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America’s #1 true-crime writer fulfills a murder victim’s desperate plea with this shattering New York Times bestseller.
“If anything ever happens to me…find Ann Rule and ask her to write my story.”
In perhaps the first true-crime book written at the victim's request, Ann Rule untangles a web of lies and brutality that culminated in the murder of Sheila Blackthorne Bellush—a woman Rule never met, but whose shocking story she now chronicles with compassion, exacting detail, and unvarnished candor.
Although happily ensconced in a loving second marriage, and a new family of quadruplets, Sheila never truly escaped the vicious enslavement of her ex-husband, multi-millionaire Allen Blackthorne, a handsome charmer— and a violent, controlling sociopath who subjected Sheila to unthinkable abuse in their marriage, and terrorized her for a decade after their divorce. When Sheila was slain in her home, in the presence of her four toddlers, authorities raced to link the crime to Blackthorne, the man who vowed to monitor Sheila's every move in his obsessive quest for power and revenge.
A NEW YORK TIMES 100 NOTABLE BOOKS OF 2019 SELECTION
From #1 New York Times bestselling author Stephen King, the most riveting and unforgettable story of kids confronting evil since It.
In the middle of the night, in a house on a quiet street in suburban Minneapolis, intruders silently murder Luke Ellis’s parents and load him into a black SUV. The operation takes less than two minutes. Luke will wake up at The Institute, in a room that looks just like his own, except there’s no window. And outside his door are other doors, behind which are other kids with special talents—telekinesis and telepathy—who got to this place the same way Luke did: Kalisha, Nick, George, Iris, and ten-year-old Avery Dixon. They are all in Front Half. Others, Luke learns, graduated to Back Half, “like the roach motel,” Kalisha says. “You check in, but you don’t check out.”
In this most sinister of institutions, the director, Mrs. Sigsby, and her staff are ruthlessly dedicated to extracting from these children the force of their extranormal gifts. There are no scruples here. If you go along, you get tokens for the vending machines. If you don’t, punishment is brutal. As each new victim disappears to Back Half, Luke becomes more and more desperate to get out and get help. But no one has ever escaped from the Institute.
As psychically terrifying as Firestarter, and with the spectacular kid power of It, The Institute is Stephen King’s gut-wrenchingly dramatic story of good vs. evil in a world where the good guys don’t always win.
Fall in love with The Simplicity of Cider, the charming new novel about a prickly but gifted cider-maker whose quiet life is interrupted by the arrival of a handsome man and his young son at her family’s careworn orchard by the author of The Coincidence of Coconut Cake and Luck, Love & Lemon Pie.
Don’t miss Amy’s newest work of women’s fiction: The Optimist’s Guide to Letting Go!
Focused and unassuming fifth generation cider-maker Sanna Lund has one desire: to live a simple, quiet life on her family’s apple orchard in Door County, Wisconsin. Although her business is struggling, Sanna remains fiercely devoted to the orchard, despite her brother’s attempts to convince their aging father to sell the land.
Single dad Isaac Banks has spent years trying to shield his son Sebastian from his troubled mother. Fleeing heartbreak at home, Isaac packed up their lives and the two headed out on an adventure, driving across the country. Chance—or fate—led them straight to Sanna’s orchard.
Isaac’s helping hands are much appreciated at the apple farm, even more when Sanna’s father is injured in an accident. As Sanna’s formerly simple life becomes increasingly complicated, she finds solace in unexpected places—friendship with young Sebastian and something more deliciously complex with Isaac—until an outside threat infiltrates the farm.
From the warm and funny Amy E. Reichert, The Simplicity of Cider is a charming love story with a touch of magic, perfect for fans of Sarah Addison Allen and Gayle Forman.
From the bestselling author of Mrs. Poe and Twain’s End comes a “poignant, beautifully rendered story of two sisters who find the courage to reclaim their bond after years of misunderstandings and heartbreak” (Melanie Benjamin, New York Times bestselling author) during the Great Depression.
