Written in Blood [NOOK Book]


An army brat-turned-marine, he saw combat in Vietnam, and returned a decorated soldier. An avid reader, his dreams of being an acclaimed novelist came true. His desire to find love was fulfilled when he married brilliant executive Kathleen Atwater, the first female student accepted at Duke University's School of Engineering. The Petersons seemed the ideal academic couple- well-respected, prosperous, and happy.

All that came crashing down in...
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Written in Blood

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An army brat-turned-marine, he saw combat in Vietnam, and returned a decorated soldier. An avid reader, his dreams of being an acclaimed novelist came true. His desire to find love was fulfilled when he married brilliant executive Kathleen Atwater, the first female student accepted at Duke University's School of Engineering. The Petersons seemed the ideal academic couple- well-respected, prosperous, and happy.

All that came crashing down in December of 2001, when Kathleen apparently fell to her death in their secluded home in an exclusive area of Durham, North Carolina. But blood spattered evidence and a missing fireplace poker suggested calculated, cold-blooded murder. Her trusted husband stood accused. Prosecutors introduced evidence at trial that sixteen years earlier, Peterson was one of the last people to see his neighbor alive before she was found dead at the bottom of a staircase in her home in Germany.
A dramatic trial followed in the explosive final chapter of a life that no novelist could ever have conceived...

Written in Blood is a 2006 Edgar Award Nominee for Best Fact Crime.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781429904155
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 2/1/2005
  • Sold by: Macmillan
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 416
  • Sales rank: 241,228
  • File size: 2 MB

Meet the Author

Diane Fanning

Diane Fanning is the author of many books of true crime, including the best-selling Mommy’s Little Girl, A Poisoned Passion, The Pastor’s Wife, Gone Forever and Through the Window. Written in Blood was an Edgar Award finalist. She has been featured on 48 Hours, 20/20, Court TV and the Discovery Channel, and has been interviewed on dozens of radio stations coast to coast. Before becoming a nonfiction writer, Fanning worked in advertising, and she earned more than 70 Addy Awards. She lives in New Braunfels, Texas.
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Read an Excerpt

Written in Blood

By Diane Fanning

St. Martin's Paperbacks

Copyright © 2005 Diane Fanning
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780312994037

THE STAIRWELL"The chance of a criminal getting caught is only slightly better than getting hit by lightning." -Michael Peterson, The Herald-Sun, July 19991For Mary Allen, December 9, 2001, started as a long and lonely shift in the 9-1-1 call center in Durham, North Carolina. Another night spent on the outskirts of tragedy, aware of its presence but barely touched by its shadows.At 2:40 A.M., she responded to an incoming call. Mary had no idea that she just took the first step onto the world stage of a long-playing drama."Durham 9-1-1. Where is your emergency?"Breathing heavy, Michael Peterson responded: "1810Cedar Street. Please!""What's wrong?" Mary asked."My wife had an accident. She's still breathing!""What kind of accident?""She fell down the stairs. She's still breathing! Please come!""Is she conscious?"A bewildered Peterson did not seem to understand the question. "What?""Is she conscious?" Mary repeated."No, no, she's not conscious. Please!""How many stairs did she fall down?""What? Huh???"Calmly, Mary repeated the question. "How many stairs did ...""The back stairs!""How many stairs?""Oh, ah, ah ..." His voice quaked with each syllable."Calm down, sir. Calm down."Without warning, the heavy breathing ceased and Peterson responded in an off-hand manner, "Oh, fifteen, twenty. I don't know." Then the hysterical tone consumed his voice again. "Please! Get somebody here, right away. Please!""Okay, somebody's dispatching the ambulance while I'm asking you questions.""It's off of a ... It's in Forest Hills! Okay? Please! Please!""Okay, sir," she continued as Peterson whimpered. "Somebody else is dispatching the ambulance. Is she awake now?""Oh my," he moaned."Hello?""I didn't mmmm ..." Peterson's words disintegrated into an inarticulate blur of noise."Hello?" Allen asked again.He whispered, "Breathe. Oh, God." Incomprehensible mumblings burbled on the line. "Breathe," he whispered again. All Mary could hear now were strained and rapid inhalations and exhalations that sounded like the panting of a dog.Then there was silence--followed by the blare of a dial tone that mocked Mary's efforts to assist.Elizabeth Poole's dispatch scratched out on the airways. "See an unconscious person 1810 Cedar Street. Engine 5, Medic 5. Unconscious person, 1810, 1-8-1-0 Cedar Street from East Oak Drive to Sycamore Street. Female fell down, fifteen to twenty stairs, hysterical caller is not able to give much further information, just advised it was accidental. OPS channel 2, OPS 2, Engine 5."From their vehicle, Jayson Crank and Andrew Johnson of the Durham Fire Department responded, "Engine 5 is 10-17.""10-4, no further," signaled Elizabeth. "Medic 5, did you copy your call to 1810 Cedar Street?""10-4, en route," came loud and clear from the EMS vehicle bearing Jay Rose and Ron Paige."Medic 5, 10-4." At 2:46 A.M., Michael Peterson called in again. Once again, Mary Allen answered, "Durham 9-1-1. Where is your emergency?""Where are they?" Michael Peterson gasped. "This is 1810 Cedar--wh ... She's not breathing! Please! Please, would you hurry up!"In response, dispatcher Linda Gant sent out a Code 5 message indicating that the patient's condition was critical. This change of status meant Durham police were now on their way to the scene, too."Sir?" Mary asked.His voice jumped up an octave. "Can you hear me?""Sir? Sir?""Yes.""Calm down. They're on their way. Can you tell me for sure she's not breathing?"A small click was the only answer she received."Sir ... ?"A dial tone echoed in her ear. "Hello ... ? Hello ... ?" Over the next few hours, each person entering 1810 Cedar Street was shocked by the copious amount of blood. Blood on the walls. Blood on the floor. Blood on Kathleen.Blood. A word that Michael Peterson left unspoken.Copyright © 2005 by Diane Fanning.


