Teenage boys, James Annetts and Simon Amos, disappeared from their cattle stations in the east Kimberley region of Australia in 1986. The Western Australian police mounted a half-hearted search, discouraged local volunteers from helping, then after three days returned to their station to concentrate on paperwork.
The boys' abandoned vehicle was located four months later by desert surveyors Andy Brett and Greg Owens. Wild dogs and camels had pulled apart the kids bodies and sucked their bones dry. Johnny Brown helped retrieve the scattered remains. He was intrigued. How had Simon been reduced to bleached bones while the flesh on James' face remained relatively intact, along with the shock of hair on his skull, bleached red by the desert sun? Weren't the boys supposed to have died at the same time? And what about the vehicle an Aboriginal tribal man heard follow the two teenagers into this deadly corner of the Great Sandy Desert?
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Intriguing But Disappointing
It's never easy to tell a story about a tragedy such is the one described in "Death in the Sand". Author Norm Barber attempts to kill his readers how to teenage boys died tragically in the Australian desert in 1986. Barber did not have a great deal of cooperation from many of the key characters who could have cleared up the mystery of the disappearing and death of James Annette and Simon Amos.
The author does provide enough background detail to build a strong case to support a double homicide. Through his interviews, Barber lends credibility to the suspicion that cattle station manager Giles Loder was deeply involved in the boys' deaths.
Unfortunately, Barber consumes an excessive amount of time describing the Aboriginal natives of the communities in close proximity to the station where James and Simon were employed prior to their demise.
One of the most significant points raised by the author was the role played by the local police, whom it would seem were heavily manipulated in their search by Giles Loder. Barber is unquestionably critical of the police investigators.
Overall, this was a good account of a true story that could have been much better and more informative.
Captivating, engaging and informative. Couldn't put it down.
I felt every emotion right along with the story teller. I am from the US and I never realized how very little we know about life in the Australian outback. I've been to the outback but this book showed such a detailed history and life of the area, I never knew. Most of all, I am sad for James, Simon, their families and loved ones. They will always be in my prayers. Thank God for the author keeping this story alive, you are kind beyond measure and I hope some day the answers are found.
Good but could've been better.
The first part of the book was a compelling read. The author painted a detailed mental image of the region that I could see it so clearly in my mind's eye.
However, the second part of the book was difficult to read. There were so many unnecessary tangents and anecdotes that I started to wonder if the author had a minimum word count to meet.