Recounts the tragic events that followed the arrest of Fred Coe, a conservative, clean-cut young man, for a series of rapes committed in the city of Spokane and led to revenge and murder.
©2014 Jack Olsen (P)2015 Evan Olsen, Su Olsen
Son is a work of true crime genius. This is the story of Fred (Kevin) Coe, the infamous south hill rapist in Spokane Washington, who viciously attacked dozens of women over the course of several years back in the mid-late 1970's. The book reveals Coe's psychopathy through meticulously recounted anecdotes of Coe's public behavior in context with the reactions of those who knew him, and his persona while committing crimes, as witnessed by his victims. It is gives a maddening look at law enforcement, and its resistance toward investigating rape, it's discounting of the affects on victims and their families. Also it presents a harrowing account of the emotional and physical affect of rape upon victims, and the lingering trauma and the difficulty of recovering from it.
The book presents a case history of a true psychopath, one of those rare individuals who has no personality--but who adapts his mask to various situations in life, a parasite. Coe uses everyone around him for money, for access to cars and clothes, who shoplifts porterhouse steaks, who has a slick line of BS when he's caught in one lie or another. I've never read a clearer account of a psychopathic mindset, one that is presented through the accumulation of evidence, rather than theorizing, and so you're able to see it, hold it in your hands--it becomes real. Brilliant.
The last section of the book, after Coe's arrest, is one of the most interesting parts, because it switches attention to the psychopathy of Coe's mother, Ruth, which is revealed in her reactions and behaviors during Son's (her name for him) trial. And so the question you're left with is did Ruth cause Fred's sickness or was it the other way around? Or were they BOTH born that way? Fascinating stuff.
Kevin Pierce is one of my favorite readers. His voice is perfect for true crime. He's a born storyteller. His special talent IMO is that he always is able to convey the pain and distress of the victims and their families. He's really great.
Strongly recommend this book for anyone wishing to learn more about psychopathy, or the history of Spokane Washington, or who's interested in true crime and law enforcement.
Besides incessant listening to audiobooks, I also read on my Kindle at night, birdwatch, garden (roses, daylilies), and do genealogy.
I have long had a fascination with psychopaths ever since I got my Masters in Psychology. As a result, this book sounded like it would be interesting so I took a chance. At the very start, I though I might have made a mistake, as the author described one rape incident after another--I couldn't imagine listening to that for so many hours.
Fear not. This book is so much more than just crime descriptions. It is an in-depth character study of Fred Coe, his parents, Ruth and Gordon Coe, and his two flames, Jenny and Ginny. (I soon realized I had to listen carefully to know which woman was being discussed.)
It's not a pleasant subject, rape. How could it be? And in some way, listening to a long story about a psychopathic rapist made me want to take more showers than I already do. But at some point, early on, the book captured me to an extent no other book has done before and in different ways. I began looking for ways to put aside time to keep listening, and I felt helpless to stop!
Coe has all the classic behaviors of a psychopath. The author frequently quotes short excerpts from authors/psychologists on the nature on the condition. Not only was Fred Coe fascinating, so were his parents, Ruth and Gordon Coe. Ruth was at times child-like, flamboyant, manic, subdued, but more often, as evil as the devil. Gordon was totally disassociated from his family for the most part, just going off to work and tuning out. He was no match for such a strong personality as Ruth and just let her run the show. Learning about them both brought to me a small amount of sympathy for their son. Maybe not so much sympathy but more of an understanding of why he developed into who he was.
In addition to the character studies, you will be treated to a detailed description of trial time which is also fascinating. Fred Coe is very intelligent and he innately knew in what direction to take his defense. I won't even mention what I think of defense attorneys, despite acknowledging their role as being necessary.
As wonderful and addictive as this book is, be prepared to get MAD. You will get furious at Fred Coe and his mother. You will be mad at the passivity of his father. You will be angry at his girlfriend, Jenny, and even more at Ginny, who married and lived with him during the time he was at his most active in crime. I wanted to scream at her and shake her! You will be mad at the law enforcement of Spokane for their lackadaisical attitude about rape and their refusal to warn the public of the menace for so long. You will be mad at the women of Spokane for continuing to put themselves in harm's way, jogging alone in isolated places and not using their brains to protect themselves. One woman's behavior in particular floored me--wait and see. Continuing along the same line, you will be mad at the defense attorneys and the supposed expert witnesses. I swear, you can get an expert to say anything you want for the right price. And don't be so sure all judges have the brains they were born with either.
So why read a book that makes you so mad? It is extremely well-researched and presented. It was perfectly narrated. There is a certain amount of satisfaction at the end and justice is served, to an large extent. For me, Son is a book that was impossible to put down. It made me feel, it made me think. Sometimes that is just what I need from a book.
College English professor who loves classic literature, psychology, neurology and hates pop trash like Twilight and Fifty Shades of Grey.
of the schizoid-type psychopath who terrorized an untold number of victims in the South Hill region of Spokane Washington back in the 1970's. The two negative reviews here on this book complain that it is "dry" or "lacking in detail." To begin, I don't know what book these reviewers read, because SON is actually quite riveting and rich in detail, but if one is looking for a story dripping in gore and body fluids, well, okay, one might look elsewhere; if one is looking for a true crime story that is penetrating, psychological, intelligent, and always seeking the truth of the situation, this is the one to get.
