We are currently making improvements to the Audible site. In an effort to enhance the accessibility experience for our customers, we have created a page to more easily navigate the new experience, available at the web address www.audible.com/access .
Before He Wakes: A True Story of Money, Marriage, Sex and Murder Audiobook

Before He Wakes: A True Story of Money, Marriage, Sex and Murder

Regular Price:$24.95
  • Membership Details:
    • First book free with 30-day trial
    • $14.95/month thereafter for your choice of 1 new book each month
    • Cancel easily anytime
    • Exchange books you don't like
    • All selected books are yours to keep, even if you cancel
  • - or -

Publisher's Summary

The true story of Barbara Stager, a devoted mother, loving wife, and dedicated church leader who committed an almost perfect crime.

By all accounts, Stager seemed to lead the perfect life in her community in Durham, North Carolina. After her husband, popular high school coach Russ, died tragically, the police were inclined to believe her story - that she accidentally shot him. Suspicions rose when the police discovered that Stager's previous husband had died similarly 10 years prior. Detective Rick Buchanan searches for the truth and finds a string of compulsive lies, obsessive spending, and sexual promiscuity. Ever shocking new discovery unraveled Barbara Stager's impeccable image more and more.

Russ left a damning piece of evidence behind that reveals the shocking nightmare truth about his wife.

©1994 Jerry Bledsoe (P)2015 ListenUp Production, LLC

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.2 (184 )
5 star
 (83)
4 star
 (60)
3 star
 (32)
2 star
 (7)
1 star
 (2)
Overall
4.2 (163 )
5 star
 (80)
4 star
 (48)
3 star
 (30)
2 star
 (4)
1 star
 (1)
Story
4.3 (163 )
5 star
 (85)
4 star
 (49)
3 star
 (24)
2 star
 (4)
1 star
 (1)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    Maite 07-14-15
    Maite 07-14-15 Member Since 2017
    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    15
    7
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Great story & great reader"

    Story is well written & entertaining. The reader did a great job. I only wish he had more true crime novels. If you like true crime you won't be disappointed.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Hilary Connecticut 07-30-15
    Hilary Connecticut 07-30-15 Member Since 2017
    HELPFUL VOTES
    186
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    131
    37
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    10
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Jerry Bledsoe is Amazing, as is Kevin Stillwell"

    Okay, so on the heels of my listen to Bitter Blood, this book wasn't as exceptional as I had hoped. Bitter Blood was phenomenal, so it was a hard act to follow.

    Barbara Terry Ford Stager is either: a) unlucky to the 100th power, b) extremely mentally ill or c) a diabolical killer.

    Mrs. Ford-Stager has two dead husbands, a penchant for spending FAR beyond her means (which highlighted her check kiting and embezzlement skills), a compulsive lying streak more incredible than Pinocchio, a sexual appetite more impressive than Ginger Lynn and a church lady charade/appearance. She is the ultimate oxymoron.

    Her two unfortunate husbands, Larry Ford and Russell Stager had no idea what they were getting their hands on - a black widow in sheep's clothing. Or, was it pure coincidence that both her husbands died in bed thanks to the "business end of a 25 caliber gun"?

    You decide.

    I think Barbara is where she belongs, serving life in a North Carolina prison.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Douglas 06-15-15
    Douglas 06-15-15 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2869
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    525
    413
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    428
    8
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Church Lady Killer..."

    In gripping true crime style, Bledsoe tells the tale of Barbara Stager, a church-going, seemingly upright and righteous woman who just had one flaw: she liked to kill husbands... Stager was so convincing as her role as Church Lady that she nearly passed under the wire during investigations. Then a detective with a sharp eye, and enough cynicism to see past Stager's act, began to unravel the threads of her story.

    12 of 16 people found this review helpful
  •  
    deborah 06-19-15
    deborah 06-19-15
    HELPFUL VOTES
    13
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    12
    8
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Wow!"

