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Blood Games (Signet) Mass Market Paperback


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Product Details

  • Series: Signet
  • Mass Market Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Onyx (April 7, 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0451403444
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451403445
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 4.5 x 7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 0.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,029,180 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

On the surface this is an account of the plot conceived by Chris Pritchard to murder his mother and stepfather, Bonnie and Lieth Von Stein, to inherit a large sum of money; the crime involved two of his friends, James Upchurch, the actual killer of the stepfather and wounder of the mother, and Neal Henderson, the driver of the car which took them to the Von Stein home in Washington, N.C., on July 25, 1988. All three, from middle-class families, were college students of exceptionally high intelligence. They were also players of Dungeons and Dragons, a game which, according to Bledsoe, teaches the philosophy of selfishness. The book is far more than a true-crime study: it is a devastating and profounly disturbing portrait of a certain kind of family life. Here people marry casually, have children, move on to another incompatible marriage. The children of these broken homes are adversely affected, often find school no challenge and squander their youth on addiction, whether to alcohol, drugs, sex or fantasy games, until the groundwork is laid for tragedy. Bledsoe ( Bitter Blood ) brilliantly points up the terrible waste of human potential. Photos not seen by PW. BOMC selection.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

On July 25, 1988, in the early morning hours, the Von Stein house in Washington, North Carolina was invaded and the Von Steins brutally attacked. Lieth was murdered, and Bonnie, severely injured, barely survived. Their son Chris was away at college, but suspicion quickly focused on him and his friends. Chris, a very bright but totally unmotivated student, had become immersed in a world of drugs, alcohol, and the game Dungeons and Dragons. With a tenuous grasp on reality, and perhaps playing out a version of Dungeons and Dragons, he had convinced two friends, Neal Henderson and James Upchurch III, to kill his parents so that he could claim his very sizable inheritance. Ultimately, Henderson confessed. All three young men are now in prison, with Upchurch on death row. Although well written, this book is about a third too long, with too much emphasis on Upchurch's attempts to evade the police. Still, it makes a worthwhile addition to true crime collections.
- Sandra K. Lindheimer, Middlesex Law Lib., Cambridge, Mass.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

The story is sad but true.
Sylviastel
I vastly enjoyed this book and thought Mr. Bledsoe did a marvelous job of reporting this horrible crime.
Zirondelle
A must have for your true crime library.
LNistico

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Becky on June 27, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Having read "Cruel Doubt" and being an avid fan of Jerry's books, I ordered this book from America as it is unavailable in Australia. It took six weeks to arrive, and when I read it, I was disappointed, as the boring, repetitive narrative is extremely irritating, and unlike his other stories, in this book, Jerry's writing style is poor and he fails (for the first time in his true crime writing career) to draw the reader into the story. I am still a loyal fan of Jerry's, but I would recommend to anyone who wants to read about the Von Stein case to skip this book and instead purchase "Cruel Doubt" by Joe McGinniss, which is far superior in its portrayal of the facts.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Chandra, chanlp@aol.com on December 30, 1998
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Bledsoe is wonderful at detailing true crimes in NC. As with his other books, he gives in depth background on everyone involved and what is known about the case. It never comes across as opinionated or biased - simply told from every aspect. Information is given by law enforcement officers, family members, friends and lawyers. It almost reads more like a work of fiction rather than a the story of a true crime. I would highly recommend his other books as well.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Andrea Egger, author of Grave Accusations on June 12, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Bledsoe should take a bow for this chilling description of the murder of Lieth Von Stein and near murder of Bonnie Von Stein, with her 19-year-old son, Chris Pritchard, the one who planned it all to inherit millions. That's not giving away the book, as he's mentioned as the killer on the back cover! I was ecstatic that this book was out after I read Cruel Doubt by Joe McGinniss, another awesome depiction of this bloody crime. Joe apparently couldn't get the defendants' families to cooperate, and Bledsoe did. It was great to see into the minds of the killers and to learn about what their family lives were like growing up that might have affected their choices as young men.
Through the literary trick of imagery, Bledsoe makes the reader see the crime occur and understand the feelings of the defendants and their family members. Bledsoe gets to the very heart of the American family and how even the best and most doting parents can have children who become criminals. Of course, no parent is perfect, as Neal's and Bart's were not, but these young men had the background that many people have who later become doctors, lawyers and successful businessmen. If only these men hadn't chosen drugs, they could be among the successful. They had so much promise. Bledsoe brings home, through interviews with these teens and their parents, the reality of evil, as it can strike anyone, and how one rash decision has such dire, final consequences.
Also worth mention was the care and concern of the teacher who discovered Neal's genius and Bart's exceptional talents. Even to the end, he was defending them, making it clear he didn't agree with and couldn't condone their actions. A truly caring person this teacher must be!
As a true crime author myself, I can only say I hope I can someday climb into the caliber of Mr. Bledsoe, and I thank him for a terrific edition to America's true crime genre!
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 31, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
This was a typical Jerry Bledsoe book -- I could not put it down. I searched for months for this book after having read his other three true-crime novels. I finally had to buy one used. This book tells the story of three young men whose lives came together in horror and tragedy. Chris Pritchard arranged to have his friend, Bart Upchurch, murder Chris's stepfather and mother (and possibly his sister) in order to collect a $2 million inheritance. Bart had Neal Henderson drive him to the house and then help him dispose of the evidence after the murder. The stepfather died in a brutal attack with a baseball bat and knife. The mother miraculously lived. Neal spilled first, but not until almost a year after the crimes. He pled guilty and got 40 years. He was paroled after a little over 10 years on 12/11/00. Chris decided, within days of his trial, to plead guilty. His mother and sister learned of his plan to have them murdered, but surprisingly stuck by him. He was sentenced to life plus 20 years and would have to serve 19 years before being eligible for parole. Bart was sentenced to death, but his death sentence was vacated in October 1992 and he was resentenced to life. He apparently maintains his innocence, and despite looking like an all-American college boy during his trial, he has been transformed into a typical prisoner. He has a web site, [...] which has a recent picture -- matted hair, nasty facial hair, and absolutely no trace of the good-looking boy he was at the time of the crime and trial. This book will make parents afraid to send their kids off to college, it will open your eyes to the availability and dangers of alcohol and drugs to teenagers, and it will make you beg Mr. Bledsoe to write another true-crime book! If you can get ahold of a copy, new or used, it will be well worth your effort and money.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 2, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This book is 100XXX better than the movie. It is spellbinding. It ranks right along side Bitter Blood. I have found a new genre of books to read: true Crimes, thanks to Mr. Bledsoe. I'm looking right now to find another true crime book authored by him to read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By S. G. Fortosis on December 17, 2009
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Much of my life has been dedicated to teaching the Bible in the Church. For a number of years I taught teens and could tell you stories about how lives were changed for the better. However I do also find a fascination with how people go wrong and how evil enters and permeates a life until the worst acts possible are committed against society. It is also intriguing to learn how these people are finally apprehended. I've heard raging controversy about whether Dungeons and Dragons is a dangerous game or not. In this case, it did seem to connect to the crime, as a North Carolina college kid conspired with two friends to kill his parents for greed. His mother survives and actually refuses to condemn her son, which, to me, reflected more stupidity than compassion. In any case,I do think Bledsoe wrote the story very well. Bledsoe, McGinnis, Olsen, Rule---these are some of the best at the true crime craft, and I'll stand by that.
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