Last Dance, Last Chance and Other True Cases (Ann Rule's Crime Files Series #8)

( 29 )

Overview

"America's best true-crime writer" (Kirkus Reviews), Ann Rule presents an all-new collection of crime stories drawn from her private files ? and featuring the riveting case of a fraudulent doctor whose lifelong deceptions had deadly consequences.
LAST DANCE LAST CHANCE
Dr. Anthony Pignataro was a cosmetic surgeon and a famed medical researcher whose flashy red Lamborghini and flamboyant lifestyle in western New York State suggested a highly ...

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Last Dance, Last Chance and Other True Cases (Ann Rule's Crime Files Series #8)

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Overview

"America's best true-crime writer" (Kirkus Reviews), Ann Rule presents an all-new collection of crime stories drawn from her private files — and featuring the riveting case of a fraudulent doctor whose lifelong deceptions had deadly consequences.
LAST DANCE LAST CHANCE
Dr. Anthony Pignataro was a cosmetic surgeon and a famed medical researcher whose flashy red Lamborghini and flamboyant lifestyle in western New York State suggested a highly successful career. But appearances, as this shocking insider account of Pignataro's tailspin from physician to prisoner proves, can be deceiving — and, for the doctor's wife, very nearly deadly. No one was safe if they got in his way. With scalpel, drugs, and arsenic, he betrayed every oath a physician makes — until his own schemes backfired. Now, the motivations of the classic sociopath are plumbed with chilling accuracy by Ann Rule. Along with other shocking true cases, this worldwide headline-making case will have you turning pages in disbelief that a trusted medical professional could sink to the depths of greed, manipulation, and self-aggrandizement where even slow, deliberate murder is not seen for what it truly is: pure evil.

The title case is an account of the life and crimes of Dr. Anthony Pignataro, a cosmetic surgeon with a penchant for forged credentials, botched surgeries, to the attempted arsenic poisoning of his wife. Four other true cases follow.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
For spine-tingling true-crime stories, no one tops Ann Rule. Last Dance, Last Chance, the eighth compilation in her bestselling series, features deeply etched tales about low-minded sociopaths and poisonous miscreants. Rule's portrait of Dr. Anthony Pignataro, a diabolical cosmetic surgeon from upstate New York, could win a place in any insomniac's heart.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780671025359
  • Publisher: Pocket Books
  • Publication date: 1/2/2003
  • Series: Ann Rule's Crime Files Series , #8
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 480
  • Sales rank: 223,977
  • Product dimensions: 6.78 (w) x 4.18 (h) x 1.06 (d)

Meet the Author

Ann  Rule

Ann Rule is a former Seattle policewoman and the author of more than two dozen New York Times bestsellers. She is a certified instructor for police training seminars and lectures frequently to law enforcement officers, prosecutors, and forensic science organizations, including the FBI. For more than two decades, she has been a powerful advocate for victims of violent crime. A graduate of the University of Washington, she holds a Ph.D. in Humane Letters from Willamette University. She lives near Seattle and can be contacted through her website AnnRules.com.

Biography

Ann Rule has always had an insatiable interest in why people do the things they do. From devouring true crime books when she was a girl to pursuing a career in law enforcement as a Seattle policewoman, to achieving blockbuster success as a true crime author, Rule has dedicated her life to uncovering the dark motivations inside the minds of the criminals who live among us.

The majority of Rule's books have hit the New York Times bestseller list, including six Crime Files series volumes: A Rage to Kill, In the Name of Love, the #1 bestseller A Fever in the Heart, You Belong to Me, A Rose for Her Grave, and The End of the Dream.

...And Never Let Her Go is her chilling account of the nationally renowned case of wife killer Thomas Capano; Bitter Harvest covers the case of Debora Green, a physician and mother driven to murder; the #1 bestseller If You Really Loved Me tells the true story of a millionaire's murderous alter ego; Everything She Ever Wanted is the story of a sociopathic Georgia socialite and her fatal attractions; Small Sacrifices is Rule's heartbreaking account of a woman who slaughtered her three young children. Perhaps her best-known and most compelling work, The Stranger Beside Me, is the fascinating tale of Rule's growing terror as she realized her friend and coworker, Ted Bundy, was a serial killer. Finally, the #1 New York Times bestseller Dead by Sunset tells the story of a charismatic killer and the women who loved him.

Generous and civic-minded when it comes to sharing her expertise and insights, Rule has testified before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Subcommittee and often speaks to law enforcement agencies, including the FBI Academy. She also served on the U.S. Justice Department task force that set up VI-CAP -- the Violent Criminal Apprehension Program now in use at the FBI to trace and apprehend serial killers.

Good To Know

Rule's early jobs included being a caseworker for the Washington State Department of Public Assistance and a police officer.

