Charmer: The True Story of A Ladies' Man and His Victims

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In a tree-lined community near Seattle, young women and girls were drawn to George Russell, Jr. They crowned him "cool," trusted him as their protector, and took him to their hearts. And why not? An articulate young African American, he was a cheerful companion, flashy dancer, and urban sophisticate. He had good looks, professional parents, rich friends, a beguiling style and smile. George was a local favorite. Then, bodies started turning up - in a nightclub parking lot, in a quiet, out-of-the-way house, and in ...
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Overview

In a tree-lined community near Seattle, young women and girls were drawn to George Russell, Jr. They crowned him "cool," trusted him as their protector, and took him to their hearts. And why not? An articulate young African American, he was a cheerful companion, flashy dancer, and urban sophisticate. He had good looks, professional parents, rich friends, a beguiling style and smile. George was a local favorite. Then, bodies started turning up - in a nightclub parking lot, in a quiet, out-of-the-way house, and in a tastefully decorated apartment. The victims, attractive young females, had been bludgeoned to death, violated sexually, then outrageously posed like gallery sculptures. Seasoned investigators were sickened by the cold brutality. A prosecutor described the bodies as "the killer's collected works of art." No one suspected George Russell. He offered the police helpful clues and even put the finger on a pal. When frustrated detectives ran out of leads, they came close to giving up on the case. In this riveting examination into the mind and life of a vicious killer and his deceptively charming persona, Jack Olsen tracks Russell's thirty-year psychological decline, which culminated in a shocking killing spree. But Charmer is more than the tragic story of a murderer and his victims. Written with a thriller's edge, it is a stirring portrait of race and crime in America today.

George Russell, Jr., a charismatic young Africa American from an afluent Seattle suburb, was a favorite at the area's hottest bars and discos--a witty, sexy sophisticate who attracted gorgeous women like moths to his flame. But a terribly hungry rage was devouring George Russell from the inside--a rage that drove him to murder three women who adored him.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Olsen (Son) has established himself so firmly near the pinnacle of true-crime writers that anything from him not a masterwork is somewhat of a disappointment. That is the case with this story of a young African American from a posh Seattle suburb. George Russell Jr., highly intelligent, supremely articulate and supposedly the son of professionals, became a serial killer who mutilated his victims. His story is told largely through transcripts of interviews with police officers, bar personnel and the far younger women he hung around with (at 28, he enjoyed the company of girls of 13 and 14). Beneath his charm, however, lay a pathological hatred of women, so it is not surprising that his career in crime, which began with petty theft and advanced to cat burglary, climaxed with the murders of three females. The book's strength is its lesson that diligent police work can indeed produce results. Russell is now serving a life term. Author tour. (Nov.)
Library Journal
Olsen (The Misbegotten Son, LJ 3/1/93) has no peer when it comes to criminal cases involving psychopathic personalities. George Russell, one of the few African Americans growing up in the Seattle suburb of Mercer Island, Washington, was perceived as a "charming rascal." In reality, he was a troubled youth who committed hundreds of petty crimes, an antisocial manipulator with no fixed address, and finally a conscienceless killer of three young women he knew slightly. Almost surely he would have continued killing had he not been caught. This mesmerizing account of evil hiding behind a mask of superficial charm is based on extensive interviews. Essential for true crime readers and recommended for a general audience.-Gregor A. Preston, Univ. of California Lib., Davis
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780380716012
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 11/1/1995
  • Series: Avon Book Series
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 376
  • Product dimensions: 4.19 (w) x 6.89 (h) x 1.05 (d)

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