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A Silence of Mockingbirds: The Memoir of a Murder Hardcover – April 1, 2012

4 out of 5 stars 43 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


Beautifully written by a very talented investigative journalist. Karen has given us Karly's legacy, that of a small, bright spirit who loved and was loved. And yet destroyed by heedless caretakers. A must read. Compelling and heartbreaking.
ANN RULE/ New York Times bestselling author of Don't Look Behind You and In the Still of the Night

"I strongly recommend this book to everyone in the San Francisco Criminal Justice system." Journal of San Francisco Police Officers Association 

The art with which Zacharias carefully reconstructs events leading up to a senseless, painful tragedy is reminiscent of In Cold Blood in its power. Zacharias employs a sure sense of pace and description that enables this heartbreaking, never-salacious memoir to read like a thriller.


Zacharias is at her best as a seasoned investigative reporter. With a deft touch and vivid details she sheds light on a problem that can no longer be ignored in the wake of the Casey Anthony trial.  It will fill your eyes with tears, make you mad, and hopefully make you act.

- New York Times Bestselling author Robert Dugoni/Bodily Harm

 "A must read. Compelling and heartbreaking." 
                                                        Ann Rule, New York Times Bestselling author. 

From the Author

It was not the nightmare that Karly Sheehan endured that propelled me to write this story. Rather it was knowing how deeply David Sheehan loved his daughter, and how desperate he was to protect her.  

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 325 pages
  • Publisher: MacAdam/Cage Publishing; 1 edition (April 1, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 159692375X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1596923751
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.2 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #310,958 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Karen Spears Zacharias is the author of several books including the bestselling MOTHER OF RAIN, winner of the Weatherford Award for Best in Appalachian Fiction and a finalist for the Crook's Corner Book Prize. MOTHER OF RAIN, the stage play, is under production by Georgia's Springer Opera House. A sequel, BURDY, will be released Fall, 2015 by Mercer University Press.

Karen's work has been featured on CNN, National Public Radio, and The Diane Rehm Show​. A Georgia-native, s​​he lives near the big river in Oregon​. Other books include: Karly Sheehan: The True Crime Story Behind Karly's Law, After the Flag has been Folded, Will Jesus Buy Me a Doublewide?'cause I need more room for my plasma TV.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I first met David Sheehan in the late 90's. I was working for an automation
company building equipment for HP. It's hard to be just a business
acquaintance with David and much easier to be a friend. We worked together
off and on until I left the company in March 2004.

An associate and I traveled to Corvallis OR sometime in early 2005
to meet with an automation company for a potential project. We planned
to meet David in Corvallis prior to the meeting.

We met David for breakfast and he brought Karly along. In times past I had
seen the light in David's eyes when he talked about Karly, completely
understandable after meeting her. But that morning he had a worried look as
he explained the issues he had been going through with Sarah and the emotional
well being of Karly. He was very distraught about her hair falling out and seemed
to be at his wits' end. I was shocked upon receiving news of Karly's death.
Anyone having been around David for a short period of time would never question
his love and devotion to Karly. After completing the book, I look back at that
meeting with much sorrow in my heart. It hurts to think of what Karly and
David had to endure. They both were, and are, so very brave and strong.

Karen Spears Zacharias has taken what must be a very personal tragedy,
and so very accurately, and eloquently delivered it to the world. This book
will move you.

Please share Karly's story with all.
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Format: Hardcover
I have the honor of knowing Karly and her father David. Karly's murder impacted our community and deeply touched all who knew Karly and her family. "A Silence of Mockingbirds" is a very well written account that guides us through the tragedy, its precursors and its aftermath. Through well researched information, including numerous interviews with key people, it covers the factors leading up to Karly's death, it's terrible impact and the positive changes in child protection that were introduced in the wake of Karly's brutal murder at the hands of Shawn Wesley Field.

This book carefully and meticulously brings voice to many of the people involved including an important voice for its victims. You will be moved by the details of this tragedy but also by the love that Karly experienced in her short life, especially with her father David. "A Silence of Mockingbirds" succeeds in lovingly introducing us to Karly Sheehan while challenging us to not forget our failings to her as we strive to build safe and loving communities for our children.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I read this book over the course of two days. It is a compelling read. Ms. Spears Zacharias takes a hard, tragic, horrific story and shares it with truth, respectfulness, and compassion. She shares this story as a personal one. As hard as that must have been for her, it is a gift to the reader. I was drawn in from page one.

I wasn't sure I could read this book due to the subject matter. However, I couldn't put it down. I became a part of this story. And we all are. Karly is someone we all need to know, because we all have the power to change the lives of children in our midst--if we are aware and know what steps to take. A Silence of the Mockingbird not only tells Karly's story, but it also empowers the reader to take action to prevent this from happening again. Read this book, share it with friends, family, co-workers,and community; and let Karly's story make a difference in the lives of others.
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Format: Hardcover
I'm not sure I can do this book justice. Part of me wants to say read the book and find out for yourself how powerful it is. So please forgive me ahead of time for my bumbled effort to capture something so beautiful and brilliant into a short review.

"A Silence of Mockingbirds" by Karen Spears Zacharias is a memoir about the murder of three-year-old Karly Sheedan from Oregon. She was the daughter of David Sheedan, a native of Ireland, and Sarah Brill Sheedan.

Karen Spears Zacharias was visiting her grown daughter and son in Bend, Oregon when she saw a photo of Sarah Sheedan in the local paper. As a young woman, Sarah lived in the author's home for an extended period of time and was thought of as one of the family until Ms. Zacharias and Sarah parted ways. Ms. Zacharias voiced her disapproval over Sarah's intended divorce from David. She believed Sarah needed to give her daughter, Karly, more consideration. Karly and David were extremely close. And she worried if Sarah had custody Karly wouldn't get the care and attention she needed.

The next day while out walking with her family at a local part, the author was surprised to see Sarah. The joy of the reunion dissipated quickly when Sarah was questioned about Karly's whereabouts. She gave the devastating news that Karly had been murdered and was not forthcoming with any details. So Ms. Zacharias began digging on her own. For years the author had been a cop beat reporter and thought she had seen everything.

The story she found about Karly's death sickened her. How had she fell out of touch with both Sarah and David? And so began what has turned out to be a stunning narrative. Karen Spears Zacharias knows this story from the inside out, literally. It's more than a true-crime book.
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