1934. Ruth has been single-handedly raising four young daughters and running her family’s Indiana farm for eight long years, ever since her husband, John, was infected by the infamous “sleeping sickness” devastating families across the country. If only she could trade places with her older sister, June: blonde and beautiful, married to a wealthy doctor, living in a mansion in St. Paul. And June has a coveted job, too, as one of “the Bettys,” the perky recipe developers who populate the famous Betty Crocker test kitchen. But these gilded trappings hide sorrows: she has borne no children. And the man she loves more than anything belongs to Ruth.
When the two sisters reluctantly reunite after a long estrangement, June’s bitterness about her sister’s betrayal sets into motion a confrontation that’s been years in the making. And their mother, Dorothy, who’s brought the two of them together, has her own dark secrets, which might blow up the fragile peace she hopes to restore between her daughters.
An emotional journey of redemption, inner strength, and the ties that bind families together, for better or worse, The Sisters of Summit Avenue is a moving and heartfelt tribute to mothers, daughters, and sisters everywhere.
From the bestselling and award-winning author of The Sparrow comes “historical fiction that feels uncomfortably relevant today” (Kirkus Reviews) about “America’s Joan of Arc”—the courageous woman who started a rebellion by leading a strike against the largest copper mining company in the world.
In July 1913, twenty-five-year-old Annie Clements has seen enough of the world to know that it’s unfair. She’s spent her whole life in the mining town of Calumet, Michigan, where men risk their lives for meager salaries—and have barely enough to put food on the table for their families. The women labor in the houses of the elite, and send their husbands and sons deep underground each day, dreading the fateful call of the company man telling them their loved ones aren’t coming home. So, when Annie decides to stand up for the entire town of Calumet, nearly everyone believes she may have taken on more than she is prepared to handle.
Yet as Annie struggles to improve the future of her town, her husband becomes increasingly frustrated with her growing independence. She faces the threat of prison while also discovering a forbidden love. On her fierce quest for justice, Annie will see just how much she is willing to sacrifice for the families of Calumet.
From one of the most versatile writers in contemporary fiction, this novel is an authentic and moving historical portrait of the lives of the crucial men and women of the early labor movement “with an important message that will resonate with contemporary readers” (Booklist).
A young widow returns to Lake Sackett, Georgia to face the ghosts of her past—and decide if she’s ready to take another chance on love—in the third sparkling Southern Eclectic novel that “goes down as easy as honey on a deep-fried Twinkie” (Library Journal, on Sweet Tea and Sympathy).
Lucy Bowman would never have guessed that her best friend, Duffy McCready (of McCready’s Bait Shop & Funeral Home) has been in love with her since they were kids. Fear of rejection and his own romantic complications prevented Duffy from confessing his true feelings in high school, so he stood by and watched her wed Wayne Bowman right after high school. Wayne had always been a cheapskate, so it comes as no surprise when he suffers a fatal accident while fixing his own truck.
Even as her family and friends invade Lucy’s life and insist that the new widow is too fragile to do much beyond weeping, Lucy is ashamed to admit that life without Wayne is easier, less complicated. After all, no one knew what a relentless, soul-grinding trudge marriage to Wayne had been. Only Duffy can tell she’s hiding something.
In need of a fresh start, Lucy asks Duffy to put his cabinet-building skills to use, transforming the town's meat shop into a bake shop. As the bakery takes shape, Lucy and Duffy discover the spark that pulled them together so many years ago. Could this finally be the second chance he’s always hoped for?
Once again Molly Harper “writes characters you can’t help but fall in love with” (RT Book Reviews) in this charming and entertaining love story.
For fans of The Princess Diaries and The Royal We comes a fun and daring novel about a modern-day princess who teams up with a spy to find out what happened to the fiancé who left her at the altar—and who just might get her own fairytale in the process.
Princess Theodora Isabella Victoria of Drieden of the Royal House Laurent is so over this princess thing.
