I'd like to nominate something by Ann Rule
, preferably something I just bought, but haven't yet read, [
] such as one of these two:
1) Dead By Sunset
(from Publishers Weekly):
Brad Cunningham was handsome, brilliant, a high-school hero in his native Seattle, a football star at the University of Washington. His family background was unusual, with a Native American mother of whom he was ashamed and an Anglo father who was contemptuous of women. As an adolescent, Brad was violent with his sisters and his mother. This pattern continued in his first, second and third marriages but reached its apogee with his fourth wife, Cheryl Keeton, a highly successful lawyer by whom he fathered three sons. When their marriage collapsed and she sought custody of their children, Brad, a bank executive, threatened her; in September 1986, she was found bludgeoned to death in her car on an Oregon highway. The case remained unresolved until Cheryl Keeton's estate filed a civil suit for damages against Brad in 1991. A criminal trial followed in 1993, in which Brad was found guilty of murder and sentenced to a minimum of 22 years. Rule (Small Sacrifices) provides a perceptive character analysis of a malignant, self-centered, charismatic con artist. It's a chilling, haunting portrait. Photos not seen by PW. 125,000 first printing; True Crime Book Club main selection; Doubleday Book Club, Literary Guild and Mystery Guild featured alternates; Reader's Digest Nonfiction Condensed Book Club selection; Tri-Star/NBC-TV miniseries to air in November.
2) Heart Full of Lies: A True Story of Desire and Death
(from Publishers Weekly):
Former Seattle police officer and crime author Rule (Small Sacrifices; Dead by Sunset, etc.) knows a good drama when she finds one: it involves love, betrayal, greed and violence. In the story of Liysa Northon, a woman who murdered her third husband, Chris Northon, in order to collect his insurance money, Rule has found a real-life soap opera. In the fall of 2000, Liysa convinced Chris to go on a camping trip with her and their small son in the remote forests of Oregon. But the idyllic vacation didn't last long; Liysa would later admit to ending her husband's life by shooting him in the head in an act of "self-defense." From where she sits today (in an Oregon state prison), she still professes to have shot Chris only in innocence and fear-emotions she said were caused by her years as a victim of domestic violence. But according to her husband's parents and other sources, Liysa is a manipulative sociopath who spent years crafting a public fašade of abuse persuasive enough to justify the cold-blooded murder of her husband. Rule has done an impressive amount of research to reconstruct the history of Liysa's crime and the stories of the main people involved, interviewing dozens of police officers, investigators and private citizens across the country. And if the author's prose is somewhat flat, the fascinating and perplexing drama should be more than enough to keep most readers turning pages.