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Phoenix (The Complete Action Series)
David Alexander
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Rope Burns: The Shocking True Story of the Most Twisted Couple in American Crime!

Rope Burns - Robert    Scott I don't know why I read stuff like this. Reading about these sickos and pervs can make the most free-loving flower child buy a revolver and watch a Death Wish marathon. You can't make this stuff up. Actually I read this before, but re-read it to review. Not because it is a feel-good book. It is not.

Robert Scott's narrative of James DaVeggio's and Michelle Michaud's perv-a-palooza begins on a cringeworthy note as he details a brutal crime in their rapemobile, down to what gets stuck where and the verbal abuse involved. It's too bad he started the book like this. I felt that the violence was sensationalized and I felt a little dirty reading it. I can imagine some weirdo getting a thrill from this chapter. Fortunately, as he follows the various investigations on these two maggots though several jurisdictions, the narrative emphasizes the legal and forensic efforts of the cops and DAs that eventually prosecuted the two and ends with suitably touching tributes to the one known murder victim, Vanessa Samson, and the other probable, but unconfirmed, victims of the two, like Jaycee Lee Dugard.

Scott's writing can be cheesy at times and wouldn't look out of place in a true crime detective magazine of the '50s, but it's rarely boring. Sometimes he goes off on tangents that are tenuously related to the main subject (eg., Michael Idhe), but that's okay. Real crimes are not always clear cut (usually not) so you sort of have to bear with all the paths cases might take. Overall his narrative is serviceable and makes for a fairly engrossing read. Particularly notable is the role DNA evidence played in prosecuting these cases, the degree of which was, as I understand, rather new at the time.