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review 2018-01-16 20:21
Doesn't Really Work as a Collection
Mortal Danger and Other True Cases - Ann Rule

I think that Rule should have kept the first story as it's own standalone cause that with the other stories doesn't really work. 

 

Mortal Danger (3 stars)-The first story is about Kathy Ann Jewell and her affair with a man that she really didn't know. I think that Rule dragged things out way too much and there were a lot of holes. I imagine cause she didn't have a chance to talk to the man who was the focus of her story here, John Branden. We do read about how mentally and physically abusive Branden is to Kathy Ann over the years finally culminating in an incident that left Kahty Ann raped, beaten, and fearing for her life. When Rule tries to follow what little Branden leaves behind when he moves onto another woman, named Turi Bentley. When the story shifts to Turi, there's not much there. Ultimately a sad story.

 

Written in Blood (3 stars)-It took me a while to realize that I had heard of this story before while watching Forensic Files. Rule was really repetitive in this story though she did add on some things I had not heard about before. It appears the man who ultimately was responsible for the murder of his neighbors (Daniel Tavares) and possible serial killer. And then we are told that the man in question was molested by his mother's one boyfriend (that still lived with him) and there could be potentially other things that were done to him as well. BTW this is not to excuse the man, it's just we are flung a lot of information our way as readers and it didn't feel as if Rule had done a lot of research or culling to make the story more coherent. We don't get a sense of the murdered married couple, Bev and Brian Mauck. 

 

If I Can't Have You... (3 stars)-The story of Amelia Jager who ended up marrying the wrong man. After visiting Switzerland she meets a man that she falls head over heels about. Realizing he has a mental disorder, she realizes she needs to move back to America and divorce him when there is nothing more she can do. I felt sad about this story since it appears he never should have been given permission to fly to the U.S. This was a fairly short story in the collection though. I didn't get a sense of Amelia at all.

 

Thirty Years Later (4 stars)-This was odd. I didn't like the first part of the story at all. But when Rule goes into what at first doesn't seem to be a similar case, things tied up in the end.

 

Not Safe at Home (3 stars)-Fairly short and just sad. A woman who was attacked, raped, and murdered by someone she thought she knew. Rule ends about women living alone should be doubly cautious and I wanted very badly to add anyone living alone should be cautious. Anyone not living alone should be cautious. Bad things happen in the daylight, night time or even if you have dogs, a burglar alarm, or weapons. 

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review 2018-01-16 19:46
Two Women, One Man Who Didn't Know How to Let Go
Too Late to Say Goodbye: A True Story of Murder and Betrayal - Ann Rule

The cases depicted in this book also showed up on Forensic File and Murderous Affairs. Apparently those shows just look for true crime thrillers to show.

 

This one didn't quite work for me just because I think that Rule had a huge reach about some things (she claimed one woman had to be brainwashed) and her back and forth to two different time periods didn't work all that well. The ending just kind of happens and I felt like there was more missing. 

 

"Too Late to Say Goodbye" is a true crime book about Jenn Corbin and Dolly Hearn. Jenn Corbin is found dead one morning with a gunshot wound. Initially thought as probable suicide, things about Jenn's marriage come to light which leads to questions about what could her husband, Doctor Bart Corbin (a dentist) have to possibly do with her death. When the manner of Jenn's death is investigated, it comes up that a woman that Bart dated during dentistry school also committed suicide found with a gunshot to her head. When the police start digging, it starts to look like Bart Corbin may have played a role in both women's death.

 

I thought Rule did a good job showing us Jenn and Dolly in her book. Rule better than anyone I think in true crime books is able to make the person(s) that are lost feel like living/breathing people that you mourn when they are gone.

 

I just think she missed the mark a bit with Jenn and Dolly. I don't think she meant to, but I thought she pretty much lays things at Dolly's feet with her not being forceful enough to not see Bart anymore after the number of accidents/minor crimes occurred. I just don't get how the police didn't do more when the guy was breaking into her apartment and poured hairspray into her contact lens solution. That right there was assault to me. 

 

Same problem with Jenn who goes looking for some comfort outside of her marriage via an online game. She at times seems to blame Jenn for getting catfished (that's a term now, not anymore) and says she thinks that the person in question brainwashed her. I wish that Rule had stuck with the story in this one and not had tried to psychoanalyze these women.

 

The writing was okay, but honestly, parts of the book read as filler. I think Rule wanted to stretch it out because the eventual trials end up being non-starters. 


The ending didn't work for me either since it felt like a lot of things were left unsaid. 

 

 

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review 2018-01-16 19:37
Really Good True Crime Book that Has Been Discussed on Many TV Shows
Bitter Harvest (True Crime Files) - Ann Rule

So it's weird. I have owned this book for a while, but never got around to reading it. I think it's because I watched this on a couple of television shows (Forensic Files and Murderous Affairs). So to read Ann Rule's insight into a couple that ended up in a toxic marriage that resulted in a fire that killed two of their children will have you reading each page while holding your breath.

 

The incident takes place in 1995, but we go back to see the beginning of the married couple (Doctor Debora Green and her husband Doctor Michael Farrrar). Initially attracted to his skinner and more lively wife (the number of times it's said that Debora is not attractive anymore due to her weight gain, haircut, and clothes is unreal) when he first meets her, Michael realizes pretty quickly he made a bad decision. I don't even know what to say about this, because I know a lot of friends who have married in haste and repented in leisure. In Michael's case he realized it was a mistake on their wedding night. I also get from the story that includes quotes from Debora (Rule did visit with her) I don't think she ever really liked him too. Instead, I think they both stayed with each other due to expectations foisted on them by what society expects of a man/woman. 