The narration was great. Told from the view of the psychopath and the view of his victims. could not put it down. Very detailed. Will read other books by this author
This is my granddaughter's picture! She is my love.
The story pulled me in from the very first! I never had any doubt about who the bad guy was, but I almost wanted him to be okay. Maybe change. I was absolutely amazed at how many rapes he got away with, but the times were just before it became known that the girl is not to blame. This man was cruel, angry, unforgiving, but never killed anyone. That doesn't make it any better, but his abuse was so horrific he might as well have murdered the women. I found I wanted to blame someone for his actions and his mother could have been guilty, but even she could not have made her son this bad! He is from a good, well to do home. with a well respected father and a bit of an eccentric mother and a sister. The two relationships in the story had similar names and that tripped me up just a bit, but it really wasn't significant. I loved the story, loved the narration, and hated for it to end. I am very glad I read the book. I could even read it again and not be bored!
Cranky elderly writer/copy editor
Fred "Kevin" Coe, a sleazy, manipulative rapist with a mother almost as fruit-loops as he is, causes terror in the South Hills of Spokane. It's an amazing, terrifying story, and I cannot express too strongly how grateful I am that it's now available through Audible. I have pretty much all of Jack Olsen's books, many of them autographed -- he was the finest true crime writer ever, bar none -- and it's a joy to find his books brought to life again! (Now, let's see "Salt of the Earth" and "Misbegotten Son." please?)
The story is compelling, turning a compassionate but unflinching eye at the long-term effects that rape can have on a woman's life and relationships. Nobody takes more time analyzing the effects that a brutal crime has on a community than Olson.
It took me a while to get used to Kevin Pierce's pace -- he reads many of the Olson re-releases, and he reads slowly, deliberately, sort of like a beloved grandfather reading you a majorly twisted bedtime story -- but after a while I really appreciated his dry, steady narration. This story, like the others, is so horrendous that an overly dramatic reading would push the story over the cliff. It's worth it. The tone is right.
I can hardly wait until the rest of Jack's oeuvre is available here!
Written by Jack Olsen, a long audiobook at close to twenty-three hours of listening, and narrated by Kevin Pierce. Son, originally published in 1983, is an accounting of a serial rapist in Spokane, WA in the late 1970s, early 1980s.
An update to the true crime of this story, information not included in the book. The saga of Fred Coe continued for a few years after the release of the book with appeals, convictions overturned, etc., but fortunately, enough stuck to this predator to keep him locked up. Fred Coe is behind bars as of this writing. Coe has consistently, to this day, been adamant in professing innocence. However, forensic tools now available, such as DNA testing, have confirmed his guilt. A 2011 plea for release was denied.
Silly to enjoy grizzly fiction and get queasy when confronted with the real thing, but there it is. True crime is a genre I’ve avoided - it is so disturbing. Easy to follow, Son is a well written reveal of Fred Coe’s psychopathic mind, in addition to the enabling sickness of his mother, Ruth Coe. The book is about rape, the effect of rape on victims, the victims' families. It is also the dissection and analysis of a psychopath - not just a rapist. Each chapter is preceded by a quotation from a noted physician/psychologist with sage words of understanding or comprehension or explanation.
Narration by Kevin Pierce is excellent. No attempts to sway opinion, by narrator or author. The facts are presented in a listenable manner.
I can’t say I enjoyed this book, but I’m very glad I listened. Not for everyone, but a highly recommended true crime book.
Say something about yourself!
In this case, Truth is more evil than fiction. Olsen is able to delineate as such to cast the main character as the most hated man alive. Great storytelling. If i have a gripe, its the prologue disclosing too many details. I cannot recall this as a news story, so going in with a blank canvas would have had greater impact. But don't let that dissuade you from downloading. It's a great listen. Easily worth the credit.
The story is well research The characters behaviors are well developed , what caused the crimes to happen. With all that was happening, the chapters transition well. This is an audiobook that is hard to pause and will like to keep on listening.
"Great Story Wonderful Narrator Brilliant"
I really enjoyed this book, the narrator Mr Pierce really brought the characters to life, their quirky & strange personalities were put across so well by him.
The story was absorbing, the twisted mind of a psychopath,his family & friends was truly horrifying, it made one realise it is nearly impossible to interact in a meaningful & honest way with such people. Their level of denial & justification at times filled me with disbelief. I HIGHLY recommend this book.
"Shocking Story - but a bit long winded"
Shocking, Lengthy, Interesting
The scrapbooky nature in which the story was told - I really liked that
His narration is really excellent, his accent and telling really draws you in and puts you right in Spokane.
It was hard to turn it off, but it was really long and couldn't possibly be listened all the way through in one sitting!
its a great book, a shocking story, great narration
"ok, but could have been shorter!"
No, its was long and drawn out, not as interesting as i thought!
yes, was also slow and dull!
"Extensive telling of almost incredible true tale"
Beyond belief and fascinating. People like this really do exist. Just hope I never meet one !
"Thought provoking, so much detail."
Thought provoking and incredibly written with both grit and sensitivity. Really interesting and factual.
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