Customer Review

33 of 34 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Unbelievable . . . creepy . . . but true -- very disturbing!, May 12, 2000
This review is from: Echoes in the Darkness (Paperback)
The tale of Susan Reinert is one of the most riveting true crime books I have ever read. Certainly the story -- details about Bill Bradfield, Dr. Jay Smith, Vince Valaitis, Sue Myers, etc. -- was convoluted . . . and difficult to follow at best. But it just proves Bradfield's manipulation of everyone around him. The story becomes difficult to follow and almost unbelievable because the story itself is practically unbelievable. Bradfield told so many tales and lied to so many people that even he had trouble keeping up with it and remembering what he told and who he told it to. Dr. Smith proves to be a pretty sinister character himself -- someone who did a lot of terrible things (and was possibly involved in the disappearance of his own daughter and her husband! Frightening!). It is hard to believe that these people are real -- that they live(d) and breathe(d) and exist(ed) in Upper Merion -- it certainly makes for an entertaining and unbelievable cast of characters. But they are not just characters in a book -- they are REAL PEOPLE -- and that is the scary thing. It makes you stop and think and look around at your friends and neighbors and coworkers and wonder what is going on in their heads. Creepy!
What is most disturbing is the fact that Reinert's young children were unfortunately involved in this horrible situation, and that their bodies have never been found. Even more frightening is that Susan Reinert's body may have disappeared in much the same way -- except that there was life insurance money to be gained (by Bradfield) and therefore a body had to be found. The sad thing is that everyone seemed to be under someone else's "spell" -- for the most part, all these seemingly intelligent teachers (molding the minds of Upper Merion's youth, no less!) were so enthralled and entrenched in Bradfield's life, so willing to believe him, so willing to participate in his "cloak and dagger" games, so prepared to believe him until too many suspicions and too much evidence mounted against him. And Bradfield! His relationship with Dr. Smith -- whatever the extent of it -- was certainly not on the up-and-up. A frightening look at this disturbed group of people and the lengths someone will go to attain something (in this case, money). All I can say is, you have to read it to believe it. I was too young to remember the case when it happened, so I can't compare the book to any newspaper headlines or stories or actual experiences . . . but I was engrossed in the book, totally interested. Wambaugh does an excellent job pulling the reader into the lives of these people. The situations are chaotic and elaborate -- at times almost ridiculous and laughable, because everyone was so blind to the "charms" of Bradfield and Smith for so long. I only wish there had been pictures of the principle characters, so I could have put faces to the names.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jul 12, 2011 3:02:57 AM PDT
A great true crime novel.

Posted on Mar 24, 2014 6:06:06 PM PDT
I've heard it stated that fact is much stranger that fiction, and here lies the truth inherent in that saying!
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