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A Twisted Faith: A Minister's Obsession and the Murder That Destroyed a Church Hardcover – March 30, 2010

3.7 out of 5 stars 95 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Best Books of the 2010, True Crime --Suspense Magazine

Gregg Olsen returns to true crime with BANG! In A Twisted Faith, Olsen has delivered a true crime story that reads like fiction but is OH. SO. TRUE. --True Crime Book Reviews

Praise for Gregg Olsen:
"As gripping and necessary as true-life drama gets.” --Stewart O’Nan

"Searing and brilliant." --Ann Rule

"Dark, atmospheric, riveting suspense." --Allison Brennan

“Olsen is a top-notch writer.” --Michael Connelly

Praise for A Twisted Faith:
“Gregg Olsen weaves his story deftly, managing to bring alive a wide cast of characters, all headed for and contributing to a tragedy driven by faith.”
--Stephen Singular, NY Times Bestselling author of WHEN MEN BECOME GODS

“A fascinating exposé of sexual obsession and murder, a cautionary tale of innocence and virtue manipulated and destroyed by the vilest of mortal sins.”
--Kathryn Casey, author of A DESCENT INTO HELL.

“An insightful expose of a man of God and a woman of prophecy who manipulate God’s will to justify adultery, treachery and even murder.”
--Diane Fanning, Edgar Nominated Author of WRITTEN IN BLOOD

“Olsen writes the way a surgeon cuts—precisely exposing the personality riddles that lie concealed within each of the players.” 
--Anthony Flacco, International Thriller Award nominated author of THE LAST NIGHTINGALE and A CHECKLIST FOR MURDER

From the Back Cover

As seen on NBC's Dateline

His sin was adultery.

He counseled young couples at a small church in Bainbridge Island, Washington―and convinced young women that having sex with him was part of God's plan. But that wasn't the worst of Youth Pastor Nick Hacheney's unspeakable sins. The tragic house fire that ultimately consumed the life of his soft-spoken wife was no act of God…

His crime was murder.

What demons drove a highly respected minister to commit the most sinful of crimes? How did five women―including Hacheney's own mother-in-law―fall prey to his seductions? Combining firsthand confessions, erotically charged emails, and one woman's chilling prophecies, bestselling author Gregg Olsen paints a shocking portrait of a church, a community, and a man of the cloth who turned out to be a wolf in sheep's clothing…

Gregg Olsen's books are:

"Searing and brilliant."―Ann Rule

"Riveting and deeply disturbing…Olsen does a superior job."―Cleveland Plain Dealer

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press; First Edition edition (March 30, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312360614
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312360610
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.2 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (95 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,134,937 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By M. Jowell on April 5, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I found Gregg's latest book, the third of his I've read, to be a chilling cautionary tale that I couldn't put down. It's the telling of an unspeakable crime that sent shockwaves out in so many directions, affecting so many people. This story is a reminder of how insidious some forms of abuse can be...coming from directions one might not expect...the consequences of which are tragic for EVERYONE involved.

Set close to home, I find that many of the places mentioned in Gregg's book are very familair to me, adding much personal interest. I recall reading the headlines, and wondering then, just as I do now, how this could have happened. As the story unfolds however, the author provides an in-depth look that the news media could not, providng me with some new perspective. I found A TWISTED FAITH to be a fast read...but this is not to say an easy read. It's a complex story, that by necessity introduces the reader to several individuals.

Gregg reveals some extremely personal details from the lives of those involved, but appears to do so without malice or moralizing. While the facts of the case resulted in a conviction, the reader is still left with much to think about...
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Format: Hardcover
This is a book about a horribly dysfunctional church congregation, and in particular their minister who has multiple extra-marital affairs (3 women and one teenager, all at about the same time). Of course, one of the women is the church secretary. Part of the first chapter describes the crime (he murders his wife and sets his house on fire to destroy the evidence - the dead body). The last chapter offers a few pages on the investigation and trial. In between this we have a detailed account of how the murdering man-of-God is basically sexually obsessed and hides this behind his nonsensical interpretations of the Bible. How his congregation could not immediately see through this guy is beyond amazing; also the long time senior pastor is ousted by another sort of narcisstic new comer pastor. (The senior pastor's daughter is the teen that the minister has extra-marital sex with). This book is basically a soap opera of a really weird church congregation, and their really weird pastoral staff. It is like a bad reality tv show, but in print.
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Format: Hardcover
I am always confused and dismayed when people who hold positions of authority in a church or religious organization abuse that power for their own gain. I'm even more dismayed when people who follow them end up following the person instead of their faith, letting charisma and personality overrule what they *know* to be right and wrong. Gregg Olsen portrays one of those situations in his real-life crime drama A Twisted Faith: A Minister's Obsession and the Murder That Destroyed a Church. Twisted Faith shows what happens when no one confronts evil or is willing to think for themselves and take action.

The book centers around a death that occurred in Bremerton Washington in 1997, the day after Christmas. Dawn Hacheney, the wife of youth pastor Nick Hacheney, dies in a house fire that took her life in the early morning hours as she slept. At least that's what it appears to be, and for quite some time, that's the story that all the officials signed off on. But the reality of her death is far different. Olsen documents how Christ Community Church, a Pentecostal church on Bainbridge Island, went from a small community gathering in the mid-90s to a church embroiled in power struggles, sex scandals, and ultimately the murder of one of their own. Olsen pieces together the story from interviews, news stories, and other sources, and shows how the abuse of power can destroy both the person who has it and those who follow.

There were so many emotions going through my head during this book. I was dismayed that a group of leaders could abuse biblical teachings so blatantly and repeatedly. I was also amazed that so many people can look the other way when everything they see tells them that something is very wrong and needs to be addressed.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
After reading this book I just cannot figure out how so many gullible people ended up living in the same small town. It is unreal. The book lured me in with the first few pages but after that went into page after page of desperate women so lacking in self-esteem that they freely tossed their marriages, friendships, and ethics in the trash all for a little male attention (all in the name of God). I can't count the number of times I just wanted to scream..."He's a scumbag. Why can't you see that?"

I've read several of Gregg Olsen's books and find him to be a very good writer but this was not one of my favorite books.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
I am a big reader of true crime and I have to agree with another reviewer who said this is not a true crime book, it is a soap opera. The murder itself is a minor part of this book and I still don't know what actual evidence there was that Nick killed his wife. The Medical Examiner had already explained the reason there was no soot in her lungs, so what happened to that theory? The book sure didn't tell me.

What is strange to me is that I actually closed this book wondering if Nick did actually kill his wife. This, from me, is unusual to say the least. From Sam Sheppard to Jeffrey MacDonald all the way up to Scot Peterson and David Camm, I am generally always a believer in "the husband did it", but all I see here is some physical evidence that was easily explained away for years and the word of a scorned woman. There may be more, but I sure can't tell tht from the book, because the author was more interested in telling me about the sleazebags sex life than the murder he was convicted of committing.

My other MAJOR complaint about this book is how the author bent over backwards to make Nick the villian and the women he bedded as victims. Well, I am convinced Nick is a villian, whether or not he killed Dawn, but the other women are not victims. They are also villians. And idiots. One is "predicting" (and clearly hoping) for her husbamd, her children's father, to die. We are supposed to believe that another, Annette, beleived that God wanted her to cheat on her husband and that her husband would probably "understand" Yeah, honey, sure.

The worst of all, of course is the victims own mother. I cannot believe how that was glossed over with the author still trying to convince us that she was another "victim", that her motives were noble.
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