Category Archives: True Crime

In Plain Sight: The Kaufman County Prosecutor Murders by Kathryn Casey

Reviewed by Vickie Dailey

In Plain SightIn Plaint Sight is the true crime story of the Kaufman County Prosecutor Murders.

It is a well written story with great background research on the killer and victim. While not familiar with the case, I found it interesting that the killer Eric Williams and one of his victims, Assistant District Attorney Mark Hasse, had similar lives and careers until one lost it and veered into murder.

This book has many great reviews for good reason – it is that good.

Trauma, Shame, and the Power of Love: The Fall and Rise of a Physician Who Heals Himself
by Christopher E. Pelloski, MD

Reviewed by Lisa Brown-Gilbert

Trauma, Shame and the Power of LoveAlthough sexual abuse and pornography of children is nothing new within this society, each time it is discovered and reported there is an accompanying knee jerk reaction of anger, disgust and distrust that follows so much so that it becomes hard to see the many facets of the whole truth about the situation such was the case with Christopher E. Pelloski M.D. In his book, Trauma, Shame and the Power of Love, which is a biographical work, he bares his soul and shares his experiences from arrest to trial as a non-productive participant of child pornography.

When the Serpent Bites by Nesly Clerge

When the Serpent Bites

Reviewed by Timea Barabas

When a snake bites there are a few steps one can take right away, such as immobilizing the affected area, before being transported to a medical facility. But “When the Serpent Bites” the venom spreads faster and the victim must fight for his life.

The serpent is one of the most widespread and fascinating mythological symbols. So, it is no wonder that out of the many values which are attributed to it, some are contradictory, like guardianship and vengefulness. The magical thing about the serpent is that it is the ultimate representation of the duality of good and evil. In this crime novel just like in real life the good and evil are intertwined.

History Of Street Cops, Gangs Guns and Cabrini Green Housing Snipers, By Greg Zito

History of Street Cops

Reviewed by Cy Hilterman

Greg Zito, the author of this informative book, was an actual cop mostly in various areas in the city of Chicago. Greg tells it like it is in such a busy and dangerous profession, as police have to wonder into various areas of the city wherever they are requested. They never know what is really going on at the location called to or what they will encounter on the way to that destination. They generally have regular partners but not always so they have to learn to depend on the partner next to them now. These men and women of law enforcement have to be commended for the job they do for all of us, sometimes against all odds of survival. A certain bond is formed between law enforcement, a bond that only tightens when the times get tougher. They can have their differences but not when their partner or friend is in danger.

The Poisoner’s Handbook: Murder and the Birth of Forensic Medicine in Jazz Age New York (Thorndike Crime Scene) by Deborah Blum

The Poisoner's HandbookReviewed by Teri Davis

No, I hope I never need the information in this book. The Poisoner’s Handbook is really the development of forensic science from the view point of New York City’s medical examiner, Charles Norris, toxicologist, Alexander Gettler and many others at the beginning of the twentieth century. In many respects, this book is the evolution of science as the processes for identifying chemicals with humans was developing. As our society became more industrialized, more poisons were created and either misused accidentally or purposefully. Unfortunately, few people before these scientists really studied these poisons and knew how to identify and differentiate each.

Parallel to the actual poisons is the history of famous cases where the poisons were found or suspected and how the investigators discovered what poison what used. With viewing the cases first through law enforcement and then through the scientific evidence was fascinating. Before this time, even securing a crime scene was not standard procedure.

Heist and High by Anthony Curcio and Dane Batty

Heist and High Reviewed by Julie Moderson

This book is Anthony Curcio’s debut book and the first few pages bothered me so much that I could not continue to read it.

Anthony robbed an armored car, got away with it and then bragged about the crime. I was so repulsed by this book I put it down and read another one. When I sat down and tried for a second time to read this book, it turned out better than I thought.

Anthony is like so many other addicts and his life is one big fat lie. He lied so much he didn’t remember the truth. His story is a one of how many cons he ran and how he got away with them. Some of the things he did were quite clever.

Deadly Little Secrets: The Minister, His Mistress, and a Heartless Texas Murder by Kathryn Casey

Deadly Little Secrets Reviewed by Vickie Dailey

Deadly Little Secrets is a true crime story. It is the story of Matt & Kari Baker. Both come from fairly religious backgrounds. The two meet at school where Kari is pursuing a career in teaching and Matt wants to become a baptist minister. They soon marry and have two little girls. Sadly after a long illness the second daughter passes away.