Rule's interest in criminology seems to run in the family: Her grandfather and an uncle were sheriffs, another uncle was a medical examiner, and her cousin was a district attorney.

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    1. Hometown:
      Seattle, Washington
    1. Date of Birth:
      October 22, 1935
    2. Place of Birth:
      Lowell, Michigan
    1. Education:
      Creative Writing Program, University of Washington

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1

It was so hot, and the air was heavy and muggy with humidity. Even rain didn't cleanse the air; it only became thicker and harder to breathe. The woman who lay on the couch had been sick for so long that she couldn't remember feeling well. Sometime earlier — last week or maybe last month — she had been able to walk. But now her feet and legs had become leaden stumps, unwilling to accept any messages from her brain.

Her brain wasn't working very well, either. She knew she was still living in her old familiar neighborhood, but it all looked as if it were underwater or as if someone had painted it a different color. She remembered that when she could still navigate, the street signs were wavy and jarring, and she got lost. She remembered vaguely that she had walked into a neighbor's kitchen, a neighbor she barely knew. She didn't know why she was there, and the woman who lived there certainly didn't either. It was embarrassing to be led home.

When she looked into a mirror, her own face looked alien to her. It was all bloated and puffy, with black circles carved beneath her dark eyes. She looked a hundred years old, but she couldn't remember growing old. She couldn't remember when she got sick.

Sometimes people came and went, and her friends' faces seemed to float above her, their expressions worried and concerned.

How do you feel? they asked, but she couldn't answer them. She couldn't describe how she felt. Sick. Sick. Sick. And so tired that she could not imagine cooking a meal or making a bed or walking to the mailbox ever again. When she could fix her mind on her children, she wept inside for them. They no longer had a mother, only a useless, swollen blob who sat propped up in a recliner chair while the world went on without her.

The doctors didn't seem to know what to do about her. The one man she trusted most assured everyone that she was doing just fine, and that he would take care of her. Sometimes he said that all she needed was to have her gall bladder removed. He didn't think there was anything really wrong with her. And he, of all people, would surely know.

But nothing changed. She sat in her chair for what seemed like months. He lay on the couch nearby, rarely leaving her alone. Sometimes it seemed to her that he was watching over her with concern, and sometimes he didn't seem to notice her any more than if she were a piece of furniture. The ice clinked in his drink as he watched television, clicking the channel changer often. His voice slurred, and he dozed off, but he never did anything, despite the questions people kept asking him.

Why don't you take her to the hospital? they asked him.

They have a skeleton staff on the weekends, he told them. She's much better off here with me...

And so, day after day, the sun came up with pale washed skies, grew bright and hot at noon, and faded until the room was again in shadow. And Debbie Pignataro was still there.

At length, with what rational thought she could manage, she began to believe that she would die there, surrounded by people who loved her — people whom she loved — and yet somehow beyond all hope of rescue.

Copyright © 2003 by Ann Rule

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First Chapter

Chapter 1

It was so hot, and the air was heavy and muggy with humidity. Even rain didn't cleanse the air; it only became thicker and harder to breathe. The woman who lay on the couch had been sick for so long that she couldn't remember feeling well. Sometime earlier -- last week or maybe last month -- she had been able to walk. But now her feet and legs had become leaden stumps, unwilling to accept any messages from her brain.

Her brain wasn't working very well, either. She knew she was still living in her old familiar neighborhood, but it all looked as if it were underwater or as if someone had painted it a different color. She remembered that when she could still navigate, the street signs were wavy and jarring, and she got lost. She remembered vaguely that she had walked into a neighbor's kitchen, a neighbor she barely knew. She didn't know why she was there, and the woman who lived there certainly didn't either. It was embarrassing to be led home.

When she looked into a mirror, her own face looked alien to her. It was all bloated and puffy, with black circles carved beneath her dark eyes. She looked a hundred years old, but she couldn't remember growing old. She couldn't remember when she got sick.

Sometimes people came and went, and her friends' faces seemed to float above her, their expressions worried and concerned.

How do you feel? they asked, but she couldn't answer them. She couldn't describe how she felt. Sick. Sick. Sick. And so tired that she could not imagine cooking a meal or making a bed or walking to the mailbox ever again. When she could fix her mind on herchildren, she wept inside for them. They no longer had a mother, only a useless, swollen blob who sat propped up in a recliner chair while the world went on without her.

The doctors didn't seem to know what to do about her. The one man she trusted most assured everyone that she was doing just fine, and that he would take care of her. Sometimes he said that all she needed was to have her gall bladder removed. He didn't think there was anything really wrong with her. And he, of all people, would surely know.