    This story had me glued to my headphones. I couldn't wait to hear what was going to happen next. Truly a sad commentary on the power of greed and its devastating results. Excellent narrator as well. Highly recommend this for all of the true crime fans out there.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    RW 11-01-16
    RW 11-01-16 Member Since 2017
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    15
    4
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Way too many Hypocrites, way too much Christ"
    What would have made Before He Wakes: A True Story of Money, Marriage, Sex and Murder better?

    It was just too "Christ(ey) for my tastes. This kind of flagrant hypocrisy makes my skin feel as if I've rolled in honey and laid out over the feeding path of an entire nest of hungry African Fire Ants.

    Dunno, perhaps this is the only town on Earth, will not find something..... Not right about the preacher, the nice white police don't do harm, something not once have people looked away from a child's pain because mom and dad are so nice and Christian?


    What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

    I felt as if I was listening to a sermon, a really long, one, on wooden pews even, in an air conditioner-free church, sitting next to the one flatulent, yet un-cleaned, clean guy and they've begun to close the double doors of the Church........

    Get my point?


    What three words best describe Kevin Stillwell’s performance?

    Good, w/Bad materials......


    Any additional comments?

    Please stop trying to hide your religious slant when selling a Christ-fest as this book had gone way over the separation of Good True Crime, and any religion.

    Thank you for reading my thoughts.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bst CA USA 05-26-16
    Bst CA USA 05-26-16 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
    9
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    29
    17
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Kept Me Listening!"

    I already knew a bit about this case so I was interested in knowing more. I couldn't have asked for a better listen! The story was well told and the presenter was clear, had a lot of expression, and really gave a picture to the words!! What a great choice this book was!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    serine 02-02-16
    serine 02-02-16 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    695
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    338
    166
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    49
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "True crime that is way too sensationalized"

    This audiobook kept me entertained while working out, but it so awful in so many ways. I cannot believe how many people gave this book a good rating. I get that people don't care for too much ambiguity when murder is involved. There is a murderer and a victim. The style chosen by this author to tell this story was just absurd.

    Everything she, the murderer, did was awful. She wanted a new washing machine, talked about sex with her friends, talked about her period (that whore!), wanted a new house, etc. All of this had the tone, "Of course it was clear that she was the murdering type. After all, who needs a new washer and dryer? That was a sign." It was ridiculous. There was enough actual material to show that she was unstable, selfish, and psychopathic. She had a spending problem, lied, cheated, manipulated, etc.

    Everything he, the victim, did was painted in the best possible light. He, the coach at a high school was having sex with a 16 year old female student. The author glossed over it, as if it were some tiny mistake, like forgetting to take the trash out.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    inov8v Hampstead, MD, United States 06-25-15
    inov8v Hampstead, MD, United States 06-25-15
    HELPFUL VOTES
    27
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    34
    20
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "bledsoe/stillwell are the dynamic duo of audible.."

    bledsoe/stillwell are the benchmark for the audio books i listen to...bledsoe is such a great writer and stillwell is so good at conveying the story without sounding as hokey as so many others...

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lauren & Adam 06-09-17 Member Since 2016
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    6
    5
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Perfectly told."

    Some people are annoyed with how descriptive and detailed this author gets. In this case, it was fitting. Every small detail and account made for a complete, 360° View of exactly who Barbara Stager was. After seeing this case on many different shows, and I still felt as if I learned about it all over again. Five stars to Bledsoe, and my deepest sympathy for the Ford and Stager families.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Paul 05-24-16
    Paul 05-24-16
    HELPFUL VOTES
    455
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    120
    120
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    19
    3
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Black Widow"

    This tale makes one wonder what detectives think about when they investigate suspicious deaths. Yes, they have to be careful, yes they have to proceed with caution in order to ensure that the perpetrator doesn't escape on a technicality, but doesn't a second "accidental" shooting of a sleeping husband cry out for an aggressive investigation?

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Report Inappropriate Content

If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.

Cancel

Thank you.

Your report has been received. It will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.