- Paperback: 288 pages
- Publisher: Outer Banks Publishing Group (October 24, 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0982993137
- ISBN-13: 978-0982993132
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.7 x 8.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 15.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 28 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #152,784 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Mansfield Killings: A Novel Based on True Events Paperback – October 24, 2012
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The crime, the pair of murderers, and the backstory in "The Mansfield Killings" are very similar to that of the Herbert Clutter Family on which Truman Capote based "In Cold Blood". Unfortunately Scott Fields is no Capote and his writing is anything but riveting. "In Cold Blood" was first published in 1966 and Fields' modest effort might have looked better had it been released in 1965 or earlier. The prospect of suffering in comparison to a masterpiece is probably why Fields was the first to incorporate the Niebal family murders into a novel. To Field's credit he does not try to compete with Capote and picking on his modest account is hardly worth anyone's trouble.
That said, early in his novel Fields reveals that the younger of the two murderers, John West, had an IQ of 60. Given that 99.5% of IQ scores fall between 60 and 140 it is relatively rare (except in the owner's box at a Cleveland Browns game the past few decades) to encounter someone of such limited intelligence. You might think someone is dumb but you don't know dumb until you stumble across someone with an IQ of 60 or lower. Yet throughout the novel are extensive fabricated conversations involving West in which his intelligence appears to be quite normal, at no point does he appear handicapped relative to his more intelligent associate and he often comes across as the more astute of the pair.
Fields also aggressively works to portray 21-year-old Phyllis Niebel as a comely lass whose beauty and charm are the pride of Richland County. Reading his descriptions of Phyllis will leave you with an image of an especially photogenic Miss Ohio. If anyone is interested in the extent to which Fields account is fictionalized, I invite you to do a Google search for photos of this young woman.
Thanks Scott Fields for the great read