Book Review – Hard Drive by Mary Todd and Christina Villegas

Book Review – Hard Drive by Mary Todd and Christina Villegas

Hard Drive:  A Family’s Fight against Three Countries by Mary Todd and Christina Villegas is the story of a family’s fight for justice after Mary’s son, Dr. Shane Todd, was found dead in Singapore in 2012.  (The co-author, Christina Villegas, is Shane’s cousin.)  This book recounts the family’s fight for justice after uncovering evidence that Shane did not commit suicide as was originally thought, but instead was murdered.

From the book’s summary:

On June 24, 2012, Dr. Shane Truman Todd, a young American engineer, was found hanging in his Singapore apartment, just a week before his scheduled return to the United States.  Although Shane had repeatedly expressed apprehension that his work with a Chinese company might compromise U.S. security and fear his life was being threatened, authorities immediately ruled his death a suicide.  His family initially didn’t know what to believe.  However, upon arriving in Singapore, they realized the evidence suggested not suicide, but murder.

I received a copy of this book for review, and I was quite looking forward to reading it as I love murder mysteries and stories with a lot of intrigue.  What I found in addition to that was a very personal story of a family that lost a son.  The book is written from the point of view of Shane’s mother Mary, and she clearly (and understandably) has an emotional reaction to everything that has happened to her family.  So the “murder mystery” aspects of the story are interspersed with more personal moments.  I was surprised that it was these bits that made me care more about continuing to read the book than the descriptions of all the injustices the Todd family explains they’ve felt during their ordeal.

I’d never heard of the Todd family’s story before receiving this book; however I have since learned that since 2012 the family has shared their story in many major news outlets including CNN, ABC, CBS, and NBC.  Now I am intrigued to look up their previous interviews to learn more about the story.

My only problem with books like this in general- about contentious stories told by people with a personal connection to the events being written about- is that the stories are blatantly one-sided.  I absolutely understand that this book was written for the Todd family to tell their side of the story and to express their discontent with the way Shane’s death was handled.  But I also feel like this story would be an interesting read if it had been written by an investigative journalist, and that that would have been a tighter way to convey certain facts of the case.  There’s a fine line to skirt when writing emotionally.

All that being said, I would recommend this book.  It is baffling some of the injustices that the Todd family encountered both at home and abroad after Shane’s death, making for a captivating and surprising read.

You can purchase the book from Amazon by clicking on the image of the book cover above.

FTC Disclaimer:  I was provided with a copy of Hard Drive for free to review.  All opinions expressed are my own.

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