2017 Arthur Ellis Award, Best Nonfiction Book Winner
A sinister plot by a young woman left her mother dead and her father riddled with bullets.
From the outside looking in, Jennifer Pan seemed like a model daughter living a perfect life. The ideal child, the one her immigrant parents saw, was studying to become a pharmacist at the University of Toronto. But there was a dark, deceptive side to the angelic young woman.
In reality, Jennifer spent her days in the arms of her high school sweetheart, Daniel. In an attempt to lead the life she dreamed of, she would do almost anything: lie about her whereabouts, forge school documents, and invent fake jobs and a fictitious apartment. For many years she led this double life. But when her father discovered her web of lies, his ultimatum was severe. And so, too, was her revenge: a plan that culminated in cold-blooded murder. And it almost worked, except for one bad shot.
The story of Jennifer Pan is one of all-consuming love and devious betrayal that led to a cold-hearted plan hatched by a group of youths who thought they could pull off the perfect crime.
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.90(d)|
About the Author
Jeremy Grimaldi is a journalist who has travelled through forty countries and worked in both Canada and the UK. He is currently the Crime and Justice Reporter for YorkRegion.com. While working as a court reporter, he covered the Jennifer Pan story for ten months. He lives in Toronto.
Read an Excerpt
It has to be a nightmare.
“Where’s the fucking money?” the voice asks.
The hushed tones of the intruder are followed by a silent, visceral threat the cold metal of a handgun against his cheek. As the father of two lifts his gaze, quivering with fear, the man speaks again: “Where’s the fucking money? I said.”
What is happening? The man is in his own bed, in his own home,
sleeping soundly after a long day of work. He attempts to shake off the grogginess of his deep slumber, to understand exactly what’s transpiring.
The intruder standing over him doesn’t have time for his attempts at comprehension;
he has his orders, now he needs to execute. Today is payday.
He grabs fifty-seven-year-old Hann Pan roughly by the scruff of the neck. If
Hann had time to put on his glasses, he would be able see into his assailant’s eyes, though they’re largely hidden beneath a baseball cap that is pulled down low on his forehead. The man leads him downstairs, the gun pressed firmly to the back of his head. As they descend the semicircular staircase,
the scale of the threat to Hann and his family is revealed one horrifying step at a time. Downstairs, another masked man, also wearing a flat-brimmed baseball cap, stands over Hann’s wife, Bich-Ha, a gun to her neck.
Bich’s feet are still soaking in a bucket of water after her weekly line-dancing class. She timidly looks up and asks her husband, in
Cantonese, her voice cracking with fright, “How did they get in?”
“I don’t know,” he answers. “I was sleeping.”
Impatient, one of the men shouts, “Shut up! You talk too much.” He turns to Hann and repeats, this time slower, his voice seething with rage:
“ Where’s the fucking money? ”
Hann, believing the men only want to rob him, not hurt his wife or him, obliges. The problem is that since the Pans were robbed years ago when they lived in Scarborough a rough area he moved his family out of to avoid this sort of confrontation they no longer keep large amounts of money at home. “I have $60 in my pants upstairs, but my possessions are worth plenty,” he tells his tormentor.
“Liar! I need the fucking money, nothing else.”
Hann suddenly feels a searing pain in the back of his head. He falls to the floor. A gush of blood cascades over the living room couch.
As he and his wife are led into the basement of their middle-class suburban home, true fear begins to rise to the surface of Hann’s mind. Still,
he can’t imagine the scale of violence and horror that is about to descend upon his home and family this unseasonably warm November night.
It’s different for Hann’s wife. She senses the imminent danger. She blurts out a panicked plea: “You can hurt us, but please don’t hurt my daughter.” Her mind is racing, frantic, wondering why they’re being taken downstairs. She begins to plead with the intruders, whimpering and begging them to take pity on her humble family.
In the basement, the couple is ordered to sit on the couch, the same place where their daughter Jennifer lounged, watching her weekly sitcoms,
just hours earlier. The men throw blankets over the couple’s heads,
blankets that keep the family members warm in the often-frigid basement.
Hann remains calm, resigned to his fate; his wife is hysterical. The assailant readies himself, aims, and fires. One bullet rips through Hann’s face, fracturing the bone near the inside corner of his right eye, grazing his carotid artery. A second bullet hits him in the right shoulder, exiting out the back of the top of his shoulder.
The men turn their attention to his screaming wife. The initial blast from the firearm pierces the base of her neck. A second shot tears through her upper-right shoulder. And a final bullet, this time fired at closer range,
enters and swiftly exits her skull: a fatal shot.
Daughter Jennifer, who is later discovered by the police tied to the upstairs banister, recounts the sound of “four or five pops” and then an unknown number of footfalls before the intruders leave the house.
