In August 2000, 15-year-old Nicholas Markowitz disappeared from his parents’ West Hills, California, home. Thinking Nick was just trying to avoid punishment for some typical teenage misbehavior, at first Jeff and Susan Markowitz weren’t too overly concerned.
But as the minutes turned to hours, and the hours turned into days, they knew something was terribly wrong and they frantically searched for their son.
Jeff and Susan had no way of knowing that Nick had been abducted, beaten, and killed by lackeys of a drug-dealing thug known as Jesse James Hollywood.
Or that Nick had dearly paid for his older (half) brother’s drug debts.
Three of the four of this murderous party would be captured just days after the discovery of Nick’s body, but the cowardice Hollywood would elude police for almost a decade.
Susan Markowitz, along with Jenna Glatzer, shares the real story behind the 2007 movie Alpha Dog (starring Justin Timberlake, Anton Yelchin, Sharon Stone) in her book My Stolen Son: The Nick Markowitz Story.
While you’ll find this book in the true crime section of your bookstore, it’s much, much more than a true crime story.
Susan truly bares her soul as she tells about the events before and after Nick’s murder. She painfully puts on the display the bad decisions made in post-divorce wars between Jeff and his ex-wife, their naivete in recognizing Nick’s entry onto a troubled path, her thirteen suicide attempts to end her grief, and her addiction to alcohol and pills in an effort to cope.
The good, the bad, and the ugly, Susan shares it all. She is so open, so brutally honest, so personable – I spent three-fourths of this book in tears.
As true crime readers, we often sympathize with the victims and their families, but seldom is that we’re invited to share so intimately their gut-wrenching grief.
Honestly, it was different. It’s the best way I know to describe it.
As a mother, I grieved for this woman who had lost her only child to violence, embraced her anger and frustration as a fellow stepmother as she dealt with the double grief surrounding her stepson’s role in Nick’s death, and cheered her on as a victim’s advocate when she never gave up on catching the last of her son’s killers.
My Stolen Son is a memoir, a parenting guide, and true crime book all rolled into one.
As much as I hate to say it, too often books written by victims’ relatives are too embroiled in the grief to be considered a good book; but with a flip-flop style of a couple chapters dedicated to the personal followed by facts of the crime creates a nice flowing writing style that is easy and interesting to read.
My Stolen Son is a MUST read for anyone interested in the real story of Nicholas Markowitz. You DO NOT want to miss this one!
Visit Nicholas Markowitz’s memorial site at www.nicholasmarkowitz.com