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181. The Warren Commission Report :
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181. The Warren Commission Report : Report of the President's Commission on the Assassination of President John F. Kennedy
by President's Commission On The Assassinat, United States
list price: $12.95
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Asin: 0312082576
Catlog: Book (1992-02-15)
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Sales Rank: 150569
Average Customer Review: 3 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

President Lyndon B. Johnson, by Executive Order No. 11130 dated November 29, 1963, created this Commission to investigate the assassination on November 22,1963, of John Fitzgerald Kennedy, the 35th President of the United States. The President directed the Commission to evaluate all the facts and circumstances surrounding the assassination and the subsequent killing of the alleged assassin and to report its findings and conclusions to him.

The subject of the Commission's inquiry was a chain of events which saddened and shocked the people of the United States and of the world. The assassination of President Kennedy and the simultaneous wounding of John B. Connally, Jr., Governor of Texas, has been followed within an hour by the slaying of Patrolman J.D. Tippit of the Dallas Police Department. In the United States and abroad, these events evoked universal demands for and explanation. --from the Foreward

Since its release in 1964, the Warren Commission Report has been at the heart of an ever-growing debate on the events surrounding the assassination of JFK. Long unavailable, this is perhaps one of the most important and controversial documents of the twentieth century. Now available again-complete and unabridged-this is the essential document of the Kennedy assassination.
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Reviews (10)

5-0 out of 5 stars Was there a conspiracy? (40th Anniversary review)
The Warren Report is the basic starting point for anybody who is even remotely interested in researching the JFK assassination. The book is massive - nearly 2 inches thick, 9 inches in length and 6 inches in width and clocks in at 888 pages. There are many illustrations and photographs to help break the monotony and they are helpful in understanding the text.

Be forewarned. This report is not to be taken at face value. It promotes itself while at the same time laying blame on everybody from Oswald to the Secret Service and the Dallas County Police. You have every right to be critical of this book because of its omissions. One of the most important pieces of evidence - the autopsy photographs - have been completely omitted. Not because they would serve as only disturbing the American people and the Kennedy family but because they where deliberately HOAXED when revealed to the public through the media. There is no excuse for providing the American people with autopsy photographs of another dead man who was not President Kennedy. The original autopsy photographs have since come to light and these shed new information on the case. The report does not even touch on that topic. These photographs alone should warrant deep consideration by the even the most hardened lone-gunman supporters. How can the Warren Report expound on the wrongness of the Dallas Police revealing inaccurate case information when itself is staying shut-mouthed on the deliberately hoaxed autopsy photographs? This kind of hypocrisy is mind shattering and only serves to drive home the most important item of interest of the whole affair - that the US government is knowingly and deliberately hiding evidence and information to protect some interest. You must read more elsewhere to learn the full facts of the case and the other host of omissions that where deliberately kept aside from this report.

The warren commission report starts with its summary and conclusions - that Oswald acted alone in killing President Kennedy and that there was no conspiracy. It then gives a brief synopsis of the assassination and the circumstances surrounding the events on November 22nd 1963. The report continues by developing the scenario in the Texas School Book Depository including the evidence gained from witnesses at the scene and the recovery of the riffle, spent shells and prints. Connections are established between Oswald and the riffle and the School Book Depository building before moving on to the motive and Oswalds background.

The report then deals with Oswalds detention, the media, Oswalds murder and his assassin - Jack Ruby. The next chapter deals with investigating a possible conspiracy before laying out Oswalds background in detail. Next up the Warren report deals with the protection of the President and concludes the entire events on page 468. The remainder of the book goes in-depth with expert witness testimony with several recommendations and more background on Oswald.

In the end you are left feeling that Oswald was involved in the assassination one way or another and certainly the slaying of Officer J.D Tippit by Oswald is the clincher. The murder of patrolman Tippit is a key event which shows that Oswald was capable of murder and was also on a killing frenzy at the time of the assassination. He also tried to shoot officers when he was apprehended in the film theatre. Did Oswald shoot President Kennedy? Probably Yes. Could the Magic bullet theory work? It is possible. Did Jack Ruby kill Oswald on the spur of the moment? The facts surrounding this are vague. Did Oswald act alone? It is possible but unlikely. Does the Warren report do justice for the American people and the people of the world? Absolutely not. Does the Warren report deliberately neglect important and relevant information? Absolutely. Would an impartial jury convict Oswald on the assassination of President Kennedy based on the evidence? Probably not because there is too much doubt at large to deal with. Would an impartial jury convict Oswald of the murder J.D Tippit? Yes. Is there a cover-up and if so why?

The truth is that there is probably a cover-up involved and the Warren report as it stands today is absolute proof that the US government at the time was knee-deep in a conspiracy of some kind simply based on its omissions and neglect to deal with highly important and relevant evidence. Was there a government conspiracy to assassinate the President? Probably not, but there was a cover-up of a conspiracy of some kind and this is what is at the heart of the whole assassination and the follow up events including this report. A blind eye has probably been turned to the truth surrounding the assassination because President Kennedy was considered an obstacle to many important people. In fact the Warren Commission report has all the hallmarks of a new administration that just wants to sweep everything under the carpet.

All in all this is a five star book, not because of the quality of the report, but because its contents when compared to what we now know only serve as a reminder that even the administrators of what is supposed to be a leading democratic and free nation can act in such a wreckful and manipulative manner.

In short Oswald was definitely firing shots from the Dallas School Book Depository building. He owned the gun that shot at the president. He murdered a police officer and tried to kill more. He also tried to assassinate Maj. Gen. Edwin A. Walker but failed. The chances that Oswald was the only one firing shots at President Kennedy that fateful day in Dallas are slim. When you add an extra shooter the whole thing falls into place. To quote Occams Razor - When explaining a thing, no more assumptions should be made than are necessary.

Magic Bullet vs more than one assassin? - The extra assassin is simply the more logical conclusion easily.

5-0 out of 5 stars This rating should be for importance, not content
Whether a steadfast believer that Oswald acted alone, a staunch conspiracy theorist, or an undecided observer of the John F. Kennedy assassination, this book should be your starting point for research into making an informed judgement. Virtually every book on this subject references the Warren Report, either for support or to point out flaws, inconsistencies, and omissions. The Warren Report can be argued as wrought with errors or even completely false, but one has the responsibility of reading it before passing any judgement, since it was indeed the first official stance taken by the U.S. government regarding the murder of JFK. I give the Warren Report a five star rating not because I purport to stand behind its conclusions, but because I view it as the quintessential starting point on this subject. Far too many opinions have already been cast by individuals who trash this work outright without ever having read it. Judge for yourself, and then move on to enlightened works that either support its findings or take great exception. Regardless of your opinion, it will be an informed one.

5-0 out of 5 stars Get a Clue
Oswald. From the Texas School Book Depository. With the rifle.

4-0 out of 5 stars Deficient at points, but still good
The Warren Report is deficient on some points, but on the whole it is quite good. The evidence collected in such a short period of time is stunning and the conclusions drawn are good. Read this and Posners Case Closed for the truth on this subject.

1-0 out of 5 stars The Seven Stooges
I have just started to read this book and am up to page 135, it has crossed my mind on many occasions should I continue to read this book of fiction. How could a group of seven so called intelligent men put their signatures to such a report, they should be ashamed of themselves. The short sighted cartoon character Mr Magoo could have done a better job, a waste of tax payers money. ... Read more

182. A Bitter Brew : Faith, Power, and Poison in a Small New England Town
by Christine EllenYoung
list price: $19.95
our price: $13.97
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Asin: 0425200426
Catlog: Book (2005-04-05)
Publisher: Berkley Hardcover
Sales Rank: 177401
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Who set out to kill the members of the church?

On April 27, 2003, in the hamlet of New Sweden, Maine, Walter Morrill was sipping coffee in the fellowship hall of the Gustaf Adolph Lutheran Church. Within 12 hours, the kindly old man was dead. Fifteen other members of the congregation fell gravely ill. Ruled a homicide, the largest criminal arsenic poisoning in U.S. history spread whispers of fear through this peaceful town.

Which one of their close friends was the murderer?

Panic and suspicion gave way to bizarre accusations of conspiracy, revenge, and blood feuds.

Who was next?

What would unfold in New Sweden was a real-life murder mystery worthy of Agatha Christie-but far stranger than any fiction.
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Reviews (32)

5-0 out of 5 stars articulate?
In response to "Binny": Perhaps when you attempt to justify the people of Northern Maine as "articulate", you should use "disdainful" in it's proper context. And for P. Anderson, "misrepresentation" is not hyphenated.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Riveting Read
If you are looking to pass an entire afternoon in what seems like an hour, pick up this book.It's really good, interesting, and a page turner.

5-0 out of 5 stars Fast paced and fascinating
I was amazed by this story--I don't think I've ever read another book like this.It reads like a novel and moves fast, full of red herrings that kept me guessing until the end.I truly enjoyed this book.

5-0 out of 5 stars Exciting and Suspenseful!
I started reading this at my friend's house and ended up taking it home because I got so engrossed in the story.It's clear, quick, exciting, and suspenseful.My only complaint: It went too fast!

1-0 out of 5 stars Bitter Story needs Better Writer
This story was impossible to follow and repeated itself several times. Then several chapters went off to another story altogether.Sorry to say, the book is a waste of time! Johnin Florida ... Read more

183. With Honor and Purpose: An Ex-FBI Investigator Reports from the Front Lines of Crime
by Phil Kerby
list price: $24.95
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Asin: 0312182244
Catlog: Book (1998-04-01)
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Sales Rank: 708656
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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In 1969, disgruntled high school teacher Phil Kerby applied to the FBI on a lark. To his surprise, he was accepted (via a personal telegram from J. Edgar Hoover), and he spent the next 26 years of his life serving as a special agent. With Honor and Purpose purports to tell the "true story" of the FBI's inner workings; Kerby makes repeated attempts to show the reader that the FBI presented in popular entertainment is mostly wishful thinking, and his just-the-facts writing style and endless references to mundane paperwork make the claim believable.

The FBI, as Kerby tells it, is really just another plodding bureaucracy, only these clerks get to carry guns. In one of the longer cases described in the book, Kerby spends almost a year just trying to get the paperwork done correctly to request a wiretap on a suspect; the tap is denied anyway. Kerby characterizes his graduating class at the FBI Academy as a bunch of accountants, an exclusively white club for men in white shirts and black ties. Later in his career, Kerby's passion turned to nailing mobsters and gangsters of all stripes, and the book's centerpiece, wherein Kerby and his fellow Saginaw, Michigan, agents laboriously investigate a local would-be Mafia don, is enthralling. While Kerby tends to grouse about policies made by headquarters, his book sheds welcome light on an organization all too often cloaked in shadows. --Tjames Madison ... Read more

Reviews (4)

4-0 out of 5 stars humor and honor
Written insightfully. You will find both humor and seriousness. He addresses social problems, bureau red-tape, the mob, specific investigations and more.

5-0 out of 5 stars Well worth it; a definite read
I found this book to be insightful and well written. Phil Kerby seems to tell you the good and the bad about the FBI. I could feel his pride as I read the book. If you are interested in the FBI, crimefighting, and more, this book is for you. I truly enjoyed it.

4-0 out of 5 stars The Real Thing
This is a solid account of FBI work as it really is, showing that agents are neither flawless supermen nor incompetent idiots--that they're human, in other words. Very readable, too.