After her fiancé jilted her on their wedding day, she’s finally back home after spending four months in exile—aka it’s back to press conferences, public appearances, and putting on a show for the Driedish nation as the perfect princess they expect her to be. But Thea’s sick of duty. After all, that’s what got her into this mess in the first place.
So when she sneaks out of the palace and meets a sexy Scot named Nick in a local bar, she relishes the chance to be a normal woman for a change. But just as she thinks she’s found her Prince Charming for the night, he reveals his intentions are less than honorable: he’s the brother of her former fiancé, a British spy, and he’s not above blackmail. As Thea reluctantly joins forces with Nick to find out what happened the day her fiancé disappeared, together they discover a secret that could destroy a centuries-old monarchy and change life as they know it.
Funny, fast-paced, and full of more twists and turns than the castle Thea lives in, The Royal Runaway is a fresh romantic comedy that will leave you cheering for the modern-day royal who chucks the rulebook aside to create her own happily-ever-after.
A New York Times bestseller
An NPR Best Book of 2017
A Buzzfeed Best YA Book of 2017
A Kirkus Reviews Best Teen Book of 2017
A School Library Journal Best Young Adult Book of 2017
A Bustle Best YA Novel of 2017
A PopSugar Best Young Adult Novel of 2017
A Book Riot Best Book of 2017
A Paste Magazine Best Young Adult Novel of 2017
“Utterly charming.” —Mindy Kaling
“Effervescent.” —Chicago Tribune
“Full of warm characters and sweet romance.” —Entertainment Weekly
“Get ready to fall in love with Dimple Shah and Rishi Patel.” —HelloGiggles
The rom-com everyone’s talking about! Eleanor & Park meets Bollywood in this hilarious and heartfelt novel about two Indian-American teens whose parents conspire to arrange their marriage.
Dimple Shah has it all figured out. With graduation behind her, she’s more than ready for a break from her family, from Mamma’s inexplicable obsession with her finding the “Ideal Indian Husband.” Ugh. Dimple knows they must respect her principles on some level, though. If they truly believed she needed a husband right now, they wouldn’t have paid for her to attend a summer program for aspiring web developers…right?
Rishi Patel is a hopeless romantic. So when his parents tell him that his future wife will be attending the same summer program as him—wherein he’ll have to woo her—he’s totally on board. Because as silly as it sounds to most people in his life, Rishi wants to be arranged, believes in the power of tradition, stability, and being a part of something much bigger than himself.
The Shahs and Patels didn’t mean to start turning the wheels on this “suggested arrangement” so early in their children’s lives, but when they noticed them both gravitate toward the same summer program, they figured, Why not?
Dimple and Rishi may think they have each other figured out. But when opposites clash, love works hard to prove itself in the most unexpected ways.
Holly Ross often wishes she lived in a simpler time, when the clothes were glamorous, the men debonair, and the endings happy. That said, her career as a fashion historian isn't so bad. With both a wedding and a big promotion coming up, her own happily ever after seems assured.
So how, in the space of one day, does it all go wrong? How does she end up homeless, jobless, penniless, and fiancé-less? Why is she cruising the Mediterranean in hot pursuit of real estate tycoon Denis King? And why, for heaven's sake, is she chasing down a suitcase full of stolen Audrey Hepburn gowns?
With the sparkling Mediterranean and the eternal city of Rome as the backdrops, Holly's adventures begin to resemble one of the 1950s Hollywood gems she so adores. Finally she must choose between her long-held fairy tale fantasy and a new, real-life dream with an ending she couldn't possibly imagine.
This “immensely enjoyable tale of empowerment” (Patrick Henry Bass, NY1) about a gentle Rhode Island woman who makes her first journey to New York City to buy an exquisitely tailored dress “gets to the essence of why style matters” (Kate Betts).
Early one September not long ago, a woman with a secret traveled to New York City in pursuit of a dream, to buy the most beautiful and correct dress she’d ever seen. But sometimes a dress isn’t just a dress…
Emilia Brown has spent a frugal, useful, and wholly restrained life in Ashville, Rhode Island. She is a genteel woman who has known her share of personal sorrows and quietly carried on, who makes a modest living cleaning and running errands, who delights in evening chats with her much younger neighbor, and who counts her blessings on a daily basis.
