"Truth is stranger than fiction." Those famous words from Mark Twain have been a driving force in my reading life for at least the last decade. Somewhere along the line, I discovered Ann Rule, a widely-known true crime author, and never looked back. I became addicted to these types of stories...the personality disorders, the trail of evidence, the deceptions, the trials, the victims. I literally have read hundreds of these stories. I think somewhere deep down in my psyche, I thought that if I learned the signs of sociopathic personality, I might have a better chance of avoiding them! Where am I going with all of this? Well, recently I was offered the chance to review this book and I jumped at it. While I have diversified my reading selections since I started blogging, this is one of my favorite genres.
The author, Lynda Drews, has an interesting tale to tell. Her and her husband, Green Bay, WI natives, have been avid runners and marathoners most of their adult lives. The running community in Green Bay is a tight-knit bunch...they run together, they party together, they are each others' support systems and are all good friends. On April 7, 1984, however, this world imploded for Lynda. Her best friend, Pam Bulik, was found drowned in her bathtub, presumably of suicide. Soon, after the facts begin to emerge, Lynda, the rest of her group, and the police know this was no suicide. They all believe Pam was murdered by her husband Bob.
The Buliks' lives are unspooled before us. From Lynda's own knowledge, police interviews and crime scene details, we learn about the deterioration of the Bulik marriage. Of Bob's long-term affair with a fellow school-teacher, which becomes the primary motive. Of a mysterious attack on Pam nine months earlier, which was never solved. Of Pam's fear that Bob was drugging her, her depression, and fight to lift herself out of the quagmire. Of Bob's convoluted and lame explanation for what happened on April 7th. Lynda provides the history, the evidence, the trial, the verdict, the aftermath, and Lynda's involvement in process, from a point of view that is as street-level as it gets.
Throughout the book, you get such a sense of Lynda's raw devastation from the loss of her friend and the senselessness of the crime. This book is truly a labor of love, and a tribute to Pam's memory. But most impressive is her ability to also step away from her emotion and present the facts, and look at the case from different angles. I suppose time allows her a bit of this control, but from where I sat, I was ENRAGED. At one point, while my husband was playing with his iPhone and I was in my chair reading, I caused him to start when I exploded "ARGH, damn I hope they fry this guy!". I was highly disturbed that the legal system prevented the inclusion of certain, very important facts in the trial. I was disturbed by Bob's cocksure attitude and pathological lying. All of this adds up to a phenomenal true crime story, matching up nicely against anything else out there.
So how does it all end? Is Bob found guilty or innocent? Where is Bob now? Well, it is public record of course, but you aren't going to hear it from me. You need to read this book for the goods.
I also wanted to mention that this was the book (if you've been following me for the last few weeks and remember my distress) that I left at the park accidentally, and someone stole before I could return to retrieve it. Graciously, Lynda sent me another book, but at that point I had lost a week and had to reschedule the review. I was beginning to worry that I was more trouble than I was worth. So an extra big "thank you" goes out to Jaime at Pump Up Your Books Promotion and to Lynda Drews, who both were very patient and understanding with me!
4.5 out of 5 stars