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Reviewed by Jamie Michele for Readers' Favorite
A Red Dress: Murder in the Green Mountain State by G.L. Taylor is the fictionalized memoir of the author, portrayed in the story as Officer Ben Fields, a policeman in Vermont at a time when an absolutely heinous crime rocks the coupled rural towns of Waterford. Fields is unable to comprehend what he is witnessing when a little girl named Wendy is so covered in blood that on approach he actually believes she is wearing a red dress. Near mortally wounded but still miraculously alive, Wendy tells him of her friend Stacie who is still left in the woods. Stacie is no longer alive, but through the courageous recounting of events that Wendy provides, Fields and the committed officers at the department are able to help piece the evidence together to get justice for the two twelve-year-old victims and give some semblance of closure to a shattered community.
G.L. Taylor offers an inside look into the immediate aftermath of one of Vermont's most notorious crimes in A Red Dress. I'm not entirely sure that I was prepared for the detailing of Wendy's and Stacie's torture and I was somewhat grateful that the book wasn't very long. Officer Fields narrates in the first person and brings in previous near-misses in his own family as he struggles to separate the victims from his eight-year-old-daughter, Annie. I found the connection humanized Fields in a way, a much needed component in a mostly male-dominated storyline. From a literary standpoint, the book was not easy to get into for reasons other than a difficult subject matter. It is incredibly dense with narrative and a great deal of backstory. Still, as a short book that blends fact and fiction, A Red Dress is a worthy read for those interested in true crime inspired stories.