1. Deadly Little Secrets: The Minister, His Mistress, and a Heartless Texas Murder by Kathryn Casey
For years Kari Baker had trusted her husband and never believed him anything but a good, decent man. But something was amiss in the Baker home, an unseen presence of sorts.
A devoted wife, Kari worked hard at her marriage and prayed they would overcome their present struggles. After all, they’d been through so much since their 1994 wedding; numerous moves, the death of a daughter, and financial struggles while they both worked toward their college degrees.
Through thick and thin, Kari stood by Matt. Even when the allegations of inappropriate sexual behavior by Matthew Baker arose, Kari fiercely defended him, putting aside her own personal struggles to wage war against those who she believed had falsely accused the man she loved.
Kari would never allow herself to believe Matt was a wolf in sheeps clothing. And she would never permit herself to think the man to whom she had promised forever would betray her in the worst ways.
Vanessa Bulls was young and newly divorced when she met minister Matt Baker. Unlike the other women he approached, Vanessa wasn’t turned off by the perverted preacher and soon they were embroiled in a torrid affair.
As Kari prayed to God to heal the marital wounds, Matt Baker was confiding in his mistress about the ideas he had for killing his wife.
Despite ominous red flags and even her own subconscious spelling out her fate in excited utterances, Kari chose to hold strong and believe faith would overcome.
A couple of empty wine cooler bottles, an empty Unisom bottle, and a type suicide note lead to a wrongful declaration for Kari’s cause of death and opened the door for a murderous minister to start anew with his mistress.
But Matt Baker hadn’t counted on angelic interference – not necessarily of the heavenly kind. And they would become known as “Charlie’s Angels.” Their mission: Justice for Kari.
I can always count on Kathryn Casey to give me a fantastic, edge-of-my-seat read and once again she has not disappointed with her July 2012 release Deadly Little Secrets: The Minister, His Mistress, and a Heartless Texas Murder.
Even at the risk of never being able to step foot in Hewitt, Texas, again, Casey tells it all. Nothing is off limits as Casey discloses the perversions of a man who preached righteousness, the lackadaisical police department who was willing to let a snake slither away untouched, and a family willing to go the distance to find out the truth.
There is so many interesting aspects of this book, I had difficulty writing a review. There was so much I wanted to tell but you’ve got to read the book to appreciate it and so I opted to unveil very little here. But, do not let me vague when I say this: Dirty Little Secrets will shock, disgust, and anger you but, in the end, it will inspire you when you realize love does trump evil.
2. The Millionaires Wife: The True Story of a Real Estate Tycoon, His Beautiful Young Mistress, and a Marriage that Ended in Murder by Cathy Scott
George and Barbara Kogan had been married for 25 years when he suddenly announced he was in love with another woman: 27 year old Mary Louise Hawkins.
Barbara was devastated. Suddenly all of the success and wealth she and George had built together over the years was being ripped away from her. And it was being stolen by a spoiled little rich girl whose youthfulness and energy Barbara felt she couldn’t compete.
As many a scorned woman has done, Barbara sought to drain her husband of all their assets but instead found their assets frozen and having to turn to her parents, at almost 50 years old, for financial support. It was more than she could take.
When George was killed on a busy New York street, in broad daylight, many believed Barbara had found a way to regain her financial footing; after all, she was the sole beneficiary of millions of dollars in life insurance. And not to mention her husband’s death did away with that pesky division of assets divorce requires, they were all Barbara’s now.
Investigators, as well as George’s family and friends, were certain the wealthy widow was responsible for George’s death and they would spend the next 20 years trying to prove it. Their investigation would unveil a woman living a lavish lifestyle beyond her means, perjury, a hitman, and a wayward lawyer.
Veteran true crime author Cathy Scott outlines the homicide investigation that spanned two decades in her March 2012 book The Millionaire’s Wife and does a fantastic job of piecing together all the dirty little details from lifestyles of the rich and somewhat-famous.
Scott is an unbiased narrator of events, which I love as I feel more free to think for myself, so to speak, without leaving readers feeling as though certain parts of the story were omitted to create this effect. In the end, I felt sympathy for the victim but not without a clear understanding of why Barbara made the choices she did.
3. One Last Kiss: The True Story of a Minister’s Bodyguard, His Beautiful Mistress, and a Brutal Triple Homicide by Michael Cuneo
Sheri Coleman was doing all she could to save her marriage. Prayer, counseling, begging and pleading but nothing seemed to sway Chris Coleman‘s desire for divorce – not even the thoughts of his hurting his two young sons.
Of course, Sheri had no idea her best friend from high school, Tara Lintz, was providing Chris with horizontal bedroom therapy, which proved much more convincing to the egotistical bodyguard for celebrity preacher Joyce Meyer.
Chris was “in love” with Tara and she with him (or at least his $100k annual salary) but a girl could only wait so long. For Tara, that wait would be over by May 4, 2009: her deadline to either file for divorce or the affair was over.
