• American Mother

  • Dangerous Women - True Crime Stories
  • By: Gregg Olsen
  • Narrated by: Karen Peakes
  • Length: 14 hrs and 7 mins
  • 4.2 out of 5 stars (194 ratings)

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American Mother  By  cover art

American Mother

By: Gregg Olsen
Narrated by: Karen Peakes
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Publisher's summary

From the number-one New York Times best-selling author of If You Tell comes the absolutely unputdownable and chilling true-crime story of Stella Nickell—a mother and wife who did the unthinkable…and the unforgivable.

At 5:02 p.m. on June 5, 1986, an emergency call came into the local sheriff’s office in the small town of Auburn, Washington State. A distressed housewife, Stella Nickell, said her husband, Bruce, was having a seizure. Officers rushed to the Nickells' mobile home to find Stella standing frozen at the door…. Bruce was on the floor fighting for his life.

As Stella became the beneficiary of over $175,000 in a life insurance payout, forensics discovered that Bruce had consumed painkillers laced with cyanide.

A week later, 15-year-old Hayley was getting ready for another school day. Her mom, Sue, called out "I love you" before heading into the bathroom and moments later collapsed on the floor. Sue never regained consciousness, and the autopsy revealed she had been poisoned by cyanide-tainted headache pills. Just like Bruce.

While a daughter grieved the sudden and devastating loss of her mother, a young woman, Cindy, was thinking about her own mom, Stella. She thought about the years of neglect and abuse, the tangled web of secrets Stella had shared with her, and Cindy contemplated turning her mom in to the FBI….

Gripping and heartbreaking, Gregg Olsen uncovers the shocking true story of a troubled family. He delves into a complex mother-daughter relationship rooted in mistrust and deception, and the journey of the sweet curly haired little girl from Oregon whose fierce ambition to live the American dream led her to make the ultimate betrayal.

A sensational real-life mystery, American Mother will hook those fascinated by The Staircase and Making of a Murderer.

This book was originally published as Bitter Almonds.

©1993, 2002, 2022 Gregg Olsen (P)2022 Bookouture, an imprint of Storyfire Ltd.