Book review: Behind the Door: The Oscar and Reeva Story by Barry Bateman and Mandy Wiener


Behind the Door: The Oscar and Reeva Story by Barry Bateman and Mandy Wiener (Published by Pan Macmillan South Africa)
The go-to authors on the Oscar trial are undoubtedly investigative journalist Mandy Wiener and Eyewitness News’ first-on-the-crime-scene journo, Barry Bateman. In Behind the Door the writers chronicle this thrilling tale in comprehensive detail, giving an account of events like no other.

It has been called ‘the trial of the century’, ‘South Africa’s O.J. Simpson hearing’ and the biggest ‘fall from grace’ ever seen in sport. It is finally (yes, finally) over.

The trial that is.

So, what remains? The question of what really happened behind that door?

Yes. It is still not clear, even after listening to the trial in its entirety and reading the forensic specifics detailed in this book.

No closure is found.

The bloody shorts, the last meal, why Reeva flushed the toilet and why she never made a peep from behind the locked bathroom door, the graphic murder scene and Barry and June Steenkamp’s devastated faces, still haunt us and are etched in our memories.

Various versions and testimony are woven together so eloquently that the reader almost feels present in the gated community that is the Silver Woods Country Estate.  You hear, smell and feel that fateful night Reeva Steenkamp was shot four times through a door by her boyfriend, the world renowned double amputee, Oscar Pistorius.

From inception, the book stitches together the various pieces to this almost unsolvable puzzle. Delving into details of how key players like Barry Roux came to represent Pistorius, revealing Gerrie Nel as an unpopular character amongst his colleagues and peeks into the past and present of the judge who, ultimately, found the blade runner not guilty of murder, but of culpable homicide, Masipa.

What I enjoyed most about this book was its candid nature. Ultimately, it portrayed Oscar Pistorius as someone who was on the verge of a mental breakdown, a disaster waiting to happen even. The warning signs of a completely negligent man, especially when it comes to gun control, were undeniably present.

Perhaps the most surprising information given in this book was the fact that Pistorius was still very much in contact with his on-again-off-again ex-girlfriend, Jenna Edkins.

It came as quite a shock that it was never mentioned during the trial that Pistorius and Jenna “BabyShoes” Edkins had a lengthy phone conversation on the night of Reeva’s death. Details of this conversation were never brought into the courtroom.

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