BOOK REVIEW: MURDER IS A FAMILY AFFAIR

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Murder Is A Family Affair, by Donalie Beltran, (Killing Time Press, LLC, 2013, 352 pages).

Book Review by Dennis Moore

November 8, 2013 (San Diego)--Donalie Beltran, an author with strong religious convictions, has written an historical true crime novel that uncovers the ancestry of a sordid and evil past that belies her faith: Murder Is A Family Affair. The author sets the stage for this story and  the tone of this well-written novel by asking a rhetorical question: “Do you have a murderer in your family – maybe a violent tempered wife beater – those who feel they have a right to take a life?”

Some stories just have to be told and so it is with the Tuxhorn family. In preparing to write this book, Beltran spent years going through genealogy books, libraries, and websites. She accumulated printouts from original newspaper accounts, since the Tuxhorn history and family lore made headline and front-page news all over the country, particularly in regard to the horrific crimes of August and Charles Tuxhorn.

The author (photo, right) started researching her father’s ancestry in 1995 when he told her about a rumor he had heard when he was a child. It concerned a Tuxhorn relative being a killer. The adults wouldn’t discuss it and he didn’t know any details. Out of curiosity, Beltran  sought to find out about this terrible person. Not having online genealogy sites at that time, she drove to the McPherson County, Kansas Courthouse to investigate.

Giving herself a few years leeway, she searched the micro-fiche for the Tuxhorn name. Finding the crime her father had heard about was easy. The problem was the name kept reappearing – and reappearing. It seems that a previous generation had also made headline news – and a generation before that. Research continued for 10 years and what the author found was a family propensity for violence and murder. Not just one – but many. Violent tempers and uncontrollable rage appeared to be the norm.

Were they born to be bad – can evil be inherited? It took years for Beltran to write the book, but the truth hidden from her father is finally in the light for all to see.

Murder Is A Family Affair follows August Tuxhorn to America in the 1850s, where his son, Charles, was born in Illinois. The young Charles grew up with a handsome face and a stone cold heart. With evil set in motion by his grandfather and then by his father, Charles carries on the family’s violent temper and disregard for human life. Did he inherit these traits shared by others? More importantly, did he pass them on?

The Tuxhorn family legacy for this story started with H. “Henry” Tuxhorn, who lived in the small farming hamlet of Bielefeld in Westphalia, Prussia.--until he decided to take his old shotgun and put it to use one more time. Alone in his field, he sat down on a rock and tied a string to the shotgun’s trigger. He then put the barrel under his chin and pulled the string. It was a less than dignified, albeit speedy, way to die. It was almost immediately after the funeral that August, his son, would leave for America, and continue this history and legacy of violence started by his father. In one of the strangest twists of fate and irony, August would later die in the same way, the “shotgun under the chin” method.

What is amazing about this book is that the author seems to exhibit little shame in airing her ancestral family’s dirty laundry. Perhaps it is therapeutic not to, or she is just numb from some of the particularly gruesome murders that she talks about in this family tragedy.

There were suicides among August’s children, as well as Charles.’ There have been many suicides among August’s grandchildren and great-grandchildren, according to the author, as well as severe depression and anger.

August’s children hid in the bushes and witnessed him burn down their family home and the barn with the horses inside, and then put the shotgun to his neck, blowing his head off. This would be traumatic to the strongest of minds. That is enough to cause the severe depression and anger among the grandchildren and great-grandchildren that Beltran speaks of in the epilogue of this scintillating, and at times disturbing true crime novel.

Although the title is Murder Is A Family Affair, it would better seem to be titled the Personification of Evil, as the murders in the book that the author alludes to is a by-product of evil.

Beltran’s incisive and well-written book about a tragic and sordid family history has gotten me to thinking more and more about my own family tree and its legacy, as I am sure it will with other readers, which is why I highly recommend it. Who knows what will happen or  be revealed when you search your own family tree?

Dennis Moore is a writer and book reviewer with the East County Magazine in San Diego and the book review editor for SDWriteway, an online newsletter for writers in San Diego, as well as a freelance contributor to EURweb based out of Los Angeles. He is also the author of a book about Chicago politics: “The City That Works: Power, Politics and Corruption in Chicago.” Mr. Moore can be contacted at contractsagency@gmail.com or you can follow him on Twitter at @DennisMoore8.

Comments

I AM A TUXHORN

Hello my name is joseph tuxhorn and i knew of august but i never knew what kind of things he did this is very interesting

So glad to meet you, Joe.

