Strange Piece of Paradise

Front Cover
Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2006 - Biography & Autobiography - 542 pages
180 Reviews
In the summer of 1977, Terri Jentz and her Yale roommate, Shayna Weiss, make a cross-country bike trip. They pitch a tent in the desert of central Oregon. As they are sleeping, a man in a pickup truck deliberately runs over the tent. He then attacks them with an ax. The horrific crime is reported in newspapers across the country." "No one is ever arrested. Both women survive, but Shayna suffers from amnesia, while Terri is left alone with memories of the attack. Their friendship is shattered.
Fifteen years later, Terri returns to the small town where she was nearly murdered, on the first of many visits she will make "to solve the crime that would solve me." And she makes an extraordinary discovery: the violence of that night is as present for the community as it is for her. Slowly, her extensive interviews with the townspeople yield a terrifying revelation: many say they know who did it, and he is living freely in their midst. Terri then sets out to discover the truth about the crime and its aftermath, and to come to terms with the wounds that broke her life into a before and an after. Ultimately she finds herself face-to-face with the alleged axman. Powerful, eloquent, and paced like the most riveting of thrillers, "Strange Piece of Paradise "is the electrifying account of Terri's investigation into the mystery of her near murder. A startling profile of a psychopath, a sweeping reflection on violence and the myth of American individualism, and a moving record of a brave inner journey from violence to hope, this searing, unforgettable work is certain to be one of the most talked about books of the year.

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This is an amazing story, and she's a great writer. - Goodreads
Weird, sad, and hard to read in places. - Goodreads
The storytelling is a little thick. - Goodreads
The pacing is perfect, and the details graphic. - Goodreads
But it was a satisfying ending and I'm glad I read it. - Goodreads
Terri is now working as a film writer. - Goodreads

Review: Strange Piece of Paradise

User Review  - Sally Tomaszewski - Goodreads

Had to stop and throw this book into the "donate" pile. Couldn't get interested enough in her story to finish reading. She seems to be a good writer, but the story just was not compelling. Read full review

Review: Strange Piece of Paradise

User Review  - Ruth - Goodreads

Really, really long read. More of a memoir than a true crime read. Read full review

About the author (2006)

Terri Jentz is a screenwriter and lives in Los Angeles. This is her first book.

Bibliographic information