While helping to inventory the estate of the late grand dame of Ashville and her lifelong source of inspiration, Mrs. Brown comes upon a dress that changes everything. It’s a simple yet exquisitely tailored Oscar de la Renta sheath and jacket—a suit that Mrs. Brown realizes, with startling clarity, will say everything she has ever wished to convey about herself. As a means to an end as much as a thing of beauty, she must have it. And so, like the heroine in one of her favorite books Paul Gallico’s 1958 classic Mrs. ‘Arris Goes to Paris, her odyssey to purchase the dress in New York City begins. For not only is owning the Oscar de la Renta a must, the intimidating trip to purchase it on Madison Avenue is essential as well. If the dress is to give Mrs. Brown a voice, then she must prepare by making the daunting journey—both to the emerald city and within herself.
Timeless, poignant, and appealing, My Mrs. Brown is “a contemporary fairy tale…a gentle rebuke to today’s hyped-up fashion culture” (The New York Times).
From the author of The Jewel of Medina, a moving and insightful novel based on the life of legendary performer and activist Josephine Baker, perfect for fans of The Paris Wife and Hidden Figures.
Discover the fascinating and singular life story of Josephine Baker—actress, singer, dancer, Civil Rights activist, member of the French Resistance during WWII, and a woman dedicated to erasing prejudice and creating a more equitable world—in Josephine Baker’s Last Dance.
In this illuminating biographical novel, Sherry Jones brings to life Josephine's early years in servitude and poverty in America, her rise to fame as a showgirl in her famous banana skirt, her activism against discrimination, and her many loves and losses. From 1920s Paris to 1960s Washington, to her final, triumphant performance, one of the most extraordinary lives of the twentieth century comes to stunning life on the page.
With intimate prose and comprehensive research, Sherry Jones brings this remarkable and compelling public figure into focus for the first time in a joyous celebration of a life lived in technicolor, a powerful woman who continues to inspire today.
Juliette Fay—“one of the best authors of women’s fiction” (Library Journal)—transports us back to the Golden Age of Hollywood and the raucous Roaring Twenties, as three friends struggle to earn their places among the stars of the silent screen—perfect for fans of La La Land and Rules of Civility.
It’s July 1921, “flickers” are all the rage, and Irene Van Beck has just declared her own independence by jumping off a moving train to escape her fate in a traveling burlesque show. When her friends, fellow dancer Millie Martin and comedian Henry Weiss, leap after her, the trio finds their way to the bright lights of Hollywood with hopes of making it big in the burgeoning silent film industry.
At first glance, Hollywood in the 1920s is like no other place on earth—iridescent, scandalous, and utterly exhilarating—and the three friends yearn for a life they could only have dreamed of before. But despite the glamour and seduction of Tinseltown, success doesn’t come easy, and nothing can prepare Irene, Millie, and Henry for the poverty, temptation, and heartbreak that lie ahead. With their ambitions challenged by both the men above them and the prejudice surrounding them, their friendship is the only constant through desperate times, as each struggles to find their true calling in an uncertain world. What begins as a quest for fame and fortune soon becomes a collective search for love, acceptance, and fulfillment as they navigate the backlots and stage sets where the illusions of the silver screen are brought to life.
With her “trademark wit and grace” (Randy Susan Meyers, author of The Murderer’s Daughters), Juliette Fay crafts another radiant and fascinating historical novel as thrilling as the bygone era of Hollywood itself.
Named one of 2019’s most anticipated reads by Entertainment Weekly, “a hilarious and witty joy of a novel about a family’s insanely dramatic summer at their new island home” (Cosmopolitan) in the Pacific Northwest.
