It’s a chilling reality that homicide investigators know all too well: the last face most murder victims see is not that of a stranger, but of someone familiar. Whether only an acquaintance or a trusted intimate, such killers share a common trait that triggers the downward spiral toward death for someone close to them: they are masters at hiding who they really are. Their clever masks let them appear safe, kind, and truthful. They are anything but — and almost no one can detect the murderous impulses buried deep in their psyches.
These doomed relationships are the focus of Ann Rule’s sixteenth Crime Files collection. In these shattering inside views of both headlined and little-known homicides, Rule speaks for vulnerable victims who relied on the wrong people. She begins with two startling novella-length investigations.
In July 2011, a billionaire’s Coronado, California, mansion was the setting for two horrifying deaths only days apart — his young son’s plunge from a balcony and his girlfriend’s ghastly hanging. What really happened? Baffling questions remain unanswered, as these cases were closed far too soon for hundreds of people; Rule looks at them now through the eyes of a relentless crime reporter. The second probe began in Utah when Susan Powell vanished in a 2009 blizzard. Her controlling husband, Josh, proved capable of a blind rage that was heartbreakingly fatal to his innocent small sons almost three years later in a tragedy that shocked America as the details unfolded. If anyone had detected the depth of depravity within Josh Powell, perhaps the family that loved and trusted him would have been saved. In these, and one other riveting case, Ann Rule exposes the twisted truth behind the façades of Fatal Friends, Deadly Neighbors.