5-0 out of 5 stars Exciting! Suspensful! Real-life stories of a retired FBI
I read this book in one night; I couldn't put it down. Kerby vividly decribes the cases he personally worked on in the FBI. You wouldn't believe some of the stories! ... Read more

by John E. Douglas, Mark Olshaker
list price: $7.99
our price: $7.19
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Asin: 0671017047
Catlog: Book (1998-11-01)
Publisher: Pocket
Sales Rank: 49919
Average Customer Review: 3.68 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

In Obsession, John Douglas once again takes us fascinatingly behind the scenes, focusing his expertise on predatory crimes, primarily against women. With a deep sense of compassion for the victims and an uncanny understanding of the perpetrators, Douglas looks at the obsessions that lead to rape, stalking, and sexual murder through such cases as Ronnie Shelton, the serial rapist who terrorized Cleveland; and New York's notorious "Preppie Murder."

But Douglas also looks at obsession on the other side of the moral spectrum: his own career-long obsession with hunting these predators. Douglas shows us how we can all fight back and protect ourselves, our families, and loved ones against the scourge of the violent predators in our midst.

The first step is insight and understanding, and no one is better qualified to penetrate Obsession than John Douglas. ... Read more

Reviews (47)

5-0 out of 5 stars Indecent Obsession
Yet another classic expose of the sadistic sociopath written by the man who knows them best - John Douglas. In this book, John meticulously describes 2 types of obsessions - the obsessions of the sociopathic sex criminals who prey on society, and the obsessions which drive law enforcement officials who, very often risk their own safety and sanity in order to capture these monsters and bring about justice.

Throughout his quarter century in the FBI, John gained valuable knowledge. He learned how serial offenders "profile" their potential victims to test their vulnerability. He learned what ruses they employ to lure unsuspecting victims away from areas of safety. And as he graphically illustrates in the tragic stories of Jennifer Levin, Katie Souza Hanley, and Stephanie Schmidt, he learned how sometimes we can unfortunately place our trust in the wrong person, a person who is quite literally "a wolf in sheep's clothing."

So instead of speaking disparagingly about John, we should realise that we have cause to be grateful to him. He has such great insight into the minds of these human demons, and because of his lecturing and writing, he has undoubtedly saved many lives. We should thank him in any way possible - one day his experience and insight might help save our own life or the life of a loved one. He has given us valuable advice about how to keep ourselves and our children safe. He has showed us how we can turn profiling to our own advantage, how we can use it and our own survival instincts to keep ourselves safe. Undoubtedly this type of knowledge is certainly just as important as the knowledge of how to perform adequate, life saving first aid treatment.

4-0 out of 5 stars Very Disturbing Look at the Criminal Mind
In Obsession, John Douglas gives the reader a brief glimpse into the criminal mind and a short overview of the process of criminal profiling. I like the fact that he refuses to make any excuses for criminals (coming from a dysfunctional family, childhood abuse, insanity, etc.) He makes it very clear that regardless of a person's background or previous experiences, the execution of a crime is always voluntary....that the criminal made a choice to disregard the consequences of his actions, and inflict consequences on an innocent victim. The only thing I didn't really care for too much in this book was the fact that so little was devoted to actual criminal profiling. Most of the book is dedicated to victim's rights and how to prevent yourself from becoming a victim. While there is nothing wrong with such topics, and he does make some very excellent points, I felt a little bit shortchanged after becoming intrigued with the coverage of criminal psychology...intrigued enough to look into it further as a possible career, and then the rest of the book jumps into victim's rights and never looks back.

5-0 out of 5 stars Honors victims and homicide survivors (oxymoron)
I wept, wept and in a way still weeping. John Douglas is masterful at profiling and gives us the knowledge and the warning signs of. Since murderers don't just wake up one day and decide to start killing. In this book I feel that he also challenges the murderers (probably ones operating right now if their pick up his book) to view their victims as human beings and not just object to be humiliated and controlled. I can hear the voices of the victims and their families crying out for justice no, demanding for justice against the "losers" that seek to control them. Highly recommend this book.

2-0 out of 5 stars Mostly Repeat of Mindhunter
Love the author, loved Mindhunter....but...if you've already read Mindhunter, don't waste your money...a lot of the same stories and material. If you haven't read Manhunter, go for it.

5-0 out of 5 stars Obsession
John Douglas, a renown Behavioral Scientist, details and examines the characteristics and progressionary depravity of individuals that put it mildly.

Problems be they physiological and/or psychological. You think you're having a bad day? Try tapping into the minds, lives, and motivations of serial rapists.

The subject is not the most joyous nor enlightening but it is reality and many of the aspects of behavioral science is interesting. And, this field is relevant because it covers this realistic aspect of our society. There are many things to learn about in the general strategies behavioral scientists' use in "Obsession." Such commonly used terms in the media such as Modus Operandi (MO) and "signature" are defined, and explained, and real life examples are provided. What do signatures tell us? Why do these perpetrators leave them behind? Find out in this well-written and easy-to-read book, that does describe but doesn't not over-whelm you with the the gory details.

Behavioral Science is an interesting and solidly scientific field that compiles case histories, research and data, validity, psychological testing, and evidence collection. With the current knowledge John Douglas can often predict with tremendous accuracy several things with a mere profile.

He often accurately predicts what year, model, and make of car a particular Unknown Suspect (UnSub) would own and drive. The type of work he would do. The kind of work schedule he keeps. What industry he likely worked in, and what hours he probably kept. He often accurately predicts the UnSub's sexual and criminal history, and the types of relationships the UnSub has with friends and lovers. When the Unknown Subject is eventually identified, apprehended, charged, and convicted, Douglas is regularly proven to be accurate.

This book is primary based upon one type of particular crime.
However, it is written in an objective and professional manner based upon scientific evidence and expertise, case histories, and technological advancements used in this field. Several criminal case histories are noted from all over the world.

Serial criminals often exhibit the same symptoms all over the world, which transcend cultures, ethnicity, and geographical make-up. Check it out. ... Read more

185. The Adversary: A True Story of Monstrous Deception
by Emmanuel Carrere, Linda Coverdale
list price: $22.00
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Asin: 0805065830
Catlog: Book (2001-01-01)
Publisher: Metropolitan Books
Sales Rank: 490073
Average Customer Review: 3.85 out of 5 stars
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Too mortified to admit that he has missed a crucial medical school exam, Jean-Claude Romand decides instead to lie. It's the pitiful act of a desperate man that turns into a full-time charade, and as the lies pile up Romand manages to convince everyone--his wife, best friend, parents, in-laws, and mistress--that he is a doctor with the World Health Organization. When it all starts to unravel some 18 years later, Romand tries to cover up his deception by killing his family and making a feeble attempt at killing himself. The Adversary is a haunting, incredible story, superbly told by Emmanuel Carrère, a fellow Frenchman who goes beyond the obvious speculation to pursue Romand's psychological inner workings. Is it torment and guilt that haunts Romand as he spends his days reading newspapers and taking notes in remote cafés, holing up in airport hotels to feign business trips,and living off of his relatives' money on the pretence that he is investing it for them? Or is there a deeper evil that makes it possible for him to live in this web of deception, forever on the edge of discovery? Carrère, who developed a relationship with Romand before and after the high-profile 1990s trial, inserts his own thoughts as he retraces Romand's path. The writing, flush with biblical and philosophical references, is graceful and thought-provoking. You'll catch yourself reading passages over and over. It's a thinking person's In Cold Blood, only more chilling because the killer comes from within. --Jodi Mailander Farrell ... Read more

Reviews (33)

3-0 out of 5 stars A difficult read....I'd skip it
Perhaps it is the translation from the French to English. Perhaps it is the philisophical side trips the author takes. Perhaps I am just getting even for the waiter who was rude to me in Paris...I did not care for this book. The story could be compelling. What made Jean-Claude Romand kill his two children, his parents and his wife, and then perhaps attempt to take his own life? Why did he create an elaborate false life as a successful physician for the World Health Organization and medical researcher? The theory put forth is he was simply caught up in events he was unable to stop, a lie, upon another lie. There is no background to speak of, Romand is portrayed merely as a weak cypher unable to stand up and take the consequences for his own actions. When he feared he was to be exposed he killed, and said he was trying to do away with himself...but, unable, or stopped before he was able to go through with his own physical destruction. There are glimpses of reason, or understanding, quickly obscured by philosophical tangents. The style is spare, far too spare. The story follows the sequence of events and then leaves it. This was frustrating to read and not worth the effort.

5-0 out of 5 stars Cover Up!
This book clearly deserves more than five stars for its unvarnished look at the self-serving avoidance of psychological risk that led innocents to be fleeced and slaughtered. Truth is stranger than fiction. The actual accounts here would be rejected by any fiction editor as being unbelievable. The extraordinary ability of M. Carrere to point out the wrongs in all of their many dimensions makes this journey into madness worth taking for the reader.

This is a story of such horror and depravity that many will be shaken to their roots by it. If such stories upset you or make it difficult to sleep, perhaps you should read this on happy days and in the morning.

On January 9, 1993, Jean-Claude Romand, well-regarded medical researcher with the World Health Organization, killed his wife and three children. Then he had lunch with his parents and killed them. Later, he picked up his mistress and tried to kill her. The next day, he took an overdose of outdated barbituates and set his house on fire. Romand was rescued from the flames while he was unconscious, and made to stand trial. Journalist Emmanuel Carrere was moved to sort out what led to these horrors and what ensued since then.

Actually, Romand was not a doctor. He did not even have a job. He spent his life pretending that things were normal and he was a model citizen, while nothing about him was as it seemed.

He maintained his deception by behaving as though he was like everyone else, and persuading people to have him manage their money in a Swiss bank account. Meanwhile, he spent the money on himself, his family, and his mistress. Even the people who had gone to medical school with him and remained his friends and neighbors never realized what was going on.

The deception started when he could not bring himself to take his final examination for the second year of medical school. When time came for the make-up test, he skipped that too. No one of his classmates noticed that his name was not among those who had passed, and for the next several years he was able to reenroll in medical school as a second year student and pretend to study. The elaborate fiction built from that slim base.

To realize how unusual this was, his later wife was also a medical student at the same time and failed the exam that Romand skipped. As a result, she dropped out of medical school and became a pharmicist. That route would have been available to Romand as well. But he did not take it.

They struck up a correspondence based on Romand's liking of the author's book, and Romand helped him to recreate the events. M. Carrere felt that Romand "was counting on me more than the psychiatrists to explain his own story to him . . . ." "This responsibility frightened me."

In a time when studies have demonstrated that 80 percent of all people lie on their resumes, what is fascinating is how gullible everyone was. His wife didn't think that it was strange that she could not call him at the office. People took it at face value that he could earn them 18 percent interest in a Swiss bank (which normally pays much lower interest rates). As P.T. Barnum used to say, "There's a sucker born every minute."

While most con men are satisfied to take money, Romand wanted everyone's good esteem even more. If he could not keep that esteem, he killed to keep from having to face the emotional scenes that would follow. With a rich fantasy life, he could always find a self-serving excuse for his behavior. So even in killing loved ones, he thought more in terms of this being suicide. Everything in the world was about him, in his view. His "long imposture [was] only a pathetic mixure of blindness, cowardice, and distress."

This psychology has continued to be pathological since he was confined to prison (being eligible for parole in 2015 -- watch out!). He now plays the role of model prisoner who has found religion, rather than the role of model citizen. In performing in this way though, the author says and asks, "He is not putting on an act . . . but isn't the liar within him putting one over on him?"

You will be haunted by the author's final word on the case: "I thought that writing this story could only be either a crime or a prayer." I think he succeeded in turning it into a prayer. You'll have to read the book and decide for yourself.

My suggestion is that you be more suspicious. Check out the resume details in the future. Cross-check on those who are about to marry into your family. See what your children are really doing. Although you probably do not have a Romand lurking, you may have a less sinister version who can still cause lots of harm.

Uncover the reality beneath the iron mask!