Throughout the book we learn that Matt has many secrets in his past. Secrets that would have made a difference for what comes next. Numerous times Matt has been accussed of sexual harrassment with various women with whom he works as well as family friends.

Shattered by Kathryn Casey

Reviewed by Julie Moderson

Shattered by Kathryn CaseyKathryn Casey is a well know true crime author. Casey has written six true crime books and has spent over twenty years researching and writing about real people. She understands so much about law enforcement and the criminal mind.

Belinda Temple was married to her college sweetheart. David Temple was a former high school and college star football player and they seemed to be living a fairy tale marriage. David was a teacher and high school football coach. Belinda was a warm, loveable high school teacher who her co-workers called the Sunshine Girl. Belinda was a twin to Brenda who saw sadness in her sister the last time she visited her.

Deadly Angel by Fred Rosen (Review #2)

angel1Reviewed by Julie Moderson

Fred Rosen has written many true crime books and I think Deadly Angel is one of the best or worst true crime stories ever written. I find it so bizarre that Mechele Huges and John Carlin III got away with murder for almost 12 years.

Looking for easy money and a new life Mechele Hughes went to Wasilla, Alaska. (yes folks the same city that Sarah Palin is from) Sarah Palin did not make it easy for the police to solve this murder, she was busy firing Wasilla’s’ police chief . She also issued a gag order that no city employee was to talk to the news media without her permission. Perhaps it wouldn’t help her career in politics to be associated with a fisherman who was murdered by a stripper in her own home town.

The Bush Company, a strip club just outside of the Wasilla city limits was where Mechele found employment as a exotic dancer. She had a way with men and was soon getting expensive gifts and earning thousands of dollars a night. She was engaged to three men at the same time who she met at the strip club; Kent Leppink, John
Carlin and Scott Hilke and they all lived in the same house.

In May of 1996 Kent Leppink’s bullet ridden body was found in a remote area near Hope, Alaska. Kent wrote a letter to his parents about who he thought might kill him and he changed beneficiaries at the last minute on an insurance policy that Mechele talked him into purchasing.

More than ten years would pass before the murder trials of John Carlin III and Mechele Hughes. Mechele was married to a doctor and a mother of a young child. She turned her life around and got a master’s degree and had dedicated her life to children, animals and charitable causes. Did she orchestrate this murder or did
John Carlin III do it on his own?

As you read this story you keep having to remind yourself that this isn’t fiction because it seems like it can’t possibly be true.

Deadly Angel by Fred Rosen

deadlyReviewed by Laura Goodwin

This book chronicles the bizarre tale of Mechele Hughes and the murder of Kent “TT” Leppink. Mechele worked as an exotic dancer at the Great Alaskan Bush Company in Anchorage, Alaska. The story gives background on her life leading up to the murder. As you are reading it, the author truly makes you want to beat the ever loving crap out of her. She was very materialistic and her only focus in life was on money and what she could get out of people.

The moment Kent met her at the club, he was instantly smitten with her. Almost on the verge of obsession, he catered to her every need and followed her around like a puppy. Soon after, they became engaged and this is the point where the story gets more bizarre. Mechele soon finds two more suitors who also become her fiancés as well, one of which is John Carlin III and the other Scott Hilke. How is it that each man did not know about the other? Scott lived the furthest away and Mechele would travel out of town to see him.

Prior to Kent’s murder, Mechele had him running around like an errand boy and spending thousands of dollars to fix up her house. Mechele and John lure Kent away to a cabin by leaving a note and this brings an end to his demise. Luckily, Kent had mailed a letter to his parents specifically implying that if he was found dead, it was due to Mechele and John and it made reference to the life insurance policy that Mechele made him take out. How fitting that he had her removed before his death, so she would have not gained anything by him being dead. This one piece of evidence helped to convict her and John in the case.

The story follows the events leading after the murder and Michele’s whereabouts and that she had sent a computer to her sister to have the hard drive wiped out. Luckily, her sister did not follow through and contacted the authorities. The investigators were so close on her heels and found out that she was traveling with John’s son in a motor home. Nearly ten years goes by and a new identity emerges and Mechele is now a Doctors’ wife and a mother. Finally, justice is served and she is given a 99 year sentence for conspiracy to commit murder. We also learn that John Carlin III is bludgeoned to death in prison.

I liked this book and the author’s research that he did. It read like a novel and it reminded me of Forensic Files on television. It is a very quick read and I would recommend it to anybody who is into the True Crime genre.