Cruel Doubt

Cruel Doubt

4.6 10
by Joe McGinniss
     
 

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From the New York Times bestselling author of Fatal Vision comes a shocking true account of murder, family secrets, and final justice now available for the first time as an e-book...

One hot summer night in 1988, Bonnie Von Stein's second husband was murdered in their bed, Bonnie herself stabbed, beaten,See more details below

Overview

From the New York Times bestselling author of Fatal Vision comes a shocking true account of murder, family secrets, and final justice now available for the first time as an e-book...

One hot summer night in 1988, Bonnie Von Stein's second husband was murdered in their bed, Bonnie herself stabbed, beaten, and left for dead beside him. It looked like a brutal but tragically typical case: Von Stein was newly wealthy, and Bonnie's troubled son Chris, seemed like the obvious suspect.

But Chris turned out to have an air-tight alibi and new leads suggested the crime could be much more complex. The trail led to Chris’s two strange new friends from college and a real-life enactment of a bizarre Dungeons and Dragons fantasy adventure, and it implicated Bonnie's teenage daughter as well.

In Cruel Doubt, Joe McGinniss probes the dark heart of family life and small-town North Carolina society to uncover a fascinating and terrifying story that is at once a chilling murder mystery, a tense courtroom drama, and a heartbreaking account of a mother forced to doubt her own children.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
McGinniss's ( Fatal Vision ) forceful account of a 1988 murder plotted by avid players of the fantasy game Dungeons & Dragons spent two weeks on PW 's hardcover bestseller list and was a Literary Guild special selection. (June)
Library Journal
Like Jerry Bledsoe's Blood Games ( LJ 9/15/91), McGinniss recounts the terrible events of July 25, 1988 when Lieth Von Stein was fatally stabbed and his wife Bonnie severely injured. Suspicion quickly focused on Chris, their son, and his friends, college students immersed in a world of drugs, alcohol, and the game Dungeons and Dragons. While Bledsoe's more straightforward account focuses on Chris and his friends, particularly James Upchurch III, who was found guilty of the actual murder, McGinnis tells the story from Bonnie's perspective, portraying a widow who relentlessly pursues the truth about the crime while acting also as a loving mother, unwilling to accept the truth about her son's involvement. In a book that's more a psychodrama than a detective story, McGinniss has drawn a riveting portrait of parental devotion that flies in the face of the truth. His reputation as a brutally honest storyteller ( Fatal Vision , LJ 9/1/83; Blind Faith , LJ 1/89) will attract many readers. Highly recommended.--Sandra K. Lindheimer, Middlesex Law Lib., Cambridge, Mass.
Kirkus Reviews
Reporting on the same crime as Jerry Bledsoe in Blood Games (see above), McGinniss (Blind Faith, 1988; Fatal Vision, 1983, etc.) again shows why he heads the ranks of true-crime authorsdelivering a page-burner of shifting suspicions, macabre ironies, and reversals of field too extreme for fiction. In the early morning of July 25, 1988, in the town of Washington, N.C., Bonnie Von Stein, 44, and her second husband, Lieth, were attacked in their bedroom by a stranger wielding a club and a knife. Lieth was killed and Bonnie survived with stab wounds, head lacerations, and a collapsed lung. Having almost no clues, detectives turned their attention to Bonnie's college-age son and daughter. When the children were brought to intensive care, they seemed bored by their mother and completely indifferent to their stepfather's death. As she recuperated, Bonnie also seemed too cool, too efficient to the local gumshoes. When it was discovered that Lieth had left two million dollars, she too became a suspect. Eventually the investigation narrowed to Chris Pritchard (Bonnie's son) and his college buddies. Instead of going to class, they played weeks-long games of Dungeons & Dragons, acting out fantasies fueled by alcohol, Ecstasy, pot, and much LSD. Eleven months after the attack, Pritchard was charged with murder and a long manhunt began for the "Dungeon Master," a shady figure named Moog. Pritchard had sent Moog and another player to his family house: If they killed the parents, there would be enough money for Ferraris, top-end stereo equipment, and serious computers. Covering the trial, McGinniss draws a chilling portrait of Pritchard's lawyer agonizing over the good chance he has of gettingPritchard off. The lawyer dislikes Pritchard's insolence and tells his colleagues he fears the boy will murder again if acquittedso he cuts a deal with the D.A. ensuring that Pritchard will not be executed, but will do life. Exciting reading that edges out Bledsoe's account and, no doubt, will hit the charts and find a home there.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781101608661
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
08/29/2012
Sold by:
Penguin Group
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
384
Sales rank:
70,632
File size:
1 MB

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