and devastating issue of child abuse. In the 1980s and 1990s, childcare and daycare centers came under the sniper scope of the nation. Reports of child abuse began to cascade through the justice system. Men and women alike were guilty; parents were oblivious; children were reluctant to come forward. But new investigative techniques had been developed through psychology and criminology research. Crack investigators began employing methods to get at the deep, dark secrets that children had suppressed as part of a defense instinct that had evolved through the millions of years of human development. "Believe the children" became the new mantra, and no adult could defend against it. But O'Keefe and his team of lawyers will try. For Ms. Ginny. For justice.


An American Tragedy by Dan Flanigan is hard to read. It reminded me of the movie Aliens when Newt asks Ripley, “My mommy always said there were no monsters, no real ones, but there are.” What would terrify parents more than to know that not only were there real monsters, but that they had willingly given their children into the care of the very real monsters? Pump in some media exaggeration, political pundits, and parent-led social groups, and you have enough pressure waiting to explode on the next alleged criminal. No wonder this “American Tragedy” took the country by the throat. Suddenly anyone who works with children can become a victim of a mob hungry to take down a monster. Everyone wants justice. But what becomes apparent in this excellent book is that justice is a tricky thing. “Believe the children” is not a standard for justice. Neither is “believe the parents” or “believe the experts.” Dan Flanigan shows what a travesty of justice can happen without a proper standard. It makes me wonder: what “Tragedy” are we potentially creating today? “Believe the science”; “believe the women”; “believe the government”; “believe the oppressed.” These cannot be standards for justice either, though they be factors to consider. True justice must be founded upon truth itself. There is one source for that: God’s Law. This country used to follow at least basic principles from God’s Law. The more our nation drifts from that unchanging standard, the less justice there will be. And it won’t just be chaos in the streets. There will be more Ms. Ginnys and Marvin Smiths imprisoned without justice and without hope. No one will be safe, not even the children.

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Content Rating:

Content rating - mature content

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Very mature content. Vivid descriptions of sexual child abuse. There is also swearing and other sexual content.

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