Catherine Crier is one of America's top True Crime authors. With Final Analysis, Crier has again brought the very real and very ugly world of murder to readers. This is the story of Susan and Felix Polk, their three sons and strange life together. That family life, shaky as it may have been, was forever ended with Felix's murder in 2002. Susan Polk stabbed her husband-of that there was never any doubt. The question that authorities struggled to answer was why? Was it premeditated? Self Defense? Could it possibly have been an accident?
As is often the case in life, it was a series of coincidences that brought Susan and Felix together in the first place. Susan, an extremely bright student, developed a phobia towards attending school. On the advice of the school counselor, Susan's mother took her for a psychological evaluation. That fateful referral changed so many lives forever. The psychologist she was sent to see was Felix Polk. That he was twenty years her senior, married and a father did nothing to prevent him from starting a relationship with his teen aged patient.
Crier divides her book into three sections: the family's life leading up to the murder, the investigation into the murder and lastly, the trial. This is an effective way to present the case though the material presented in the first two sections is blurred. Throughout the first two sections, readers find out a great deal about both Susan and Felix's lives before their relationship began. The first part of the book mostly focuses on their relationship-how they met and what their marriage and family life was like. In the second part, during the police investigation, more of their past is revealed. The third part of the book, the trial, was for me by for the most interesting. Susan choose, on and off during the trial to represent herself. Her efforts can only be described as a text book case was to why defendants should not do so. At the end of the book are copies of court documents, photos and sketches from the trial. These are handy references while reading the third section of the book.
Crier has done an extremely good job of making the people involved real for the readers. She has included in the middle of the book, photos of the family in happier times, so that readers can see who the people are. Readers will come away with the sense of what a tragedy this was, for all involved-especially the three Polk boys.
REVIEWED BY CARYN ST. CLAIR
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