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If I Can't Have You:  Audiobook

If I Can't Have You: : Susan Powell, Her Mysterious Disappearance, and the Murder of Her Children

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Publisher's Summary

Best-selling author Gregg Olsen and co-author Rebecca Morris investigate one of the 21st Century's most puzzling disappearances and how it resulted in the murder of two children by their father.

Every once in a great while a genuine murder mystery unfolds before the eyes of the American public. The tragic story of Susan Powell and her murdered boys, Charlie and Braden, is the only case that rivals the Jon Benet Ramsey saga in the annals of true crime. When the pretty, blonde Utah mother went missing in December of 2009 the media was swept up in the story - with lenses and microphones trained on Susan's husband, Josh. He said he had no idea what happened to his young wife, and that he and the boys had been camping in the middle of a snowstorm.

Over the next three years bombshell by bombshell, the story would reveal more shocking secrets. Josh's father, Steve, who was sexually obsessed with Susan, would ultimately be convicted of unspeakable perversion. Josh's brother, Michael, would commit suicide. And in the most stunning event of them all, Josh Powell would murder his two little boys and kill himself with brutality beyond belief.

©2014 gregg olsen and rebecca morris (P)2014 gregg olsen

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.3 (941 )
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  •  
    Pulplife Canton, Ohio 05-20-14
    Pulplife Canton, Ohio 05-20-14 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "The Coward and the Angels"
    If you could sum up If I Can't Have You: in three words, what would they be?

    Disturbing, Criminal,Unthinkable. A crime against humanity an unforgivable act.


    What was the most compelling aspect of this narrative?

    I really enjoyed Kevin's very factual voice sort of like the old Dragnet show but not as dry.


    What does Laural Merlington and Kevin Pierce bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    I enjoyed the Laural reading the alternative pieces such as the emails and letters. Kevin brings a excellent voice for delivery facts.


    If you could give If I Can't Have You: a new subtitle, what would it be?

    Guilt and Betrayal.


    Any additional comments?

    A few years ago I read Ann Rules take on the case included in her Fatal Friends, Deadly Neighbors Crime Cases Volume 16. This book here is a needed improvement over that other fine book.

    With new updates on the case and a seedier perspective on the case will be enjoyed by anyone new or old to the case.

    11 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Georgia Little Rock, AR, United States 06-02-14
    Georgia Little Rock, AR, United States 06-02-14 Member Since 2012
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    "I gasped several times; I didn't see THAT coming!!"
    If you could sum up If I Can't Have You: in three words, what would they be?

    Fascinating. Gripping. Shocking.


    What other book might you compare If I Can't Have You: to and why?

    This is by far the best true crime book I have ever read. I don't know of any book that compares. You won't be disappointed.


    What about Laural Merlington and Kevin Pierce ’s performance did you like?

    At first I though Kevin Pierce's reading was not going to be to my liking, but I adjusted to his rhythm quickly and enjoyed his voice. Laural had very little reading, but what she did was good.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    ABSOLUTELY! I would get to my destination and sit in my car and listen to three more chapters before MAKING myself stop! It's a long book, but I didn't want it to end. I plan to listen to it again.


    Any additional comments?

    Although this book is a true story and contained some sexual portions, it was told in a way that was not vulgar with basically no profanity. I sat shaking my head many, many times as I listened, wondering why this woman stayed with him and also shocked that such evil exists in our world? It was a well-written book and I'm now looking for others from this author.

    10 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    your mom 05-13-14
    your mom 05-13-14
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    "Disturbingly Gripping"
    What did you like best about this story?

    So sad that this is a true story, as it has so much drama in it, one might think it couldn't possibly be. There are so many twists, I was on truly on the edge of my seat, listening. It's amazing to see just how deeply disturbed a human being can become....and it can be generational.


    What about Laural Merlington and Kevin Pierce ’s performance did you like?

    The change of voice at the beginning of each chapter was unexpected, and it helped to give "Susan" a voice. (Which sadly, after listening to this book, it's evident that she didn't have one.)


    10 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Hilary Connecticut 06-23-14
    Hilary Connecticut 06-23-14 Member Since 2017
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    "Josh Powell is where he belongs..."

