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Showing 1-8 of 8 reviews(2 star). See all 135 reviews
on April 10, 2010
I read a lot of true crimes, partly because I'm interested in how these crimes come to pass and how they could possibly be prevented in the future. I have also worked in some criminal justice related positions and gaining a greater understanding of everybody on both sides involved in a crime is helpful. Therefore, a well-written true-crime book is both interesting and helpful to me. Unfortunately, this book is not that.

Like many people who follow true crime, I was already aware of the details of the Petit murders from national news media such as "People" magazine. I was suspicious of this book having been released before the killers even went to trial which normally does not bode well for the quality of the book. I bought a used copy (as I often do) so that if it turned out to be not very good, I would not be out much money. Good call on my part and I'm going to be kind of wary of the next true crime book that St. Martin's decides to go rushing out.

The actual crime takes up only a few pages of this book, which is OK since if you read the newspaper or magazines you already know all that. Most of this book is the Joshua Komisarjevsky story. As a child, he was adopted into a wealthy and prominent Russian family, but by his early teens appears to have been becoming your standard behavioral problem/ sexual deviant/ arsonist/ budding psycho. The book suggests that maybe this was caused by his not getting the proper psychiatric treatment by parents who believed prayer and sending your kid off to church camp was the answer (side note: teenage Joshua has relations with so many ministers' daughters and other church camp girls that I'd be afraid to send my kid to one of those places knowing they might meet such a person) or by alleged sexual abuse as a child by a foster brother. While these might well be contributing factors, along with possibly genetic factors, to creating the psychopath that Joshua obviously grew up to be, it's simply not that compelling of a story. As someone else observed, we don't get to know the Petits beyond what's already been published and we also don't get that much info about Joshua's partner-in-crime, Steven Hayes.

I did wonder why Joshua and Hayes, fresh out of prison, would be allowed to be hanging around together after their release from the halfway house. Seemed like a bad idea to me as obviously these two committed more horror together than one would have been able to pull off alone. I also thought it was odd that prior to this crime, wealthy Cheshire folks are portrayed as leaving their doors unlocked and seemingly unafraid of home invasions when they not only have a penitentiary very close by, but also I'm sure that Joshua was not the only "rich kid gone way wrong" in their midst. But the book doesn't really explore these topics, and given that the book looks like a rush job I'm not sure how believable its portrait ofthe community is.

My suggestion is to skip reading this and wait until somebody actually does a more thoughtful book about this subject, if that day ever comes (hopefully after the trial or other resolution). Also, if anyone is concerned that this book would make people sympathize with Joshua Komisarjevsky, that seems unlikely. Much is made out of his fatherly feelings for his baby daughter, but by the time I was 1/3 through I was just glad the guy was out of the picture as he's not someone who should be near any young girls and the poor little kid he fathered is likely to have a better chance at life without him around.
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on April 19, 2010
I purchased this book on Amazon. I could not get past the horrors of these murders.

This book was written by an author who had access to Joshua Komisarjevky and I think attempts to represent him in a sympathetic light. Joshua is a "victim" like the Petits. I don't think so.

I think because he had access to Komisarjevsky he lost his ability to be objective. In one passage, when he is interviewing him at prison he says he looks much better than he did in the widely publicized picture. "K" says, it was not a good day for me. It was not a good day for the Petit family either.

If you are interested in reading about the facts of these murders, do not read this book. you can read a more objective account on the Hartford Courant website.

