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Bitter Almonds Audiobook

Bitter Almonds: The True Story of Mothers, Daughters, and the Seattle Cyanide Murders

Stella Nickell's small-time world was one of big-time dreams. In 1986, her biggest one came true when her husband died during a seizure, making her the beneficiary of a $175,000-plus insurance payoff - until authorities discovered that Bruce Nickell's headache capsules had been laced with cyanide. In an attempt to cover her tracks, Stella did the unconscionable. She saw to it that a stranger would also become a 'random casualty' of cyanide-tainted painkillers.
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Publisher's Summary

Stella Nickell's small-time world was one of big-time dreams. In 1986, her biggest one came true when her husband died during a seizure, making her the beneficiary of a $175,000-plus insurance payoff - until authorities discovered that Bruce Nickell's headache capsules had been laced with cyanide. In an attempt to cover her tracks, Stella did the unconscionable.

She saw to it that a stranger would also become a 'random casualty' of cyanide-tainted painkillers. But Stella's cunning plan came undone when her daughter Cynthia notified federal agents. And troubling questions lingered like the secret of bitter almonds...

What would turn a gregarious barfly like Stella into a cold-hearted killer overnight? Why would Cynthia, a mirror image of her mother, turn on her own flesh and blood? Did Cynthia reveal everything she knew about the crimes? The stunning answers would unfold in a case that sparked a national uproar, dug deep into a troubled family history, and exposed an American mother for the pretty poison she was.

©2012 Gregg Olsen (P)2013 Gregg Olsen

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.5 (123 )
5 star
 (29)
4 star
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Overall
3.5 (116 )
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Story
3.7 (117 )
5 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Robyn 09-02-13
    Robyn 09-02-13

    Avid reader of history, biography, and true crime.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    102
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    "first class true crime"

    True crime readers will not be disappointed. Anyone wanting a quick overview of the Stella Nickell story may not be happy with all the detail which Olsen has meticulously tracked down and recounted, but if you want all the ins and outs of the plot and the characters, this book has it all. I wasn't counting, but this family must be in the race for the highest number of house moves and taking up temporary make-shift accommodation with friends or family, the most partner swaps, the most one night stands, the amount of alcohol consumed, and general bad parenting. On the other hand, they were either in work or looking for work, family (except mothers and daughters) were close-knit and stood by each other through thick and thin, and there was always a friend they could turn to in a crisis. Fascinating family, fascinating plot, intriguing outcome. Olsen's research is painstaking and he writes well, although the interweaving of the stories of the two victims' families was a bit confusing at first. Also I felt a bit of the story was missing in my version because it went straight from the jury room deliberations to after the verdict had been handed down which left me baffled about when the verdict had been reached and even more baffled about the phone call to a juror and possible re-trail which were being mentioned. I went back and listened to that section again to make sure it wasn't just me, but it still seemed that part of the book just wasn't there. It is very competently read by Kevin Pierce - a simple straight-forward emotion-free narration - just right for this type of book.

    7 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Georgette 06-11-15
    Georgette 06-11-15
    HELPFUL VOTES
    10
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    "Great A+performance"

    These two are dynamite together Kevin pierce as the reader and the talented Gregg Olson great book/ riveting

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Scott Scarborough, ON, Canada 11-15-13
    Scott Scarborough, ON, Canada 11-15-13 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
    232
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    214
    113
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    4
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Page turner"
    Any additional comments?

    A generally well done true crime thriller. Not a lot of suspense but for those interested in police investigatory procedures it doesn't disappoint.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Douglas Auburn, WA, United States 05-08-15
    Douglas Auburn, WA, United States 05-08-15 Member Since 2008

    College English professor who loves classic literature, psychology, neurology and hates pop trash like Twilight and Fifty Shades of Grey.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Ignore The Negative Reviews Here..."

