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EVIL BESIDE HER:
The True Story of a Texas Woman's Marriage to a Dangerous Psychopath
By Kathryn Casey
Harper True Crime, October 2008 ($7.99)
Reviewed by Cherie Jung
What would you do if your husband became angry, abusive, and couldn't or wouldn't account for his whereabouts? What if you discovered his hidden cache of duct tape, handcuffs, and a ski mask? What if you suspected he was a rapist? What if no one believed you, including your friends and the police?
Linda and Jim met on a blind date. Over the weeks that they dated, it is clear in hindsight that Jim was not the best choice of a life partner for Linda -- or any other woman. Pressured by his father to leave what his father considered a dead-end job, Jim enlisted in the Navy, but first, he married Linda. Their life together from the moment they met on that first blind date should have been a clue to Linda that Jim was not for her. But she was ill equipped to deal with him since her family background was also dysfunctional.
Sadly, this type of behavior seems bizarre yet familiar as has been documented in cases time and time again when dysfunctional people are misinterpreted or ignored by those around them. A childhood of "not normal" in this case included some very ugly details that Jim's parents and family should have dealt with.
While it's easy to try to place blame afterwards, especially by people who have not experienced what the victim went through, the author does a more than credible job of educating the reader on not only the crimes but why they were "allowed" to occur. From the safety of the armchair, it's disturbing to read yet most of us can stay aloof and only wonder or condemn Linda and others for not doing something before things got so out of hand. There is a real difference between reading about the exploits of a pychopath and living under his control. I recommend this book for true crime fans, of course, but I would hope that other readers of mystery and crime fiction would also give it a read. There is a lot that can be learned from this story.
The longer I live in our society, the more I realize, we have a lot of severely dysfunctional people in our midst, each capable of unspeakable acts of violence, torture, and depravity.
What would I do if my husband turned out to be like Jim? I'm sure I would have made different choices, maybe not better choices, than Linda made. Afterall, I was much older than Linda when I married. I, too, came from a dysfunctional family. We had our share of inappropriate behavior in our family and it went unstopped for years. We, too, had the problem that no one believed us, including other family members, friends, cops, and judges when we tried to report the abuse. Ignoring the problem was the chosen solution but the result was unforgivable.
To say that I "enjoyed" Casey's writing sounds odd. However, in my opinion, her writing skills are second only to those of Ann Rule. The author brings the reader into the story to experience why Linda made the choices that she did. Why she didn't just walk away...
One final note. This book was originally published under the title THE RAPIST'S WIFE.
The author is a Houston-based journalist. She has published five true crime books including A WARRANT TO KILL, SHE WANTED IT ALL, DESCENT INTO HELL, and DIE, MY LOVE. If you would like to read a review of DESCENT INTO HELL, please click here.
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