Regular price: $24.99

Membership details Membership details
  • 30 days of membership free, plus 1 audiobook and 2 Audible Originals to get you started.
  • After trial, you'll get 3 titles each month: 1 audiobook and 2 Audible Originals of your choice.
  • Don't like your audiobook? Swap it for free.
  • Cancel anytime and keep your audiobooks.
  • After your trial, Audible is just $14.95/month.
  • Get access to the Member Daily Deal
OR
In Cart

Publisher's Summary

A seemingly perfect world held an even more unlikely killer...

Julie Keown had a great job, financial security, and a perfect husband who was attending Harvard Business School. But after Julie suddenly died, and doctors discovered she’d been poisoned with the main ingredient in antifreeze, her parents began to suspect that her husband, James, was not so perfect. This blow-by-blow account shows how investigators and state police unraveled James Keown’s chilling web of deceit.

©2010 Lara Bricker. (P)2018 Brilliance Publishing, Inc., all rights reserved.

More from the same

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    12
  • 4 Stars
    6
  • 3 Stars
    4
  • 2 Stars
    2
  • 1 Stars
    0

Performance

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    12
  • 4 Stars
    9
  • 3 Stars
    0
  • 2 Stars
    2
  • 1 Stars
    1

Story

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    13
  • 4 Stars
    6
  • 3 Stars
    2
  • 2 Stars
    2
  • 1 Stars
    1
Sort by:
  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Boring writing and lack of any narrative arc

I was very disappointed by this book. I am a big fan of Bricker and her colleagues at Crime Writers On, and I was not expecting to be writing this review, but this is what I think of the book and I need to be honest. I'll certainly read the next one she writes (and I do hope she writes another), but this one didn't do it for me.

The Narration:

I'll start with the things that aren't Bricker's fault. This narrator was milquetoast trying too hard. Tanya Eby speaks in what sounds like the volume of a normal voice, but she is performing in a breathy whisper that sounds overdramatic. This comes out most strongly when the narrator announces the chapter numbers. The final syllable is often inflected up, as if she were trying to make the chapter number sound dramatic somehow. It feels both cheap and ridiculous. The narrator sounds like she is trying to imitate an old woman, the type that would typically narrate one of the C-level back titles by Ann Rule. I expect the publisher knows the target demographics better than me, but Rule's catalog, after The Stranger Beside Me, is mostly tawdry meditations on evil designed to make old women clutch their pearls. Lara Bricker is young and hip, and I think she deserved better. (So did the story. The vocal allusion to the type of tawdry Ann Rule cases paints Julie Keown's with the same brush, which is undeserved.)

The Writing:

Bricker's writing has almost no awareness of any larger narrative arc, as each chapter feels like it is a news article telling a piece of the story from that chapter's primary interviewee's recollection. Kudos for Bricker for trying to include lots of voices, but each chapter feels completely isolated from the rest rather than part of some whole story. Details are constantly repeated, with no signal at all from the narrator to the audience demonstrating awareness that the audience already knows x or y piece of information. Bricker hasn't told us a story, she's given us a 30,000 word AP style article, broken into 30-odd sections that don't know they are sitting next to each other. Even Bricker's attribution tags are straight AP style, with no variation. There is no sense of narrative at all, no story. Just detail after detail that feels like padding.

These might be assets for doing traditional journalism, but for a book-length treatment, it's almost unreadable.

The Case:

The case Bricker follows is interesting, but perhaps only at the 3-star level. If you've read one story like this, you've read this story. There is a detective, a family, a cluster of personal and professional acquaintances who are by turns saddened by the murder and shocked at the lies of the perpetrator. The killer's mother stands by him to the last, and there are tinges of odd behavior from her at times, but the killer's mother never gets interesting in the way Ruth Coe (mother of the South Hill Rapist) does. But, at its heart, though the case stretched on for four years, there isn't actually much interesting information, and Bricker's narrative technique makes everything feel like filler.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Written as if You’re Living It - Perfectly Performed

The story unfolds through the thoughts of the characters impacted by a charming psychopath. You live the story through the thoughts of the characters about the events in the story. This allows you to see through their eyes and understand the mindset and techniques that caused their deception. The story narrator has the perfect pitch and pace throughout her presentation. She really brought the story to life.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Justice for Heartland Nurse

Just a heartbreaking story told so well. Big city cops that gave justice to homeland!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Love Lara Bricker

Perfect. Loved the book and loved it was about a case I personally didn't know much about.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

Sort by:
  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • M. E. Keenan Lindsey
  • 10-05-18

Badly written. Filled with irrelevant information about the detectives involved.

The best true crime books are written by authors who have access to those involved in the crime. FATAL VISION, IN COLD BLOOD, HELTER SKELTER, the best examples. The worst true crime books are written by those who talk to a couple of the detectives involved, look at some trial transcripts and complete their research on the internet. This book falls into the latter category, AND is poorly written.