Excerpted from Written in Blood by Diane Fanning Copyright © 2005 by Diane Fanning. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 9 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 9 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 27, 2005

    The Truth Marches On

    Durham County court reporters are still trying to finish a final transcript of the Michael Peterson saga, but as far as I'm concerned -- with the publication of Diane Fanning's book, 'Written in Blood,' the official record is now complete. Fanning provides a full account of the epic Peterson murder mystery. Her writing is superb. Most importantly, Diane Fanning has written a true-crime book focused more on the truth than on the crime, and in that sense, her work honors the spirit of the victim, Kathleen Hunt Atwater. Rich with devastating details and ironic insights into the stranger than fictional world of Michael Peterson, Diane Fanning's book is a triumph. She has untangled the impossibly complex and grotesquely contorted story of money, malice and murder and laid it bare for all to see. 'Written in Blood' fills in the familiar framework of the notorious North Carolina case with important new details (the strange death of George Ratliff) and bits of dialogue (Peterson to Candace: 'I can either turn the heat on or buy four plots. I can't afford to do both.'), and a treasure trove of background information. (The secret of the red carnation.) Diane even manages to out-Peterson Peterson, with her vivid rendering of his anxiously offered heroics in battle during the Vietnam War. Not content to merely expose the decades of deceit, petty greed and random violence that led to Michael's premeditated murder -- Diane Fanning goes on to give a nearly day by day account of the contentious, 5-month trial. The cynical showboating and underhanded courtroom strategies of deluded defense teammates, Rudolf and Maher, are painfully rendered. Accounts of Caitlin Atwater's dawning horror throughout the legal ordeal are particularly effective. Diane's summation of the marathon murder trial forces her reader to feel every stinging insult Peterson's courtroom charade added to the vicious injury he caused Kathleen Peterson and so many, many others. Diane Fanning's 'Written in Blood' is a beautifully written record of the truth. I believe her superbly crafted monument will bring some measure of satisfaction to Kathleen Peterson and Elizabeth Ratliff's family and friends, and to those of us who never knew Michael Peterson, but who agonized over his senseless killing during the disconcerting courtroom drama. The truth is marching on and we move on with it. Thank you, Diane. The book is perfect. As with the brilliant work of columnist, Tom Gasparoli, it is most ironic that Michael Peterson's evil fictions would finally serve as the subject of such masterful writing. Onward! Vance Holmes, February 2005

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 1, 2007

    There's A Lot More To The Story & It's Written In Blood

    Not once, during either of two frantic calls to Durham 9-11 did Michael Peterson mention the blood...and there was a lot of blood. During the early morning hours of December 9th, as Kathleen lay dying on the stairs, police and rescue personnel rush to the home on Cedar Street. Connecting the complex sequence of dots that convinced a jury of his peers that Michael Peterson was indeed guilty of murder would have been the easy part, because the evidence had been painstakingly detailed during the five month trial. But, Diane Fanning takes the reader behind the carefully orchestrated performance in the court room and delivers the journey through the raw, unfiltered eyes of those who lived it. Detailing the crime scene, police procedure, the autopsy and the trial I fully expected, however, this book is chock-full of extras. Intimate conversations between Kathleen and her beloved sister, details concerning the exhumation and autopsy of Elizabeth Ratliff, the suspicious death of George Ratliff and much more. There's also eight pages of photographs that give the reader a glimpse of the Peterson's before, during and the aftermath is punctuated with a single photo of Kathleen's headstone. During the trial, the defense displayed an air of arrogance both in and outside the courtroom. And much to the chagrin of Peterson's few remaining supporters, the author pulls no punches describing the showboating behavior of David Rudolf and Thomas Maher, the mysterious discovery of the missing blowpoke and the effect these antics had on the grieving families. Superb, unflinching, emotionally gritty at times, Written in Blood is a stinging, in your face novel that paints a haunting picture of the madness that often lurks behind the gates of the nicest communities or in the home right next door. And reminds us all that the monster hiding in the shadows is easily recognized in hindsight...but, that's too late! Although the last chapter of this story will be written by the North Carolina Supreme Court, Written In Blood is as complete a history of the Peterson saga as could possibly be written. If you enjoy reading a true crime novel that goes behind the scenes and beyond the glare of the cameras, Written In Blood does not disappoint! Happy Reading!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 19, 2012

    Very good book

    Very well written book, my prayers to the victims family.....

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 25, 2012

    Fascinating read

    I'm a fan of Diane Fanning and I enjoyed this book. I love how she goes into the detail and background of the victims and makes you feel like you know them. She is very Ann Rule-esque in that way. This book was fascinating but tragic. My prayers go out to the victims' families in this case and I hope resolution is brought to the family of Liz Ratliff.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 21, 2013

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    Posted October 18, 2011

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    Posted July 7, 2011

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    Posted January 29, 2011

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