October 16, 2010
Review of "But I Trusted You" by Ann Rule
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. Ann Rule, who famously chronicled her own shocking experience of unknowingly befriending a sociopath in The Stranger Beside Me, 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.
But I Trusted You is the fourteenth volume in author Ann Rule's "Crime Files" series, where she takes a novel length case, makes it the main focus of the book and throws in several "smaller" type cases as well. As much as I have enjoyed Ms. Rule's previous efforts, But I Trusted You left me wanting and a bit disappointed.
Let's start with the feature length case, which concerns the murder of teacher Chuck Leonard by his estranged wife Teresa. I personally did not find anything noteworthy with this case, whether it be that the actual case was a "by the book" spousal homicide or too much was left on the editing room floor. I wish there had been more background on both Chuck and Teresa and would have been happier if this had been one of the "shorter" cases included, allowing room for another true crime case to be included in this volume. I also thought the title did not coordinate with the case, as Chuck and Teresa were already separated and initiating divorce at the time of Chuck's death and neither Chuck nor Teresa trusted the other.
The second case profiled "Death in Paradise" was a very interesting case but without a firm resolution. I felt as though the story was just skimmed on the surface and the ending left me feeling unsatisfied. Perhaps this would have been a better "featured" case, but with more information on all parties concerned. The title of this book, however, did fit the alleged facts of this case.
The title also fits "Sharper Than a Serpent's Tooth", the third case profiled. This case was very sad to read as the laws of the 1970s prevented the victim from obtaining the protection she was seeking. Any parent reading this story will have a feeling of dread putting yourself in the victim's shoes.
"Monohan's Last Date" deals with the most vicious and cold blooded killer in the book. I felt this case had more detail than any other highlighted in the book.
"Run as Fast as You Can" seemed out of place in But I Trusted You. The killer and victim had no prior relationship and no trust issues. Perhaps the victim felt safe due to location and time but, again, it seemed an odd choice given the theme of the book.
Both "The Deadly Voyeur" and "Dark Forest: Deep Danger" dealt with individuals who ultimately put their trust in the wrong people, with fatal results. I did not like the somewhat ambiguous ending of "Dark Forest: Deep Danger" though.
Ann Rule's earlier Crime Files were fantastic, well written slices of true crime. Finishing this book, I couldn't help but wonder if she was scraping the bottom of the barrel with these. Don't get me wrong - - Ann Rule has long been my favorite true crime writer and she remains so. Her book on the Diane Downs murder investigation and case, Small Sacrifices, is one of the best written and accounted true crime masterpieces out there, as well as her tale of the Ted Bundy case, The Stranger Beside Me. For that reason, I always have very high standards for her books and this one just didn't quite peak for me.
But I Trusted You is a decent enough book and will certainly do if you are looking for a true crime compellation but I expect more from my Queen of True Crime.
But I Trusted You is available for purchase at major booksellers, including Amazon. I am an Amazon affiliate. If you make a purchase through my link, I will receive a small commission.
For more information on author Ann Rule, please visit her website.
FTC Disclosure: I purchased this book at a local bookstore. I was neither compensated nor paid in any way for this review.
But I Trusted You counts toward my progress in the Thriller & Suspense Reading Challenge.