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65 of 65 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Confessions of an American Black Widow
This is a very fascinating true story of Sharon Nelson Harrelson, who was not only a Black Widow, but also a serial killer. Sharon would stop at nothing (money, sex, material possessions, etc.) to get what she wanted even when it meant murder. Sharon Nelson is a woman w/o any values, principles, or class; she used sex to get whatever she wanted. Everything about Sharon...
Published on December 27, 2000 by tina2cats

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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Leaves a lot of unanswered questions????
A fairly good true crime story, but leaves the reader with too many unanswered questions - what did the autopsy reports say, how was a 50 year old victim mistaken for a 30 year old, why was a months-old body well preserved, why did Sharon confess the first murder when she was being investigated for the second? Needs more forensic information to complete the story, but an...
Published on July 5, 1998 by booksntoys@aol.com


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65 of 65 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Confessions of an American Black Widow, December 27, 2000
By 
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This review is from: The Confessions of an American Black Widow : A True Story of Greed, Lust and a Murderous Wife (Confessions of Black Widow) (Mass Market Paperback)
This is a very fascinating true story of Sharon Nelson Harrelson, who was not only a Black Widow, but also a serial killer. Sharon would stop at nothing (money, sex, material possessions, etc.) to get what she wanted even when it meant murder. Sharon Nelson is a woman w/o any values, principles, or class; she used sex to get whatever she wanted. Everything about Sharon oozes sex. Sharon always put herself first, even ahead of her own children. Sharon is what you call a husband stealer, husband killer.
This is the second true crime book by Gregg Olsen that I have read and thoroughly enjoyed. I've also read 'If Loving You is Wrong' and found that very fascinating. Olsen does such a wonderful job with his research from Sharon's upbringing to her three marriages (preacher, doctor, and fireman), to the murders of her doctor and fireman husbands, to her confessions. We learn a lot about Sharon Nelson and the type of person she is from her sister, Judy, her neighbors in Weston, family members and friends of the victims, and Perry Nelson's secretary.
Confessions of an American Black Widow is a must read.
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26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "She Sat Like A Homecoming Queen Gone Bad....", February 18, 2007
This review is from: The Confessions of an American Black Widow : A True Story of Greed, Lust and a Murderous Wife (Confessions of Black Widow) (Mass Market Paperback)
Sharon Fuller Nelson Harrelson is the epitomy of an American Black Widow. This oversexed beauty-queen-wannabe wrapped her finger around men's hearts so that she could sneak into their wallets. And when she had sucked the monetary life out of them, she had them killed by her on-again-off-again lover, Gary Adams. But in the end, the Nepho rolled over on her Mountain Man...and I don't mean she didn't it in the bedroom!

I am a huge fan of Gregg Olsen's work. He is number one on my list of my favorite true crime writers. What I particularly enjoy about this work is that he is able to make a story "a story." His books do not subject me to repetitious recounts taken straight from Court transcriptions, but puts those same aspects into an interesting story that is easily read and understood without lulling you into sleep (or skimming, as I so often do.)

Black Widow is particularly interesting to read as the whole book is a storilized form of Sharon Harrelson's confession to police about the deaths of her husbands, Perry Nelson and Glen Harrelson. From front to back, this is simply a story filled full of interesting recalls from Sharon herself and those who, unfortunately, knew her and was affected by her in some shape, form or fashion.

To date, this is my favorite true crime story. Excellent job, Gregg Olsen!
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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is a great True Crime read! Fascinating woman!, November 19, 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: The Confessions of an American Black Widow : A True Story of Greed, Lust and a Murderous Wife (Confessions of Black Widow) (Mass Market Paperback)
This is another great book by Gregg Olsen. Fantastic reading! This woman is not a Black Widow, she is a serial killer. It's amazing what this woman gets away with, all because she flaunted herself around town and lived up to her bad reputation. The author did a great job of researching this woman and her life before and during the crimes. I felt like I got some good insight from the sister and those close to the killer. The worst part, is that she has numerous children out there in the world who have been witness to some pretty horrible situations all because of their Mother.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hell in a Pizza Hut, August 22, 2008
By 
MJS "Constant Reader" (New York, United States) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Calling Sharon Nelson trashy would be an insult to landfills everywhere.

Gregg Olsen starts out his story as a standard police procedural: law enforcement is called to the scene of a fire at a fireman's house. Then they stumble across a body with an "unexploded head." You might think, as I did, that this was a good thing. It's not. It immediately alerts the police is that is in fact a murder. The action quickly turns to the past and the widow of the victim, the awesomely trampy Sharon Nelson.

Former preacher's wife, former good girl and current town pump Sharon is like Bette Davis's camp classic Rosa Moline (from Beyond the Forest) brought to life. Whether seducing every man in the zip code or setting up her step-daughter to be expelled from boarding school or just strutting around town in painted-on short-shorts, Sharon is a trip. Unfortunately, she's a trip to the morgue for two of her husbands.

It seems a simple story: girl raised by ultra-religious parents marries minister and then rebels against the strictures in her life. What makes Sharon Lynn Fuller Nelson (Adams) Harrelson's story more complex isn't just the murders, it's her relentlessness in acquiring a trailer-park version of the finer things in life. These include a Jeep, hot rollers, and romantic lunches at Pizza Hut. That's one of the first things that struck me in this story - for someone willing to resort to murder to get what they want Sharon set her sights a little low. But then Sharon doesn't come across as a deep or expansive thinker, she's more like a child distracted by a red helium balloon. If the town eye doctor looks like a better catch than her minister husband, Sharon goes after him. Then she goes after the eye doctor's slightly better off good friend the rancher. You get the picture. Then Sharon plum loses her mind over ... a "mountain man", which I can only assume is Sharon's personal code for "complete loser than I'm inexplicably attracted to." No job, living in a trailer, and in need of Viagra before it was invented, this is the man of Sharon's dreams.

