Bone Deep
December 9, 2021

Book Review

Bone Deep

reviewed by Eric Ellis

In Troy, Missouri in December 2011, and just days after Christmas, Russ Faria returned home to find his wife deceased on the living room couch from what he believed to be self-inflicted wounds and with the knife still protruding from her neck.

Because of Betsy’s history of depression and facing terminal cancer, Russ initially believed her death to be self-inflicted and reported her death as a believed suicide to an operator after calling 911.

The first responding police officer immediately identified the death of Betsy to be that of homicide, not suicide, and soon after that, Russ became the number one suspect in the eyes of authorities.

It is not a spoiler to reveal Bone Deep is the true-life recounting of the murder of Betsy Faria and how her husband Russ Faria was investigated and arrested for her murder while obviously innocent of the crime. The book also shines a light on the true suspect and how almost immediately after the murder, this subject was not only completely ignored by law enforcement personnel, including the main prosecutor, but also how these officials actively resisted even to examine this person as a potential suspect even when preliminary information pointed directly in her direction.

While in cases similar to this one, it is not unusual for authorities to focus on a person closest to the deceased as a suspect, however in this murder, what was unusual was how investigating authorities and later court authorities, seem to have completely ignored not just ample evidence, but instead, overwhelming evidence that Russ Faria was not a viable suspect at all.

Types of evidence, both ignored and discounted, clearly excluding him from being any sort of suspect, included both eyewitness and physical evidence and was available from the very start of the investigation.

One part of me dislikes reading true-crime books as Bone Deep. This is not because books like this are bad, on the contrary, books like Bone Deep often are quite good. The disliking part is when these books reveal an avoidable and complete failure in our humanly created institutions, especially when there is no credible explanation for such failures to exist and when these failures have horrible repercussions for those sucked into these black holes of failure.

This is especially true when the information provided by modern technologies and advancements quickly introduces facts and evidence that easily exonerates a suspect such as Russ Faria. What adds to this dislike is when such information and evidence exists and is easily accessible and still, authorities do whatever they can to actively dismiss or ignore these facts and evidence out of self-interest, incompetence, or frankly, outright criminality.

While not excusing incompetence, one can almost understand how it can impede a criminal investigation, but to ignore factual evidence like what was done in the Betsy Faria murder should result in stringent penalties of some sort for those that discounted such evidence.

What happened in the Betsy Faria murder case raised my ire, as it should all people when familiarizing themselves with incidents such as these. 

Bone Deep is an engaging true-crime book that exposes failures in the American criminal justice system while putting a human face on those involved and is recommended to those that enjoy well-researched books on subjects such as this.

Netgalley provided a copy of Bone Deep in return for a fair review and is set to be published in February 2022.

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