PRACTICE TO DECEIVE
By Ann Rule
Pocket Books, October 8, 2013 ($26.99)
Reviewed by Cherie Jung
Whidbey Island, Washington. A dead body is discovered in a yellow SUV, in the woods, at Christmas time... Was it suicide or murder?
I suppose there are two kinds of true crime fans; those acquainted with the crime, the victim(s), and/or the locale and those who enjoy — if "enjoy" is the right word, perhaps "are intrigued by" would be a better choice of words — a vicarious thrill reading all about a specific crime; reminiscent of the gawkers who impede traffic flow at the scene of an accident; be it a fatality or fender bender. Make those three kinds; readers who are mesmerized by the writer's storytelling skills. I fall into at least two of those categories, sometimes all three.
In this case, I was unfamiliar with the crime but I live in the Puget Sound area so I am interested in crimes from that area. I also like the way Ann Rule writes.
I suspect this book will not appeal to a very wide range of readers, partly because the victim, the suspect(s), and others are less than sympathetic characters. Not every crime is sensational enough to warrant a book-length treatment. This is perhaps one of those cases that might have been better dealt with as a short story or novella. I think many readers will become impatient with the details presented and the pacing of the book.
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