It took 10 years to research this book. I worked with the family genealogist, Linda Hansel. We compared every bit of information we could beg, borrow or steal to make sure every action was real. I would not have written this book without getting permission to do so from my father, Raymond Lee Tuxhorn (who took after his sweet mother, by the way). He saw no reason why the truth shouldn't come out, and I agreed. Charles was his grandfather. Let all of your Tuxhorn relatives know about the book. It is the only one ever written about our family! :-)

YOU too

I will let eveeryone know and we also have a big family tree book that has almost every tuxhorns name in it this is a very interesting book

The Blood Cries Out

Evidently Donalie Beltran had a hunch there was more to the family story than her father's problems. It seems there is an innate desire to search for THE source of things. Whether it is the Nile River, or an ancestral beginning point for current problems. This is a sensationally strange story, much more interesting than fiction. I do think that evil is a live force and that it can inhabit some people totally, for whatever reason. The daily news is filled with violence of all kinds, some of it so bizarre that writers need to put a face or faces on it to be believed. In a way it is a what comes first the chicken or the egg story like so many. I have often wondered about my father's side of the family who came to the Dakotas from a German colony in Odessa, Russia, and the dreadful story of my own life. I know that searching through it all would be a daunting task just as it was for Donalie and have stayed with what I do know, and have written a screenplay about my mother's life that I will also make into a book. It is an interesting coincidence that Prussia is part of Donalie's story and I know that many of the Germans from the Odessa area on the Black Sea were originally from differing states of what would become Germany, including Prussia. I even had a Doberman I named King of Prussia. Maybe sometime I will try to untangle it all, but of the fifteen children my great grandmother had, all became legalistic and unforgiving Christians, taking the very soul from the scriptures and using them to bludgeon their offspring. Donalie's search for her "Roots" is a normal activity that people pursue as hobbies and as a search for firm ground and belonging as Alex Haley did in "Roots". No doubt we all have intuition about our ancestors and also lots of surprises!! MJ Payne Author The Remembered Self www.buytherememberedself.com

Indeed, Michal...

The "blood does cry out," Michal. Innocents taken without mercy. There is no way to describe it but evil. In the 1990s, my mom and dad (Ray & Blanche Tuxhorn) could not stand the fact that the wife and children Charles murdered, did not have any kind of grave stone upon their graves. Dad paid to have stones made for all three. Several family members joined us at the Inman, KS cemetery as the stones were placed on each grave. That was a great feeling, I have to admit. God Bless.

Murder IS A Family Affair

A must read! Donalie, I must add to this after finishing every last word you wrote. Hauntingly familiar, how powerful to name the beast that travels through a bloodline. This was my quest as well when researching my family's history of violence and trauma when writing: Sticks and Stones and Broken Bones. Your story has provided an education for all of us, reasons to expand our approach to mental health issues that can be passed on from one generation to the next in our DNA, this is cause for awareness - How to identify the troubled soul. I also had a "sense of time and place," the children of these cruel men suffered so much I had to stop reading, then come back. I wanted to go back in time, and free them from a life in a hell they didn't deserve. If the children were loved, their inherited anger might have been subdued by kindness. What had become of the ones that got away and their children? This is important, to see if their environment contributed to triggering the evil gene? Write another book - this is a movement - Transgeneration Trauma and Evil Genes are Family Secrets that need to be shared or someone may die. Linda Lee King, Author Sticks and Stones and Broken Bones What a Charmed Life I Lead www.lindaleeking

"Murder is a Family Affair"

Linda Lee King certainly gives us all something to consider regarding genes and our children, in regard to her comments on Donalie Beltran's insightful book.

Murder IS A Family Affair Dennis Moore's Review

A must-read book for all families with or without a violent history. Great review Dennis, Author Donalie Beltran was thinking the same thing as me when she wrote this book, "Can we pass trauma and evil traits onto our children without knowing it?" I did the same thing as Beltran, researched my family's history when I wrote Sticks and Stones and Broken Bones and my uneducated guess is, "Yes, we do." I researched a couple hundred years of our history, and discovered the past is very familiar to my present life. No wonder history repeats itself when certain traits are passed on from on generation to the next. However, knowing this is key to make internal repairs to our psyche so we can prevent from passing it on to our future generations. Currently, my oldest son is fighting demons passed onto him. My only hope is he finds the courage to leave his destructive lifestyle behind, but he feels he doesn't deserve good things despite my support and faith in him. He is a good person stuck with feelings and thoughts he doesn't know where they are coming from. Beltran is a pioneer in this topic. We need more books that cover Transgenerational Trauma and family history stories. Linda Lee King Author Sticks and Stones and Broken Bones What a charmed life I lead www.lindaleeking.com www.facebook.com/sticksandstonesandbrokenbones?ref=bookmarks

Can evil be inherited?

