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Publisher's Summary

On the evening of December 3rd, 1957, seven-year-old Maria Ridulph and her eight-year-old friend, Kathy Sigman, were playing in the new fallen snow on a street corner in the sleepy town of Sycamore, Illinois. A stranger approached the girls, introduced himself as "Johnny" and offered them piggyback rides. When Kathy Sigman ran home to get her mittens, she left Maria and Johnny behind on the street corner. Little did she know that she would be the last person to see Maria Ridulph alive.

The FBI was called in and the search for Maria and her kidnapper caught the nation's attention. President Eisenhower and FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover demanded daily reports from the field agents. Nearly six months later, Maria's remains were discovered in a thicket 100 miles away. The search for Maria's killer went on, but all leads were slowly exhausted and finally the case went cold.

A series of events begun by a mother's deathbed confession led to Jack D. McCullough being convicted for the murder of Maria Ridulph 55 years after the crime, making it the oldest cold case in U.S. history ever to be successfully prosecuted. Follow along with the author as he investigates this historic event to discover if justice was truly served, or was another tragedy piled on top of the first, riding piggyback?

©2014 Jeffrey Dean Doty (P)2016 Jeffrey Dean Doty

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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

I Love true crime

Although I love true crime, I found this book to be a little dry. I don't know if it was the author or the narrator but I could not get into it. Saying that I found the case and the overall story very interesting.
I was provided this book at no cost by the author narrator or publisher for a honest review

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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

piggyback

This book is absolutely great. Loved the ending. You should be a detective. loved it

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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

Robotic narrator

Any additional comments?

About 20 minutes in and I just can't see myself listening to this narrator for the upcoming hours. SO dry and almost inappropriately cheerful sounding - in other words utterly disconnected from the content. The writing sounds fine, like the author may have an interesting perspective on this very interesting case, but I think I'll find a YouTube documentary instead. Returning it.

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
  • Lynn
  • Texas
  • 06-16-16

Real Life Mystery, still to this day

Would you consider the audio edition of Piggyback to be better than the print version?

I haven't read the book, so can not compare.

I did go online after listening to the book for updates and pictures. What a touching and sad story for the family of Maria, but the wrong man was convicted.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Piggyback?

The whole story of how the they went after Jack years later. What? Why? There were so many obvious lies and he HAD AN ALIBI! What a misuse of justice there. I was happy to find he has since been released.

What about John N Gully’s performance did you like?

He did a great job with this story. I was interested from the start to the finish.

If you could give Piggyback a new subtitle, what would it be?

Justice gone so wrong

Any additional comments?

This audiobook was provided by the author/narrator/publisher free of charge in exchange for an unbiased review.

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

The complete story of Jack Mculloughs conviction

Any additional comments?

Piggyback completed the story that the news media only began to tell about the conviction of Jack McCullough. Great investigative work by Jeff Doty.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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

Interesting true crime cold case....

What did you love best about Piggyback?

The narration and the story made all the elements of a true crime book

What was the most compelling aspect of this narrative?

The nature of the case and all the facts which came together many years after the crime.

Any additional comments?

"I was provided this audiobook at no charge by the narrator in exchange for an unbiased review via Audiobook Boom."

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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

An important work

Jeff Doty's Piggyback was the only publication, book or article, to get it right. Jack McCullough was convicted of a crime he did not commit. John Gully's narration is wonderful. His pleasing, easy to listen to voice gives us a very worthwhile added value to this true crime expose'.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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

A Good read

I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

This is a must read for fans of the true crime genre.
A true crime story very well researched, well written and a truly worrying tale - how many of us could prove where we were on a random date even 1 year ago.
Narration by Kevin Gallagher is perfect - he imparts the emotion of the characters whilst producing an easy to listen to rendition of this story.
I highly recommend this audiobook, in fact I stayed up late way into the night to finish it (couldn't put it down).

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Kingsley
  • Henely Brook, Australia
  • 12-04-17

Justice Delayed

Fifty Five years after the disappearance and eventual murder of seven year old Maria Ridulph, the very cold case is reopened and brought to trial. This is the oldest cold case in the USA ever brought to trial, and was eventually brought to a conviction. Jack McCullough, who was a suspect in 1957 before being dismissed, was convicted of the crime decades later.

Author Jeffrey Dean Doty opens the book telling the scant details known of the crime and the discovery of the body a few months later. Then jumping forward nearly sixty years he picks up the story at the point where he became interested in it - after the conviction, as a writer wanting to tell the story of justice being brought to a very old cold case. Doty knew, through his work for a newspaper, several of the prosecutors involved so started there. The book is told following Doty's investigation as he interviews the prosecutors, the family of the deceased and the the convicted man. And he starts finding holes and worrying contradictions on both sides of the story. Question start arising: was justice truly done here?

The story is interesting both from a cold case/true crime point of view, but also from a legal point of view, as Doty looks at the proceedings and processes - what as allowed in the evidence and what as not.

I'm generally not big on true crime books, but this one I found to be very interesting. I also think it is an important story, especially when it comes to the legal system and the meaning of justice.

Narration by John N Gully is okay. It's a 3.5 /5, rounded up.

I have listened to other Gully narrated works which I have enjoyed more. He is generally well paced, although the cadence feels a little off to begin with. As he goes on he hits stride and it goes well. He is easy enough to follow and listen to. The book is a whole of back-and-forth in interviews and it would have been good if there was a little more to separate who was speaking - not necessarily accents or voices, because these are real people not characters and thus it can come off a little caricature-ish - but something to make the back and forth clearer.

I was provided a copy of this audiobook by the author, narrator, or publisher but it was not in exchange for a review. That was my own choice to do.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Reg
  • McKinney, TX
  • 02-23-17

Interesting Twist to Cold Case

When little Maria Ridulph is taken from a busy neighborhood and murdered, it begins a 55 year old case that culminates in John Tessier (aka Jack McCullough) being arrested for the crime when he is 74 years old. Sounds sensational, no? Except that Tessier was cleared of the crime when it happened and the FBI interviewed him, he passed a lie detector test, and had a pretty airtight alibi. Not to mention that the logistics of his movements that night just would not work with the timeline of what took place and when Maria was taken.

This listen has an interesting twist as the author goes into detail about himself and why he started writing the book and the connections he had with the case. He went out of his way, and became a bit repetitive, detailing his own motivations for writing the book. In my mind, he didn’t need to do this. The evidence itself made no sense and no sane person would think that there was a case against Tessier. My suspicions are more to why the prosecution thought there was a case, why Tessier’s family decided he was the murderer so long after the 1947 disappearance, and why his own sister would accuse him of rape based on regression therapy.

It was a very, very interesting listen with a good narrator that did the material justice. The only thing I would have liked to hear is more about little Maria. The author prefaced everything with the details of the abduction and murder but it really would have been more honest to package it as a vindication story of Tessier. I believe the way the book is packaged now, it leaves out a huge chunk of the tale and leaves the first victim in the story behind.

I received this audiobook for free through Audiobook Boom! in exchange for an honest review.