Veteran true-crime readers are familiar with the cold murder committed by a sociopath, versus the hot murder committed in a moment of rage or jealousy. But what to make of someone who murders her spouse simply to keep him from finding out that she borrowed a few thousand from the bank? This story of a Durham, North Carolina, woman who appeared to be a devoted mother, meticulous housekeeper, loving wife, and church leader, is even more puzzling when we learn that what's beneath is not all that shocking: she lies, she's promiscuous, she's a perfectionist, and she spends too much money. The mystery is the motive in this tale of a murderer, both
of whose husbands died, in bed, of "accidents with guns." Jerry Bledsoe has a crisp, unemotional prose style. His expertly paced courtroom cliffhangers kept this reviewer up reading long past midnight. Before He Wakes
was a finalist for the 1995 Edgar Award in Fact Crime.
From Publishers Weekly
In 1988, high school coach Russ Stager of Durham, N.C., was "accidentally" killed by his wife, Barbara, shot with a loaded gun he allegedly kept under his pillow. A seemingly happy and popular couple, both active in their church, the two were compulsive overspenders--and she was a sexual overachiever with a string of extramarital affairs. As the case developed, it became clear she was a liar and a thief as well. Then detectives discovered that exactly 10 years earlier Barbara's first husband, Larry Ford, had died in an identical fashion but police had done nothing about their reservations concerning that "accident." Barbara was convicted of murder and eventually sentenced to life. The greatest strength of Bledsoe's ( Blood Games ) fine study is less his account of the murder case than his picture of the Baptist culture of the Bible Belt, where the baptized Barbara was assumed to be a "good Christian woman" because her church work meant she could do no evil. Photographs not seen by PW. Television rights to CBS.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.