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

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

3.8 32
by Ann Rule

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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.…  See more details below


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.

Editorial Reviews

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.

Product Details

Pocket Books
Publication date:
Ann Rule's Crime Files Series, #8

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 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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Last Dance, Last Chance and Other True Cases (Ann Rule's Crime Files Series #8) 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 32 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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
Guest More than 1 year ago
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
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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
Guest More than 1 year ago
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!
Guest More than 1 year ago
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!
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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
Anonymous 8 months ago
Five star
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Been reading her books along time but...... how come some of her books are no longer available on Nook ? Small Sacrifes comes to mind.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Already read it once when it first came out going to puchase it now to read again my favorite aurthor
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Jennicysm More than 1 year ago
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.
Lindsie More than 1 year ago
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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Crazy_Cat_Lady More than 1 year ago
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.