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Bitter Almonds: The True Story of Mothers, Daughters, and the Seattle Cyanide Murders | [Gregg Olsen]

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

3.4 (54 )
5 star
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3.5 (50 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Scott Scarborough, ON, Canada 11-15-13
    Scott Scarborough, ON, Canada 11-15-13 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
    111
    ratings
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    81
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    6
    4
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    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.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robyn 09-02-13
    Robyn 09-02-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
    41
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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.

    4 of 4 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
    1
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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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kimberly 03-22-14
    Kimberly 03-22-14
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    17
    3
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    0
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    Performance
    Story
    "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 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    jaye GREENWICH, CT, United States 07-03-14
    jaye GREENWICH, CT, United States 07-03-14 Member Since 2012

    AUDIBLE MAKES READING POSSIBLE AND EASY FOR ME...I AM VISUALLY IMPAIRED. I WISH THEY HAD ALL THE BOOKS I WANT I WOULD SNAP THEM UP!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "TOO MUCH REPETITION. BORING BORING BORING"
    Would you try another book from Gregg Olsen and/or Kevin Pierce?

    I DON'T KNOW. I HAVE READ SEVERAL. THEY WERE OK BUT THIS ONE WAS REALLY POORLY WRITTEN. I HAVE ALREADY BOUGHT ONE MORE BY HIM AND AM NOT SURE I WANT TO READ IT BUT I WILL TRY IT.


    Would you ever listen to anything by Gregg Olsen again?

    AS I SAID ABOVE IT WAS VERY REPETATIVE. JUST TELL THE STORY IN CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER AND STOP REPEATING WHAT I ALREADY HEARD. IT COULD HAVE BEEN AT LEAST ONE THIRD SHORTER.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    I REALLY CAN'T SAY. IT WAS SO CHOPPY THAT I COULD NOT FOCUS ON ONE SCENE.


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Bitter Almonds?

    WHEN SOMETHING IS TOLD FOUR AND FIVE TIEMS IT SHOULD BE EDITED OUT THREE OR FOUR TIMES.


    Any additional comments?

    THIS WAS A GOOD CASE. I REMEMBER IT AND SAW A SHOW (SNAPPED) ON IT. IT SHOULD HAVE BEEN A GREAT BOOK. BUT IT WAS NOT.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Laura Montgomery Village, MD, United States 08-20-14
    Laura Montgomery Village, MD, United States 08-20-14 Member Since 2010

    Why ever would I do that?

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Interesting"
    If you could sum up Bitter Almonds in three words, what would they be?

    I remember this incident, so it was nice to learn more of the background story.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The interaction between mother and daughter.


    Any additional comments?

    The book could have been cut down quite a bit. So much detail re minor characters, I became frustrated. Didn't finish the book b/c it dragged on and on, but had heard enough and was satisfied when I stopped.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-6 of 6 results
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  • 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 1 people found this review helpful
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