And while we may like to believe that crimes of the heart only victimize those who aren’t careful, this page-turning collection of must-read accounts will convince you otherwise. America’s #1 true-crime writer, Ann Rule reveals how lovers become predators, how sex and lust can push ordinary people to desperate acts, and how investigators and forensics experts work to unravel the most entangled crimes of passion. Extracting behind-the-scenes details, Rule makes these volatile relationships utterly real, and masterfully re-creates the ill-fated chains of events in such cases as the ex-Marine and martial arts master who seduced vulnerable women and then destroyed their lives…the killer whose calling card was a single bloodred rose…the faithless wife who manipulated and murdered without conscience…the blind date that set the stage for a killer’s brutality…and more. In every case, the victim — young and innocent or older and experienced — unknowingly trusted a stranger with the sociopathic skill to hide their dark motives, until it was too late to escape a web of deadly lies, fatal promises, and homicidal possession.
Rule’s true-crime books are cautionary tales, police procedurals, character studies and guilty pleasures. This ninth installment in her Crime Files series features a haunting collection of 10 cases, most of which took place in Washington and Oregon in the 1960s and ’70s. They are stories about love and obsession turned deadly, and they remain relevant today, especially in the light of the Scott Peterson trial. The title entry, about the murder of a pregnant young wife, was finally solved after 36 years thanks to DNA testing. Drawn out for 133 pages, it loses some of its impact because it also encompasses other cold cases that were eventually solved through advances in forensic science. Another story depicts the first modern-day serial killer, who preyed on aspiring starlets in 1950s Hollywood, and explains how the detective who cracked the case went on to create a nationwide tracking system to apprehend serial killers. If there’s a running theme, it’s that most of the victims are women who were acquainted with their killers but had no fear of them; three cases involve husbands murdering their wives. Rule displays immense empathy for the slain women without flinching from describing the often brutal assaults on them. Few true-crime authors write as thoroughly and sensitively as Rule, whose work is simple and straightforward yet as compelling as a good novel. Agent, Joseph and Joan Foley.
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