Sadly, you are right, Linda. The mean, hateful rage that lives in people can, and is, passed on. By God's Grace, not all children are born with it, and some get a watered down version. You are also right in that it can change, but it has to change from within. I feel for you and your son. It is not easy. In my father's family there are many suicides throughout the years. Most, but not all, have been women. During the past 200 years, women have not had the means with which to release their rage, so they chose to stop it altogether. Within the past 30 years, however, women have found the "freedom" to react as the men do, and there is never a happy ending. Thank you for your kind review of the book. I am so desperately hoping to find a studio that wants to make this terrible story into a movie. People HAVE to understand this is a real problem - one we can not ignore! You and I are not the only ones living with it. The more we learn about DNA will, hopefully, bring about a way to change things, but for now, we need any answers we can get. God Bless. Donalie Beltran

Can evil be inherited?

A pleasure to meet you, Donalie. Thank you so much for commenting back. I am looking for to reading your book (I have it in my cart will get it on the third of Nov) - you addressed the same issues I felt were true all along, we always wonder? Am I on the right track? Then to see someone such as yourself who is on the same path; searching for answers to make sense out of the troubles that seem to plagued some families, generation after generation. There must be a way to deal with this and it does began with being aware of our own history. Keeping secrets within a family, buried from future generations is not the way to heal or fix the problems in the family's bloodline. Thank you, again Donalie. It is my hope we can stay in contact. God bless you too! Linda Lee KIng

Can evil be inherited?

A pleasure to meet you, Donalie. Thank you so much for commenting back. I am looking for to reading your book (I have it in my cart will get it on the third of Nov) - you addressed the same issues I felt were true all along, we always wonder? Am I on the right track? Then to see someone such as yourself who is on the same path; searching for answers to make sense out of the troubles that seem to plagued some families, generation after generation. There must be a way to deal with this and it does began with being aware of our own history. Keeping secrets within a family, buried from future generations is not the way to heal or fix the problems in the family's bloodline. Thank you, again Donalie. It is my hope we can stay in contact. God bless you too! Linda Lee KIng

Eight 5 Star reviews for "Murder is a Family Affair"

The good news is that "Murder is a Family Affair" has eight 5 star reviews as of today, as indicated to me by the author Donalie Beltran, and readers are encouraging her by indicating that the book should be made into a movie. I wholeheartedly agree!

Murder is a Family Affair

I appreciate the thorough review given by Dennis Moore. He uncovered the conflicts written by the author. I hope the book is a best seller. Joyce Brennan Author of The Hidden Journal, a romance set in the hills of Kentucky, and Broken Promises, both available on Amazon as an ebook or soft cover.

BOOK NOW HAS 34 5-STAR REVIEWS!

Thank you Joyce for your kind comments. I have been blessed with the incredible things people have said about this story. It was difficult to write, but I felt it was important to let the truth be known. Whether you like reading about genealogy, true crime, history, family dynamics or psychological inheritance, this book covers them all. God Bless, and thank you, again, so much for taking the time to comment.

Murder Is A Family Affair

This book by Donalie Beltran is certainly deserving of the accolades it has been receiving, and I feel honored as to being one of the first to review it with the East County Magazine.

Murder is a Family Affair

I appreciate the thorough review given by Dennis Moore. He uncovered the conflicts written by the author. I hope the book is a best seller. Joyce Brennan Author of The Hidden Journal, a romance set in the hills of Kentucky, and Broken Promises, both available on Amazon as an ebook or soft cover.

Author Joyce Reed of " Hurt Used To Live Here"

 Sounds like a great read . I have to get mines . Like always Dennis reviews are very interesting and always love to read what he writes. Good Work !
 
 
 
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Murder is a Family Affair

This looks like a really exciting book. I will go to Amazon to pick up a copy and I can't wait to read it. As always, Dennis Moore has done a wondeful job of showcasing the author and the author's work.

Murder is a Family Affair

This looks like a really exciting book. I will go to Amazon to pick up a copy and I can't wait to read it. As always, Dennis Moore has done a wondeful job of showcasing the author and the author's work.

MURDER IS A FAMILY AFFAIR

This is definitely a book that has made  people want to comment. It is a story that has been buried in my family background for way too long. Thank you, Dennis, for your thoughts and review. It is definitely a haunting legacy.

MURDER IS A FAMILY AFFAIR

This is definitely a book that has made  people want to comment. It is a story that has been buried in my family background for way too long. Thank you, Dennis, for your thoughts and review. It is definitely a haunting legacy.

"Murder Is A Family Affair"

Having been given the honor of writing the review of this spellbinding book by the author,  Donalie Beltran, there is still a passage in the book that resonates with me; "Of course, there was no explanation for Henry's actions. It was not like he was going to tell anyone, and how could she know the devil's own thoughts? Even after being married to him for twenty-eight years, she was as shocked as anyone. But there was that silver lining, now wasb't there? She was free from the beatings and her children were now safe."