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The Pale-Faced Lie

A violent ex-con forces his son to commit crimes in this riveting memoir about family and survival

Growing up on the Navajo Indian Reservation, David Crow and his three siblings idolized their dad. Tall, strong, smart, and brave, the self-taught Cherokee loved to tell his children about his World War II feats. But as time passed, David discovered the other side of Thurston Crow, the ruthless ex-con with his own code of ethics that justified cruelty, violence, lies—even murder.


Through sheer determination, David managed to get into college and achieve professional success. When he finally found the courage to refuse his father’s criminal demands, he unwittingly triggered a plot of revenge that would force him into a deadly showdown with Thurston Crow.


David would have only twenty-four hours to outsmart his father—the brilliant, psychotic man who bragged that the three years he spent in the notorious San Quentin State Prison had been the easiest time of his life.

Raw and palpable, The Pale-Faced Lie is an inspirational story about the power of forgiveness and the strength of the human spirit.


Spur Award, Best Western First Nonfiction Book

Spur Award, Best Western Contemporary Nonfiction, Finalist

IPPY Silver Award, Memoir, Coming of Age

Next Generation Indie Book Award, Best Memoir, Overcoming Adversity

International Book Award, Best True Crime

Readers’ Favorite Gold Medal, Nonfiction, Drama


“Crow’s work delivers a truthful and ultimately empowering missive about the long shadow cast by an abusive parent.”Publishers Weekly

“For fans of Tara Westover’s EducatedThe Pale-Faced Lie: A True Story is a disturbing yet captivating memoir of how one man’s psychopathic delusions can imprison an entire family . . . an empowering memoir.”New York Journal of Books  

“Crow’s memoir is cinematically gripping. . . . An extraordinary remembrance that’s both gut-wrenching and inspiring.”
Kirkus Reviews 

“A hard-hitting, gut-punch memoir that should be on any reading list about family relationships and abuse, true crime, and Native American culture and interrelationships.”—Midwest Book Review

The Pale-Faced Lie by David Crow is one of the most enlightening and entertaining true stories I have ever read. . . . Every page brings new action and excitement, delivered with easy dialogue and sincerity. If you’re looking for an absorbing and touching read, grab The Pale-Faced Lie today.” Readers’ Favorite 

“A compellingly and graphically written memoir about a supremely dysfunctional family.”— David Steinberg, Albuquerque Journal

“Let me tell you, The Pale-Faced Lie is a hard and brilliantly insightful look into dealing with the hand we’re dealt and improving it.” — Joe R. Lansdale, award-winning author of over 40 novels, including Paradise Sky and Cold in July

“[Crow] has considerable wisdom to impart, and an unexpected ending that will linger in memory. I promise that you’ve never read a book quite like this one.”— Jeff Guinn, New York Times best-selling author

“Heartbreaking and gut-wrenchingly honest. Anyone with a troubled childhood should read The Pale-Faced Lie. David Crow’s book is proof that hope rises from the ashes.”— Chris Enss, New York Times best-selling author

The Pale-Faced Lie is as gripping as some of the best-selling fiction books ever written. David Crow’s amazing true story is hard to read, but even harder to put down. I missed one of my own deadlines because I didn’t want to stop reading!”— Sherry Monahan, award-winning author of The Golden Elixir of the WestTinsel, Tumbleweeds, and Star-Spangled Celebrations; and The Cowboy’s Cookbook

“A memoir of an extraordinary life that is lifted by extraordinary storytelling. . . . It is emotionally engaging, consistently entertaining, and nearly impossible to put down.”— James Anderson, author of The Never-Open Desert Diner and Lullaby Road

The Pale-Faced Lie is a riveting account of a world turned upside down. A very visual, engaging, and well-written book that will make the reader cringe, cry, and cheer for a boy on a treacherous journey to adulthood. Couldn’t put it down.”— Felix F. Giordano, best-selling author of the Jim Buchanan novels

“A dramatic tale of strength, learning, love, and hate. You won’t be disappointed.”— Mark Reps, author, Zeb Hanks: Small Town Sheriff Big Time Trouble series

The Pale-Faced Lie

“Disturbing yet captivating memoir.”

—New York Journal of Books

“Cinematically gripping.”

—Kirkus Reviews

“I promise that you’ve never read a book quite like this one.”

— Jeff Guinn

Audiobook sample of The Pale-Faced Lie

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