When Hann slowly regains consciousness and opens his eyes, he is gripped with terror as he comes to realize that the last eight minutes of his life have not been a gruesome nightmare but instead a terrifying reality.
As the details of the break-in race through his mind, he looks beside him, where the love of his life lies, bloodied; her body has slumped to the floor. He crawls to her, wincing in pain, blood dripping from wounds in his shoulder and head. He shakes her, calls out her name, once, twice,
three times no response. The life has already left his wife of thirty years.
He begins to howl in agony, a pain both physical and emotional. As he lurches upstairs, his desperate screams and moans are clearly audible to the 911 operators fielding his daughter Jennifer’s panicked call for assistance.
Hann reaches the main floor and staggers to the front door. Outside,
he collapses in front of a neighbour who is on his way to an early shift at work.
“Dad?” his daughter Jennifer yells down to him. “I’m calling 911 …
But her father doesn’t hear her. He is racked by pain in his own world of dread.
Table of Contents
Part 1 Shattered Dreams
1 The Investigation Begins 13
2 Interview One 18
3 A Crack Squad 28
4 An Anonymous Informant 34
5 "That Hasn't Gone Unnoticed" 42
6 Hann Speaks 56
7 "What Happens to Me?" 62
8 "It Was for Me" 72
9 Panic Sets In 76
10 An Early Christmas Present 85
11 The Noose Tightens 107
Part 2 The Trial
12 All Eyes on Newmarket 113
13 Stranger Than Fiction 120
14 A Father Betrayed 124
15 A Brother's Agony 133
16 "Astonishing Testimony" 138
17 A Spanner in the Works 149
18 Judgment Day 160
19 Epitome of Evil 164
Part 3 How Could This Happen?
20 A New Country, a New Life 169
21 Great Expectations 177
22 A Child's First Deception 190
23 Young Love 201
24 A Double Life 222
25 "House-Arrested" 242
26 Walking on Eggshells 249
27 "Oh, That's the Bad Guy" 260
28 Deadly Betrayal 268
29 "She's Not My Mama" 281
30 Game Time 296
Part 4 Conclusions
Lives Forever Changed: Impact Statements 307
Where Are They Now? 312
Afterword Dr Betty Kershner, Ph.D., Registered Psychologist 315
Bibliographic References 329
Author's Note 331
Image Credits 335
Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review. Thanks to NetGalley and Dundurn for the opportunity to read and review A Daughter's Deadly Deception: The Jennifer Pan Story by Jeremy Grimaldi. Immediately gripping, the story begins with the intrusion into the Pan home and the shootings that occurred soon after. The story that unfolds shows the cunning that Jennifer had to deceive her parents about her entire life. A large portion of the book takes the reader through the investigative process and the interviews of people who might have information to the people who are suspected of being an assailant. The lives of those affected by this deception and violence are explained with diplomacy and empathy for what the family members have gone through and what they have to deal with. In the author's note, more tragedy for the extended family is described with heartbreak. I rate this nonfiction crime book 4 stars!
This was definitely an in depth story of a girl who paid people to kill her parents. It took into account the culture of her race, the way she was being raised, how she was being treated by her parents, how she had been lying to her parents since 9th grade, etc. It also talked about her psyche, how a person could turn out this way, what could have made her do this and what kind of state she was in at the time she did this. There was a lot of detail. You can tell that the author spent a lot of time in writing this book. It is amazing to me that this girl could have done that. It's also amazing how many texts she sent out and the messages that she wrote to her "boyfriend". This girl was definitely cray cray. It was a good read, I did find my eyes glazing over several times when the author was talking about the culture and tiger woman. However, that's just me. The eerie part was at the very end with her cousin in 2016. That was creepy. Thanks to Dundurn for approving my request and to Net Galley for providing me with a free e-galley in exchange for an honest review. 3 likes
A Daughter's Deadly Deception by Jeremy Grimaldi First I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for a fair review. True Crime is one of my favorite genres, but this book just didn't do it for me. It was very repetitive, going over aspects of the crime from different angles. It got very boring after awhile, and seemed to be making excuses for the planner of the crime. This was a story of a young Asian woman living with her brother & parents in Canada. It shows how different a home life of a foreign family sometimes is from a Canadian or American family. This young woman had to be the most devious, narcissistic idiotic criminal I have ever read about. She set about faking documents about her schooling, even going so far as convincing her family that she was in college and graduating. She wanted to be free from her home life, but wouldn't leave home. She hated following her parents rules, but wanted them to support the life style she wanted. When they objected to the man she wanted, and realized all of her lies, they tried to stop her by placing further restraints on her life. She decided they way to solve this, was to have her parents murdered. This shows how she set about getting people to do this, the lengths she went through to try to plan the perfect murder. She has to be one of the most cold-blooded young woman I have ever read about. I wish the book had been structured a little different, without separating the same items into four different areas of the book, it seemed like it took forever to reach the end.