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Before He Wakes: A True Story of Money, Marriage, Sex and Murder Audiobook

Before He Wakes: A True Story of Money, Marriage, Sex and Murder

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Publisher's Summary

The true story of Barbara Stager, a devoted mother, loving wife, and dedicated church leader who committed an almost perfect crime.

By all accounts, Stager seemed to lead the perfect life in her community in Durham, North Carolina. After her husband, popular high school coach Russ, died tragically, the police were inclined to believe her story - that she accidentally shot him. Suspicions rose when the police discovered that Stager's previous husband had died similarly 10 years prior. Detective Rick Buchanan searches for the truth and finds a string of compulsive lies, obsessive spending, and sexual promiscuity. Ever shocking new discovery unraveled Barbara Stager's impeccable image more and more.

Russ left a damning piece of evidence behind that reveals the shocking nightmare truth about his wife.

©1994 Jerry Bledsoe (P)2015 ListenUp Production, LLC

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.1 (150 )
5 star
 (64)
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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4.2 (131 )
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Story
4.3 (131 )
5 star
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3 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Maite 07-14-15
    Maite 07-14-15 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Great story & great reader"

    Story is well written & entertaining. The reader did a great job. I only wish he had more true crime novels. If you like true crime you won't be disappointed.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Hilary Connecticut 07-30-15
    Hilary Connecticut 07-30-15 Member Since 2015

    avoiding road rage one book at a time...

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Jerry Bledsoe is Amazing, as is Kevin Stillwell"

    Okay, so on the heels of my listen to Bitter Blood, this book wasn't as exceptional as I had hoped. Bitter Blood was phenomenal, so it was a hard act to follow.

    Barbara Terry Ford Stager is either: a) unlucky to the 100th power, b) extremely mentally ill or c) a diabolical killer.

    Mrs. Ford-Stager has two dead husbands, a penchant for spending FAR beyond her means (which highlighted her check kiting and embezzlement skills), a compulsive lying streak more incredible than Pinocchio, a sexual appetite more impressive than Ginger Lynn and a church lady charade/appearance. She is the ultimate oxymoron.

    Her two unfortunate husbands, Larry Ford and Russell Stager had no idea what they were getting their hands on - a black widow in sheep's clothing. Or, was it pure coincidence that both her husbands died in bed thanks to the "business end of a 25 caliber gun"?

    You decide.

    I think Barbara is where she belongs, serving life in a North Carolina prison.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Douglas Auburn, WA, United States 06-15-15
    Douglas Auburn, WA, United States 06-15-15 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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    Story
    "Church Lady Killer..."

    In gripping true crime style, Bledsoe tells the tale of Barbara Stager, a church-going, seemingly upright and righteous woman who just had one flaw: she liked to kill husbands... Stager was so convincing as her role as Church Lady that she nearly passed under the wire during investigations. Then a detective with a sharp eye, and enough cynicism to see past Stager's act, began to unravel the threads of her story.

    12 of 16 people found this review helpful
  •  
    deborah 06-19-15
    deborah 06-19-15 Member Since 2014
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    Story
    "Wow!"

    This story had me glued to my headphones. I couldn't wait to hear what was going to happen next. Truly a sad commentary on the power of greed and its devastating results. Excellent narrator as well. Highly recommend this for all of the true crime fans out there.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Brenda Sue Thompson CA USA 05-26-16
    Brenda Sue Thompson CA USA 05-26-16 Member Since 2015

    Set them free: all animals in captivity! Boycott $eaWorld, other sea aquariums, zoos, wicked animal parks!!!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Kept Me Listening!"

    I already knew a bit about this case so I was interested in knowing more. I couldn't have asked for a better listen! The story was well told and the presenter was clear, had a lot of expression, and really gave a picture to the words!! What a great choice this book was!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    inov8v Hampstead, MD, United States 06-25-15
    inov8v Hampstead, MD, United States 06-25-15 Member Since 2014

    just killing time sitting in traffic...

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    "bledsoe/stillwell are the dynamic duo of audible.."

    bledsoe/stillwell are the benchmark for the audio books i listen to...bledsoe is such a great writer and stillwell is so good at conveying the story without sounding as hokey as so many others...

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Paul 05-24-16
    Paul 05-24-16

    Judy

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    "Black Widow"

    This tale makes one wonder what detectives think about when they investigate suspicious deaths. Yes, they have to be careful, yes they have to proceed with caution in order to ensure that the perpetrator doesn't escape on a technicality, but doesn't a second "accidental" shooting of a sleeping husband cry out for an aggressive investigation?

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    serine 02-02-16
    serine 02-02-16 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "True crime that is way too sensationalized"

    This audiobook kept me entertained while working out, but it so awful in so many ways. I cannot believe how many people gave this book a good rating. I get that people don't care for too much ambiguity when murder is involved. There is a murderer and a victim. The style chosen by this author to tell this story was just absurd.

    Everything she, the murderer, did was awful. She wanted a new washing machine, talked about sex with her friends, talked about her period (that whore!), wanted a new house, etc. All of this had the tone, "Of course it was clear that she was the murdering type. After all, who needs a new washer and dryer? That was a sign." It was ridiculous. There was enough actual material to show that she was unstable, selfish, and psychopathic. She had a spending problem, lied, cheated, manipulated, etc.

    Everything he, the victim, did was painted in the best possible light. He, the coach at a high school was having sex with a 16 year old female student. The author glossed over it, as if it were some tiny mistake, like forgetting to take the trash out.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Renee 07-13-15
    Renee 07-13-15
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    "A solid true crime tale"

    Strong writing and fascinating characters make this a worthwhile read. However, as a resident of the Durham area, where the story takes place, I could not get used to the narrator's overcooked southern accent. Drove me to distraction.

    3 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    C. Barnes Texas, of course 08-06-15
    C. Barnes Texas, of course 08-06-15 Member Since 2013

    I love true history books. Many about people and their lives. Also memoirs are great

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Very good"

    Frustrating story of how our legal system works. Curious about her and what she's fabricated herself into now.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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