The inimitable—some might say incorrigible—Frank Widdicombe is suffering from a deep depression. Or so his wife, Carol, believes. But Carol is convinced that their new island home—Willowbrook Manor on the Puget Sound—is just the thing to cheer him up. And so begins a whirlwind summer as their house becomes the epicenter of multiple social dramas involving the family, their friends, and a host of new acquaintances.
The Widdicombes’ son, Christopher, is mourning a heartbreak after a year abroad in Italy. Their personal assistant, Michelle, begins a romance with preppy screenwriter Bradford, who also happens to be Frank’s tennis partner. Meanwhile, a local named Marvelous Matthews is hired to create a garden at the manor—and is elated to find Gracie Sloane, bewitching self-help author, in residence as well. When this alternately bumbling and clever cast of characters comes together, they turn “as frothy and bitter as a pot of freshly brewed dark-roast coffee, the kind that’s always available on the Widdicombe’s sideboard. And the dialogue, oh how it singes and sears” (The Washington Post).
A “gleefully over-the-top satiric debut” (Kirkus Reviews), Cheer Up, Mr. Widdicombe is perfect for fans of Maria Semple’s Where’d You Go, Bernadette?, Andrew Sean Greer’s Less, and Jess Walter’s Beautiful Ruins.
From the internationally bestselling author of The German Girl, an unforgettable, “searing” (People) saga exploring a hidden piece of World War II history and the lengths a mother will go to protect her children—perfect for fans of Lilac Girls, We Were the Lucky Ones, and The Alice Network.
Seven decades of secrets unravel with the arrival of a box of letters from the distant past, taking readers on a harrowing journey from Nazi-occupied Berlin, to the South of France, to modern-day New York City.
Berlin, 1939. The dreams that Amanda Sternberg and her husband, Julius, had for their daughters are shattered when the Nazis descend on Berlin, burning down their beloved family bookshop and sending Julius to a concentration camp. Desperate to save her children, Amanda flees toward the South of France. Along the way, a refugee ship headed for Cuba offers another chance at escape and there, at the dock, Amanda is forced to make an impossible choice that will haunt her for the rest of her life. Once in Haute-Vienne, her brief respite is interrupted by the arrival of Nazi forces, and Amanda finds herself in a labor camp where she must once again make a heroic sacrifice.
New York, 2015. Eighty-year-old Elise Duval receives a call from a woman bearing messages from a time and country that she forced herself to forget. A French Catholic who arrived in New York after World War II, Elise is shocked to discover that the letters were from her mother, written in German during the war. Her mother’s words unlock a floodgate of memories, a lifetime of loss un-grieved, and a chance—at last—for closure.
Based on true events and “breathtakingly threaded together from start to finish with the sound of a beating heart” (The New York Times Book Review), The Daughter’s Tale is an unforgettable family saga of love, survival, and redemption.
An “extremely funny...brilliantly alive” (The New York Times Book Review) social satire of the highest order from bestselling author Sam Lipsyte, centered around an unwitting mindfulness guru and the phenomenon he initiates.
In an America convulsed by political upheaval, cultural discord, environmental catastrophe, and spiritual confusion, so many of us find ourselves anxious and distracted, searching desperately for peace, salvation, and—perhaps most immediately—just a little damn focus. Enter Hark Morner, a failed stand-up comic turned mindfulness guru whose revolutionary program is set to captivate the masses. But for Fraz and Tovah, a middle-aged couple slogging through a very rough patch, it may take more than the tenets of Hark’s “Mental Archery” to solve the riddles of love, lust, work, and parenthood on the eve of civilizational collapse. And given the sudden power of certain fringe players, including a renegade Ivy League ethicist, a gentle Swedish kidnapper, a social media tycoon with an empire on the skids, and a mysteriously influential (but undeniably slimy) catfish, it just might be too late. But what’s the point of a world, even a blasted-out post-apocalyptic world, if they don’t try with all their might to keep their marriage alive?
