Gregory Gibson (Kodansha, $24)
On Dec. 14, 1992, Gibsonís 18-year-old son Galen, was killed by a fellow student at a small college in Massachuisetts (the murderer, Wayne Lo, went on a random shooting spree that left four people wounded and two dead.) With the dreadful phone call that woke them that night, Gibson, his wife and their younger children embarked on a process that all parents dread, one that took them through disbelief, anger, confusion, frustration and obsession. Gibson filed a lawsuit against the college (its staff had intercepted ammunition that Lo had ordered through the mail, then passed it on to Lo unopened), but the case dragged on until Gibson was so filled with rage that he felt capable of murder himself. He set out to free himself, in a sense, by looking at the facts of his sonís death and writing this book. In it, he interviews witnesses, Loís friends, attorneys, the gun dealer who sold Lo the weapon -- and finds himself reacting to them in surprising ways. But the climax of the book comes when he meets the parents of Wayne Lo -- sweet, wounded people whose son, like Gibsonís is lost to them. Sad, sometimes funny, beautifully written (Gibson is an antiquarian book dealer) and ultimately triumphant, this is the story of a fatherís journey through grief and his refusal to be destroyed by it.