 

I didn't like Debora, but I also didn't like Michael Farrar. I felt for their three kids (Tim, Kelly, and Lissa) and just felt as if the two adults in this situation were acting like children. You are also going to get to read about Farrar having an affair. I like that Rule doesn't pull any punches with her depictions of everyone in this one. I don't think she cared for Farrar that much either. Even so, I did have sympathy for the man when you realize what he and his family (his kids) have been put through. One wonders if there could have been anything he could have done if more people had been willing to call out something that they saw was wrong (a mother who was being emotionally manipulative of her kids and an actual danger to her husband). 


We also get an insight into a woman that Farrar has an affair with (I had some thoughts about her) as well as the law enforcement and prosecution that is involved with this. 


I really enjoyed the writing in this one. Probably because Rule managed to keep the story moving along without any huge digressions into other things. I think her having just one story to tell and not an anthology helped things along the way. 

 

The setting is primarily focused in Kansas and you do get a great sense of the area/neighborhood and how tight knit the community was before and after the events in this book. 

 

Even when you think you are at an end, Rule comes back and shows you what Debora's side of the story is/was and you just end up shaking your head all over again. 

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review 2018-01-02 16:35
Didn't Really Care For This Bunch of Stories, Some Interesting Cases
Smoke, Mirrors, and Murder: And Other True Cases (Ann Rule's Crime Files) - Ann Rule

Rule usually starts off her volumes with a longer case up front, and shorter cases towards the end. I thought that this one read as filler honestly. She just seemed to find out stories concerning wives that she could write about. There are not a lot of satisfactory stories in this one. 


The Deputy's Wife (5 stars)-Sad story of a woman who finally realizes her husband is not someone she wants to be with anymore after suffering verbal and physical abuse by him. Her husband, a former deputy seems hell-bent on getting the money he thinks he is owed. He sets up a hit-man plot when he goes to jail to take out her, their two children, and her sister. Terrible man from beginning to end.

 

The Antique Dealer's Wife (2 stars)-I don't like stories where people get away with their crimes. And the man in question, Raoul Guy Rockwell gets away with murdering his wife and her daughter by her first marriage. Rule includes some follow-up with her alluding to the fact that Rockwell continued on and got married twice after his first marriage. I don't know if it's true or not, but in the end I was not satisfied with the fact he went on without having to pay for his crimes. 


The Truck Driver's Wife (1 star)-Rule actually puts forth a hypothesis that the woman in this story who is found dead on fire spontaneously combusted. It made no sense to me. This is also the second story in this volume where you don't get a true sense of ending since you don't know who did this or why.

 

The Convict's Wife (2 stars)- I ended up feeling for the convict's wife in this one. She marries one man who beats and abuses her on a daily basis. He forces them to move repeatedly. When his brother (who he dimed on) gets out of jail she can tell he is attracted to her. So one wonders how truthful the brother in this case was about the wife being involved with a plan to murder his brother. I didn't buy it myself. 

 

The Chemist's Wife (2 stars)-I don't even get why they are calling a 16 year old girl who was dating a 20 something man a wife. I felt sorry for the family in this story since due to the actions of the younger woman when she finally tires of being abused by her long timer partner, tries to leave him, and he stabs her grandparents in front of her.

 

The Painter's Wife (2 stars)-True story of a woman abducted from her home when a convict escapes from the nearby jail. 

 

The Minister's Wife (2 stars)-I hated this story at the time when it occurred. We get into the story of Mary Winkler who murdered her husband while he was sleeping. I still think it was a miscarriage of justice that she got barely any time and was free to go on with her life. I never bought the battered woman story that she and her defense team put out there. 

 

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review 2018-01-02 15:53
Okay Stories, Nothing Really Floated My Boat
No Regrets: Ann Rule's Crime Files: Volume 11 (Ann Rule's Crime Files) - Ann Rule

Definitely did not care for most of the stories in this volume. 


The Sea Captain (3 stars)-I really didn't like this one at all. It is one of the longer stories that Rule tends to start off all of her books with. This one didn't have an engaging story at all. Woman murders husband. Rule throws in tidbits about how the local celebrities (John Saul lived nearby) felt about the case as well as the locals. I never got the feeling anyone was lying about what occurred. It just seemed shocking the woman in question (Nettie Ruth Myers) got away with things as long as she did. 

 

It (Ain't) Hard Out There for the Pimps (1 star)-Rule has a bug up her butt because in 2006, the best song went to "It's Hard Out There for the Pimps" she takes a personal affront because pimps are terrible people. I am not arguing with her there. But I think she jumped way too much to the outrage meter over a song. I feel like she's one of those people that would have said that rap music makes black people violent. I hated the two stories she told since she seemed hell bent on proving her point. 

 

The Runaway and the Solider (2 stars)-Sad story though Rule at times seems to be blaming the young woman and even her family for what became of her.

 

The Tragic Ending of a Bank Robber's Fantasy (3 stars)-once again Rule seems to blame not only the young man who murdered someone, but the victim who she felt should have had enough sense to not struggle to get a gun away from him. This whole story felt confusing, mostly because Rule refers to the murderer (Sam Jesse) by both his first and last name throughout the story.  


A Very Bad Christmas (3 stars)-What a terrible story. It's a story about a family annihilator who wanted to move on and be "young again and date."


To Save Their Souls (3 stars)-I felt pity for the woman in this story who definitely needed mental help. Rule gets into the M'Naughton rule and how in cases like this one, it can cause people who really should receive mental help to be sent to jail. A young mother is left alone with her two sons who she can't feed or keep warm living in a trailer all by themselves. She eventually becomes transfixed on the fact that she and her husband have done evil and her sons need to be protected. 

 

...Or We''ll Kill You (3 stars)-A woman is abducted by two men and using the skills she developed as counselor, manages to survive. 

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