    I was haunted during and after listening to this book about Susan Powell's (obvious) murder and the inexplicable inability for authorities to find her remains. The whole Powell family, excepting sister Jennifer, should be imprisoned simply for not divulging the truth about Susan's murder and/or for supporting their weak, manipulative, pathetic brother/son, Josh.

    The narration was great. Initially, the woman's voice at the beginning of each chapter was off-putting and chilling - she sounded mechanical (computerized) as she read excerpts from Susan's emails, diary and letters. It eventually it made perfect sense and lent itself to this profoundly disturbing story.

    This case deserved FBI attention or at least a more through, condensed investigation. The local officials seemed to drag their feet and relied on silly methods to try to trick Josh... the investigation wore on for years. They never put the REAL heat on this guy. Also, child/family services, while respecting that Josh was never formally charged with the murder of his children's mother, should have been monitoring Josh more closely. Supervised visitation with his children should have been held in a controlled environment - not Josh's home. Also, he played ridiculous games with Susan's parents. As if they hadn't suffered enough, he dangled their grandchildren and then ripped them away from them for no reason other than to be a complete jack*ss. I know this is a touchy for local/state authorities, because technically a person is innocent until proven guilty, but surely a case including a missing, presumed dead mother, whose husband is the prime suspect, deserves to be handled more delicately than most. These poor children are dead because a) their father was a maniac, b) social services were too timid (forced by policy, procedure) and c) police were too slow in putting together the pieces of the crime and focused too heavily on the lack of a body. Susan was a moral, upright, hard-working person and devoted mother - her disappearance should have been treated with alarms from day one.

    I ended the book with feelings of complete and utter frustration. I cannot believe how this played out. I cannot believe how Josh (who seemed less than intelligent) pulled this off. I can't believe how much the Cox family has suffered. If Josh Powell didn't kill himself, I'd have to refrain from getting on a plane to Puyallup myself. Josh Powell and most of his kin are cowards and villains, mostly thanks to their disturbed/dysfunctional patriarch. What a complete waste and total shame. RIP Susan, Charlie & Braden.

    8 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Paul B. 07-30-16
    Paul B. 07-30-16 Member Since 2013
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    "Heartbreaking and compelling"

    This is my first review after some 120 audible.com book purchases, most of which are in the true crime genre. This particular story stands out because of its heartbreaking conclusion and the skillful narrative that moves toward it. This is one of several titles I have listened to more than once, and I find the story all the more engaging and compelling when knowing in advance how it will turn out. Both narrators are masterful. Kevin Pierce, the main narrator, is, as always, superb--especially in this work that requires pathos and empathy.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Beverly 05-28-16
    Beverly 05-28-16
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    "A horrific story, sensitively told"

    I vaguely remembered this news story, but only the basics. The author takes you into the minds and hearts of all involved and exposes you to evil that takes your breath away, but also tremendous goodness. I listened nonstop, pausing only to sleep. The reading was superb, as nuanced and genuine as you could hope for in telling such a story. Highly recommend.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    farmhouselady 09-30-15 Member Since 2015
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    "Top of the line true crime book"
    Where does If I Can't Have You: rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    My title above says it.


    What did you like best about this story?

    Actually, I HATED the story. It is a grotesque story. But this is the real world we live in and no one in my opinion tells such stories like this author and this narrator. If I had my druthers, I'd listen to none others but unfortunately, they are mortal men, with only a human capacity to produce such high quality work. Something that took years to compose takes me mere days to consume. A lot of other high quality true crime writers seem a tad dog-eared and shabby by comparison even though they may be best selling authors.


    What does Laural Merlington and Kevin Pierce bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    I was prepared to not like the addition of the female voice to the narration, thinking it would sound too contrived and distracting. But it turned out to be fine. In one sense, it did help to clarify whose voice or thoughts, or writings, I was hearing. But on the other hand, Kevin Pierce is the absolute best narrator I have ever heard and I do not think there was any actual need at all, for the addition of this female voice.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    I did have more of a reaction to this story than to others, sordid and awful though the others may have been. This book even got me to questioning why I like true crime stories and wondering if they are good for me. The story, the situation, was the hardest for me to swallow that I can recall in recent memory.


    Any additional comments?

