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Girl, Wanted: The Chase for Sarah Pender Mass Market Paperback – June 7, 2011

3.8 out of 5 stars 24 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Steve Miller is an investigative reporter at Texas Watchdog, and has worked as a correspondent for the Dallas Morning News, People Magazine, U.S. News & World Report, and the Washington Times (where he was nominated for a Pulitzer in 2002). His first book (with Andrea Billups) was A Slaying in the Suburbs: The Tara Grant Murder, followed by Girl, Wanted: The Chase for Sarah Pender, which was a 2011 Edgar Award nominee for Best Fact Crime. He is also the editor of Touch and Go: The Complete Hardcore Punk 'Zine '79-'83 and co-editor of Commando: The Johnny Ramone Autobiography. His website is avalanche50.com.

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Berkley (June 7, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0425240347
  • ISBN-13: 978-0425240342
  • Product Dimensions: 4.3 x 0.9 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #824,603 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
Superbly researched and written account of "AMERICA'S MOST WANTED FEMALE CHARLES MANSON."
Just a brief response to the review of the ill-informed "brunogh."
I prosecuted both Sarah Pender and Richard Hull for the brutal shotgun murder of their roommates, Andrew Cataldi and Tricia Nordman, and was intimately familiar with the facts of the case. I was not absolutely certain who actually fired the shots. There were reasonable inferences from the evidence that suggested that one killed Cataldi and the other killed Nordman.
I argued to the jury in Sarah's trial that it made no difference who fired the fatal shots, for the evidence was overwhelming that if Sarah did not shoot them, she was "with Hull every step of the way." The trial judge even stated that very thing when she sentenced Sarah to 110 years in prison. Legally, an accomplice is responsible for the acts of his confederate and is just as culpable in the eyes of the law. Sarah's jury agreed, as did the trial judge and the appellate court.
Also, "brunogh" erroneously stated that Hull received 130 years after his trial. Hull never had a trial. He pled guilty, maintaining that he was an accessory. He initially was sentenced to 75 years imprisonment, but appealed the sentence as being illegal. He won his appeal, resulting in his being sentenced to a legal sentence of 90 years!
There are other factual errors in "brunogh's" review, too many to mention. Suffice it to say, that whoever coined the phrase "a little knowledge is dangerous," had "brunogh" in mind. A little knowledge, coupled with a biased agenda is even more dangerous.
Steve Miller's factual account of events is "spot on," and the book is a terrific read!
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
It is difficult to feel sorry for Sarah Pender. She had two parents who cared for her. She was intelligent. She was well liked. She could have attended college. But Sarah wanted to do what Sarah wanted to do... even if that meant running afoul of the law. Sarah wanted to do drugs. Lots of drugs. Sarah wanted to live with her drug-dealing boyfriend and two other criminals. Sarah thought she was smarter than everyone else.

Following a brutal double murder, Sarah Pender and her boyfriend were both arrested. As she awaited trial, she wrote letters to her boyfriend. These letters were intercepted by authorities. (Sarah was not nearly so smart as she imagined. I would think it common knowledge that telephone calls and letters are monitored, especially when the District Attorney is still gathering evidence.) In one letter, Sarah states, "I didn't mean to kill them. It must have been the acid." Smart, smart Sarah confessed.

After serving 8 years of a life sentence, Sarah Pender felt she had spent enough time in prison. Using money and sex, she convinced a stupid, selfish prison guard to help her escape. A former convict friend drove her away from the prison, gave her money, and put her up for the night. So began the 136 day odyssey of freedom for Sarah Pender.

Maybe Sarah thought she would never be caught. Maybe she knew she would. Either way, she had nothing to lose in breaking out of prison. She won 136 precious days of freedom and felt pretty damn smart for a while. It was probably worth it to her.

For the better part of time that Sarah was on the run, she was supported and assisted by Tom Welch, a man old enough to be her father. He gave Sarah money. He put her up in various motels. He helped her find a job.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
As an avid reader of all types of non-fiction books, I am surprised at myself that a friend had to tell me about this book. Well written and researched exhaustively, this book is an unbiased account (despite what Brughno's? review attempts to portray), of a truly unbelievable series of events; events that took place over the past couple of years, not decades ago. This book became a stand-out in my mind for a couple of reasons. While there are hundreds of compelling non-fictions accounts out there, this book manages to address a series of unbelievable real-world events, not just a single happening. Telling the tale of a young woman convicted of a double murder, a woman who subsequently escapes from prison and eludes authorities for over 100 days; this book starts by detailing the forces and events in life that can unhinge a person, make them feel out of control, and commit terrible acts. This book would be worth reading even if it stopped there; the pre-escape portions of this book are as compelling as the post-escape ones, for very different reasons. However this book plows forward from being a fascinating portrait of a killer, to an unbelievable and admittedly amazing account of life on the run from the law. Despite the large amount of material covered in the book, I found the narrative very well constructed in terms of its chronology and development, and not frustrating in terms of pace or subject matter as non-fiction books can be sometimes. I rarely, if ever feel compelled to write reviews and I definitely felt the need in this case to recommend this book.
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