    Okay, if you want a true crime book dripping in blood and bodily fluids, this is not going to be for you--and you might find something deeper than that "boring." But if you are looking for a book that delves into a crime from all angles: forensics, psychology, methodology--then this is going to be more up your dark alley. Inspired by his mentor Jack Olsen (no relation), Gregg Olsen has written a deep and thoughtful analysis of a very interesting--and curiously complicated--set of murders. A reader truly interested in the forensics, psychology and police work involved in solving a crime will enjoy every minute of this fine book. Gore seekers stay at home.

    7 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    William R. Toddmancillas Chico, California United States 09-15-15
    William R. Toddmancillas Chico, California United States 09-15-15 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Not Olsen's best."
    Would you try another book from Gregg Olsen and/or Kevin Pierce?

    Not sure.


    What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

    That women can be so premeditated and vicious.


    What aspect of Kevin Pierce’s performance would you have changed?

    Nothing. He is a good narrator.


    What else would you have wanted to know about Gregg Olsen’s life?

    Nothing.


    Any additional comments?

    Not one of Olsen's best works. This one drags.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bruce Fort Pierce, FL, United States 09-02-15
    Bruce Fort Pierce, FL, United States 09-02-15 Member Since 2014

    Retired Reader

    HELPFUL VOTES
    30
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    "Interesting - but comes up a bit short"

    I found this book fascinating in the sense that a car wreck can be fascinating. We go through life not realizing there is a whole other culture out there. I was hoping for resolution and closure - but after doing a bit of research into the real case behind the book I now understand why none was possible.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael 06-14-15
    Michael 06-14-15
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    3
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    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Author never disappoints!"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Bitter Almonds to be better than the print version?

    Yes brings the story to life. Enjoy this author as his books are well researched.


    What other book might you compare Bitter Almonds to and why?

    N/A


    Which scene was your favorite?

    N/A


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    N/A


    Any additional comments?

    Stellar

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer Helena, AL United States 03-28-14
    Amazon Customer Helena, AL United States 03-28-14 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
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    "3 hours too long"
    What did you love best about Bitter Almonds?

    It was generally good


    Would you be willing to try another book from Gregg Olsen? Why or why not?

    yes


    Any additional comments?

    The book was good overall but it dragged the last few hours.

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kimberly 03-22-14
    Kimberly 03-22-14
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Stop this bus!"
    Would you try another book from Gregg Olsen and/or Kevin Pierce?

    Maybe


    What do you think your next listen will be?

    Not sure


    What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

    Why not use multiple narrators and use women & men?


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    Boredom, reinforced dislike of trailer parks.


    3 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Margaret Meltzer 04-09-15 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Review"
    Would you try another book from Gregg Olsen and/or Kevin Pierce?

    perhaps.


    Would you be willing to try another book from Gregg Olsen? Why or why not?

    Probably not. I do like true crime stories but I have now read two by this author and both books were very long and drawn out. Almost too much detail so they became boring.


    Did Kevin Pierce do a good job differentiating all the characters? How?

    possibly


    Could you see Bitter Almonds being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

    Yes, a TV series but only if it is made more interesting


    Any additional comments?

    no

    1 of 4 people found this review helpful
Sort by:
  • Geoff
    1/29/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Punchy! Gripping! Intense!"

    A Page Turner from The Start! Not Holding Back, or Pulling It's Punches as it explains The Internal Strength and Loyalty, often, found within Families routed along The Lower Levels of Society, even, to A Fault on Many Occasions. Darkness is Never Far from The Surface Here as Characters and Plot Play Out from Gripping Chapter to Gripping Chapter! Olson is Indeed A Master of True Crime!! I Recommend This Book to All who are Fascinated by The Human Condition for Power, Influence, and Ego.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Stephen Sharp
    9/27/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A drawn out story with a lot of pointles detail."
    What did you like most about Bitter Almonds?

    This book is simply about a woman killing people using cyanide, so was not the book I thought it was.A very long drawn out story with a lot of pointless detail.It could have been summed up in less than a third of the 20 hours with writer took.


    1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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