4-0 out of 5 stars Riveting True Crime Story
Emmanuel Carrère's true crime story The Adversary begins with one of the most arresting first lines I have ever read: "On the Saturday morning of January 9, 1993, while Jean-Claude Romand was killing his wife and children, I was with mine in a parent-teacher meeting at the school attended by Gabriel, our eldest son." What follows is the nearly unbelievable story of Romand, who deceived his family and his closest friends for eighteen years, convincing them that he was a prominent doctor employed in Geneva by the World Health Organization. In fact, Romand had never finished medical school, and he spent his days reading newspapers in cafes or taking walks in the woods. He supported himself and his family on money he swindled from friends and relatives, trusting souls who, incredibly, rarely asked about the status of the considerable sums Romand had allegedly invested for them.

Romand's story might be just bizarrely amusing--a French variation of the life of deceit adopted by Leonardo DiCaprio's character in Catch Me If You Can, albeit with a less clever protagonist--were it not for what happened next. When Romand's deceit was likely to be uncovered--he had drained dry the well of his acquaintances' bank accounts--he murdered his wife and his parents, his five-year-old son and his daughter, and he tried, but only half-heartedly, to kill himself.

As the first sentence of Carrère's book suggests, the author periodically interjects his own experiences and responses into his narrative. He is clearly concerned with separating himself from the small "club" of Jean-Claude's devotees, Christian prison visitors who have come to admire the murderer in his new role as repentant sinner, the anguished prisoner who has found God and, condemned to life, assumes his suffering as some sort of expiation for his crimes. Carrère is rightly appalled--at least to an extent--by these do-gooders, and he does manage to succeed, I think, in distancing himself from them. The author is decidedly not an apologist for Romand. Carrère's account of Romand's life and crimes, meanwhile, despite its horrific subject matter, is riveting.

2-0 out of 5 stars well written but shallow and misguided
Jean-Claude Romand was obviously a psychopath, although he's never referred to as such in this book. And the most interesting thing about him is that he managed to get away with deceiving so many people for so many years.

The author makes the mistake of trying to synmpathetically understand Romand. It does not take a rocket scientist to know that psychopaths are not like other people and that it does no good to sympathize with them.

One fairly glaring error in this account is that, although Romand is shown to be a completely unscrupulous liar and deciever, the author takes him at his word that Romand spent his time when he as alone, during normal working hours, in a fairly neutral and inoffensive way. The auther even tries to imagine how sad and lonely and desolate Romand must have felt. When, in reality, chances are that Romand got up to all kind of mischief during normal working hours. And I certainly wouldn't eliminate murder as one of his past times during this huge gap in his story.

This book would have been much more interesting if the author had done his homework on psychopaths and then tried to create a mental picture, or model, of how Romand's mind worked. Psychopaths may have a significantly different emotional make up than normal people, but that doesn't mean that they have no emotions at all, no innner life. So, to me this book is a great opportunity lost.

One insight that the author made was useful. The fact that psychopaths are so good at manipulating people that they can get away with bald faced lies by telling them clumsily, so as to turn the clumsy lie into a pathetic "cry for help" that most people are naturally too soft hearted to resist. Really astounding stuff.

It was also fascinating to learn the ease with which Romand was able to play the seemingly modest, self effacing role of a genius of medical science. He would tell everyone he was, effectively, a genius, but then modestly change the subject. The people around him wanted to believe they were talking to a genius, so they didn't press him for further info. Obviously a real genius would want to be fairly modest about it, and just live a quiet, reserved life. Amazing, totally amazing.

Another thing that's missing from this story is any real digging into Romand's early life and background. There were probably many early signs that Romand was a psychopath, but I suspect this book was inadequately researched. Another problem with researching Romand's early life is that I believe he was an only child and he killed his parents before he came to public attention, thus eliminating the best source of early info on him.

However, noone can argue that the author is a very accomplished and talented writer. His prose was very smooth and flowing, a real joy to read. And the choice of the title, "The Adversary", was very good, because that is essentially how psychopaths interact with people, they treat normal people's emotions as a game, a cold, calculated game. And clearely there can be no greater social evil than that.

3-0 out of 5 stars Living In The Phantom Zone.
In Sep'75 Jean Claude Romand had skipped his final 2nd year medical school exam, an action that would have enormous repercussions for his future. Unable to face the shame and ridicule that would surely follow, Romand covered his non-appearance by openly pretending to have passed. This cover-up was to be his first false step along an 18 year road of deception which would end in murder and tragedy. Thereafter, Romand compounded his original faux pas, inventing an identity for himself founded on one lie piled on top of another. Outwardly, he presented himself to family and friends as a model family man who occupied a prestigious position as a physician with WHO. All this was complete fabrication: he never graduated from medical school, was never registered as a physician, nor was he ever heard tell of by anyone at WHO. In reality, Romand lived a deeply disturbing double life for 18 years; a fabricated, phantom existence unsuspected by family and friends. Inevitably, a day of reckoning closed in on Romand, threatening to unravel the elaborate deception. Emmanuel Carrere takes a detached view of the life of Jean Claude Romand, seeking to identify events that shed some light on what he tragically became (without ever really getting inside his head and explaining why he turned out the way he did) in this incredible, bizarre case where truth really is stranger than fiction. ... Read more

186. Race Against Evil: The Secret Missions of the Interpol Agent Who Tracked the World's Most Sinister Criminals
by David Race Bannon
list price: $26.95
our price: $16.98
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0882822314
Catlog: Book (2003-01-01)
Publisher: New Horizon Press
Sales Rank: 68396
Average Customer Review: 4.87 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

This electric narrative of suspense and intrigue delivers a firsthand account of heinous criminals and stern justice from the insider's view of David Race Bannon. At age 18, the American youth is recruited by Interpol after he is caught in a deadly riot in South Korea.

Over the next 15 years, Bannon is trained to work in the darkest regions of humanity, to deny societal inhibitors against killing and embrace the agency's role as deliverer of grim justice to evildoers beyond the reach of the law. His missions take him from investigating the bombing of KAL 858 and infiltrating prisons in Korea to the disappearance of London's most notorious child pornographer and searching out terrorists and criminals in the United States.

Disclosing the tactics, teamwork, weapons and combat techniques the world's secretive agency uses, he shares the joys and pains of victims and officers; the thrill of love under fire which ends when his fiancee, a French DST agent, dies in his arms during a savage confrontation with terrorist cells; and Interpol's role in capturing and punishing kidnappers and enslavers who traffic in human beings. Here also is the very personal, true story of a man on the front lines of international justice who struggles to reconcile his search for inner peace with the violence required to protect innocents. In his journey to reach the redemption he seeks, he is led to his ultimate encounter with his own destiny. ... Read more

Reviews (110)

5-0 out of 5 stars I couldn't put this book down
It wouldn't be quite accurate to say I enjoyed this book, due to its sad subject matter and the many tragedies described. But I couldn't put it down, read it in two sittings, and will keep it to possibly read again. I work for a magazine that reviews books, and I found Race Against Evil in the stack of hundreds of reviewer's copies in our office. I like to read about espionage so I picked it up because the word "Interpol" was on the cover, thinking it was about the political kind of espionage. It's actually about the struggle to end international trafficking in children and child pornography. After reading it, I have nothing but admiration for Mr. Bannon. He endured a great deal of personal tragedy, and subjected himself to the kind of horrible crimes most of us would rather not think about, in order to rid the world of the wicked people who murder and torture children. Often he posted as a pedophile in order to get close to the criminals targeted by Interpol. There are some who would say that he, and Interpol, were wrong to assassinate these kinds of criminals, yet the alternative would be that they would escape justice, and continue to murder and abuse children. It's worth noting that there was one American child molester that he did not kill, but left him injured with the evidence of his crime around him, hoping that the US justice system would give him his due. But most of the assinations took place in other countries, such as Romania and Thailand, where these criminals would escape prosecution.Rather than being shocked at the executions of these vile criminals, I felt glad as I read about them. In the course of the book, many children are rescued from hideous nightmares, and how many other innocent lives would have been ruined if Interpol hadn't stopped these criminals in the only way possible? Sometimes you have to look at life in terms of choices. The ideal solution would be to bring the criminals to justice, but since they purposely took refuge in countries where they could not be prosecuted, the choices were allowing them to continue to their vile crimes, or to kill them and to prevent any further murder and torture of children. Personally, I'm not shedding any tears that these child abusers were killed without mercy, and I respect and admire Mr. Bannon for his role in the effort to stop this hideous crime. It's also a well-written and fascinating read, although the subject matter is often disturbing, it's an important and necessary book.

5-0 out of 5 stars Seeking Bannon
Race Against Evil is a fascinating, highly readable and weighty addition to the relatively small number of worthwhile books about Interpol. It is a remarkable achievement that any student of the intelligence community should read.

Often regarded as a mystery, Interpol (the world association of national police forces for mutual assistance in the fight against international crimes and criminal conspiracies) is analysed and exposed in this book by a retired officer of the organisation, and its inner workings scrutinized. Untold tales of undercover work, conspiracies and outstanding bravery constitute Bannon's personal account, in which he avoids more than a brief description of Interpol in the 1930s and the murky years when it fell into the hands of the Gestapo, focusing instead on its renaissance in the 1980s.

Interpol is one of the world's most elusive organisations. Its operations remain veiled from scrutiny and to write about Interpol risks harassment and prosecution, as former members and current commentators know to their cost. Like Britain's most celebrated spymaster, William Stephenson (known by the telegraphic address, Intrepid, used for the British Security Coordination (BSC) office he ran in New York), David Bannon has been taking flak for his autobiography, Race Against Evil. But the life of the professional spy is by nature one of secret accomplishment and shadowy triumph. Trying to shine a light into this world, especially twenty years on, is a daunting exercise. If it accomplishes nothing else, it should serve to remind us of the dark world faced by such individuals.

Like so many Interpol agents, Bannon contributed silently, exercising his skills behind the scenes. The nature of the business is that he and his colleagues went largely unsung. It's part of the mythology. Efforts to emerge from the shadows naturally engender scepticism. Large, reliable news services have validated many of the facts presented in the book. Only one source - a small weekly (circ. 9,000) in the southern United States - questioned Bannon's intelligence adventures, doing so without interviews, research or qualified reportage and therefore it is irrelevant to an educated discussion of the verifiable facts presented in the book.

There is little question that Bannon has an honourable record and that he served Interpol admirably. His publications in Asian affairs and many translations - he read history at Seoul National University - are easy for any competent researcher to confirm. The larger question relates to the substance of his clandestine career. In this, the enigmatic nature of Interpol has pretty well doomed Bannon from the start. The fact that Interpol is still shrouded in public contradictions and official secrecy makes for a challenging research environment. To this day, many of the people from Bannon's Interpol circle cling tenaciously to their code of secrecy. It is very difficult to pry information from them.

Of great interest are Bannon's personal details of French-born master spy Jacques H. Defferre, to whom Interpol gave the code name Archie, who died this year at age 67 in Marseilles, France. Protean in his exploits, Defferre served as a commissioner in Interpol. During the Vietnam War, Jacques Defferre set up Interpol's spy operations in Asia and coordinated the exchange of intelligence between France and South Korea. In this capacity, he also served as a trusted and confidential intermediary between South Korea's President Park Chunghee and Interpol. Defferre's influence extended to helping shape Interpol intelligence and special operations capabilities, namely the investigative branch Rosetta and its enforcement arm, Archangel, both assigned to investigate international child traffic. Among the operations undertaken by Defferre as head of the Rosetta Division at his La Verpillere based operation was assassination of slavers. Accounts of his division's successes helped inspire awareness of the child sex trade at international conferences. A full accounting of Defferre's service has proven elusive: a reflection of the trade of intelligence and the personality of those with a vocation for it. I suspect Defferre was amused by all the controversy surrounding him. That he seems to have taken many of his secrets safely to the grave is the spy's ultimate achievement.

