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Terror by Night: The True Story of the Brutal Texas Murder That Destroyed a Family, Restored One Man’s Faith, and Shocked a Nation Paperback – July 1, 2012
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"Warlight" by Michael Ondaatje
A dramatic coming-of-age story set in the decade after World War II, "Warlight" is the mesmerizing new novel from the best-selling author of "The English Patient." Learn more
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From the Back Cover
In one evening, Terry Caffey lost everything. His wife, Penny, and his sons, Matthew and Tyler, were brutally murdered; his home was burned to the ground, and his sixteen-year-old daughter, Erin, was in jail, charged with three counts of capital murder.
In one year’s time, God would restore it all.
At 3:00 a.m. on March 1, 2008, Terry Caffey awoke to find his daughter’s former boyfriend standing in the bedroom doorway with a gun. An instant later the teen opened fire, killing Terry’s wife and wounding Terry six times. As he slipped toward unconsciousness, Terry heard his son crying upstairs. More gunfire followed. When he regained consciousness, he felt the searing heat of his burning house.
Terry knew it was too late to save his family, but he had one thing to do before he died. He fought to stay awake and escaped the burning house through a bathroom window. As Terry stumbled and crawled four hundred yards through pitch darkness, he asked God to keep him alive long enough to identify the killer, and then to let him die.
God allowed Terry to identify the murderer, but He didn’t let Terry die.
What happened next is nothing short of miraculous.
Terror by Night is the emotionally gripping story of a daughter’s ultimate betrayal, a father’s unfathomable forgiveness, and a miraculous discovery that would restore one man’s faith, spare two young lives, and restore peace to a small Texas town.
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After the deaths of his family and the virtual loss of Erin, Terry Coffey suffers not just physically, but emotionally and spiritually as well. As a Christ-follower, Terry struggles mightily with the question that plagues all who experience great loss: Why didn't God step in and stop this horrific occurrence? The answer, as it always is, is that we (humans) don't know. God is much, much bigger than we can even fathom. He has plans inside of plans that stretch from eternity to eternity. We can't even conceive the concept of eternity to eternity, but God sees it ALL and knows everything that ever has or ever will happen. We cannot know how the life of Terry Coffey, or the loss of Penny, Matthew, and Tyler Coffey will change the life of a total stranger who hears of it - or how it may change the lives of those intimately involved in the case. We just don't know - and that is the hardest part of understanding God's love and His grace, because we want to know why. Anyway, Terry pulls through with a great deal of faith and the unwavering support of a fantastic group of people including his in-laws, friends, and church family.
Blessed by God with a new family, Terry likens himself to Job, who lost everything in the Bible. Just like Job, Terry was restored by the growth of his faith through this horrible time. Am I saying it was "good" that Penny and the boys died? That Erin was involved in it? No, of course not. BUT, God works for good, so there is good found in many aspects of this tragedy.
This book *was* written very soon after this tragedy occurred. Even now it's only been about 3 years; hardly enough time for the ink to dry on the case files. I, too, would love to see an update from Terry in 10 years or so. I believe, though, that he will be OK, no, that he will thrive, because he has accepted that God's unending grace doesn't mean that bad (very, very bad) stuff won't happen, but it does mean that He will be with us every step of the way. You can, by the way, keep up with how he's doing via his ministry page. I don't have the address right offhand, but just Google his name and it will come up.
One thing I am not sure about - and I invite commentary about - is the true level of Erin's involvement. I think, from the record of her "total" confession conversation with Terry, that she still absolves herself of much of the blame for the attacks. In no way, however, do I believe that this girl sought out people who were possessed of entirely innocent motives and convinced them to murder her family. I think she was a frustrated, angsty teen who complained about her parents not "getting her" and "sometimes I wish they were dead" so she could live her own life. The Lord knows I complained enough about my dad who never "got" me when I was a teenager, and while I don't think I ever wished him dead, I certainly wished he would "go away" enough times! ;- I think then, her much too old boyfriend and his buddy thought they would "solve" Erin's problem and indulge themselves at the same time. I just really don't know. Did she make some really, really bad choices? Yes! Could she have stopped the whole thing at anytime by going to the cops (or even her parents)? Yes! It's awfully hard for teenagers to do that, though, so I can't really see her doing that. Probably she didn't realize until it was WAY too late that this was something that was really happening.
I recommend this book to anyone who is struggling with pain and is not seeing or understanding the purpose of their suffering.
Terry describes in detail his road to forgiveness and coping with the loss of his family and coming to terms with the reality of the role that his daughter played in the crime.
It was good to hear that he eventually moves on with his life, while never forgiving what happened. It was also interesting to hear Erin's side of the story. Terry talks very honestly about this tragic experience.
I was saddened to read how much the public has critized this man because of his story and the judgement calls some people have made on him. It is very sad. I don't think we as readers can really comprehend what he went through and his feelings unless we ourselves have been victims of a crime like he was. Unless you are walking in his shoes then sit back and take his story for what it is.. HIS ACCOUNT OF WHAT HE EXPERIENCED & WENT THROUGH!!