When the day came and went, Chris hadn’t even talked to an attorney but he assured his mistress it was only a slight delay.
And before the dew on the grass could dry the next morning, Chris was a widower, his wife and children brutally strangled in their own beds.
Try as he may, Chris couldn’t convince detectives he had nothing to do with the murders – despite his numerous reports to police of harassing letters he and his family had received threatening this very scenario.
Chris Coleman had committed the most dastardly of sins and judgment day was soon upon him. No amount of prayer or pulpit bullying by his father was going to save Chris, who had sold his soul to the devil for the wiles of a woman.
Michael Cuneo tackles this high profile case in his newest book One Last Kiss: The True Story of a Minister’s Bodyguard, His Beautiful Mistress, and a Brutal Triple Homicide, recounting Chris’ days as a preacher’s son to the fight for his life in an Illinois courtroom.
Cuneo provides all the facts of the case and does a superb job of keeping his own opinion close to the vest until the last couple of chapters and, quite frankly, when he finally unleashes, I wanted to give him a standing ovation.
Chris Coleman and his whacked-out “Christian” family provide more than enough fodder for the true crime enthusiast who wonders how killers are created. Let me just say, the Colemans don’t practice what they preach and this case probably isn’t the last one where they’ll be cast into the spotlight.
4. Shattered: The True Story of a Mother's Love, A Husband's Betrayal, and a Cold-Blooded Texas Murder by Kathryn Casey
David Temple was loved by Katy, Texas football fans, but most suspected a dark side lurked within the bulky young man.
When Belinda Lucas began dating her future husband-to-be, friends noticed a turnabout in the perky, outspoken girl but she appeared happy so no one spoke up.
They should have.
As the years passed following Belinda and David’s wedding, friends and family witnessed cruelty from David toward his wife and many were privy to Belinda’s concerns that her marriage was ending. Belinda had suspicions her husband was having an affair.
And he was.
Described by men as “hot” but actually only average in appearance (her “looseness” being the hot factor, I believe), Heather Scott had no qualms about having an affair with a married man – even one whose wife was 8 months pregnant.
When Belinda was found murdered in the couples’ home, David became an immediate suspect.
But police would make crucial mistakes in the beginning, and it would take the determination of one investigator and a tough-as-nails prosecutor to cross the circled wagons of the Temple family and bring a baby killer to justice.
True crime author Kathryn Casey has given fans another hard-to-put down book, one that’ll make you think twice about the All-American boy next door.
Shattered is a spellbinding account of a woman who loved beyond her questions, a smug jerk who loved only himself, and the murder that would prove blood is always thicker than water.
5. One Deadly Night: A State Trooper, Triple Homicide, and a Search for Justice by John Glatt
David Camm was famous among his colleagues for being a skirt-chaser not shy about using his position as an Indiana Trooper to find willing partners.
On several occasions Camm’s wife, Kim Camm, had packed up herself and their two children and moved out after learning of Camm’s extramarital affairs but she always came back home.
In addition to Camm’s affairs, recent suspicions of sexual abuse of the Camm’s daughter had had Kim Camm thinking of leaving her husband again but she would never get a chance. On the evening of September 28, 2000, Kim was returning home from work after picking up her two children from daycare. As she stepped out of the car, she was shot in the back of the head; dead before her body hit the ground. Bradley Camm, having witnessed his mother’s murder, began scrambling into the storage area of the Ford Bronco but was coldly killed before he could make it. Jill Camm covered her eyes, trying to block the horrific scene from her mind, to make it all disappear, as her killer fired into her tiny body.
David Camm called for help when he arrived home and discovered the bodies. He was certain his police friends would be diligent in finding his family’s killer and was shocked when they almost immediately pointed the finger at him.
Seems David’s days of womanizing were coming back to haunt him.
But does a cheater a killer make? Did David Camm really kill his wife and children or did someone else, possibly a recently released former convict, do it but David’s very public indiscretions making his former friends and colleagues blind to the truth?
Once again John Glatt has created an attention-grabbing true crime tale with One Deadly Night – yet this time with a bonus: a real life whodunit to leave the mind boggled and debates of guilt or innonence ongoing.
The story of former Indiana State Police officer David Camm and just what role he played in the deaths of his wife, Kim, and two young children is something still yet to be determined. David Camm had his first conviction overturned, a second trial found him with additional charges and another conviction, once again overturned, and he is now awaiting a third trial scheduled for August 2013.
Glatt does an excellent job of laying all out all facets of the case -from a flaw-filled investigation, to alleged unethical behavior on behalf of the prosecution, to the shameless shenanigans pulled by the defense.
While this is one more spouse who kills (an all too often a story in today’s society), this particular case is most interesting because of the many twists and the minuscule evidence used to convict Camm.
© 2016 Kim Bryan