Epitomised in the public imagination by James Bond, Interpol's svelte and glamorous image has been peeled away by Bannon's searching revelations to reveal a less savoury truth. Here is the story of Interpol's recruitment of former criminals during the 1980s; campaigns against child sex rings in Europe and Asia; Operation Archangel; and many other little-known operations. The dealings of the Belgian Beast Marc Dutroux, the Wonderland Club, and North Korean labour camps, among others, are also fully explained, as are the many tensions that have existed and to some extent still exist between Interpol and its sister intelligence organisations especially in contentious areas such as Thailand and South Korea.

It is impossible, under the laws presently shielding Interpol, to write about its daily activities. But Interpol has a history, and this book reveals a great deal. Here for the first time is an operational history of Interpol's activities and attitudes. Bannon's is a searching story of the characters and situations in which the games have been played, and of twenty years of international political intriguing, spying and thuggery - all in the name of intelligence.

By Geoffrey Ries, a former intelligence officer.

1-0 out of 5 stars Unreadable and Implausible
This is without a doubt the most unreadable book I have ever read. Not a single paragraph rings true. It is inconceivable that Amazon's 5-star rating is legit. Everything and everyone Bannon writes about is lifeless. The reader is never given any sense of how this young man supposedly transitioned from Mormon missionary to hitman. The confusing and disjointed narrative is made even more irritating by the dozens of names he stirs into his story. These are names of people that are complete ciphers and often seem to be included for no reason other than to add to the reader's general confusion.

5-0 out of 5 stars Vivid
This is one of those memoirs of a difficult, violent life, that makes riveting reading. Clearly the author, David Bannon, felt he had something to tell, and he tells it vividly. Bannon offers an unforgettable evocation of the bitter crimes against children hidden in the world's dark undergrounds and each page seems steeped in the blood of his plea: "We as citizens of the world must band together to stop it." Bannon's words are gaunt and lined, marked with mortality. Places are strongly evoked: a small, isolated, squalid village or a towering city. Sometimes, though, Bannon's tale is vague and indeed he acknowledges this freely. He changes names of victims and active officers, but never wavers from his rallying cry: "We're here because they're out there." It is the nature of this underground that shocks us. This weird sense of anachronism makes this a riveting if sometimes uncomfortable read.

5-0 out of 5 stars A classic
This book concentrates a lot on Bannon's past training for Interpol, carrying on from early days. Essential readiong for all die hard crime fans, and recommended to all. ... Read more

187. Zodiac
by Robert Graysmith
list price: $7.99
our price: $7.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0425098087
Catlog: Book (1996-05-01)
Publisher: Berkley Publishing Group
Sales Rank: 163979
Average Customer Review: 4.49 out of 5 stars
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"SHE WAS YOUNG AND BEAUTIFUL BUT NOW SHE IS BATTERED AND DEAD. SHE IS NOT THE FIRST AND SHE WILL NOT BE THE LAST." Few cases in the history of true crimeare as colorful and intriguing as that of Zodiac, the bizarre gunmanin an executioner's hood who hunted the streets of San Francisco inthe late 1960s and sent dozens of taunting letters to the police.Robert Graysmith provides ample details about the policeinvestigation, including the full text and photos of most of theletters. Zodiac is an excellent starting point not only forthe casual reader, but also for those interested in retracing theauthor's steps in order to pursue their own ideas about who thekiller may have been. This book has been praised by the SanFrancisco Chronicle, the very paper in which the Zodiac's eeriemessages and cryptograms were published: "Graysmith's taut narrativebrings the horror back with jolt upon jolt." ... Read more

Reviews (51)

5-0 out of 5 stars Don't Read This Alone at Night!
I have never read any work of fiction that can equal this book for sheer terror. California's Zodiac killer began his reign of terror in the late 1960's and was never caught. He never used the same method twice, he sent taunting letters to the police, left many clues, and yet was never found. Graysmith does an outstanding job of making the book read like a highly charged suspense novel, but you have to keep saying to yourself, "These things REALLY happened!" The Zodiac is at the top of the list when it comes to intelligent, calculating, cold-blooded killers. It still gives me a chill thinking about the messages that Zodiac wrote in the ciphers. The most gripping scenes are the stories told by the (few) survivors. I wouldn't want to know the nightmares these people have had to endure over the past 30 years. Graysmith also gives his opinion on who he thinks is/was Zodiac. it in the DAYTIME!

5-0 out of 5 stars A Must-Read for any True Crime Addict
This book is a fast-paced, well-researched account of the Zodiac killer, who terrorized San Francisco in the mid to late sixtees. Serial killers often get caught or give themselves up. This one has remained elusive to this day. The accounts of the police ivestigations, tactics, and personal reactions were well written. I will always remember this book and its victims.

5-0 out of 5 stars Hard to put down
I'm amused at some of the reviews posted here regarding this tale. Some reviewers seem to think this book is Gospel, others seem to think it's fabrication. If any of them really know one way or the other, why don't they come forward and solve the case for us?

Gimme a break. The fact is that this book, although admittedly not written with the style and flair of a Capote or Crichton, is a personal account of one man's involvement in a remarkable case of a serial killer who came to be known as Zodiac. The author was working at the San Francisco Chronicle at the time the killings began, and that newspaper was central to the coverage of the gruesome, pointless killings perpetrated by the one or more individuals known as Zodiac.

There are inconsistencies in the book because it is a chronicle of the author's investigations. At one point he thinks a certain person is very involved, becomes convinced he's the guy, then later finds he's probably wrong. It's a maddening case for many reasons, and this book makes that clear. It's fascinating, and I found it very hard to put down. The website has arrived at different conclusions than this author, and they are equally valid and interesting. That does not negate the fact that this book is a good read, unless you're expecting a literary talent on the level of Tom Clancy or Stephen King.

5-0 out of 5 stars Zodiac
I have a great fascination with the turbulent history and weirdness that was the California bay area during the 60's and 70's. Beatniks, hippies, Sonny Barger and the Hells Angels, the Black Panthers, the S.L.A, riots and civil unrest, SF evolving from hippie mecca to homosexual mecca, multitudes of nutty political and religious groups, and way too much other lunacy for me to list. Even today in spite of the yuppification of the area you can still feel the ghosts of the past in the air. On top of all that there was the Zodiac Killer who would taunt the police with encrypted messages with occult symbology that he demanded be put on the front page of the newspaper. After all his taunting and arrogance the Zodiac was never caught. Pretty great account of the murders and investigation that will make you paranoid of every odd sound you hear around the house at night while your reading it.

1-0 out of 5 stars Nice to read but why would you.
While highly entertaining, this doesn't actually focus much on the truth. In fact, this book would be more appropriately billed as 'fiction' as much of it simply is that. It's difficult to explain: it's a good story but nothing if you want the real story. ... Read more

188. Ahead of the Parade: A Who¿s Who of Treason and High Crimes: Exclusive Details of Fraud and Corruption of the Monopoly Press, the Banks, the Bench and the Bar, and the Secret Political Police
by Sherman H. Skolnick
list price: $41.90
our price: $41.90
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1893302326
Catlog: Book (2003-07)
Publisher: Dandelion Books, LLC
Sales Rank: 331210
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Sherman Skolnick, one of America’s foremost investigative reporters, speaks out on some of America’s current crises. Included in this blockbuster book are the following articles: The Overthrow of the American Republic, How It is Happening The Sucker Traps, Dirty Tricks of Finance and Brokerage Foreign and Domestic Secret Political Police Operating in the U.S. and Markets Wal-Mart and the Red Chinese Secret Police ... Read more

Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars Why the high price?
Why is this book priced so above the cost? Amazon?

4-0 out of 5 stars Why does the author say:
Why does the author say:
"Can also supposedly be ordered from HOWEVER, recently they have blockaded their own marketing and sales of this controversial book by DEMANDING twice the listed price." ?? ... Read more

189. The Evil Mother
by Fred Rosen
list price: $6.99
our price: $6.29
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0312997094
Catlog: Book (2004-04-19)
Publisher: St. Martin's Paperbacks
Sales Rank: 67675
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Book Description

When 18 year old Aaron Iturra was shot to death in bed in his Eugene, Oregon home in October of 1994, the first person his grief stricken mother Janyce Iturra turned to was Mary Louise Thompson.Why?Because Thompson, herself the mother of a troubled teen, had become an active campaigner against teen gang activity and a surrogate mother to many local teens.But neighbors were horrified when police arrested this supposed model mother for setting up the hit and persuading two teens to carry out the brutal murder of the sleeping teen.Police discovered that this crusader against gangs had, in fact, been heavily involved with the Hell's Angels as a young woman and had masterminded the criminal activities of a violent local gang called the 74 Hoover Crips.In July of 1996, Thompson was sentenced to life without parole.
... Read more

190. If You Really Loved Me
by Ann Rule
list price: $7.99
our price: $7.19
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0671769200
Catlog: Book (1992-04-01)
Publisher: Pocket
Sales Rank: 175104
Average Customer Review: 4.48 out of 5 stars
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Book Description


Ann Rule's #1 bestselling true-crime masterpiece features compelling updates to the shattering case brilliantly chronicled in If You Really Loved Me.

David Brown was the consummate entrepreneur: a computer wizard and millionaire by age thirty-two. When his beautiful young wife was shot to death as she slept, Brown's fourteen-year-old daughter, Cinnamon, confessed to killing her stepmother. The California courts sentenced her harshly: twenty-four years to life. But in the wake of Cinnamon's murder conviction, thanks in part to two determined lawmen, the twisted private world of David Brown himself unfolded with astonishing clarity -- revealing a trail of perverse love, twisted secrets, and evil mind games. A complex and often dangerous investigation suggested a horrifying scenario: was the seemingly bland David Brown really a stone-cold killer -- who convinced his own daughter to prove her love by killing for him? A man who turned young women into his own personal slaves, who collected nearly $1 million in insurance money, and married his dead wife's teenage sister, David Brown was a sociopath who would stop at nothing...a deadly charmer who almost got away with everything. ... Read more

Reviews (23)

5-0 out of 5 stars Ann Rule at her best
After seeing several "true crime" shows on the Brown Case I ordered Ann's book. I had been a fan of hers for several years but hadn't read this story yet. She brings the people involved in this case to life.

What David Brown did to his family is unthinkable. He molested his wife's sister, he manipulated his 14 year old daughter into killing his wife and then sat back and enjoyed his freedom and the insurance money from the death of his wife.

While he lounged in a nearly 1/2 a million dollar home, now married to his late wife's sister, his daughter sat in the Ventura School (a youth prison). If not for three men, who went above and beyond the call of duty, David Brown would never have been convicted. Kudos to Jay Newell, Jeoff Robinson and Fred McLean. And to Cinnamon Brown for breaking the silence.

Ann Rule weaves a story so incredible and so vivid you will not be able to put the book down till you're done!

Bravo, Ann, on another truly exceptional book.

5-0 out of 5 stars Ann Rule is at her best!!!
I have been reading Ann Rule books for years, and the first book that I read was If You Really Loved Me, and I was engrossed from page one. The characters in the book are so real, that you feel that you've known them all your life. It is a change to have an author that can take a henious crime and write about it in a way that is readable to anybody. For the true crime buff, Ms. Rule's books must have a permenant place on your shelf.

5-0 out of 5 stars Especially enjoyed this one
I have read every book Ann Rule has published and she is, without doubt, one of the very best crime writers ever. I didn't really realize this until I had read a couple of other true murder stories written by others, and only then, by comparison, could I appreciate her superlative talent in her field.
This book was especially interesting to me because I live not far from where this all happened, and I followed it daily in the media. Knowing only what the media had put forth, it was fascinating to get the inside story and the followup.
One of the great things about Ms. Rule's books compared to others is the inclusion of pictures. She always has pictures of the victim and family, the prosecutors and persons pivotal in solving and trying the case, and of course, pictures of the murderer. In most of the books by other writers, there were no pictures at all. I didn't realise how important and valuable the pictures were to the entire story until I read books about murderers and their victims in which there were no pictures!
I eagerly await every book Ann Rule writes. If true murder stories are your interest, satisfaction guaranteed with this book--and anything Ann Rule writes!