In this “awfully funny...tartly effective sendup of 21st-century America” (Star Tribune, Minneapolis) Sam Lipsyte reaches new peaks of daring in a novel that revels in contemporary absurdity and the wild poetry of everyday language while exploring the emotional truths of his characters. “Recommended reading” (Vanity Fair), in which “every line feels as thrillingly charged as a live wire” (O, The Oprah Magazine), Hark is a smart, incisive look at men, women, and children seeking meaning and dignity in a chaotic, ridiculous, and often dangerous world.
From the Whiting Award–winning author of Pretend I’m Dead and one of the most exhilarating new voices in fiction, a “thoroughly delightfully, surprisingly profound” (Entertainment Weekly) one-of-a-kind novel about a cleaning lady named Mona and her struggles to move forward in life.
Soon to be an FX television show starring Lola Kirke.
Mona is twenty-six and cleans houses for a living in Taos, New Mexico. She moved there mostly because of a bad boyfriend—a junkie named Mr. Disgusting, long story—and her efforts to restart her life since haven’t exactly gone as planned. For one thing, she’s got another bad boyfriend. This one she calls Dark, and he happens to be married to one of Mona’s clients. He also might be a little unstable.
Dark and his wife aren’t the only complicated clients on Mona’s roster, either. There’s also the Hungarian artist couple who—with her addiction to painkillers and his lingering stares—reminds Mona of troubling aspects of her childhood, and some of the underlying reasons her life had to be restarted in the first place. As she tries to get over the heartache of her affair and the older pains of her youth, Mona winds up on an eccentric, moving journey of self-discovery that takes her back to her beginnings where she attempts to unlock the key to having a sense of home in the future. The only problems are Dark and her past. Neither is so easy to get rid of.
Jen Beagin’s Vacuum in the Dark is an unforgettable, astonishing read, “by turns nutty and forlorn…Brash, deadpan, and achingly troubled” (O, The Oprah Magazine). Beagin is “a wonderfully funny writer who also happens to tackle serious subjects” (NPR).
In this volume of Ann Rule’s Crime Files, discover unforgettable cases of the spouse, lover, family member or a helpful stranger who is totally trusted—until it’s too late.
Trust. It’s the foundation of any enduring relationship between friends, lovers, spouses, and families. But when trust is placed in those who are not what they seem, the results can be deadly. The New York Times bestselling author Ann Rule offers a riveting, all-new collection from her true-crime files, with the lethally shattered bonds of trust at the core of each bloodsoaked account.
Whether driven to extreme violence by greed or jealousy, passion or rage, these calculating sociopaths targeted those closest to them—unwitting victims whose last disbelieving words could well have been “but I trusted you....”
Headlining this page-turning anthology is the case of middle-school counselor Chuck Leonard, found shot to death outside his Washington State home on an icy February morning. A complicated mix of family man and wild man, Chuck played hard and loved many...but who crossed the line by murdering him in cold blood? And why? The revelation is as stunning as the shattering crime itself, powerfully illuminating how those we think we know can ingeniously hide their destructive and homicidal designs. Along with other shattering cases, immaculately detailed and sharply analyzed by America's #1 true crime writer, this fourteenth Crime Files volume is essential reading for getting inside the mind of the hidden killers among us.
I’LL BE WATCHING YOU
Walking home on a dark night, you hear footsteps coming up behind you. As they get closer, your heart pounds harder. Who is closing in with dangerous intent—a total stranger? Or someone you know and trust? The answer is as simple as turning around, but don’t look behind you . . . run. Ann Rule, who shared her own nerve-jangling account of unknowingly befriending sadistic sociopath Ted Bundy in The Stranger Beside Me, chronicles other fateful encounters with the hidden predators among us in this riveting collection, fifteenth in the bestselling series drawn from her personal files. First in line is a stunning case that spanned thirty years and took a determined detective to four states—ending, finally, in Alaska—where he unraveled not one but two murders. A second case appears to begin and end with the hunt for the Green River Killer, focusing on a Washington State man who was once cleared as a suspect in that deadly chain of homicides. But the millionaire property owner believed he had successfully buried his own murderous past and the awful truth behind his young wife’s disappearance. She vanished soon after she left for a day at the Seattle World’s Fair, and her three small children grew up believing their mother had abandoned them. But one amazing witness remained—the missing woman’s best friend, who heard her last words in a frantic phone call—“He’s coming!”—before the line went dead. Only since Robert Hansen’s suicide has the monster within been revealed. In another true story, a petite woman went to a tavern, looking only for conversation and fun. Instead, she met violent death in the form of a seven-foot man who had seemed shy and harmless. You’ll feel a chill as you uncover these and numerous other cases of unfortunate victims who made one tragic mistake: trusting the wrong person—even someone they’d known intimately, or thought they knew.
