True crime meets survival story

Review of Alone: Orphaned on the Ocean written by Richard D. Logan and Tere Duperrault Fasbender
Rating *****

It’s not that often that you can combine a true crime story with a survival story, but that is exactly the story that this book has to tell. Tere Duperrault, who went by the name of Terry Jo at the time of this incident, was just eleven years old when on a sailing trip in the Bahama’s her entire family was murdered by the charter boat’s captain, Julian Harvey. Terry Jo managed to escape the captain’s rage. He left her on the sinking sailboat with the belief that she would not survive. But Terry Joe did survive. For four long days and nights, without food or water, she stayed afloat on a small cork float that was barely big enough to keep her dry.

The how and why of that tragic night is the basis for this excellent book. What drove the captain, who was a highly regarded former Army Air Corps pilot, to take such drastic actions? Julian Harvey survived the sinking of the Bluebelle. The story he told authorities, however, was not one of murder but one that involved a tragic accident.

As the authors delve into Harvey’s background, they uncover some disturbing trends. Harvey had a string of failed marriages. At least one of his wives died a mysterious death, with Harvey collecting a large sum of money from an insurance policy. Harvey also seemed to have bad luck with other ventures that ended in disaster and insurance payouts.

The authors put forth their theory as to what might have happened that night. Harvey apparently took out a life insurance policy on his wife, who worked with him on the charter boat. They surmise that Harvey intended to kill his wife, but his plans were interrupted by his passengers.

I have another theory. Terry Joe became aware that something was amiss after hearing loud noises above her sleeping quarters and her brother yelling, “Help, Daddy, help! It seems plausible to me that Julian Harvey was a pedophile. Perhaps he tried to molest the young boy and was discovered in the act after the boy yelled out.

This book was published in 2010, but that shouldn’t prevent you from reading or listening to it.

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