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent!
If you really love me is Ann Rule's best book. The story is never boring, and there are a lot of action and suspense.
The story is about a young girl named Cinnamon, who is accused of her mother-in-law murder. In the beginning she confessed to the policemen , but after she accused her father. One policeman believed that she is innocent, so he investigated to prove that. The investigate is very exciting, and it's hard to find the real murderer.
I very enjoyed it !

5-0 out of 5 stars Creepy dad, sochiopath, compulsive liar
Ann Rule writes another gripping true crime book exposing corruption in a vile family. A father who gives his 14-year-old daughter handfuls of drugs before manipulating her into killing her stepmother "If she really loved him." Worse yet, the man marries the dead wife's sister, only two years older than his daughter. Is that enough for him? No, then he plots for THIS wife's death. Or does he? Is it all a crazy, messed up teen-ager who then tries to commit suicide? A father couldn't be so horrible that he'd try to kill his own daughter with drugs to cover up the murder of his wife? Readers will have to dig into this book to know.

Very detailed, written like a novel, a great read! Also a Lifetime movie, but the book's way better!

I read an updated version with an afterword from 2002 from Ms. Rule. Nice to know what these people are doing now! And praise goes to the investigator and DA who wouldn't let a "simple" murder go without digging further! ... Read more

191. If I Knew Then
by Amy Fisher, Robbie Woliver
list price: $15.95
our price: $11.16
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0595324452
Catlog: Book (2004-09-01)
Publisher: iUniverse
Sales Rank: 6569
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192. Bitter Harvest
by Ann Rule
list price: $7.99
our price: $7.19
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0671868691
Catlog: Book (1999-02-01)
Publisher: Pocket
Sales Rank: 68696
Average Customer Review: 3.57 out of 5 stars
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Book Description


In this harrowing New York Times bestseller, Ann Rule is at her masterful best as she winnows horrific truths from the ashes of what seemed like paradise in Prairie Village, Kansas. Rule probes the case of Debora Green, a doctor and a loving mother who seemed to epitomize the dreams of the American heartland. A small-town girl with a genius IQ, she achieved an enviable life: her own medical practice, a handsome physician husband, three perfect children, and an opulent home in an exclusive Kansas City suburb. But when a raging fire destroyed that home and took two lives, the trail of clues led investigators to a stunning conclusion. Piece by piece, Ann Rule digs beneath this placid Midwestern facade to unveil a disturbing portrait of strangely troubled marriages, infidelity, desperation, suicide, and escalating acts of revenge that forever changed dozens of lives. ... Read more

Reviews (104)

5-0 out of 5 stars Bitter Harvest leaves a bitter taste
I read true crime basically, to try and understand what makes people do what they do. I still don't know if I will ever understand this Mother/Doctor. I suppose what makes this story all the more horrifying is that she had been a practicing physician. Ann Rule is at her best with this shocking, horrifying tale. Each time I remebered that this was fact not fiction, I was filled to revulsion, at times, totally anguished. The book is riveting. My heart bled for those poor, innocent children. All I can say is that their Mother was truly a mad woman. Obviously, Dr. Green should be buried underneath the prison which she sits in--alive! The sad thing about it, is that I don't even know if this woman was actually "sick." I don't think she deserves that much benefit of a doubt. Anne does a great job depicting this nightmare.

3-0 out of 5 stars Ann Rule writes brilliantly on an unremarkable subject..
Bitter Harvest is the true story of a very disturbed woman accused of setting her home alight while her children sleep inside, and of attempting to poison her husband. True to form, Ann Rule expertly "peels the onion" of this story starting with a thorough examination of this woman's background, her family life, the events leading up to the tragedy, the tragedy itself, the trial, and finally the outcome of the trial. But surprisingly this winning formula which worked so well in her other books failed to ignite this reader. Why?...

Ann Rule's books succeed when the main villian is either a dangerous, violent psychopath (as in her wonderful Stranger Beside Me), or a manipulative, evil yet clever monster who almost gets away with murder (as in her superb If You Really Loved Me). But in Bitter Harvest the villian is just a very depressed, somewhat deranged substance abuser who ultimately commits an irrational crime which she (and her family) will always regret. Interesting yet not exactly enthralling stuff.

Bottom line: expertly written, balanced journalism by Ann Rule. Too bad she didn't select a better true crime story to write about.

4-0 out of 5 stars To Bookworm
Out of curiosity, how are we supposed to e-mail you without an address?

1-0 out of 5 stars I lived the story
Debora Green and her surviving child are vary close friends of my family and have been for many, many years. You notice I leave Mike Farrar out of the equation. There are reasons, and for those of you bright enough to spot the overwhelming bias in this book, bravo for you.

I am a huge Ann Rule fan, mostly because I have always found her to be fair and unbiased when she writes these horrific tales, however, upon reading Bitter Harvest, I found myself disturbed, yes, but not just because of the terrors in the lives of these people. My disturbance came from the fact that it leans so heavily to Dr. Farrar being Mr. Wonderful and completely innocent.Anyone around knows the real story.

I'm not saying Debora was, by any stretch of the imagination, perfect. Yes, Debora was a raging alcoholic. That is not a fact that she has ever denied. Yes, there were many problems in that family, but to Debora, her children always came first and formost, however, alcoholism is a serious disease and there were times she was ill-equiped to handle motherhood. That didn't mean she wanted her children dead.

There are many things I could say about that night, the night of the fire, and how the investigation was handled. There was a disturbing lack of evidence in this case, and Debora is now serving a "hard 40" which in Kansas, is considered life.

But the big thing I will say is, if you read this book, if you waste your time on this biased and completely unfair story, while you read of "Lissa," who is my friend, think of this...Lissa loves her mom dearly. She still does and always has. She visits her almost weekly, making the hour-and-a-half each way drive to spend just a few hours talking with her. She still has many demons to overcome and has had a hard road to trsvel. But she supports and stands by her mother steadfastly.

I believe Ann Rule usually gets to know the people she writes of, but in this case, she has no idea about these people, Debora or Lissa, and she only knows of Mike the fascade he put on for her.

Keep your eye on this case. There are new developments in arson investigation and some of the top experts in the world are interested in Debora.

If you want to know, please feel free to email me. It is my hope that the truth of this story gets out someday.

3-0 out of 5 stars Riveting but disturbing
This was a difficult book to rate - it was riveting and fascinating to read, but Rule's one-sided sympathy with Mike was hard to take. Frankly, I think he may have been guilty. He clearly is a user - he married Deborah in large part because he was impressed with her earnings and achievements, and then he expected her to transform herself to suit him - ie, he valued neatness, order and schedules, so she was a bad person because she did not. Clearly, her fall from confidence and sanity during the marriage had something to do with having a husband who conveyed that she was not ok as is, but needed to change to meet his standards to be acceptable to receive his love. He was an adulterer who used both Deborah and Celeste, and seemed more concerned about his own feelings and problems than any danger to his children. Which makes me wonder, like other reviewers, if he didn't set Deborah up for a fall because he was tired of being married to her, especially based upon his reaction at the time of the fire. Also, all the emphasis on handsome v. ugly bugged me, since I didn't think Mike was handsome, on the inside or the out.
It would be fascinating to know the real story - which I feel is still hidden beneath the facts in the book. ... Read more

by Edward Humes
list price: $26.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0684831740
Catlog: Book (1999-02-19)
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Sales Rank: 211660
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Bakersfield, California, has earned a reputation for being tough on crime. District Attorney Ed Jagels took much of the credit for the incredible conviction rates in Bakersfield courtrooms, from high-profile child molestation ring busts to cases like that of Pat Dunn, a retired high school principal who was found guilty of murdering his wife--despite a disturbing lack of evidence linking him to the crime. Mean Justice tells Dunn's story compellingly, from his childhood in Bakersfield to the trial that would put him away for life. It chronicles his solid belief in justice and authority and his gradual disenfranchisement with the system that railroaded him for reasons that could only be political.

Humes's exhaustive account also covers prosecuting attorney Ed Jagels's rise to political power and influence and the juggernaut of prosecutorial misconduct that caught many others, along with Dunn, in its fury. But it is at its core the horrifying story of an innocent man who had faith in a system that would eventually destroy him. It's not an easy story to digest, and it is apparently not an isolated incident: Humes brings up case after case where seemingly innocent people were arrested, prosecuted, ostracized, and jailed for crimes that may or may not have even occurred. Mean Justice is a gripping and fascinating book that deserves to be read on many counts. --Lisa Higgins ... Read more

Reviews (50)

3-0 out of 5 stars Humes an advocate as much as a journalist
There are early parts of this book that can seem comically one-sided. By the end, the reader is persuaded by the overwhelming evidence that Dunn cannot possibly be guilty. But in the opening pages, Dunn's behavior is so bizarre, so eccentric, so plain weird, that it seems perfectly understandable that the police consider him a suspect. And when Humes tries to explain away Dunn's behavior as ordinary and natural, it diminishes his credibility throughout the rest of the book.
However, I'm a great admirer of Humes. His writing is amazing and his books are smart and readable. Like 'Mississippi Mud,' this one cries for an update. Check his Web site if you want to read more.
This is also a good jumping-off point for reading further about some of the shameful Bakersfield scandals of the '80s and '90s.

5-0 out of 5 stars Power gone awry
I've been interested in issues of criminal justice, particularly those of the witch hunts of the last several years. You know, there was the McMartin trial, a joke of astronomical proportions. Then there were "recovered memory" cases, and those of the alleged Satanic conspiracies. It seems the Prince of Darkness has emissaries here on earth abducting our kids, eating those he's forced us to abort, and on and on and on. Trouble is, as even senior FBI investigators have admitted, there's no evidence to suggest that these atrocities ever took place. No bodies, no dark rooms, no blood. Hmm. Makes a guy wonder.

Then I talked with an acquaintance who's interested in some of the same subject matter. After our discussion, I looked at and found this volume.

First, allow me to confess that I nearly gave the book four stars. I did so only because there is so much detail as to be almost overwhelming. But then I had to give it five (or more, if it were possible!) The detail is more than necessary for reasons which follow.

The text is ostensibly about the trial of Pat Dunn. He was a former high school principal whose wife died under mysterious circumstances. The prosecutors in Kern County, California, were so zealous that they performed what was the TRUE subject of the book: prosecutorial misconduct. That is, indeed, where the subject digressed from merely Pat Dunn. It seems the law enforcement apparatus of that county has a reputation for being "tough on crime." So tough, alas, that there were countless people going to jail. First that was the massive--yes, Satanic Conspiracy trial. Hundreds were sent to jail for a long, long time. The prosecution used dubious questioning tactics of children, social workers who should have been in the local home for the bewildered--again, on and on. Then a young black athlete was convicted under equally dubious circumstances. Then others. I could get tired of putting, "on and on" here so assume it's a phrase I'd use more if I even had to.

By the way, most of those convictions had been overturned; all, so far, except Pat Dunn's, despite the lack of any evidence to convince a sane court of his guilt.

Then there's the issue(s) of the convicted criminals whom the prosecutors made deals with to convict the accused--while the prosecutors kept details of such deals out of views of the defense and the juries. (I add something the book barely mentioned: if there are obviously innocent people in prison because of prosecutors more intent on winning then on finding the truth, then there are the guilty who are still among us! That alone is a criminal offense for which the prosecutors should be prosecuted!)

Among the conclusions of the book is that such misconduct seems to be happening all over the US. Indeed, the accused are losing their right to appeal; in G.W. Bush's Texas, the state with the greatest number of executions, exculpatory evidence was not permitted after a limited time so that evidence enough to free a convicted murderer could no longer be presented as evidence. So an obviously innocent men was put to death.