    I did recollect getting bits of information about this awful story via news stories and I had always been rather curious about learning more, because on the face of it, it was extremely difficult to fathom how a father could do what this one did. I thought more background would help me understand the human elements, etc. Turned out more background increased, instead of decreased, my sense of astonishment and shock at the turn of events in this case. It just seems to be the ultimate, last meaning of the word "horrible". I had to give up audiobooks for a brief break and get my mind on other matters, before I ordered up more audiobooks.

    I believe only Olsen and Pierce could tell this story in its entirety and do it justice.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    jofi00 03-24-17
    jofi00 03-24-17 Member Since 2017
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    "Perfectly Written Story Read by Perfect Narrator"
    What did you love best about If I Can't Have You:?

    The story was engaging and specific. The narrator is extremely gifted. Pierce doesn't use voice changes in any dramatic way; for example, he will heighten his voice when a female is speaking but will not change the narration so much that you forget the story. There is very little "acting" from Pierce in any of his narrations. That makes the man just about the best narrator that I have ever heard! I don't enjoy voices that narrate in five different tones even by those who can do this so well that I feel as though I'm WATCHING the book, not listening to it. I just want the info read to me while leaving all the drama to my own internal simultaneous retelling of the book. No one does narration better than Kevin Pierce!


    What was the most compelling aspect of this narrative?

    What was most compelling was the details given about the case that everyone was talking about. For example, the way that Powell killed himself was known, but what he actually did, moment by moment during this horrific act is little known. This book reveals Powell's own sickness when edifying listeners of the way that he chose his act of retaliation against those who sought to keep his children safe from his clutches. I got to know the pitiable mind of this wretch better through this book.


    Which character – as performed by Laural Merlington and Kevin Pierce – was your favorite?

    The narrator, Kevin Pierce, was most enjoyable for me personally. I was glad that Merlington only narrated briefly, when Mrs. Powell spoke.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    A man's Revenge


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robyn 03-01-17
    Robyn 03-01-17 Member Since 2013
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    "Very Interesting"

    This was my first true crime book. What a sad story. But one that needs to be told.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Leslie Snider 02-19-17
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    "So good"

    Narrator and author did an amazing job with this book, it was gripping from beginning to end. I started it and spent every available moment listening until it was over.

    What a terrible, horrible thing that's happened to that family. From listening and seeing it on the news in Utah I knew about the situation but this book went in depth about the evil monster Josh Powell and what he did to his entire family. I don't want to be quick to recommend this book because the story is horrific but if that's what you like to read then it's the book for you.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
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  • Jamie Cottam-howarth
    uk
    2/24/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "review "

    Very good I recommend this as a good read especially if you have a long drive

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • E
    10/7/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "What a heartbreaking listen"
    Where does If I Can't Have You: rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    This is one of my Top 5 audiobooks.


    What did you like best about this story?

    This is a very difficult story to listen to. It is very raw and you can almost feel the pain of Susan Cox Powell's family (particularly her father) and friends went through. To have a daughter disappear then be at the mercy of a seriously creepy and deranged son in law who clearly hates you and finally to have two of your grandsons brutally murdered - absolutely heartbreaking. The story however is beautifully told, very captivating throughout, with no unnecessary information but at the same time with plenty of detail.


    What does Laural Merlington and Kevin Pierce bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

    Kevin Pierce is the main narrator and does an amazing job as always, Laural is Susan's voice - I liked this touch as it made Susan seem a bit even closer to the listener.


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Bobbie
    4/21/16
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    "Fantastic"

    This was one of the best true crime stories I have listened to. Story brilliant narration brilliant thank you

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • D Wade
    3/1/16
    Overall
    Performance
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    "Heartbreaking"

    Heartbreaking, Tearful, True Crime Story. A must read for all true crime readers. ... .

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Loo loo
    Uk
    8/16/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Tragic story that needs to be told"
    What made the experience of listening to If I Can't Have You: the most enjoyable?

    The narrator reads in a clear way but you can tell he cares about the story he is telling. Both narrators were very good & helped to keep track of who was speaking.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Susan - of course!! I ended up loving her & so sad for what happened to a beautiful kind & brave lady.


    What does Laural Merlington and Kevin Pierce bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

    They bring the story to life & made it very gripping as if it was just happening now.


    If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    The story that needs to be told so that the mistakes made can never happen again.


    Any additional comments?

    This tragic & heartbreaking tale will remain in my head for a very long time.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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