If you feel any sympathy for these murderers read this book.
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on October 2, 2009
I purchased this book through Amazon. I am a CT resident, and I have been following this tragic story from day one. I was very curious to see what was in this book. not waste your time and money. 95% of this book talks about the scumbag murderers and their childhoods, their families, their time together in some halfway house. Who the hell cares, or wants to know about that?? The other 5% covers what took place at the beginning of the crime and at the last hour of the crime. Most of what I read in this book (about the crime) was reported in the news. There were a few things mentioned that I did not hear about in the news. A few things that stick out in my mind about this story: 1. It was said that Hayley Petit was so close to dialing 911 and the scumbags got to her and took the cell phone out of her hands. If only she could have gotten through before they came into her room. 2. The back cover indicates "with 8 pages of startling photos". They aren't startling. They are photos that were in magazines and in news papers. 3. It was said that scumbag Steven Hayes hardley ever leaves his prison cell - one reason is he fears for his personal safety. OH, he was all big and bad in this home invasion and now he is in a tiny cell with his tail between his legs, afraid that he might be harmed by the other prisoners???? LOL!!!!!! GOOD!!!!!!!!!! I hope the other prisoners do get to him and FAST!! There is no reason why either one of these animals should still be alive. I believe in an eye for an eye! How these two animals could have done such a thing is utterly mind-boggling.
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on February 2, 2010
This book is poorly and quickly written to get a book out about this tragedy. They have not even gone to trial yet. We don't even know what kind of prison sentences the killers got.
Most of the book is written about one of the killers Joshua and his life leading up to the murders. Little is written about the Petit family. I would rather hear more about their life and get to know more about them.
What exacttly happened that night is speculated in the book. The mother amd the two daughters are not here to tell what exactly happened. We know Mr. Petit was knocked out earlier downstairs while his wife and daughters were sleeping upstairs. What you have previously heard in the news is what you get. There is no new information other than what has already been in the press. I know nothing more about the case after reading the book. Also, there are no pictures in the book of the mother and her daughters either.
This is a horrible tragedy! The two men who did this are convicts and should of never gotten out of prison on early releases. If they had stayed in prison where they belong this crime would never of happened!
Don't waste your time reading this book. It was a big disappointment!
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on April 9, 2010
Controversy aside, this isn't a great book if you're interested in the crime itself. I don't think there's anything wrong with people reading true crime; I have always enjoyed criminal profiling and accounts of crimes and I feel no shame or immorality as a result.I understand the outcry, especially considering that the trial hasn't reached its end, but the problem lies not in whether this book is "moral"; I don't dispute it's honesty, and its integrity is in some ways irrelevant. It doesn't go too far.
The fact is: this is not an account of the crime, its ramifications or a study of how a criminal and a crime are born. It is essentially a biography of Joshua-- without applied analysis. We've all read this kind of thing before-- and here Joshua's history takes too much precedence.
After the reviews, I decided to purchase this item used-- and decided to make a small donation to the Petit's nonprofit for triple the amount I paid.
If you're anxious to read about this crime, read pages 205-220. If you want to read about the somewhat typical, escalating criminal life of Joshua, by all means purchase the book. It is well-written but dull.
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on October 10, 2009
First off - it is quite interesting to see how many "reviews" on here are really just others trying to obtain control and censor what is available on the open market. If you don't want the book, don't buy it. Feel free to tell others not to buy it as well. But saying that the book should be taken off the market is sheer folly.

Second - I actually read the book and a couple things stick out. First, this is not a book about the Petit murders. As much as the rancorous mobs protest, they haven't read the book and so they are clearly misguided in their rage. This is a book about Joshua Komisarjevsky, plain & simple. My guess, without adding up the pages, is that 5% of the book deals with the Petit muders. The author hasn't really dug up anything on it, and so, he just parses it out over the course of the book with a bunch of filler (which happens to be Komisarjevsky's life story). My complaint is that the book is misleading in its title and all else.

Third - it is not well-researched or edited. For instance, at some point in the book it refers to New Briton Hospital rather than New Britain. It refers to Big Y, which is a supermarket, as a bakery. There was another similar error in there which I can't quickly located but noticed while reading. This just has the feeling that the author slapped this book together in a hurry to get it out before the information became public via the courts.

Fourth - the writing is very poor across large swaths of the book. The author continuously tosses "as he would later say" to a wide plethora of accounts & quotes from various characters, so much so, that it starts becoming humorous. It has the feel of a third grade book report due to the lack of complex thoughts and narration. Amusingly, the best writing is at the end when the author is describing how he interviewed Joshua in jail and how he obtained infomation.

Fifth - the layout of the book is frustrating. Side margins are less than .25". this makes for very hard reading as the text disappears behind ones thumb, and into the crease. The book's dimensions are very small, 4" x 6.75", most assuredly so that the dearth of information would look more robust. Reading this book is like drinking tea from a dollhouse teacup.

So, in conclusion, if you want a book about the Petit murders, I strongly advise against this book. If you want a book about one of the suspects in the Petit murders, you might want to investigate this book. While deeply flawed in prose, research, quality, and marketing - it does have a story to tell. Yet, even at the listed price, it seems a bit steep for what you are getting here (which isn't much).

There are plenty of "reviews" on here from malinformed people casting elitist judgements about with a scorched earth policy. I hoped to make this review about the book and not about personal beliefs, political opinions, and so forth.
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on October 2, 2009
I'm not here to critic the authors style or the way in which the book was written. What I am writting about is the sadnees that I feel that one would bring more pain and suffering to a family by selling a story that has caused not only the family, but the community as a whole a tremendous amount of pain and suffering. I understand your rights as a U.S. citizen but at what point do you set bounderies. Has the author of this book ever once considered hisself? This book should never have been written. Before reading, I give this book a zero. I have to give it some type of rating in order to post this review. But there is not enough zeros for me to rate this. Simply because I feel the author should have used better judgement.
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VINE VOICEon October 3, 2009
I don't understand why this book was published before the trial. Anyway, I read the book last night. It's not the best true crime book but it's okay and an easy read. He is probably a new true crime author. It was the publisher's decision to move forward with publication and distribution and I'm not defending the publisher or the author. I bought mine in a store yesterday so it's out there to be bought and read. The book should have been postponed until after the trial.
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