In this aptly titled book, John Walsh traces the steps that led him from being a grieving father to becoming a grieving father who hosts TV's America's Most Wanted, the Fox true-crime show that hunts down bad guys every week through a toll-free tip line. Walsh, however, seems ambivalent about the fame he's been granted. He presents a somewhat halting, uncertain narrative in this autobiography (cowritten with Susan Schindehette), and he makes it clear all the way through that his life is really only driven by one thing: the still-unsolved 1981 abduction and murder of his 6-year-old son, Adam.
Walsh's anger and frustration over a "bumbling" police investigation of his son's murder is evident throughout. According to Walsh, the Hollywood, Florida, Police Department should have arrested a drifter named Ottis Toole--a convicted serial killer who played sidekick for many years to the notorious killer Henry Lee Lucas. Walsh speculates that the police had "formed their own ideas" about who killed Adam and didn't want to believe Toole could have been responsible. But Walsh is convinced, and he presents a large amount of evidence to support his case. Unfortunately, it's too late: Ottis Toole died several years ago in prison.
This is not an easy book to read, and one imagines it wasn't an easy book for John Walsh to write, as he describes, with a staccato style reminiscent of Jack Webb, the probable sequence of events of Adam's disappearance as well as the manner of his death. The bulk of Tears of Rage concerns Adam's abduction and its aftermath and the impact the Walsh family has had since in helping to pass various victims' and children's rights legislation. --Tjames Madison