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Blood Will Tell: A Shocking True Story of Marriage, Murder, and Fatal Family Secrets (St. Martin's True Crime Library) Mass Market Paperback – June 3, 2008

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About the Author

Carlton Smith was an award-winning journalist for The Los Angeles Times and The Seattle Times in the 1970s and 1980s. A finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in investigative reporting in 1988, he now works full-time as a true crime author. He lives in San Francisco.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Blood Will Tell
MULE CREEK
JUST outside of lone, California, a small town nestled in the foothills of the old gold-mining country of the Sierra Nevada, atop a small rise, lies Mule Creek State Prison--a series of low buildings, an unattended guardhouse, a parking lot, an administration building, and, behind tall chain-link fences topped with barbed wire, three "yards," or cellblocks, each of them containing involuntary guests of the State of California.
A visitor to these precincts, which were erected in 1985 by then--California Governor George Deukmejian--a former State Attorney General and a law-and-order man of storied repute--must gain access through a closely scrutinized portal. No wallets may be taken through; no writing implements of any kind; no papers; no portable telephones, no tapes, no recorders, and of course, no weapons. Only a single key is permitted, and no more than thirty dollars, and that only in one-dollar bills----change machines on the left before you enter.
Shoes off before stepping through the magnetometer, followed by a wave of the wand to make sure one is sans metal. Then into the sally port through a rolling electronic gate. Wait until all is clear, then through a similar rolling barrier at the far end of the sally port.
Through the sunny interior courtyard to the "C" Yard, where a pass is checked by a guard in front of a sturdy, locked door. The pass is given to another guard, and after some delay, the man you have come to see finally emerges from the interior of the prison.
He is small, this man, and friendly. His once dark hair is now almost completely white. It looks as though he's lost weight, as he approaches, hand held out in greeting.
Sit down at table number 13 in the cacophonous visiting area, surrounded by other inmates with their children, wives and parents--all under the watchful eye of the guards.
How do you feel?--that's the question of the day.
"I feel cheated," says Kenneth Carroll Fitzhugh, Jr. "I'm not guilty and I'm in here."
Copyright © 2003 by Carlton Smith.
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Product Details

  • Series: St. Martin's True Crime Library
  • Mass Market Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's True Crime; 1st edition (February 17, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312977956
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312977955
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.9 x 6.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #254,075 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Robert Wellen on August 8, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Parts of this true crime book were terrific. Particularly the parts about the investigation and the narrative about the life of the Fitzhugh family. However, the last part of the book is a snooze. Smith, who seems to have a talented background, basically gives us trial transcripts for about 100 pages or so, including the DNA evidence. The narrative disappears and is enough to put me to sleep (as it did a few times). The story here could have been told in much more engaging way--transcripts are not that interesting. Also, where was the epilogue? What happened? We know Fitzhugh is convicted, but what about his kids? Bob Brown? What happened to these people? We don't know. Instead, we get some dime story philosophy and a look at Del Mar. Who Cares? There was a much better book to be written on this fascinating case.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 19, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I found this book a bit slow and tedious compared to writings by other true crime writers like Ann Rule and Jerry Bledsoe. The author reveals from the first chapter that Ken is in prison so the book never builds any anticipation as to whether the police will build a case against him. The most interesting thing about the whole book is the eerie similarities to the Michael Peterson case going on right now in NC which is being televised on CourtTV. Actually, that case is more interesting, skip the book.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 27, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
I just finished reading this book and was very disappointed with it. He tell everything that happen through the whole trial. All of this could have been left out and then at the end of the book all he writes is the jury knew Ken had killed his wife. Then he just ended the book. He didn't say what the sentence was or how long he will have to serve. This is a very important part of a true crime book'
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I like Carlton Smith. I think he's a talented, dedicated writer and I enjoy his other works. It's not that this was a BAD book, or a poorly written one- it just didn't hold my attention. This wasn't the kind of book you can't put down, mainly because there were a lot of details included that weren't really necessary or particularly interesting. It's an interesting story to be sure, but the way it's written about here makes it less gripping than it really is. A lot was written about the town the Fitzhughs lived in, detailed descriptions of the cops and lawyers involved and other unnecessary details, and I found myself skimming over these rather long sections. There are some books that I really can't put down, and want to make sure I take in every word (Ann Rule's books come to mind), but this just wasn't one of those books. If you're interested in the case, buy it and give it a shot, because it's the only hook written to my knowledge about it, but also because it's well written and not a waste of time overall. You may just find yourself skimming rather than reading fparts of it. All in all, I probably won't read it again (as I do many of my fave true crime reads), but I still hold Smith to be one of the better true crime writers out there.
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By Donna J. Runnels on December 16, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
There was no mystery in this book. You were pointed at the husband as the offender from the beginning. The book was very repetitive which made it boring. I think without the constant repetition, it wouldn't have had enough pages so the author substituted substance. I would have liked to known the victim and her lover better. That was the only interesting part of the story. I also wanted to know how the Fitzhughs had managed to squander the fortune they had inherited. I wanted to see a picture of the lover. I gave this book every opportunity to be interesting, but it was no more interesting than reading a newspaper article about the crime would have been.
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By R. Conner on July 30, 2012
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
I cannot believe that Amazon charged for this book. I want my money back. The writer never wrote how the trial ended. I had to google the answer. He just stops writing the book during the killer's trail and we are left to wonder what happened. Either the author just got tired of writing or had another more important project to go to but I have never seen a book that just stops period. The writer also never goes into the characters of the main players. The murdered wife's personality is never delved into, even tho she carried on an 8 yrs. affair under the husbands nose and bore her lover's child. Very shallow robot like book.
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By Graceful on April 2, 2015
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I found this book to be little more than a trial transcript. The author includes the obligatory history of the defendant's family, and to some degree the victim's, and a good bit of the investigation which I found dull. The bulk of the book relates trial testimony. I read a good deal of true crime and opted not to finish this one after two-thirds of the way through. Don't expect any surprises, any shocking moments.
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Use to work by where this story took place. She was a really sweet.Feel so sorry for everyone involved in this story.
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