But nothing changed. She sat in her chair for what seemed like months. He lay on the couch nearby, rarely leaving her alone. Sometimes it seemed to her that he was watching over her with concern, and sometimes he didn't seem to notice her any more than if she were a piece of furniture. The ice clinked in his drink as he watched television, clicking the channel changer often. His voice slurred, and he dozed off, but he never did anything, despite the questions people kept asking him.

Why don't you take her to the hospital? they asked him.

They have a skeleton staff on the weekends, he told them. She's much better off here with me...

And so, day after day, the sun came up with pale washed skies, grew bright and hot at noon, and faded until the room was again in shadow. And Debbie Pignataro was still there.

At length, with what rational thought she could manage, she began to believe that she would die there, surrounded by people who loved her -- people whom she loved -- and yet somehow beyond all hope of rescue.

Copyright © 2003 by Ann Rule
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 29 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(13)

4 Star

(5)

3 Star

(4)

2 Star

(3)

1 Star

(4)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 29 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 24, 2007

    This book will take your breath away. EVERY PAGE

    Maybe because i live in Western New York and know the exact location of Anthony Pignataro and the hopstials he ABUSED his patients in did this book have such an impression on me. It is the most outrageious story of a man with an EGO that would not stop. He cared about NO ONE BUT himself and it blew my mind that he was manipulative enough to put normal people who simply trusted him because he was a doctor. By far the best book i have ever read and it will make you think twice before you blindly just listen to the next doctor you go to. READ THIS BOOK IT WILL BLOW YOU AWAY. Although it is listed under fiction-its amazing how many FACTS there are. I remember reading about this in the Buffalo newpapers and watching this story unfold on tv. OH MY GOD!!! READ THIS BOOK

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 25, 2004

    RULE RULES

    Ann Rule RULES true crime. Her collections are always mind bogglingly remarkable and I must thank her for her meticulous research. What makes Ann Rule better than most true crime writers is that instead of focusing on just the investigations, process of evidence and court room battles, Rule actually takes the time to discover more about the victim and the murderer. She writes of their background, their dreams, how their families are affected by their demise, what they could have been had they lived. They were not just another statistic- they were human beings with hopes and desires just like you and i. She delves into the murderer¿s life and can even rouse feelings of sympathy in us for them and their tragic childhood. Rule gave them a soul to be remembered. The story of Anthony Pignataro¿s attempt in poisoning his own wife commences this thrilling tome, followed by the accountant who was known for murdering two women , but suspected of killing many many more and the killer who begged to die because he wanted to destroy the monster in him that compelled him to kill in cold blood. The last two cases involving the two pretty hitchhikers whose mutilated bodies were found on a beach and the killer who took a helpless mother from her three children as hostage were not as electrifying but still keeps you awake long after you should have been in slumberland

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 10, 2003

    Not bad...

    Not as good as most of Rule's books, but a good read nonetheless. Ann has always spent time allowing us to learn about the people in her books. She gives us those details we perhaps weren't thinking about, but make sense when we read them. It could have been a shorter book. But it still works.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 18, 2003

    TOP NOTCH TRUE CRIME WRITER !

    I LOVE Ann Rule, she NEVER disappoints me! I just finished ¿Last Dance Last Chance.¿ She has a talent and skill for putting you right in the midst of what is happening. In Last Dance Last Chance she again upholds her listing as a top notch True Crime Writer. I feel outraged regarding the attitude of Lena the mother of Anthony Pignataro. Her spoiled brat of a boy never matured into a man. He whines all the way to the end and is still whining. He administered poison to his adoring wife, week by week, month by month, calmly watching her suffering and deterioration. He waited impatiently for her death. But Debbie didn¿t die, she managed to live. FINALLY Dr. Anthony Pignataro has reaped the rewards of lies, deceits, cheating, betraying and attempted murder ¿ He will be in prison till the year 2019. His wife Deborah, his children . . . .and yes, even his mother have suffered tremendously because of his calculating actions, his cruelty. He led a privileged life, enough money, nice cars etc., but he just didn¿t have the right stuff to be a doctor, husband or father. I also like the photos that can be referred to, i.e. showing that the handsome, young or very innocent looking are in many cases the opposite of what they appear to be. Thank you Ann Rule for educating us, showing us once again that what you see isn¿t always what you get. To be on the N Y Times best seller list again only proves that your fans are above average. It is an honor that you have definitely earned.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 17, 2006

    Read The Wife's Side, Now Look At The Husband's Side

    I read Last Dance, Last Chance and it was a great book. It is however one sided. Recently the husband put out a website which promises to tell 'his side'. It's nice to get all the information. Take a look it's called freeanthony

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 25, 2006

    Comments by Anthony S. Pignataro

    'Finally, fans will have an opportunity to winnow sensationalized fact from tabloidesque fiction. A pending motion portends the upcoming trial. For the very first time, Ms. Rule's claims of thorough research will be put to the test. As the doctor prepares-for the first time-to go to trial, the facts will be tried in a case where the protagonist lives. In an ironic twist of fate, a Constitutional court error will allow the doctor to go back to trial. This really puts the double in the entendre: correcting 'A-Bad-Rule.'

