Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The Ride by Brian MacQuarrie

The Ride

By Brian MacQuarrie

DaCapo Books

261 pages

Review by Timothy Gager

On October 1, 1997 ten year old Jeffrey Curley of Cambridge, Massachusetts took a ride with two adults, Salvatore Sicari and Charles Jaynes under the false pretense of receiving a new bicycle. He was brutally murdered after not accepting their sexual advances, then post-mortally raped, and stuffed into a plastic storage box. Then the container with his body in it was thrown off a bridge into the Great Works River in South Berwick, Maine.

The Ride is the story of that case, one which is familiar to many in the Massachusetts area. The book works its way from the grisly crime to the years afterward. It focuses on the family of Jeffrey, heavily weighted on the life of Cambridge Firefighter Bob Curley, Jeffrey’s father. Briefly the book explains Bob Curley’s need for vengeance was what kept him going in the dark months following his son’s murder. He became a champion in the attempted legalization of the death penalty in Massachusetts. He spoke out at the State House, in the media, often confronting those opposing his beliefs. Years later, Bob meets the father of an Oklahoma City bombing victim and the brother of Ted Kaczynski, gentleman who opposed the death penalty. Through their shared experience, Bob Curley undergoes a remarkable transformation; he becomes an opponent of the very proposed law that he passionately fought for.

Brian MacQuarrie, a Pulitzer Prize Award nominee and Boston Globe writer does a fine detailed and astute job in reporting the facts regarding this case and the lingering affects it had on the Curley family. It is a no-holds barred account of the emotional ups and downs that occur over the years for the family, placing the reader into the edge of their painful abyss. One can not possibly fathom what it must be like to suffer such a tragedy and then turn the pain into such important work on causes the way Bob Curley did. Bob Curley’s work on child safety and protection laws is currently on the books in Massachusetts.

Bob Curley’s life as portrayed in The Ride is a study of breaking and redemption of human spirit. The rest of the Curley family was and remains shattered by Jeffrey’s murder. There are no words that can be written that could convey this by author MacQuarrie. As a writer he handled this impossible task with skill and sensitivity. I recommend this book as an excellent, interesting read and a ride into heavy emotional traffic.


  1. Anonymous3:49 PM

    This book looks amazing. I can't wait to read it.I couldn't fathom going threw what those people went threw. They will always be in the hearts of many of us. I wish the curley family peace and happiness.Good luck with the book.

  2. The true story of a child’s murder and a father’s incredible transformation from vengeance-seeking victim to outspoken death-penalty critic. Nice book.