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Scream at the Sky: Five Texas Murders and One Man's Crusade for Justice
     

Scream at the Sky: Five Texas Murders and One Man's Crusade for Justice

4.6 5
by Carlton Stowers
 

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Carlton Stowers, the two-time Edgar Award winner and New York Times bestselling master of true crime, is back. Scream at the Sky is his masterful chronicle of one man's murderous career, and another man's sworn promise to deliver justice and closure to the people of Texas.
Wichita Falls, Texas, was home to a hundred thousand people in the last

Overview

Carlton Stowers, the two-time Edgar Award winner and New York Times bestselling master of true crime, is back. Scream at the Sky is his masterful chronicle of one man's murderous career, and another man's sworn promise to deliver justice and closure to the people of Texas.
Wichita Falls, Texas, was home to a hundred thousand people in the last months of 1984. That winter was harsh, as the normally arid Texas plains gave way to ominous dark clouds that delivered freezing sleet and rain. But a much darker force was looming, and soon the quiet town was besieged by a faceless evil--and its young women were dying because of it.
In the next seventeen months five women were found brutally beaten and murdered, their young lives cut short and their bodies left haphazardly where they fell. In the years that followed, grieving families fruitlessly sought answers. A haunted district attorney chased every lead only to meet one dead end after another. And the killer's identity remained unknown to the ravaged townspeople.

Then, fourteen years after the killing started, an investigator who had been assigned the cold case brought to it a renewed dedication, and came upon a chance discovery. Searching through the yellowed case files, he caught a minor detail that suggested one more suspect. Faryion Wardrip was an unhappily married family man who drowned his anger in substance abuse and violent fantasies. But for five unfortunate families, the drugs sometimes took over and the fantasies became realities.

Investigator John Little followed his instincts and tirelessly ruled out every possibility until he was left with but one conclusion: Faryion Wardrip was the serial killer who had eluded his office for so long. How he tracked down Wardrip and used the legal system to beat the killer at his own game of deception is a remarkable story of justice served.

Editorial Reviews

Jonathan Kellerman
...an utterly compelling account of outrage, travesty and redemption, depicted with a master's touch.
Publishers Weekly
Rural Texas endures a long-unsolved serial killing spree, in this grim suspenser by Edgar Award-winner Stowers (Open Secrets; etc.). The narrative begins in late 1984, when a young nurse is found raped and murdered in Wichita Falls; soon a second, equally brutal murder stokes the city's fears. One indictment ends in mistrial when a third murder occurs; eventually, there are five victims. Faryion Wardrip, a local eccentric with drug and money troubles, and an acquaintance of the third victim, readily confesses to her murder. Paroled after serving 11 years of his 35-year sentence for that one murder, Wardrip, purportedly a changed man, becomes active in a local church and remarries. In a classic instance of "murder will out," however, a hungry young district attorney's investigator named John Little begins working the long-unsolved murders in December 1999 and soon gleans a crucial clue from old reports that might tie Wardrip to the other murders. The book becomes increasingly suspenseful as Little quietly builds his case against the sanctimonious Wardrip, whose composure crumbles when he's finally confronted on his old misdeeds. Stowers demonstrates sensitivity toward the many survivors of Wardrip's crimes, yet at heart this is a gory, effective meditation on the evil sometimes committed by "ordinary" men and the great efforts necessary for justice. 8 pages of b&w photos not seen by PW. (Jan. 7) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
True-crime veteran Stowers (To the Last Breath, 1998, etc.) relates the grisly tale of a Texas serial killer who dodged justice for too long. The small city of Wichita Falls was an ordinary modern metropolis that in the winter of 1984–85, writes Stowers, had "come under assault from a nameless, faceless evil." Terry Sims’s corpse was found in December 1984; the brutalized body of a nurse named Toni Gibbs turned up in a pasture a few weeks later. Both women had been horrifically raped, then beaten and fatally stabbed. Bar bouncer Danny Laughlin became obsessed with Gibbs’s death, making him a prime suspect to edgy local officials. Laughlin was indicted for Gibbs’s murder on the strength of his own contradictory statements and a jailhouse informant’s testimony. Before Laughlin’s trial began, however, authorities discovered a third victim: Ellen Blau, a recent arrival whose friendliness toward strangers proved her undoing. Laughlin’s jury deadlocked, resulting in a mistrial, but local police remained convinced of his guilt. So no one really noticed when high-strung drug addict Faryion Wardrip confessed to the murder of a woman named Tina Kimbrew and mentioned in his rambling statement that he’d also known Blau. Wardrip was paroled for Kimbrew’s murder in 1997, but improved DNA technologies finally implicated him in the other crimes. A neophyte DA investigator first connected Wardrip to the Blau killing, then memorably secured a DNA sample from him by requesting a "spit cup." When confronted with the evidence, Wardrip capitulated, confessed to a fifth murder in Fort Worth, and ultimately received the death sentence. Two-time Edgar Award winner Stowers writes competently, though he’s not abovelarding on melodramatic, ain’t-it-awful asides and digressions typical of contemporary true crime. Still, he deftly portrays investigators’ increasing tenacity and Wardrip’s trail of deceit and violence, elements contributing to the tension as readers wait for the law to catch up with a bizarre and maddeningly fortunate murderer. A passable evocation of an American nightmare.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781466835825
Publisher:
St. Martin's Press
Publication date:
08/16/2004
Sold by:
Macmillan
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
256
Sales rank:
175,356
File size:
2 MB

Meet the Author

Carlton Stowers is the author of more than two dozen works of nonfiction, including the Edgar Award-winning Careless Whispers, the Pulitzer Prize-nominated Innocence Lost, and Open Secrets. He and his wife live in Cedar Hill, Texas.


Carlton Stowers is the author of more than two dozen works of nonfiction, including the Edgar Award-winning Careless Whispers, the Pulitzer Prize-nominated Innocence Lost, and Open Secrets. He and his wife live in Cedar Hill, Texas.

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Scream at the Sky 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Well written account of the senseless murders of 5 beautiful women (maybe more?). The murders were left unsolved for years, that is until a hardworking investigator breaks the case.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I recommend 'Scream' to any fan of true crime. It was a well written account of the senseless murders of 5 beautiful women. DNA and a sharp Investigator helped bring the killer to justice. Believe me, you won't want to put the book down.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I remember when this happened. I was in high school, reading it brought back memories. His accounts were right on. I would highly reccomend this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very well written.. it may take years for the killer to be brought to justice, and he was and got what he deserves.. though the monster thought he got away with multiple murders.. its a sad book on innocent lives taken so violent !! .. Bn
Anonymous More than 1 year ago