In this unputdownable true crime collection from New York Times bestselling author Ann Rule, discover fascinating cases of the spouse, lover, family member, or helpful stranger whose lethally violent nature, though masterfully disguised, can and will kill.
The author of The Stranger Beside Me brings her brilliantly informed understanding of the sociopath to this riveting true crime collection. Featured here is the case of a Southern California family man who lured a beautiful flight attendant into a passionate and dangerous relationship. Other cases include that of the woman who masterminded her husband’s murder to gain his inheritance...the monstrous sadist whose prison release damaged a presidential candidate’s campaign and ended in a bitter double tragedy in a quiet neighborhood three thousand miles away...the shocking DNA link between a cold-blooded crime and a cold case...and inside the horrific case of the man who crossed an ocean and several countries to stalk the Eurasian beauty who had fled from him in desperation.
This New York Times bestseller—from “America’s best true-crime writer” (Kirkus Reviews) and the author of The Stranger Beside Me—is a shocking tale of greed, sex, scandal, and murder on an isolated and eerie island in the Pacific Northwest.
With more than 50 million copies of her books in print—from her chilling personal account of knowing Ted Bundy to sixteen collections in her #1 bestselling Crime Files series—Ann Rule is a legendary true crime writer. Here, in Practice to Deceive, Rule unravels a shattering case of Christmastime murder off the coast of Washington State—presented with the clarity, authority, and emotional depth that Rule’s readers expect.
Nestled in Puget Sound, Whidbey Island is a gem of the Pacific Northwest. Accessible only by ferry, it is known for its artistic communities and stunning natural beauty. Life there is low-key, and the island’s year-round residents tend to know one another’s business. But when the blood-drenched body of Russel Douglas was discovered the day after Christmas in his SUV in a hidden driveway near Whidbey’s most exclusive mansion—a single bullet between his eyes—the whole island was shocked. At first, police suspected suicide, tragically common at the height of the holiday season. But when they found no gun in or near the SUV, Russel’s manner of death became homicide.
Brenna Douglas, Russel’s estranged and soon-to-be-ex wife, allowed him to come home for a Christmas visit with their children. The couple owned the popular Just B’s salon. Brenna’s good friend Peggy Sue Thomas worked there, and Brenna complained often to her that Russel was physically and emotionally abusive. Peggy Sue’s own life has been one of extremes. Married three times, hers is a rags-to-riches-and-back-again tale in which she’s played many roles, from aircraft mechanic to “drop-dead gorgeous” beauty queen as a former Ms. Washington. But in 2003, her love affair with married guitarist Jim Huden led the two Whidbey Island natives to pursue their ultimate dreams of wealth and privilege—even at the expense of human life.
Unravel the tangled web woven by Russel Douglas’s murder in Practice to Deceive, a heart pounding true-crime tour de force.
#1 New York Times bestselling author and queen of true crime Ann Rule’s sixteenth volume in her True Crime Files series, Deadly Neighbors delves into the unsolved case of a billionaire’s son mysteriously falling off a balcony to his death and more.
In July 2011, billionaire Jonah Shacknai’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 seven other riveting cases, Ann Rule exposes the twisted truth behind the façades of Fatal Friends, Deadly Neighbors.
These doomed relationships are the focus of queen of true crime Ann Rule’s sixteenth all-new 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.