The Year We Disappeared: A Father-Daughter Memoir by Cylin and John Busby

I have to admit- I am a crime show junkie. I never miss an episode of Law and Order: SVU, Without a Trace, or Shark. I watch the reruns of Law and Order on TNT. I love reading crime blogs online and web sleuth message boards. So when I received an ARC of The Year We Disappeared: A Father – Daughter Memoir by Cylin and John Busby, I was thrilled. Yesterday I sat down to read it and finished in one sitting. This is a thrilling YA memoir with huge adult crossover appeal. In this day and age of TV crime dramas, this true life tale of a family nearly destroyed by a brutal shooting will not go unnoticed!

When Cylin Busby, now a a writer for young readers and former Teen editor, was nine years old she lived a normal live on Cape Cod. Then, overnight, her family’s life changed forever. A policeman in smalltown Falmouth, Massachusetts, her father is shot in the face on his way to work the overnight shift for the local department. The point-blank shots tear off John’s jaw, leaving it laying on the passenger seat of his car. While John is fighting for his life, he is also fighting to bring the perpetrators to justice. He knows that local small town, petty crimes and arsonist Raymond Meyer is to blame. However, Meyer holds the town and police department in the palm of his hand, and the investigation goes nowhere. Meanwhile, John’s family is placed under 24-hr surveillance while doctors struggle to repair his face. He can no longer speak or eat and is forced to spend months in the hopsital. Cylin and her brothers must live with constant police presence, including escorts to school, police officers guarding their classrooms, and a high-tech security system. This eventually leads to no contact with friends, as most of them are too scared to even speak to the family anymore.

Worst of all, the shooter is still on the loose. With little being done by the local police department, John struggles with the anger he faces due to his injuries and the the revenge he so badly wants to enact on the man who has destroyed his family. Cylin struggles to come to terms with this new life her family is forced to live and her own fears. Over the course of a year, the family realizes that life can’t continue this way- and they disappear- moving to a new state, where no one knows them or their story. And they pray that no one from their old life finds them.

The story is told in alternating chapters by John and Cylin. The reader experiences both of their lives through that harrowing year. From the shooting to its awful aftermath, the story is at times heartbreaking. It also shows how families can come together and rise above even the worst circumstances.

Today, John and his wife, Polly, live in an undisclosed location. To this day, the man who shot John has never been prosecuted. His family still lives with the fear of retaliation in the back of their minds. Yet John and Cylin have decided to share their story in this jaw-dropping memoir of life on the run for an average family.


33 Responses

  1. Wow. That sounds really amazing. Thanks for the review!

  2. I’m really looking forward to reading this one, which I requested from the publisher based on the premise. Glad to hear from your review that lives up to expectations.

  3. I grew up with Eric, Cylin’s brother, (we’re still in touch)and the family. I remember John talking about the incident. I will be getting this book. The laws that protected the shooter have hopefully been changed in the interviening years.

  4. I liked your re-view.

    It is a somewhat strange, almost surreal, experence reading my sisters book.

    In many ways it like re-living that whole year. How everything changed. The constant fear of wondering what was going to happen next….

    Although life has gotten better… There are many things about that year that still haunt me.

    • Eric, Bless you and your entire family. Your sister and father’s book was amazingly well written and a gripping story. I am so sorry your family has yet to see justice. I only pray one day they do. It is unacceptable that the statute of limitations runs out on attempted murder- it just doesn’t seem right.

      It’s wrong that your family was the one who had to relocate but I am so moved by your parents ability to do it for all of you. I’m so glad to hear you were able to have somewhat of a normal life and were spared the pain of anymore attacks, even though I realize the fear of one never went away.

      May G-d Bless you in the rest of your days.

  5. I being from Falmouth, and having ties with The “Meyers” am definitely looking forward to reading this book. What was done to them was absolutely horrific. May they find peace someday!

    Sister of murder victim
    Shirley Reine

  6. i grew up in falmouth and know the man who did this to john busby and the family this man has caused more pain and lots of murders that have gone unsolved

  7. I live next door to the family whose driveway John drove into the night of the shooting. I actually wrote a blog about it in January,
    I just bought the book tonight and am interested to see John Busby’s point of view through the eyes of his daughter.

    I saw it happen and it was horrifying. Within days everyone in town knew who did it. Why didn’t the police? That’s the question that needs to be answered.

