A Special Kind of Evil

The Colonial Parkway Serial Killings
Narrated by: Lee Ann Howlett
Length: 11 hrs and 3 mins
4 out of 5 stars (53 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

For four years a killer, or killers, stalked Virginia’s Tidewater region, carefully selecting victims, sending waves of terror into the local community.

The Colonial Parkway Murders - the name given eight murders that took place in the Tidewater region in the late 1980s, two of which were on the historic Colonial Parkway, the nation’s narrowest National Park. Young people in the prime of their lives were the targets. But the pattern that stitched this special kind of evil together was more like a spider web of theory, intrigue, and mathematics. Then, mysteriously, the killing spree stopped. The nameless predator, or predators, who stalked the Colonial Parkway stepped back into the mists of time and disappeared.

Now, father-daughter true crime authors Blaine Pardoe and Victoria Hester blow the dust off of these cases. Interviewing members of the families, friends, and members of law enforcement, they provide the first and most complete in-depth look at this string of horrific murders and disappearances. The author-investigators peel back the rumors and myths surrounding these crimes and provide new information never before revealed about the investigations.

©2017 Blaine Pardoe and Victoria Hester (P)2018 WildBlue Press

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
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A True Crime Book of the Finest Kind

Would you consider the audio edition of A Special Kind of Evil to be better than the print version?

I haven't read the written or e-book. The audio version is excellent but maybe adding a pdf to go along would be helpful in following the suspects and enhancing the timeline.

What was the most compelling aspect of this narrative?

The fact that the crimes are still unsolved.

What does Lee Ann Howlett bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Excellent narration! Clear voice, good pacing,.

What’s the most interesting tidbit you’ve picked up from this book?

All of the victims seemed both random but shared becoming victims of murder.

Any additional comments?

I am a fan of the genre. This was right up near my favorites.

I was given a copy of this audio book in return for an honest review.
Thanks for the opportunity to share my opinions.

8 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Well researched

I'm a bit dubious about the rationale these authors have for writing this book. Each of the victims is described in depth through interviews of family and friends. Known facts and various theories of the cases are presented in detail. Remaining questions are clearly outlined. But these are very, very cold cases and suggesting this book might prompt a resolution seems a stretch. And if it does, who will let us know?

Lee Ann Howlett's performance is quite satisfactory. I didn't catch any glaring errors in either delivery or production.

NOTE: I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

7 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

What an odd book.

I quickly lost trust in Hester and Pardoe due to the continuous grammatical errors, conflicting statements and repetitive sentences. True crime should be written with respect and attention to detail. Not slapped together over the course of a year. Sadly, this book only adds to the genre's damaged reputation within the literary world.

There is so much raw material that could have been woven together in a thoughtful, reflective way and used to engage a wider range of readers. Unfortunately, the story and her characters weren't handled with care or developed in any important way.

In fact, the only person that stands out to me is Joe (hopefully a pseudonym), due to his unfair treatment by the authors. He's suddenly listed as a suspect in the final chapters based primarily on gossip.

Honestly, chapters 19 and 20 were maddening. The absolute worst part of this book was a statement in chapter 20 that refers to the victims' last minutes: "Our imaginations give us far worse [images] than reality-at least that is the hope". Let me just say, with total confidence, no one's imagination is capable of coming close to the terrifying last moments of any muder victim. Come on. That is just offensive.

7 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars

A bit different

This book is not a detective story or a true crimes docu where you'll get the answers at the end.
It is however a true memorial to the memory of 8 young people who were murdered cruelly and without cause.
It tells of their lives and the investigations into their deaths.
I found this book difficult to listen to in places and on a few occasions didn't want to finish it. BUT I am pleased I did finish the book. The authors did a fine and balanced job in writing the book and by the end I felt I knew these young people.

I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

2 people found this helpful

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Interesting

One can only hope that the monster(s) who committed these awful crimes suffered and died by now, never to walk the earth again. Well written.

1 person found this helpful

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Very..Very detailed. It brings up more questions.

I liked how this book gave the victim's a detailed discriptions about their lives and personalities.

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Good Read

This book seems like it is split into two parts. The first part talks about the victims and what was probably in newspapers. At times it can be confusing because its not always clear who is talking or know that it's something a family member to the victim is daying. The second part talks more about the investigation and theories.

This book was pretty interesting for a true crime book. It did seem a little repetitive at times. even though it seems like two parts, the authors find a way to tie it all in together. I really enjoyed this book. The narrator does a good job on this one. It's definitely worth reading.

I was given this book for free at my request in return for my unbiased review.

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Humanizes victims, cumbersome writing

I read/listen to a lot of true crime stories and novels. I was raised in the mid-Atlantic region and I've visited some of the areas described in this book, so it hits close to home!

Pros -

The authors give each victim an individual chapter, which is important for establishing them as individuals. The format is Victim 1, Victim 2, murder, and investigation.

The authors did an excellent job doing research and interviews. Their sources include media reports from the 1980s until today, interviews with friends/families of the victims, and law enforcement.

The victims are presented as very real people - loved by their families, gifted in their unique ways, and struggling in some ways.

Cons -

This comment is related to the writing style, not the unthinkable events that happened to the victims. Because each murder is given its own chapter, parts of the background are repeated. We hear about the nefarious night time activities on the Colonial Parkway (i.e., drug deals) at least six times.

Cliches. The authors keep saying, "The 70s and 80s were simpler times" because there weren't seat belts or car seats for children (?) and there were no cell phones. I was there in the 80s. It wasn't a rosy-hued simpler time. Children died in car accidents because they were untethered. Growing up is hard, regardless of the era. The positive traits and shortcomings of the victims are the same as young people today. There are boogeymen looking for people to hurt, rob, rape, and murder.

The authors quote directly from interviews including the "filler" words or phrases that people use in natural conversation (i.e., "you know?", "stuff like that"). Removing those "filler" words or phrases would not detract from the interview. It would help the paragraphs to flow smoothly.

The issue I have with the narrator is related to the inclusion of "filler" words. The narrator read over those phrases without imitating natural tone or inflection. (Phrases like, "You know?" aren't read with a rising inflection). It makes the narration sound flat.

I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

3 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Detailed Account of a Serial Killers Wrath

I received this book in exchange for my honest review.
This book explores the lives and subsequent killings of number of victims in Virginia. I appreciated the amount of research the authors obviously did into these senseless murders, and their efforts to finally capture the culprit. However,some of the details included made this book a cumbersome listen at times. If this book was a little shorter, and some of the mundane parts of the victims' lives had been left out, I would have given it more stars. As written, it is good but not great.

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Very interesting cases but the narrator. . .

I heard about these cases through a true crime podcast and was interested enough to purchase this book. The book does not disappoint.

However, the narrator is difficult to listen to and at times, it hurts my ears! I am Southern and I know I have an accent, but I am not making a living as a narrator! This woman pronounces "ur" in the strangest manner. There is no accent that I know of that pronounces "murder" and "buried" the way she does.

Again, good listen, but I will never purchase a book read by this narrator.