There's so much in the book I'm not even sure where to go with it. The text certainly affirms my acquaintance's observation that probably 15 percent in prison haven't done anything. (That proportion is suggested by the book too to apply to the death penalty. Many on death row have been freed over the last few years due to the misconduct of the prosecutors and the courts. And that doesn't even include the many whom the state has put to death who were not guilty.)

Who is criminal given those stats?

The second of the book's appendices consists of several pages of convictions obtained through the prosecutorial misconduct that is the real subject of the book. That itself is an eye-opener. (The first appendix, incidentally, is a list of the convictions and how many are still in prison after retrials or the cases having been thrown out in Kern County itself--many after the accused have spent incredible times in prison after bogus convictions. That information alone should cause the impeachment or resignation, and conviction of those parties to the courts of that county!)

The author concludes that the system is rigged to sustain itself. Try to find courts who've overturned convictions even when the prosecutor was exposed as a fraud who should have been jailed for his/her performance in the trial. They exist but they're few and far between.

To me the point of the book is that there MUST be a price to pay for the prosecutors and even judges for the sort of misconduct the book so amply demonstrates. I mean, these people are supposed to be public servants. Instead, they're public menaces, making a sham out of anything remotely "just." (Ironically, the Kern County DA, who claims to be a Republican, is more akin to a Soviet bureaucrat than most in positions such as his!) I think, in fact, that the most severe punishments should be reserved for those who abuse their authority like those described by the book.

Read this important book and make your own decisions as to how to punish these criminals, who are more a "lead" in the book than Pat Dunn. But be prepared to have your assumptions of American criminal "justice" challenged.

5-0 out of 5 stars It's about time
Ed Jagels is a crooked person.It is about time someone told what he is like.

2-0 out of 5 stars Spin, spin and more spin
I couldn't wait to read this book. I thoroughly enjoyed Mr. Humes' earlier work, "No Matter How Loud I Shout." I found NMHLIS to be balanced and thoughtful. Interested in reading more from this engaging author, and as a Southern California transplant originally from Bakersfield, I was immediately drawn to this book. Unfortunately, in "Mean Justice" Mr. Humes appears to have lost the reasoned approach that provided NMHLIS a ring of credibility.

"Mean Justice" presents an overtly biased perspective of the Kern County Sheriff's Dept/D.A.'s office. The tendency of the author to portray evidence indicative of Dunn's guilt as "unfortunate setbacks" to the defense case is hypocritical; especially since any minor inconsistency between prosecution witnesses' accounts are depicted as some blatant attempt to railroad an innocent man.

What a disappointment this book proved to be! There was a great deal of repetition as Humes attempts to bully the reader into accepting his flawed perspective of things. I think the truth is probably somewhere between the two extremes represented in "Mean Justice," but we will never know the truth from this book. Humes zealously advocates for his version of the "truth" in this biased presentation of "evidence".

Mr. Humes is a gifted storyteller, and I found the book engaging as pure entertainment; however, Mr. Humes' trustworthiness as a reporter of the facts was delivered a fatal blow by "Mean Justice."

Enjoy the story, but read this book with a critical eye for its inherent bias.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Must Read.
It's been a while since I've read the book, but I wanted to share some of the general impressions that I had of this book when I read it.By showing the example of inadequate police work in one community, the author is able to raise many questions about the legal system in America. Plenty of evidence is given in this book which shows that a person was convicted for murder and likely sits in prison unjustly. Anyone who believes that justice is always served in our court systems should read this book to learn how various factors can come together to work against possibly innocent persons. This book is important, intriguing, and difficult to put down. ... Read more

194. The Valachi Papers
by Peter Maas
list price: $12.95
our price: $9.71
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 006050742X
Catlog: Book (2003-03-01)
Publisher: Perennial
Sales Rank: 45573
Average Customer Review: 4.78 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The First Inside Account of the Mafia

In the 1960s a disgruntled soldier in New York's Genovese Crime Family decided to spill his guts. His name was Joseph Valachi. Daring to break the Mob's code of silence for the first time, Valachi detailed the organization of organized crimefrom the capos, or bosses, of every Family, to the hit men who "clipped" rivals and turncoats. With a phenomenal memory for names, dates, addresses, phone numbers -- and where the bodies were buried -- Joe Valachi provided the chilling facts that led to the arrest and conviction of America's major crime figures.

The rest is history.

Never again would the Mob be protected by secrecy. For the Mafia, Valachi's name would become synonymous with betrayal. But his stunning exposÉ. broke the back of America's Cosa Nostra and stands I today as the classic about America's Mob, a fascinat ing tale of power and terror, big money, crime ... and murder.

... Read more

Reviews (9)

5-0 out of 5 stars First Inside Look at the Mafia
Many have denigrated Joe Valachi's testimony as being only the limited view of a street-level Mafia soldier, largely hearsay and often possibly erroneous. There is a certain amount of truth in these judgements. It is also true that, unlike earlier stool pigeon Abe Reles twenty years earlier, Valachi's testimony didn't directly send anyone to prison and some of what he told was old news anyway. On the other hand, Valachi was a "made member" of what he called Cosa Nostra for over thirty years and his criminal career dated to the 1920's. He may not have always been a major participant but he was there and saw the formation of the modern Mob as we know it. The Castellammarese War, Lucky Luciano, Dutch Schultz and Tom Dewey, Murder Inc., the Costello years, the intrigues of Vito Genovese, Valachi was on hand and his is the first detailed inside account of the formative years of the American Mafia. Compare The Valachi Papers to the nonsense written about the Mafia in the '50's. His expertise may have been limited to New York but before he turned no one outside the organization really knew anything about the Mafia, its bosses or its family structure. No one outside the organization had any idea that five crime "families" existed in New York or that the organization was divided into "families" until Valachi came along. Or that there was a national commission. Say what you will, Valachi exposed the Mob and put it in the spotlight for all to see. It's been there ever since and we have Joe to thank for this. And Peter Maas for turning his memoirs into a wonderful book.

5-0 out of 5 stars Opening up the mafia to regular people
There are books that without them you would never have a basis for any other to follow. The Valachi Papers is the book that set the Mafia on its heels and allowed the world to see and finally get a look into the "real" underworld.

By far one the best reads I have had this year and certainly a must read for anyone weho thinks they know what the mafia is all about. This is the book that started it all and gave me my start into a whole world.

What this book does is tear down the walls of mystery and open your mind to new ideas about the mob. The book shows how it happened and what took place. Due to some of testimony being somewhat graphic younger reader may want to take caution before they begin the book.

The book is far better than the movie and knowing that this was told by someone on the inside makes it all that more exciting to read. Overall if you want to know where it all began, than look no further that this book.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great book
I dont read much as I find books get boring after about half way through. I read this entire book within a week and never got boring.

4-0 out of 5 stars Great Book
This is a well written book.I only noticed some minor things I did not like. If you like books about Italians who are criminals this is the one for you. Serpico was great also

5-0 out of 5 stars Valachi Papers
This is great book Mr.Maas has written.It takes you into the underworld like few have since.With Joe Valachi's words.He tells the story of the birth of the underworld as we know it today.How it was organized into families.What rackets he was involed in and how he worked day to day in his crew. ... Read more

by Christopher Ruddy
list price: $25.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0684838370
Catlog: Book (1997-10-01)
Publisher: Free Press
Sales Rank: 295057
Average Customer Review: 4.45 out of 5 stars
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Ever since the night that deputy White House counselor Vincent Foster was found dead in a Washington, D.C., park, conspiracy theories about his death have abounded. Everyone from evangelist Jerry Falwell to talk-show host Rush Limbaugh has weighed in with his or her own version of events: Foster was murdered; his body was moved; the investigation into his death became a giant cover-up. Christopher Ruddy, a reporter for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, a paper owned by conservative Richard Scaife, has entered the fray with The Strange Death of Vincent Foster.

As Ruddy goes over the evidence, it becomes increasingly clear that the initial investigative work by the park police and the FBI was mishandled--evidence was poorly collected and documented, the autopsy was hardly comprehensive, and eyewitness accounts differed drastically. In addition, the role of White House counsel Bernard Nussbaum in obstructing the police search of Foster's office and belongings was undoubtedly out of line. Do shoddy police work and overzealous political posturing add up to a vast governmental conspiracy? Ruddy suggests they do; readers of The Strange Death of Vincent Foster may or may not reach the same conclusion. ... Read more

Reviews (22)

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent analysis of another government cover-up
I found this book absolutely fascinating. The author is to be congratulated for his evidence-gathering and hard work. By writing this book Ruddy angered not only the usual sinister suspects in the Clinton administration, but also the small-minded neo-conservative clique at the National Review, Weekly Standard, and The American Spectator, who were just jealous that they didn't delve deeper into Foster's death from the start. Every day we are discovering the truth about US government complicity in the Waco massacre and One World Government, so it is only a matter of time before a Clinton crony comes forward with more irrefutable evidence of the Clinton regime's guilt in the Foster matter. Turns out the so-called "vast right-wing conspiracy" has been 100% correct all along! This book is highly recommended.

4-0 out of 5 stars Ruddy discloses the facts; you draw the conclusions
Whether your predilection is liberal or conservative, you must agree that the death of Vincent Foster was most unusual. Christopher Ruddy focuses on these unusual circumstances in a compelling narrative that reveals the possibility of obstruction of justice both within and outside the White House. I read the book cover to cover without putting it down. The thing I liked most about Ruddy's treatment was the fact that he did not confuse the reader by inserting his own beliefs into the book. He states the facts, but doesn't draw the obvious conclusions. He allows the reader to draw his or her own conclusions. If you like a good murder mystery; if you like a good conspiracy drama; if you like to believe that someone still cares about the Constitution, you'll like this book.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great book!
A fascinating account of yet another bungled White House cover-up. The author is to be commended not only for writing a compelling book but also for his excellent research skills. It is obvious from reading some of the negative reader reviews that many people write reviews without reading anything but the flyleaf. Books like these only make me more grateful to be a Canadian!

1-0 out of 5 stars The Strange Death of the Truth
This book is nothing more than a compilation of hypothetical "what ifs." The author posits no evidence and does nothing more than simply spew forth his opinion that the Clintons are evil and therefore must be up to foul play. Treat this book like the hogwash that it is.

5-0 out of 5 stars Disgusted
There is a reason why this book is so hard to find...there are people who dont want this information out there. I was glued to this book until I was finished. I always felt as if the story that the news media and the government gave us was acceptable until I read this book! ... Read more

196. Devil's Knot : The True Story of the West Memphis Three
by Mara Leveritt
list price: $14.00
our price: $10.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0743417607
Catlog: Book (2003-10-01)
Publisher: Atria
Sales Rank: 28362
Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

"Free the West Memphis Three."

Maybe you've heard the phrase.

But do you know why their story is so alarming?

Do you know the facts?

The guilty verdicts handed out to three Arkansas teens in a horrific capital murder case were popular in their home state -- even upheld on appeal. But after two HBO documentaries called attention to the witch-hunt atmosphere at the trials, artists and other supporters raised concerns about the accompanying lack of evidence. Now, award-winning journalist Mara Leveritt provides the most comprehensive look yet into this endlessly shocking case.