  8. I’m a lifelong resident and knew /know a majority of these “characters” and aliases mention in this book. I drove by the shooting scene just as they were loading Officer Busby into the ambulance and saw him sitting upright holding large amounts of gauze to what I thought was his jaws. Seeing the car in the front yard I assumed it was just a car accident… if I had left my girl friend’s house 10 minutes earlier? Currently I live less than ¼ mile from they’re old house adjacent to the cranberry bogs they often mention in this book. (Better or worse yet I lived one street from the Monterios house and often saw Monty when I played basketball with his kids… little did I know)

    After reading the book cover to cover in 3.5 hours it only sickened me to learn how the detectives, police, and selectman ruined this family’s life. It was also very up lifting to know this family somehow persevered though this travesty brought on by the intentional ole boys club mentality that likely to be found in many small towns.

    Yes… Melvin Reine (Meyers) pulled the trigger on Office Busy and others but the guilty parties involved in this and the other disappearances / murders still hold positions of authority in Falmouth so I understand why Busby still doesn’t feel safe to return to Falmouth. Melvin’s brother John should be brought in for more questioning regarding the other disappearance / murders to find out who provided inside information regarding the ferry departure time for one key witness (Won’t spoil the book) and other potential incrimination information. I bet there are a few current and retired police officers and selectman who are now not sleeping well with the release of this book and I only hope it gets at least ½ as bad as what they put the Busby’s through.

    There’s so much more corruption, entitlement and nepotism throughout Falmouth’s government that this is only the tip of the ice berg of what’s been festering in this town for years. I not only hope that John gets the statute of limitation passed but this book helps to bring a 3rd party non-bias investigation from the state or federal government!

    • wow!! i was going to advise the busby family to stay lost forever till i seen this tread. Falmouth police higher ups and almost everyone with any power . i moved for that reason a long time ago allot of bigger criminals than you find in jails that get paid off . I turned in about 4 of them to hi commissioned people it didn’t help nothing just made things worse for me had to leave there and i Know a few more people the same thing happened to so i really feel bad for you folks but if i was in your shoes i would move if anyone knows where you live i mean (ANYONE) from falmouth and they wonder why people are going crazy shooting people

  9. John Busby was shot by a rat named Melvin J. Reine. Reine’s name was changed in the book because Cylin didn’t want to give the Reine family any more fame than they already have.
    This is one of the best books I have ever read. I hope that those responsible and those who helped by looking the other way get what’s theirs!

  10. I worked with John until moving late last year. He has a terrific sense of humor & is a most pleasant person. I had no idea of his past. People can survive the unthinkably horrible & mean happenings that occur and become grand people. Falmouth seems to be a nightmare town; I’m crossing it off any vacation plans & feel sorry for its residents who have to cope with the corruption there, if it still lingers. My small town in MS seems tame by comparison.

  11. I have recently read the book, i thought it was amazing. I liked Cylin’s view throughout the book, it was intresting to see how a nine year olds thoughts through out this tough time. I reccomend this book to everyone.

  12. I am wanting to buy a copy of this book to read. Melvin Reine (Meyers) also killed my cousin, Charles Jeffrey Flanagan in 1972 but got off Scot Free! My Aunt Verna vowed she would never leave Falmouth until his killer was prosecuted. She died waiting for them to Prosecute him. I wish Falmouth would get their Courts and Laws straight.

    • Hi Barbara,
      I was wondering….Did Jeff Flanagan live on Jones Rd? I am asking cause I lived at 24 Jones Rd and I was told that that is where Jeff lived before he was killed. I had forgotten all about this until I watched the story on CBS tonight. I remember Melvin Reine–I remember seeing him around. I lived there in 1979 but I also lived there in 1969-70 and went to Lawrence High.
      Anyway my landlord owned the bar/restaurant on the corner of Jones Rd and 28. They have since torn the house down.

  13. I watched this story on 48 Hours Mystery last night, ugh, I wish “Mr. Meyer” would have died a horrible, painful death. However, couldn’t the author of the review chosen a better choice of words for the last sentence? C’mon.

  14. I would say it’s in bad taste to use the phrase “jaw-dropping” when talking about a man who had been shot in the jaw. A major faux pas for the writer.

  15. I also watched this story on 48 Hours Mystery and could not turn away. It made me sick to think this man got away with so much and a man who lived his life to protect the town was treated that way. I believe there is a special place in Hell for people like Melvin Reine.

