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Sudden Terror Paperback – August 2, 2010

4.4 out of 5 stars 23 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Larry Crompton was born in St. Stephen, New Brunswick, Canada, graduating from St. Stephen High School in 1957. He served three years in the Royal Canadian Army Reserve, Carleton and York regiment while attending school and five years active service in the Royal Canadian Navy, honorably discharging in 1962 with the rank of Leading Seaman as part of the aircrew flying anti-submarine airplanes. Immediately after leaving the navy, Mr. Crompton, his wife and their infant daughter moved to California. In 1968 they became American citizens. Mr. Crompton joined the Contra Costa County Sheriff's Department in 1971. As a deputy he worked Detention, Patrol, Vice, and Narcotics Divisions and crime scene investigator for the Crime Laboratory. He was promoted to sergeant in 1978 and worked the Rapist Task Force out of the Investigation Division, drill instructor with the Los Medanos Police Academy, Patrol, Internal Affairs and coordinator of the Reserve Program. He was promoted to Lieutenant in 1986 and worked as the Commander of the East County Sheriff's substation, Communications Division, Detention and the Bureau Commander of the Custody Alternative Bureau. While working for the Sheriff's Department he received his teaching credentials from U.C. Berkeley and taught criminal law at the Los Medanos Police Academy for thirteen years.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 496 pages
  • Publisher: AuthorHouse (August 2, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1452052417
  • ISBN-13: 978-1452052410
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #326,890 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I have just finished Larry's book Sudden Terror. Sgt. Crompton and I were Deputy Sheriff's with the Contra Costa Co. Sheriff's Dept. and were both actively involved in trying to apprehend the EAR. I have read all of the other review's on this site and would like to take the opportunity to respond to some of the criticism. First, I do agree with the poster who felt the book was a little on the dull side as an overall read. I noticed this also especially re: the repetitious desciptions of EAR's M.O. But we have to remember that this book was not a NOVEL, it is a FACT based account of what the EAR's crimes consisted of, hence Larry's writing is actually along the lines of a typical police report!! Which having written REAMS of police reports myself during my 25yrs of service, can come across to be pretty "hum drum" to say the least! A good police report actually is nothing more than a comprehensive narrative (or "story") about an incident or crime. I sympathize with the citizen "non-cop" reading this book because they are not use to this style of the written word.

Regarding Larry's use of levity occasionally in the book, cops are notorious for having dark senses of humor and will make light of things that private citizens may not necessarily think to be appropriate. This just kind of comes with the territory of dealing with the dregs of society a little too often.

I think the positive thing that this book presents is a real life look at what being a cop is like in American society. It's not at all like T.V. and the movies portray it! As you'll notice throughout the book, there's a lot of frustration that comes with the job too!

In closing, I will just say that the book is a nuts and bolts explanation of what goes on behind the scene in attempting to enforce the law and keep our communities as safe as possible.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Retired Contra Costa County Sheriff's Lt. Larry Crompton recounts the history of the investigation into the hunt for one of California's worst Serial Offenders- The Golden State Killer (East Area Rapist/Original Night Stalker(not to be confused with Richard Ramirez, The Night Stalker). The first known rape occurred in Sacramento on June 18, 1976. The book chronicles the terror created by this elusive killer, who relentlessly stalked his victims in middle to upper middle class neighborhoods in California throughout the late 1970's and 80's. He is responsible for dozens of rapes and at least 12 known murders. The book leaves us with that question- is he still alive and offending elsewhere?

The Golden State Killer was offending at the same time as serial killers like the Son of Sam, The Hillside Stranglers and the Westside Strangler, yet his crimes are relatively unknown to the general public. Sudden Terror finally sheds light on a method of operation that rarely varied and which was excruciatingly terrifying for his victims. The killer entered middle class homes while the victims were sound asleep, used a signature knot in tying his ligatures on both the husband and wife and placed objects on the backs of the males to immobilize them while their wives were raped. In his later crimes, the rapes were followed by vicious murder.

The book sheds light on police procedure during this time period, when jurisdictions were reluctant to share information or team together to stop this monster. A few detectives in northern California knew that the East Area Rapist would transform into a killer, but until DNA connected the crimes in 2001, the information they shared with Southern California was ignored or the linkage denied.
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Format: Paperback
Larry Crompton deserves major credit for keeping this case on the public's radar after all these years. Unfortunately, while multiple works of true crime have been written about such prosaic deviants as John Gotti and Aileen Wuornos, "Sudden Terror" is the only book to date which explores the crimes of one of the worst serial predators in American history - the Original Night Stalker.

"Sudden Terror" is painstakingly detailed and Crompton doesn't pull any punches when it comes to explaining the Original Night Stalker's crimes. Crompton is an expert on this case and his extensive knowledge of the crimes is obvious throughout the book.

To be completely candid though, "Sudden Terror" is a disappointing read in many ways. While Crompton comes across as an excellent detective, his writing skills leave a lot to be desired. Much of the wording in "Sudden Terror" is awkward and stilted. Moreover, major portions of the book are written in dialogue which comes across as completely contrived. A more experienced writer would have realized that affected dialogue was a poor choice for presenting the facts of the Original Night Stalker's crimes, and would have condensed the facts into a series of straightforward descriptions.

While much of the verbage in "Sudden Terror" is poor, my biggest criticism of the book is Crompton's judgment when it comes to humor. Sometimes levity can be an effective tool in a dark true crime story, but it must be utilized at appropriate times. In "Sudden Terror," Crompton will describe a home invasion rape in excrutiating detail, then have detectives (in the aforementioned contrived dialogue) making jokes about the Original Night Stalker being a gynecologist before they interview a rape victim at the hospital.
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