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Deadly American Beauty (St. Martin's True Crime Library) Mass Market Paperback – March 2, 2004

28 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

Praise for...
Internet Slavemaster
"A blockbuster...stomach-turning [and] detailed."--The Globe

"An exhaustive account....A creepy but mesmerizing read." Woman's Own

For I Have Sinned
"A shocking expose of clergymen who kill."-National Examiner

Evil Twins
"Fascinating reading."-Arizona Republic

The Royal House Of Monaco
"[Glatt] certainly comes through with the goods...recommended." -Library Journal

"A winner" -Kirkus Reviews

"How do you say 'juicy' in French?" -People Magazine

From the Back Cover

A Perfect Marraige...
Greg DeVillers was a top biotech executive, and Kristen Rossum was embarking on a career in toxicology at the San Diego Medical Examiner's office. They seemed to be happily married, living the American dream. But only months shy of their second anniversary, Kristen found her handsome husband dead from a drug overdose-his corpse sprinkled with rose petals. By his side was their wedding photo. The scene was reminiscent of American Beauty, one of Kristen's favorite movies. Authorities deemed it a suicide.

An Almost Perfect Murder...
Until they discovered that the rare poison found in Greg's body was the same poison missing from Kristen's office. Until they discovered the truth about Kristen's lurid affair, about her own long-time drug addiction, and about the personal and professional secrets she would kill to keep hidden-secrets that would ultimately expose the beautiful blonde as the deadly beauty she really was...

Deadly American Beauty

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Product Details

  • Series: St. Martin's True Crime Library
  • Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Paperbacks (March 13, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312984197
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312984199
  • Product Dimensions: 4.1 x 0.8 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,407,258 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

John Glatt is an investigative journalist with more than thirty years experience. In the last fourteen years he has written 19 true crime books and 4 biographies. With more than a million books currently in print all over the world, Glatt is acknowledged to be one of the best true crime writers working today.

A native of London, England, Glatt left school at sixteen and worked in a variety of jobs - including tea boy and messenger - before joining a small weekly newspaper outside London, where he honed his keen news sense. Over the next few years he freelanced for many national English newspapers, including The Daily Express, The Sunday People, The Daily Mail and Woman Magazine.

In 1981 he moved to New York, working on staff for News Limited, as well as freelancing for Newsweek, Omni, the New York Post, the Australian, Modern Business and other newspapers and magazines worldwide.

His first book Rage & Roll: Bill Graham and the Selling of Rock, was published in 1993 to critical acclaim. Two years later he wrote Lost in Hollywood: The Fast Times and Short Life of River Phoenix, a well received biography on the tragic movie star. His next book, The Chieftains: An Authorized Biography, which was published in 1997, saw him nominated for a 2000 Grammy in the spoken word category. In 1998 wrote the well-received The Ruling House of Monaco: The Story of a Tragic Dynasty, uncovering many new revelations about the Grimaldis.

In 1998 he wrote his first true crime book, For I Have Sinned: True Stories of Clergy Who Kill. A year later he followed it up with Evil Twins, an anthology of twins that kill. And since then he has written a True Crime book a year for St. Martin's Press True Crime Library, establishing him as a master of the genre.

Over the years, Glatt has appeared on scores of television and radio programs all over the world, including Dateline NBC, Fox News, Discovery ID, BBC World, and A&E Biography.

He and his jewelry designer wife Gail divide their time between New York City, the Catskill Mountains and London.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 29, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Being a fan of true crime, I picked up this book thinking "this should be an interesting read" however, it was the exact opposite. The Author never really gave much depth to the characters.....maybe they just didn't have any depth. We never find out the reason for Kristen Rossum's raging drug abuse (although it was hinted that an injury ending her chances at becoming a ballerina did it). So what she comes off as, is a spoiled child (which is probably the real reason for her drug abuse)who marries a man, who helps her (for awhile), get off drugs -- which she repays by killing him -- so she could be with her married lover. Sounds like a soap opera....a bad one. If you really want to read a good true crime try "Dead and Buried", "Lethal Intent" or "Scream at the Sky"....definately interesting reads.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By TawnTawn on June 21, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I don't know if it was the content, the writing, or Kristen Rossum's soul, but this book just didn't come across to me as very memorable. I saw the story on Dateline or some other show, and that's why I bought the book. I wanted to get the rest of the story, but there really wasn't much more there. I found the book overall to be unsatisfying.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By KierkegaardFan on March 8, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
As a native southern Californian, I caught many technical/research errors in Glatt's book that I found distracting. For example, he wrote that Claremont lies 30 miles WEST of L.A., which would put you into the Pacific Ocean (he should have said EAST). Plus, he continously spelled people's names incorrectly, got the name of Kristin's middle school wrong ("Claremont Junior High School" does not exist in California), and there are just too many other errors to list here. I don't know if it was the fault of the author or his editor, but still, it left the reader wondering if this author could be believed at all. I recommend Caitlin Rother's book about Kristin Rossum because it was much more accurate and well researched. Glatt tried to make his book "sexy" by focusing on the salacious elements of the story, while Rother presented a much more objective and factual account.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful By B.A.A. on May 10, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
If ever a book served as proof that drugs do terrible things to people--and potentially far worse to those innocent victims closest to them--then this is the one. It also serves as a vivid example of why you should "never judge a book by its cover." Physically beautiful though she may be, Kristin Rossum is exactly the opposite inside.
Glatt paints a portrait of Kristin as a stunningly lovely, highly intelligent toxicologist, with a dark side that clearly takes over completely once she begins using drugs. We are led to believe that an injury suffered years earlier, which prevented her from pursuing her promising ballet career, was the impetus for her descent into drug abuse. Perhaps...
Yet, as I read this book I got the uncomfortable feeling that the only real "excuse" for her actions is the fact that something is missing in her very soul. She reminds me of sociopathic Pam Smart, the murderess from NH who enticed students into doing her bidding by killing her husband (also named Gregg). Both "Gregs" were very good guys, yet both of their pretty wives appeared to have ice cold blood in their veins. In Rossum's case, drugs joined that ice water, setting the stage for a real tragedy.
How terribly sad that Ms. Rossum would end up murdering Greg de Villers, the one man who truly cared enough to forgive her for past transgressions (of which there were many) and go above and beyond to save her. Depicted as heartbreakingly kind, extremely handsome, talented, and a rising young star in the business world, this was a young man who most women would have been only too proud to marry.
His biggest "flaw" seemed to be giving someone like Kristin endless chances to redeem herself, much as she didn't deserve them.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful By E. A. Jamieson on April 13, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I feel a little bad about saying that I was disappointed in this book, in that it's a story of a real murder, in which a real person died under awful circumstances, and in judging the book on its literary merits it's hard to avoid seeming to trivialize Greg Villiers' death and the very real grief and anger of his family and friends.
But nonetheless, it's fundamentally a fairly simple story that's padded out to nearly 300 often repetive and overly sensationalistic pages. It's called an "almost perfect crime" - in fact, at least to go by the book's narrative, Kristin Rossum made so many mistakes and lapses in judgement it's hard to believe that she wouldn't have eventually been found out. The police seem mostly competentent, but not engagingly brilliant.
The callousness of the crime is indeed shocking, but ultimately it seems that you've just got a woman who was desperate and/or drug-addled enough to want her husband dead, and for whatever reason, cold-blooded enough to go through with it. And so it comes down to standard motive/means police work. Not that there's anything wrong with solving murders, I just hoped for a more psychologically interesting story.
Maybe 100 years ago this would have made a good opera - but it's a disappointing book.
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