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Publisher's Summary

Iowa housewife Tracey Pittman Roberts seemed to have it all: natural beauty, three loving children, and a fairy-tale second marriage to a wealthy, handsome businessman. But beneath the happy façade was a woman who used lies, manipulation, sex, ugly allegations, blackmail - and even murder - to serve her own selfish ends.

On December 12, 2001, police rushed to Tracey's home after a shooting left her vulnerable young neighbor dead. Tracey claimed it was an act of self-defense. Nine gunshot wounds - and a decades-long trail of extortion, fabrication, fraud, and intimidation - said otherwise. Ten years after the crime, Tracey's case finally went to trial in an explosive courtroom showdown. In a searing exploration of the criminal mind, best-selling investigative journalist M. William Phelps traces the saga of a psychopath who hid in plain sight - until her wicked ways caught up with her.

©2017 M. William Phelps (P)2017 Tantor

What listeners say about Beautifully Cruel

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Difficult to follow all the characters.

Book didn't flow on a timeline.To many incidental story lines interrupted facts of the underlying story

8 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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Really bad book

No doubt the woman who is the subject of this book was guilty. The book itself, though, along with the narration, are terrible. It's more like a National Enquirer type story rather than an an in-depth telling of a terrible crime. The snide editorial comments, along with the vocal inflections of the narrator are genuinely disappointing. I suggest that, if you wish to read/listen to exceptional books about real crime stories that you look to the many outstanding ones written by Joe McGinnis.

13 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

very redundant and opinionated

I was excited to hear this book but became disappointed as the story unfolded. The author is very repetitive and makes the same observations and references the same stories over and over for hours. Rarely once you get into the book is anything new revealed. The author also voices personal opinion a lot, referring to the murderess in derogatory ways instead of sticking with fact. The outlandishness of the murderesses actions and opinions are constantly criticized, which I don't really feel is an authors place. I prefer when authors tell a story and allow you to form your own opinion of those involved without forcing it down your throat. The last few minutes are just slandering her (the murderesses) mother, in what seems to be a waste of words. The author even threatens to start a page on his website to post the ridiculous emails he receives from the mother, which seems to be an unnecessary attack on someone whose obviously hysterical and isn't responsible for the murder at all. I have never heard any other true crime author rant on about personal opinion so much and it detracted from what was a quite interesting investigation and crime story.

2 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Too much time defending yourself to others

I wish you hadn't felt the need to do this....good story otherwise. Well order my third book from you via Audible.com, today

2 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Narrator is very irritating!

I have read all of this author's true crime books; they are well-researched and interesting, but he leaves the reader with no question about where his sympathies lie. In fact, he tends to beat the reader over the head with his opinion of the people involved in the story. The narrator drives me up the wall with his constant emphasis on certain words, as if they were direct quotes. This causes his narration to be very jerky instead of flowing in a more natural way. I always finish his books but grit my teeth trying to ignore the choppy narration.






1 person found this helpful

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Terrible narration, boring and winding story

Usually, I'm all over true crime books like this. Murder? Yes please. Elements of lying and forging identities and manipulation? Yes PLEASE. But after three hours (a fair amount) of listening, I just stopped. The narrator is grating -- there's so MUCH EMPHASIS placed ON RANDOM phrases FOR DRAMATIC ~effect~! His high-pitched narration of the woman becomes maddening. And the story doesn't lead with anything meaty. It meanders and drags on, and there's scant description of the players, so who's who becomes a blur. Mysteriously BORING. Skip.

1 person found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Confused

couldn't get the storyline in my head. tried 3x. gave up. Refund or credit? thx

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Awful awful awful!

I usually like this author but this book is just bad. I asked for a refund because I can't get past a few chapters.
To make matters worse, the narration is horrible.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Narrator does not fit the subject matter!

Oh the narration is so wrong for this account of Tracey Roberts; I would have preferred reading it, but if I read all the books I'd like to, nothing would get done around here. Yen is a wonderful narrator but there's always a smile in his voice that is more "those meddling kids" than "that coldblooded killer". There are tons of sentences which include partial quotes which does not lend itself to this format, especially when the narrator says those quotes in a voice for that person.

Phelps tends to structure his books in a nonlinear manner and this one follows this horrible woman 's story, juggling three separate time periods in her life simultaneously. It's not for everyone, but I'm fine with it, I am a bit biased; I've grown used to his style given 'm on a Phelps binge. Plus I've loved true crime since I was waaay to young to , i.e. I was following the Bundy case as it happened. (I was 12).

So this is a good, well researched true crime story in Phelps's non-linear approach to writing, that is until the arrest and trial happens. With the upbeat delivery by the narrator however, reading the book would be a better than listening to it.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

This May be the Best True Crime You'll Ever Read!

Story- 5/5
Narration- 5/5

"Beautifully Cruel" by M. William Phelps is about a crazy woman, with a hot bod, who got away with murder... almost.

If someone wants to get into Phelps, this is the book to start with. The author's investigative abilities and his writing style are more than aptly showcased in this amazing tale of greed, insanity, and murder.

This is a true case, which is something you’ll need to keep reminding yourself of, because this story and this woman are more incredible than fiction. (and she has beady eyes, too!)

The narrator did a wonderful job; the voice he used for the MC was perfect, but may crack you up at times.

Recommendation - this may be the best True Crime you'll ever read, so don't let this one slip by.