For weeks in 1993, after the murders of three eight-year-old boys, police in West Memphis, Arkansas, seemed stymied. Then suddenly, detectives charged three teenagers -- alleged members of a satanic cult -- with the killings. Despite stunning investigative blunders, a confession riddled with errors, and an absence of physical evidence linking any of the accused to the crime, the teenagers were tried and convicted. Jurors sentenced Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley to life in prison. They sentenced Damien Echols, the accused ringleader, to death. Ten years later, all three remain in prison. Here, Leveritt unravels this seemingly medieval case and offers close-up views of its key participants, including one with an uncanny knack for evading the law.... ... Read more

Reviews (48)

5-0 out of 5 stars Profoundly Disturbing
I suppose there are hundreds of cases such as this hidden away in American history justice files - sensational crimes, creating mass hysteria, law enforcement officials desperate to catch a break and solve terribly violent murders. What is most profoundly disturbing about "Devil's Knot - The True Story of the West Memphis Three," a well-researched and eye-opening account by Mara Leveritt, is there is no comfortable resolution to this case.

If the three teenagers who were convicted in the slayings of three eight-year-old boys in 1993 are truly guilty - as the juries found them - then it is a sad testament to the ever-decreasing humanity existing within the interstate wasteland of faceless trailer parks, strip malls and fast food dives. However, if these three anti-social teens were railroaded simply because they were counterculture, adorned in black listening to Metallica and Black Sabbath while perusing Anne Rice, then this morbid tale is an example of a modern-day witch-hunt akin to the Salem Witch Trails hundreds of years ago.

Has justice been served in West Memphis, Arkansas - a small, faceless Southern town near the banks of the Mississippi River? Someone murdered those three innocent boys in or near the woods outside of town. But is that someone truly behind bars?

When reading "Devil's Knot," it is abundantly clear these law enforcement officials had little experience dealing with a violent case such as this. The crime scene was contaminated, officers didn't follow leads, interviews were not recorded, evidence was lost, witnesses were threatened, body conditions leaked to the press. Most disturbing of all, there seemed to be an inability by these desperate officials to believe a God-fearing resident of their community - one of them - could ever murder three boys in this brutal a fashion.

"It had to be someone who is not one of us. Someone who does not believe in God."

When terrible crimes like this happen in our society, there is always an instinctive reaction to find a boogey man - some kind of monster not one of us. Damien Echols, goth and counterculture, with a creepy (though creative) presence fueled by depression and smalltown restraint, made the perfect boogey man for a wounded community trying to understand and cope.

It is clear when reading "Devil's Knot" that Damien fueled much of this talk, and relished his role as eventual goth martyr. It is also clear mentally handicapped Jessie Misskelley, Jr. was intimidated and taken advantage of during his 11-hour ordeal when he eventually implicated himself, Damien and Jason Baldwin in the murders. The confession itself is so unconvincing as to be surreal. And the scant evidence - some of which was discovered or found months after the murders, was never scientifically related or matched to a single wound on the victims' bodies. But drop the name of Satan or Cult into a hysterically uneducated, conservatively religious town needing, if not wanting, to lynch someone for these murders, and all bets are off. All workings of a fair justice system are suddenly crippled. Damien and company made the perfect boogey men. Of course, Damien and company could truly be the boogey men we have always feared since the beginning of time......since the days of Salem Witch Trials.

From all sides, this is an ugly story. As America, one way or another, we should be ashamed. "Devil's Knot" documents this in perfect fashion.

5-0 out of 5 stars An outstanding and important book
I highly recommend this book - it is a carefully researched, thoroughly documented account of the miscarriage of justice in West Memphis, Arkansas. Three teenagers were charged and convicted with the brutal murders of three children in 1993. Leveritt's research uncovers some startling and disturbing truths about the case, including serious questions about the ethics and professional conduct of law enforcement officers and prosecutors. The strength of this book is in its ability to let the reader draw her own conclusion from the evidence presented.

If there is any flaw in this book, it is that it is so detailed and analytical it sometimes reads like a textbook. However, given the significance of this case and the important lessons we need to learn from it, I think the research and footnotes are a small price to pay. Please read this book if you are interested in criminal justice.

5-0 out of 5 stars Unreal
This story is the polar opposite of the OJ simpson case and in my opinion, far more disturbing. Two young boys sentenced to life in prison and one to death with NO EVIDENCE???? If this were fiction I would write it off as too far fetched to enjoy. The fact that it is not fiction is unreal.

5-0 out of 5 stars Not only well-researched, but also a fine read
I've followed the case from the start, as I was living in AR when the murders happened. Having seen both documentaries and read the earlier Blood of Innocents, my initial concern was that Devil's Knot might rehash what I had already read and seen of the case.

What I found was that Leveritt's work sheds new light on the case--and not just on the case as it is now (versus where things stood when Blood of Innocents came out. So, whether you are just learning about the case, or you've seen the other materials, read this book.

One last note: I'm confused as to why someone who has not read the book would review it and only give it 3 stars--read the reviews from folks who have read the book; you'll find that we all think it is a must-read for anyone interested in the case, whether it be for legal or religious reasons or both.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Most Horrifying Book
This has to be the most disturbing book I have ever read. The crimes committed against three young West Memphis children were sickening. The guilty deserve no mercy. However, Devil's Knot demonstrates that we still do not know the identity of the guilty. Although three teens were arrested, tried and convicted in 1994, the story is far from over. In fact, more than ten years after the murders and arrests, there are still more questions than answers.
Here is an actual quote from the prosecutor of the three teens:
"There was a lack of physical evidence to tie anyone or anything to the crime scene." -John Fogleman, prosecutor

Maybe rather than debating whether or not we should take "under God" out of the Pledge of Allegiance the debate should be whether to remove "with liberty and justice for ALL." Read this account and see if you agree.

Mara Leveritt tells a nightmare of a story that contains jaw-dropping shocks on nearly every page. A highly recommended book - just prepare to sleep with your light on. ... Read more

197. The Price of Vigilance
by Larry Tart, Robert Keefe
list price: $26.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0804119112
Catlog: Book (2001-06-12)
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Sales Rank: 495874
Average Customer Review: 4.82 out of 5 stars
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Book publishers can't react to current events as quickly as newspapers and magazines, of course, so it's a remarkably fortuitous coincidence when a book comes into print covering a subject that has entered the news unexpectedly. In April 2001, a hostile aerial encounter over international waters forced an American military crew to land its damaged surveillance plane on the Chinese island of Hainan, prompting a nail-biting hostage crisis and hurting relations between the United States and China. Just weeks after this event, Larry Tart and Robert Keefe offered The Price of Vigilance, a historical treatment of airborne reconnaissance during the Cold War--plus a lengthy, hot-off-the-press introduction that describes exactly what happened over the South China Sea and why. This late addition, in fact, may be the most useful and interesting section of The Price of Vigilance. The rest of Tart and Keefe's book describes how airborne reconnaissance operations "played a major role in avoiding armed conflict with the Soviet Union during the Cold War, but at a grave cost in American lives." The authors count 264 Americans dead or missing from engagements with the Soviets, Chinese, North Koreans, North Vietnamese, and Cubans. They pay particularly close attention to the destruction of an Air Force C-130 SIGINT in 1958, over Armenia: "Without even time for a mayday call, 17 men, the majority of them in their late teens or early 20s, had been blasted out of the sky and burned to cinders." They go on to describe how security concerns prevented the Air Force from telling the relatives of these crew members much about what had happened: "The families waited almost four decades before finally learning a few scant details about what happened to their loved ones on that fateful afternoon."

Some readers may consider The Price of Vigilance an aerial version of Blind Man's Bluff, the bestselling story of Cold War submarine espionage. The storytelling, frankly, isn't as good, but The Price of Vigilance nevertheless shines a welcome spotlight on a poorly understood aspect of the Cold War. --John J. Miller ... Read more

Reviews (17)

5-0 out of 5 stars Superbly Detailed, Thoroughly Resarched
Shortly after reading Curtis Peebles' "Shadow Flights," I saw "The Price of Vigilance" on the shelf at my local bookstore. Recognizing the doomed C-130A '528' on the front cover, I could not resist picking the book up.

I was concerned that the introduction of the book began by discussing the recent EP-3E incident near Hainan, PR China, fearing the book was a cheap attempt at capitalizing on recent events. I am glad to say that I thought wrong.

The book is an incredible compendium of incidents between U.S. reconaissance aircraft and Soviet fighters. Every incident is described and analyzed in exacting detail. Even the EP-3E-focused introduction is intensely researched and well thought out. I was impressed that Tart and Keefe were able to acquire internal Soviet documents detailing the incidents and the U.S. reaction, which provides fascinating and fresh viewpoints from which to view these provocative moments of the Cold War.

As mentioned, the introduction focuses almost exclusively on the April 2001 collision involving a U.S. Navy EP-3E ARIES II ELINT aircraft and a Chinese J-8II fighter. The first half of the book details most every hostile incident between U.S. recce crews and Soviet 'defenders,' a history of U.S. aerial SIGINT and COMINT since WWII, and a history of the USAF Security Service, which was responsible for much of the airborne electronic intelligence gathering along the Soviet border regions. The second half of the book details the shootdown of an USAF C-130A on 2 September, 1958 over Soviet Armenia, and its repercussions. The wayward C-130, tail number 60528, lost with all 17 aboard, became a symbol of the risky aerial ELINT game played in the 1950s and 1960s along the Soviet border regions.

Though not as friendly to the causal reader as "Blind Man's Bluff," to which it has been likened, "The Price of Vigilance" is a fascinating look at a shadowy and deadly aspect of the Cold War that is a must-read for anyone interested in the Cold War, the history of surveillance, or someone looking for a real life spy thriller.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Must Read Book
"The Price of Vigilance" by Larry Tart and Robert Keefe is noteworthy for it makes us aware of not only the need for such flights but how costly some are in human sacrifice. The recent Chinese incident is likened to many such episodes during the Cold War, although many were not so lucky and paid the supreme sacrifice; such as the crew of 17 of the C-130 turbojet shot down September 2, 1958 near the Turkish-Soviet Armenian border. My brother M/Sgt George P. Petrochilos was one of the 17 who perished that day.

The authors also in their informative way present the technology and terminology in a clear and comprehensible manner. When one reads this book they can readily understand the need for intelligence surveillance flights. I heartily recommend reading "The Price of Vigilance."

Theresa Petrochilos Durkin

5-0 out of 5 stars VERY detailed
"The Price of Vigilance" would probably be a great PhD dissertation in military history. The reporting is very detailed, and the analysis seems to be objective. The last 50 pages of the book are appendices, reference notes, and an index. Included are many excerpts of letters, reports, and interviews. These excerpts give the book a human touch and help liven up the at-times monotonous recitation of facts and timelines.

The first chapter of the book was written after most of the manuscript was complete, as a review and partial analysis of the EP-3E incident on Hainan Island, China, in April 2001. The book went to press before the plane was returned to the U.S., but the authors comment on changing attitudes in the world of airborne surveillance as compared to the height of the Cold War.

If you're a SERIOUS student of surveillance activities in the the Cold War, you'll find this to be a worthy textbook. More casual readers will probably have trouble getting all the way through.

5-0 out of 5 stars You done good, Larry, Trish Schiesser, Chula Vista, CA
The Price of Vigilance is one of the most informative and historical books of the Cold War that I have had the pleasure to read. I have used this book for researching my own book, THESE GUYS, to come out in about 18 months. The unit 6901st in Zweibrucken (West Germany at the time of Cold War) is mentioned many times, which is difficult to find, if at all. The transcript of MIG Pilots shooting down our C-130 - tail # 60528 is hair raising. This is reality. This is military history at it's best. Writing is superb!Citations are as good as the book! Well done, Larry Tart and Bob Keefe. I salute you.

4-0 out of 5 stars A lot of Detail
Timing is everything in life; the main reason I bought this book was timing. The China / U.S. spy plane midair crash and forced landing had just wrapped up and was still in the general media when this book came out. It sounded interesting and timely so I picked it up. The book covers every signal intelligence flight that was lost during the years of the cold war with primary focus on Europe and the USSR. The authors also included a chapter on the recent China / U.S. incident. I found that the recent events were the most interesting and best-written part of the book.

