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Death Trap Mass Market Paperback – March 1, 2010

191 customer reviews

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About the Author

Nationally bestselling crime writer, serial killer expert, and investigative journalist M. William Phelps is the author of over twenty nonfiction books, including the New England Book Festival Award winner I'll Be Watching You, and the novel The Dead Soul. He also stars in the hit Investigation Discovery series Dark Minds.

Kevin Foley has over thirty years' experience in radio and television broadcasting, commercial voice-overs, and audiobook narration. He has recorded over one hundred and fifty audiobooks. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Pinnacle (March 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0786021993
  • ISBN-13: 978-0786021994
  • Product Dimensions: 4.5 x 1.2 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (191 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,068,668 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Crime writer, serial killer expert and New York Times bestselling investigative journalist M. William Phelps is the author of 27 nonfiction books, THE DEAD SOUL, a thriller, and winner of the Excellence in Journalism Award (2013). He consulted on the first season of the Showtime series Dexter, has been profiled in Writer's Digest, Connecticut Magazine, NY Daily News, NY Post, Newsday, Suspense Magazine, and the Hartford Courant, and has written for Connecticut Magazine. Winner of the New England Book Festival Award for I'll Be Watching You and the Editor's Choice Award from True Crime Book Reviews for Death Trap, Phelps has appeared on nearly 100 television shows, including CBS's Early Show, ABC's Good Morning America, NBC's Today Show, The View, TLC, BIO Channel, and History Channel.

Phelps created, produces and stars in the hit Investigation Discovery series Dark Minds, now in its third season; and is one of the stars of ID's Deadly Women. Radio America called him "the nation's leading authority on the mind of the female murderer." Touched by tragedy himself, due to the unsolved murder of his pregnant sister-in-law, Phelps is able to enter the hearts and minds of his subjects like no one else. He lives in a small Connecticut farming community and can be reached at his website, www.mwilliamphelps.com.

Author photo © Investigation Discovery/Dark Minds

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

74 of 79 people found the following review helpful By Kim Cantrell on March 25, 2010
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
Jessica McCord was a woman who got what she wanted, when she wanted it. Even if it was having someone murdered.

Following four years of a marriage and two children, Alan Bates knew he could no longer make a life with Jessica. She was emotionally unstable, prone to temper tantrums, and having an affair; the latter being what gave Alan the courage to finally file for divorce.

What seemed to be an amicable divorce turned into a bitter, nasty child custody dispute.
At least from Jessica's point of view.

And there was only one way to guarantee she wouldn't lose her children or that monthly child support check: Murder.

Death Trap is a 400+ page true crime that's emotional roller coaster from beginning to end. While I have enjoyed all of M. William Phelps' books, I personally believe this is his best one yet.

This story will hit home for most everyone, as there is a Jessica McCord in all of our lives. And for those who have ever been involved in any type of child custody, you'll walk away chilled to the bone.
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35 of 35 people found the following review helpful By SuZ-Q on May 23, 2010
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is the first work I've read by this author and I really enjoyed his voice. I've read quite a few "true crime" works (admittedly mostly Ann Rule, but several others as well), and found his narrative very engaging. Many times, books like this can bog down and end up being very dry, but I didn't find that the case here.

The only real aspect that bothered me just a little bit is that I feel he slightly overdid the seeming saintliness of the victims. It seems to me that very few people, or at least their behavior, in a situation such as this are as perfectly reasonable as described. But by the same token, the perpetrators were truly creepy and that seemed almost underdone - maybe because it would have been nearly unbelievable otherwise. So I excuse both. Altogether a reasonably balanced look at an *extremely* cold-blooded crime.

I enjoyed the style and pace of this book and have already started another of his works. He uses a conversational tone that rings true and keeps the interest level up. Definitely worth a try if you haven't read this author before - I'm glad I found it. I look forward to my next read courtesy of Mr. Phelps.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Lynn on August 15, 2011
Format: Mass Market Paperback
"Death Trap" is one of the best true crime books I've read, and one of the saddest. Phelps, some of whose books I like more than others, has scored a hit with this one. It's an age old story - angry and vindictive ex-spouse, child custody issues, a happy remarriage. Phelps tells the tragedy of Alan and Terra Bates, whose lives were brutally cut down by Alan's ex-wife and her husband - all for no other reason than that she did not want to lose custody of their two children to him. She didn't really want the children; she wanted to punish Alan. Poor Alan's attempts to correct a mistake made in high school (marriage to Jessica), and live a life centered around the theater, which he loved, and his new wife, Terra, whom he loved, all of this died by the brutal hand of that "mistake."

The book is sympathetic where it needs to be, unsympathetic when it should be. It's fast paced, hard to put down, and lets you grow along with the characters. At the end, you are left feeling the devastation of what occurred - the senselessness of it all. You are left shaking your head that it was allowed to go on so long, that it was allowed to happen at all. Jessica was an abused child, but her actions are so violent and punitive that you have no empathy for her - as it should be. Your heart goes out to Alan and Tessa, two decent, loving people who only wanted to have their life, and be responsible parents to Alan's two girls. So sad. But a wonderful book!
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Peggy L. Markus on June 2, 2010
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
I have read many books by this author, M. William Phelps, and again, was very touched by this tragic story. What happened to this wonderful man, and later, his sweet and lovely second wife, was unconscionable. I wish there were a way to express to both the Bates and Klugh families that their loved ones were portrayed as admirable, good people in this book, and it is such a tragedy that A. Bates met his first wife at all.

Non-stop reading from cover to cover.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on March 21, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is the first true crime book that I have ever read. It was well written and held my interest from page 1. I love the way the author tells this story step by step. I could not put this book down. I plan on reading more of Phelps true crime books. I am going to order one when I finish this review. You will love this book. I am so sorry for the victums in this book. This is a crime that should of never happened and God bless the loved ones who have to live with this day to day. My heart goes out to you all.....
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By J. Nelson on May 23, 2010
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
I read a lot of true crime and this is a good true crime book. Excellent background on the characters, easy to move from chapter to chapter. Mr. Phelps writes a lot of true crime and this is one of his very best books to date. Kind of made me wish I hadn't read it already so I could buy it and read it again.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Kindle Customer on July 4, 2010
Format: Mass Market Paperback
You will never be disapointed by anything this author writes. This is a great book.It will shock you that someone can be so selfish. The book reads like fiction because you would never believe someone could do something so vicious.
If you are a true crime fan run to the store and buy this book......great read!!
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