In lesser hands, this would be a dreary tale. Gregg Olsen makes it a cross between a classic true crime investigation and, well, a camp classic. And bless him for it. If you're going to tell the story about a woman who thinks nothing of having the neighbors walk in on her having sex on the kitchen floor with a man other than her husband it helps to have a sense of humor, which Olsen has. He's hilariously droll at times, letting "mountain man" Gary Adams confide his love for Sharon's special sauce (no, he's not talking about McDonald's). Other times Olsen is a master at the throwaway bitchy remark like having Sharon wonder "Hadn't she pleased him in bed? In the woods? By the lake?"

Olsen does a fine job of presenting Sharon's story and the story of her numerous victims, he doesn't skimp on showing the human toll of her selfishness. He lets the people of the small towns in Colorado where Sharon lived act as a Greek chorus with more than a few sage remarks on human nature coming from ordinary working folks. And then there's Sharon. Telling strangers that she sun bathes in the nude or greeting dinner guests by letting them know what great sex she and her husband had the night before. And, bizarrely, using the local Pizza Hut for pivotal moments in her life. Apparently nothing goes with adultery or confessions to murder quite like a deep dish pizza.

This book is good solid true crime and its just plain fun. This is my first Gregg Olsen book but it definitely won't be my last.
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another great read from Olsen, August 22, 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: The Confessions of an American Black Widow : A True Story of Greed, Lust and a Murderous Wife (Confessions of Black Widow) (Mass Market Paperback)
Gregg Olsen has done it again! Another excellent true crime book. A fascinating story, masterfully written. I recommend this one!
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The "Bitch on Wheels", November 24, 2007
This review is from: The Confessions of an American Black Widow : A True Story of Greed, Lust and a Murderous Wife (Confessions of Black Widow) (Mass Market Paperback)
"Whatever labels affixed to her - Black Widow, ambitious gold digger, insatiable slut - she was a killer. Much more, but never less than that." This early sentence in the book says it all. A sold 4 and 1/2 star read!

So aptly described by someone who knew her, Sharon Lynn Fuller Nelson Harrelson was indeed a "Bitch on Wheels." The former wife of a minister, it was all about sex and money for Sharon Lynn and she stopped at nothing to get what she wanted. Superficially charming and attractive, she was an expert at manipulating others, especially men who were too naive, too lonely, or too blind to see who Sharon really was. Underneath the polished smile, alabaster skin, and revealing clothing, Sharon Lynn was a woman who took orders from no one. Shunned by her own family and almost everyone who knew her, Sharon moved from man to man, bleeding them emotionally and financially. When there was nothing left, she convinced her long time off-and-on lover, Gary Starr Adams, to kill 2 of her 3 husbands. Cashing in on a sizable life insurance policy, Sharon continued to live as if there were no consequences and no tomorrow. However, Sharon Lynn was not quite the smooth operator she believed herself to be. Ultimately, her own indiscretions and a monstrous ego were her downfall.

Gregg Olsen writes a compelling story of lust, greed, and deception. Well researched and well written, Olsen draws the reader into the warped world of Sharon Lynn, providing not only an accurate description of the woman she is, but a history of the young woman Sharon once was and how she became a cold-blooded killer. Whirling through the pages like a West Texas tornado and cutting a wide path of destruction, Sharon Lynn is a woman True Crime fans will love to hate!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just a little review, February 5, 2011
This review is from: The Confessions of an American Black Widow : A True Story of Greed, Lust and a Murderous Wife (Confessions of Black Widow) (Mass Market Paperback)
You pick up this book, and start to read. Suddenly you realize you can not stop reading, you need to know what happened next; how she wove her web and how the good men were caught in it. Almost too much information of all the victims to bear, you will feel so sorry for them, and the way the good men's demise came.

It is a page turner but not in a traditional sense, in this book you just want to know the people in her web are ok yet another page. This book deeply affected me and I eat True Crime books for breakfast. American Black Widow just has the amazing quality to make you truly feel. One of Gregg Olsen's finest.
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Leaves a lot of unanswered questions????, July 5, 1998
This review is from: The Confessions of an American Black Widow : A True Story of Greed, Lust and a Murderous Wife (Confessions of Black Widow) (Mass Market Paperback)
A fairly good true crime story, but leaves the reader with too many unanswered questions - what did the autopsy reports say, how was a 50 year old victim mistaken for a 30 year old, why was a months-old body well preserved, why did Sharon confess the first murder when she was being investigated for the second? Needs more forensic information to complete the story, but an enjoyable read, none the less.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Keeps you wanting more, October 21, 2011
This review is from: The Confessions of an American Black Widow : A True Story of Greed, Lust and a Murderous Wife (Confessions of Black Widow) (Mass Market Paperback)
I thought this was a fantastic, well written book. It kept me on
the edge of my seat, wanting to know more. I plan to read Gregg Olsen's
other true story novels. If they are as well written as this one was, I
have something to look forward to.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing!, November 3, 2006
By 
Apache Wind "Bookaholic" (Somewhere Over The Rainbow) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Confessions of an American Black Widow : A True Story of Greed, Lust and a Murderous Wife (Confessions of Black Widow) (Mass Market Paperback)
It's amazing what humans are capable of doing to each other....and the lengths they will go to to get their dirty deed done too.

This book is classic Olsen, and won't disappoint you, just as his others won't either.

The author writes with an uncommon clarity and a complete understanding of what a readers needs to SEE in writing to be able to picture the subjects.

Makes his books really a true joy to read regardless of the subject...and in this case it's murder for greed.
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