The number of U.S planes that were either shot at or shot down shocked me by the Russians. I was disappointed by the book dust jacket and the mention that the book would go into more detail about how these flights played a major role in avoiding armed conflict with the Soviet Union during the Cold War. There did not seem to be a lot in the book to back this up, what did the USSR do different because these planes were in the air other then to put together a campaign to harass them.

The book is very detailed and well researched with all most too much detail. I was interested in the full story, but the book just overloaded me with so much detail I felt like I was getting a military briefing by the crew. Because of the many details and the dry writing, the book can drag a little in parts. It is interesting and if you are interested in the topic you will find value. ... Read more

198. Understanding Street Gangs
by Robert K. Jackson, Wesley D. McBride
list price: $29.95
our price: $29.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0942728173
Catlog: Book (2000-01-01)
Publisher: Wadsworth Publishing
Sales Rank: 77899
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

UNDERSTANDING STREET GANGS offers a unique and pioneering approach to the street and prison gang dilemma and provides both local and national perspective. This popular book is used by colleges, universities, and academies, and also for advanced officer training throughout the country.The authors are leading authorities on gang activities. No other book offers such insight or understanding into this escalating threat. It covers causative factors, family structure and profiles, socioeconomic pressures, and drugs. It also defines gangs, membership, structure and organization, communication, and measurements of gang violence, offers perspective on gang activity, and suggests possible solutions. ... Read more

Reviews (1)

4-0 out of 5 stars Good practical knowledge for training cops
I bought this book probably in '87 at Long Beach Uniform.It had good information at the time of publication concering the gangs in the greater LA area at the time.Gang associations, graffiti, turf, activity, and turfs are covered.Crimes known to be done by certain gangs are covered, heredity of the latino gangs, tattos, etc. are both covered and photos shown.
Seems like a good informational book with little narrative about what society should do about them.I was surprised I am the first reviewer of the book.I had thought a policeman or trainee would have long ago reviewed this book. ... Read more

199. Murder and Mayhem: A Doctor Answers Medical and Forensic Questions for Mystery Writers
by D. P. Lyle
list price: $23.95
our price: $16.29
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Asin: 0312309457
Catlog: Book (2003-01-09)
Publisher: St. Martin's Minotaur
Sales Rank: 101103
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

In Murder and Mayhem: A Doctor Answers Medical and Forensic Questions for Mystery Writers, Dr. D. P. Lyle culls the best of his popular "The Doctor Is In" question-and-answer column for the Mystery Writers of America, in which he answers medical and forensic questions from writers all over the country.

A frequent advisor to published mystery writers, as well as writers for TV shows such as Law and Order, Dr. Lyle tackles subjects such as traumatic injuries, doctors and hospitals, weapons of death, poisons and drugs, police and the crime scene, the coroner and the crime lab, and more. In extremely organized and accessible detail, he answers questions spanning a wide range: Do pupils shrink or enlarge with death? Can X rays be copied? Can ingested cocaine kill? How soon do strangulation bruises appear?

Lively and accessible, this solid reference book is bound for every mystery writer's shelf.
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Reviews (6)

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Medical Advice for Crime Writers
Putrefaction. Poison. Parasites. Why hair doesn't have DNA. How to trick a lie detector. What really happens when you "get the wind knocked out" of you.

These are just a few of the fascinating topics that California cardiologist D.P. Lyle Lyle has culled from his columns for Mystery Writers of America chapter newsletters and compiled into this handy, easy-to use crime writers reference.

His conversational style and comprehensive, sensible answers make the information so accessible that the book is actually a pleasant read, notwithstanding its ability to provide nefarious inspiration as well. From the smart cover art to the 19 illustrations and the reader friendly lay-out, Murder and Mayhem evidences the care taken in every step of its production to make the book useful time and again.

5-0 out of 5 stars Fun, and very useful
This book is a collection of question-and-answer columns that Dr. Lyle wrote for Mystery Writers of America newsletters, so it's not exactly a comprehensive reference: some information is presented briefly, some is covered at great length, and some is repeated. But he covers a wide variety of topics useful to writers of mysteries and other fiction -- everything from the effects of various wounds and poisons, to what happens during a miscarriage, to who serves as the coroner in a small town. So, unless your character is an extremely ingenious murderer or suffers from a rare disease, you can probably find the information you need to write a convincing description. Also, Dr. Lyle has a good grasp of the writer's perspective, so he's very helpful in pointing out whether an author has "wiggle room" or not; this distinction isn't always clear in medical reference material. The book is easy to read, lively, and often funny, and if you're fascinated by medical details (how can the M.E. tell if someone drowned in fresh or salt water?), you'll find it enthralling -- but if not, you can always skip to the next question. Three thumbs up! (MY character has an extra digit.)

5-0 out of 5 stars A Doctor's Guide to Murder and Mayhem
Although designed for mystery writers, Dr. Lyle's book is an exciting discovery for mystery readers and forensic experts. The material is organized and accessible for someone needing a reference with specific forensic questions and answers but personally I read it cover-to-cover, nonstop.

D. P. Lyle, MD has created a most unusual, entertaining reference that is as much fun as the works of the top mystery writers and scriptwriters for whom the doctor consults. My only fear is that his book will fall into the hands of murderers!

5-0 out of 5 stars Entertaining and VERY Educational
"Murder and Mayhem" is a MUST have for writers of all genres, readers, and even those glued to a television or the movies. This book is a one stop opportunity to understand the medical and forensic questions that arise in all of the most popular shows, films and books of our time. And on top of being incredibly informative--it's entertaining. I couldn't put it down. DP Lyle, MD is an exceptional writer with a flare for humor. This one is a keeper!!
Kathleen Antrim, Author of "Capital Offense"

It's three am,you're hard at work on your mystery screenplay, and all that's missing is the essential medical clue to solve the murder. Who ya gonna call? Dr. Lyle is the go-to guy for writers looking for the perfect piece of medical knowledge, fillin the blanks that imagination alone simply can't. Even if you aren't a writer, the book is probably the best bathroom reading ever -- endlessly entertaining, witty, and informative. Buy this book! ... Read more

200. Serial Killers: The Method and Madness of Monsters
by Peter Vronsky
list price: $15.00
our price: $10.20
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0425196402
Catlog: Book (2004-09-01)
Publisher: Berkley Publishing Group
Sales Rank: 65004
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The comprehensive examination into the frightening history of serial homicide.

In this unique book, Peter Vronsky documents the psychological, investigative, and cultural aspects of serial murder, beginning with its first recorded instance in Ancient Rome, through fifteenth-century France, up to such notorious contemporary cases as cannibal/necrophile Ed Kemper, Henry Lee Lucas, Ted Bundy, and the emergence of what he classifies as the "serial rampage killer" such as Andrew Cunanan.

Vronsky not only offers sound theories on what makes a serial killer, but also provides concrete suggestions on how to survive an encounter with one-from recognizing verbal warning signs to physical confrontational resistance. Exhaustively researched with transcripts of interviews with killers, and featuring up-to-date information on the apprehension and conviction of the Green River Killer and the Beltway Snipers, Vronsky's one-of-a-kind book covers every conceivable aspect of an endlessly riveting true-crime phenomenon.
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Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent Read
I cannot say much more about this book than the other review, however, I can HIGHLY recommend it.It was by far one of the best books I have ever read pertaining to serial killers and everything inbetween.The author adds a slight comical touch to his writing which makes it a definite hook book, and gives a broadrange of topics covered to peak anyones interest.I have read many books on serial killers and profiling and this tops them all.

5-0 out of 5 stars Definitive History of Serial Murder
Right from the beginning the author of this book states that he is not an expert on serial killers-he is just like most readers-a curious amateur.The only difference from the rest of us, he writes, is that he very briefly encountered by accident two serial killers before they were captured.That difference is not that he encountered them, but that he discovered that he had done so, he explains.The rest of us might be lucky to have passed by "our" serial killers and not know it.How many, he asks, do we sit next to on the bus or stand behind in line at supermarket and never find out? The discovery of his own encounters, with Richard ("Times Square Ripper") Cottingham in New York and with Andrei ("Red Ripper-Citizen-X) Chikatilo in Russia, inspired Vronsky to write his book-a history of serial killers.

Vronsky's claim to being an amateur is not quite correct.He is a former journalist and according to his website he is currently working on his Ph.D. in history.Not quite the amateur.As a history, Serial Killers:The Method and Madness of Monsters is a formidable work of research paying careful attention to fact and to debunking myths about serial killers.Vronsky traces the historical record on serial homicide back to the Roman Empire and follows it through into medieval times, unearthing the records of serial homicide trials attributing murders to vampires and werewolves, a type of insanity plea of the time, he suggests.He provides a fascinating account of the "London Monster" who a hundred years prior to Jack the Ripper would stalk and stab women on the streets of London, without killing them, and he explores the build-up of sexual crimes against female victims in Europe just before Jack the Ripper comes on the scene.

Vronsky is clearly a historian and often fits the phenomenon of serial murder into a historically social context.He describes the proliferation of serial killing in the sixties by pegging the rise of homicides to the Boston Strangler's murder of one of his victims on the day JFK was buried.He writes, "The death of JFK defined for us the halfway point between Pearl Harbor and 9/11-when bad things stopped happening `over there' and began to occur `over here.'"His description of the proliferation of [...] through the Internet and the decline of the porn stores on Times Square and [...] tenuous relationship to fueling homicidal fantasies is fascinating.With an even hand, Vronsky also looks at the relationship of the Bible to fueling those same murderous fantasies.

Serial Killers explores the issue of how many serial killers really are out there and debunks the often cited number of 50,000 missing children that John Walsh, the host of America's Most Wanted, claimed were kidnapped and murdered every year by serial killers.Vronsky takes a hard look at the history of the FBI behavioral sciences profiling and reveals some of its failures and looks at the most recent studies of the weaknesses of profiling.

Serial Killers:The Method and Madness of Monsters is divided into three parts-into three histories-the history of the crime, the history of the psychology of serial killers, and the history of investigating and defeating them.The most compelling chapter perhaps is the final one on defeating serial killers:what you can do if a serial killer encounters or captures you to increase your chances of survival.Citing numerous studies of surviving victims, Vronsky takes the reader through various intensities of encounters looking at the various actions taken by victims who survived.The relationship between the serial killer and the surviving victim is perhaps the most horrifying treatment of serial murder that I have read for what it reveals about all the cases where the victim did not survive.

Vronsky's book is a compelling read, bridging academic literature on the subject with the drama of true crime writing.His presentation of psychological, historical, and legal theory on serial killers is current and free of academic jargon, accessible to most readers.At the same time, Vronsky peppers his book with detailed accounts of serial murders, some famous like those of the Boston Strangler and Ted Bundy, some recent, like the Green River Killer and the Washington Beltway snipers, and some I have never read about, like the story of Peter Woodcock, a three-time serial killer who patiently waited 35 years for a six-hour escorted day-pass from prison for an opportunity to kill again.But even in his treatment of famous cases, Vronsky brings to bear his training as a historian.His exploration of Ted Bundy, for example, seeks to resolve all the conflicting accounts that vary from book to book, as does Vronsky's exploration of the origins of the term "serial killer."Where the author fails to resolve the conflict, he lays out all the alternative possibilities.

The approach to meticulous detail, to debunking numerous myths, to the most recent cases, and to the most current advances in the psychology and investigative techniques in serial murder makes this book one of the best and most up-to-date on the history of serial killers.There is something for everyone in this book.While there are numerous encyclopedic treatments of the history of serial murder, this book provides a detailed account of the salient issues in serial homicide.It is well indexed and evenly footnoted citing the hundreds of sources the Vronsky researched in producing this history.There is a photo insert in the book, some never seen before, but the reader is warned that some are extremely graphic and horrifying.

Certainly the best overall history of the subject available out there-perhaps the only one of its kind.
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