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 14, 2005

    Fantastic

    Another fantastic book by Ann Rule. I could not put this book down. I was even curled up in bed one night with a flashlight! I read it every chance I got. I'm glad I never crossed paths with the doctor!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 14, 2004

    As alway - Great

    I have about all of her books and this book is as good as any of them She writes wonderfully and is descriptive enough to let us know the horror without overdoing it. Its a great read! She sympathatic to the victims and she should be honored for the way she portrays their stories. Thanks ANN!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 11, 2003

    Loved it! Would make a great movie!

    Terrific Book!This would make a great movie of the week. Well written.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 21, 2003

    Tedious

    I was disappointed in this book. The Pignataro story could have been written in 100 pages or less, but rambled on and on and on. The other stories barely kept my attention. You can do better, Ann. Too bad after enjoying many of your other books.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 8, 2003

    Ann on a slide?

    Ann Rule's recent offerings have not been up to par with her earlier works...and this one continues the decline. Also, the 'filler' stories hold little interest for me. C'mon Ann, let's get back up to that high caliber work of years gone by.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 30, 2002

    Every Breath You Take

    I have all of Ann Rule's writings. I have them reserved for me when I know they are coming out - sight unseen. I know that she will take me to the town, the family and I will get to know the people of the books she writes about. "All she Ever Wanted" was one of my favorites, along with "Small Sacrifices". I look forward to a REAL book from Ann Rule instead of the collections of stories. But they are worth the wait. I didn't think the Tom Capano story deserved her attention even tho it was a good read. I like her in depth studies of the people. That is why Diana Downs is so interesting. It seems that I know her thru Ann Rule. Keep up the good work Ann. I am your biggest fan. Anita Blankenship

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 12, 2003

    Boring

    I have read all of Ann Rule's books. I think lately, she has just been throwing them out there. This one is about a Surgeon who kills a young Mother in the basement of his Office. Dr. Pignataro was not even supposed to have an Office let alone operate. His wife knew this and yet she stood back and watched this lunatic walk around calling himself a doctor and watching him operate on the woman who died. The only reason I would suggest this book is if you are having trouble sleeping.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 2, 2013

    Reading it again

    Already read it once when it first came out going to puchase it now to read again my favorite aurthor

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  • Posted October 10, 2011

    Great as usual

    The stories are told with a lot of Ann's usual style, which is great. She really makes you feel like you know the victims and you feel sad for them and feel good for them when somebody gets justice and families get some small amount of comfort for that. My favorite in this book is a woman and her family who didn't have to lose the victim, she lived against incredible odds and triumphed over an evil narcissist. Kinda reminds me of "ex's" that I have, Taken Ann's warning, people with NPD can destroy your life without a 2nd thought. Great book, though, highly recommended.

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  • Posted August 18, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Another GREAT read by Ann Rule

    Ann Rule is a fantastic true crime writer, and I cannot seem to put her books down. The stories in this book were thought provoking, and real. She shows her true talent as she retells the stories of how they should be. In the first, "Last Dance, Last Chance" Ann Rule retells the story of a doctor who gets away with treating patients, even though he does not truely have all of his MD the way he is suppoed to. It also tells of how he killed a young mother in one of his botched surgaries, and then tries (and doesn't suceed, thankfully) to kill his wife. Thie story is engrossing, and hard to put down. Another A++++ for Ann Rule - Keep the novels coming!

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  • Posted April 10, 2010

    Ann Always Rules

    This book challenges the idea of the benevolent, if not godlike, medical professional. Ann Rule should be credited for her eye-opening cautionary tales of domestic violence. It is a public service.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 31, 2005

    I am shocked!!!!!!!!!!

    Oh My, that's all I kept telling myself. I found it the more that I read the more I couldn't stop. This book had my complete attention. With every page that I turned I turned in disbelief. How could a human being be so horrible and commit such horrible acts without any pity for himself or for others. He didn't have any remourse to anyone or anybody. Overall, the book was written extremely well. When you read this book Ann Rule describes everything in such detail you often feel chills up your spine, thinking that your actually there.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 30, 2004

    Fair read....

    I was angry most of the time because Debbie was a door mat for so long, even when everyone suspected it was her own husband, she rolled over and took it. Seemed a bit long and the rest of the filler stories....not good.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 7, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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