  16. This was one of the best books I have ever read. I am still in shock over the corruption and blatant lack of an investigation in this case. I do believe that people (including Busby) do still have reason to fear Melvin Reine even though he is locked up in a “mental” institution. Someone must still be carrying on the Reine terror for this still not to be resolved. My heart goes out to John Busby and his family. Nobody should live through that and the outrage that I feel now makes me wonder why anyone can still sit by and let this go unsolved (unprosecuted, I should say). I’m not sure what happened to Melvins brother who implicated himself as being in the car that night..why is he not in jail? Why did the police chief walk? I hope the are all in hiding now. The Town of Falmouth has an obligation to this far as I’m concerned they should give him an oceanfront mansion with round the clock security…all on their dime. God bless you John & family.

  17. Oh My Gosh, I got the book in the mail and could not put it down until I finished it. 2 of my Teenagers are fighting to read it and one is half through reading it already. I didn’t really expect to see Jeff’s name in the book, rather thought I’d just get a bit of insight into just the depth of evil his killer was and maybe make some sense of his killing. No sense was made but just finding out how corrupt Falmouth’s Justice System was and probably still is. My heart goes out to the Busby Family and I admire them for not only pressing on but excelling in life! This Book should be on the #1 Book on the charts! Excellent reading for all!

  18. Im still reading this and it takes courage to do what they have done i respect Cylin,John,Shawn,Eric, and last Polly . i hope u guys live very peacefully. I love the book. your dog tigger sounds cute we named our dog after urs sounds dumb huh

  19. I just watched the story of your family,It was heartbreaking to see how Yarmouth even the state of Mass. could do something like that to someone who swore to uphold the law and then the man that shot you is the one who is protected.I guess they think that because he is losing his mind its OK, but he got live all those years scot free and you are the one who was torchered by the memories. God bless you and your beautiful family.

  20. I am from Ontario, Canada and recently watched 48 hour mystery about your story. I am so sorry for what you and your family went through. Are you legally able to sue the police department for negligence, cover up and incompetence? You deserve it. I am disgusted with their lack of actions when they knew full well who had done this to you. The department should be investigated along with many law suits.
    All the best to you and your family.

  21. I am from Ontario, Canada and recently watched 48 hour mystery about your story. I am so sorry for what you and your family went through. Are you legally able to sue the police department for negligence, cover up and incompetence? You deserve it. I am disgusted with their lack of actions when they knew full well who had done this to you. Your job was to protect the public. What the department did to you is unacceptable. The department should be investigated along with many law suits, that settle swiftly. They owe this to you and your family.
    All the best to you and your family.

  22. I hope that Mr. and Mrs. Busby will somehow be able to read my response. I consider both of them HEROES. I use capital letters because they are all that I aspire to be. John could have taken revenge and spent a lifetime in prison away from his family, but he chose to be wise, and let God take care of the revenge business for him. We love you John (and family) and now I have added you to my daily prayer list. You are a HERO, and I thank the Lord God Almighty for your FAITHFUL wife – a true treasure – and your precious children; precious enough in God’s eyes to have been kept safe and sound – in spite of the sacrafice (which He is well aquainted with) – all these years – just for you 🙂

  23. I was watching the investigation discovery channel and the first time i saw it it was very disappointing and sad.

  24. Wow that is amaizing. Haha the only reason why i read this is because i am reading the book. It is pretty amaizing! I could not believ all tyhe twists and turns. But i recommend this book to anyone(:

  25. I watched the crime stories show on this whole ordeal that the family went through today… And yes I cried!! I just had to say that I am so proud of John his wife and his daughter!!! I myself would of wanted to hunt that killer down and give him his justice! But John was the bigger man in the end and again built himself and his family back better and closer and stronger!!! And in the end God and John saw that killer get his justice!!! Thank you for your heart warming story or a better word may be survival… It’s far from a story, sadly

  26. I think the person who reviewed this book, should be forced to edit that horrifically insensitive pun at the end of the review. It wasn’t an accident, and was really tacky to say the least. Aren’t there moderators here? My goodness.

  27. On a different note, although you will never read this–to the Busby family: May you continue to live the remainder of your lives with every comfort possible. I continue to pray for your strength and may everyone who reads your book, stop immediately and count their blessings. Thank you, Dearest Officer Busby for your service, your sacrifice, and your honor. Your family is an amazing inspiration to me and always will be. Thank you, for not giving up–your family would be lost without you. Thank you, for setting such a stellar example–you don’t have to get even, to move on with your life.

  28. Watched 48 Hours and still fuming that Melvin Reine wasn’t even interviewed about his appalling crime!!! He killed at least three people and got away with it too. I’m sorry but I would have shot the rat dead.

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