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Never Enough Hardcover – October 14, 2007

4.3 out of 5 stars 96 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The saga of the highly competitive and superambitious Kissel brothers—who both end up murdered—is the dramatic center of McGinniss's (Fatal Vision) newest account of the unsavory side of family life. Married in 1989, Robert and Nancy Kissel looked like the storybook couple: she was gorgeous, he was an upward bound investment banker. But Rob's family was a pressure cooker, and Nancy had a cruel, unforgiving streak (No Amish church practiced shunning with more rigor), and when Rob was transferred to Hong Kong, according to McGinniss, Nancy felt trapped and alone in the gilded cage of their luxury apartment complex. In 2002, she drugged Rob and bludgeoned him to death, then wrapped the corpse in a carpet and put it in storage. Despite her claims of self-defense against an abusive husband, a Hong Kong jury found Nancy guilty. The couple's three children, raised primarily by a nanny, were taken in by Rob's brother, Andrew, who was facing his own legal, marital and financial difficulties, and was soon found murdered in his Greenwich, Conn., house. The case remains unsolved. In McGinniss's compelling account, the Kissel family—full of potential but riven by endless battles among the brothers and their sister and father—represent the American tragedy in which ambition and the pursuit of wealth turn deadly. (Nov. 1)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

"Readers have a real treat waiting for them in Joe McGinniss's latest book."

-"Washington Post Book World"

"It's riveting and compulsively readable...McGinniss patiently unravels the case with plenty of fresh reporting..."

-"Entertainment Weekly"

"This is a mesmerizing tale, with more twists and turns than most steamy crime novels. The irony of two wasted lives makes this cautionary tale perfect reading for a chilly autumn evening."

-"Tucson Citizen"

"McGinniss brilliantly deconstructs the highly dysfunctional Kissels...you can't argue with his ability to tell a good story. Readers of "Never Enough" get front-row seats to someone else's family horror fest."

-"USA Today"

"McGinniss...makes it absorbingly believable."

-"New York Daily News"

"In McGinniss's compelling account, the Kissel family -- full of potential but riven by endless battles among the brothers and their sister and father -- represent the American tragedy in which ambition and the pursuit of wealth turn deadly."

-"Publishers Weekly" --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; 1 edition (October 14, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743296362
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743296366
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (96 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #861,608 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Kcorn TOP 500 REVIEWER on November 16, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I'm not generally a fan of true crime novels, although I understand their merits: when done well, they can reveal much about the backgrounds and experiences of those who are cold-blooded killers (or reveal that their cruelty is inexplicable). Even so, I tend to be drawn to other types of books.

I think that fact is important because I found this book impossible to put down. On the surface, the family at the center of this book, Robert and Nancy Kissel, seem to have it all. She is very attractive and he is an upwardly mobile, very ambitious businessman.

But both husband and wife had some serious personality problems, ones that led to tragedy. Nancy ended up committing a terrible crime and..well, this is where I feel ambivalent about how much to reveal. You can read the other reviews here for more details about the specifics of what happened.

I'd like to focus on what makes this book worth reading, even for those who don't usually like true crime - the writing and style of the author. McGinnis takes a lot of complex details about all the people in this book, including those outside the immediate family and is able to write a taut, suspenseful book. That is an art.

It is especially tricky in a book about the Kissel family because there is not just one murder in this book. McGinness is covering more than one tragic event and connecting it to the beginning, back when Robert and Nancy Kissel first married and then set off on a destructive spiral, from a seemingly perfect beginning. All of this is set in a background of wealth and that adds extra fascination to the tale.
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Format: Hardcover
Robert and Nancy Kissell were part of the American expatriate colony living in Hong Kong. Robert, an ambitious hard-driving investment banker, led an intense career that took him on frequent business trips all over Asia. His wife Nancy's extremely materialistic lifestyle kept her daily in the high-end shopping malls of Hong Kong. Their marriage deteriorated as the pressures of their high-powered lifestyles grew. The resulting bizarre death of Robert Kissell and his wife's arrest for his murder culminated in a sensational trial in Hong Kong.

Author McGinniss has once again written a masterpiece of the true crime genre.

His ability to describe seemingly complex subjects (e.g. investment banking, Hong Kong expatriates) in concise and clear prose is like seeing a powerful spotlight illuminate an object in the dark.

McGinness' latest approaches "In Cold Blood" in its exploration of the dark side of a highly dysfunctional marriage. It represents the continuing growth of a true crime master author.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I don't read a lot of true-crime nonfiction, and I have never read any of this author's prior works, but I picked this up after reading an excerpt in a magazine.

The story resonates with me, as it involves well-off, educated people with three young children. That's about where the similarities end -- the family here, the Kissels, are a fractured, distorted version of the American dream, brought expertly to life by Joe McGinniss. Love, money, lust, power, and cold-blooded murder amid the lavish expat life in Hong Kong, this book has it all.

I enjoyed this so much I read it in a few days. McGinniss is a gifted writer, and he knows how to tell a compelling story that strikes at the heart of the myth of the perfect American family. Well done.
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Format: Hardcover
"Never Enough" tells the story of an investment banker living in Hong Kong who is murdered by his wife. The story is pretty straightforward: McGinniss describes the background of the murder victim and his wife; tells of their courtship and marriage; gives detailed descriptions of life as a wealthy expat in Hong Kong; and tells of the murder and its aftermath. While the book is well-done for what it is, the murder case that is focuses on just isn't that complex or unusual enough to warrant such in-depth treatment. There's never any question that the victim's wife committed the murder and it was apparently clear to everyone that she was the murderer from the very beginning of the case. Although she appeared emotionally unstable, her motive(s) for committing murder were pretty typical: money (getting rid of her husband so she could inherit his money) or love (she was having an affair). What made McGinniss' earlier books so compelling to me was that they were written from the viewpoint of a family member who was forced to confront mounting evidence suggesting that one family member murdered another -- thinking the unthinkable. But that element of tension was missing from this book. I found it somewhat interesting to read about the couple's lifestyle -- lots of money, living in Hong Kong -- but I'm not sure that the story couldn't easily and adequately have been told in, say, a shorter magazine article.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
In his three previous true crime books (Fatal Vision, Cruel Doubt, and Blind Faith), author McGinniss distinguished himself by exploring the complicated dynamics that lead to murder when one family member is a sociopath. In this book, while not everyone is necessarily portrayed as a sociopath, all of them pretty much seem to be thoroughly irritating -- including the kids. It makes me wonder if, in the process of writing the book, McGinniss was looking for some redeeming features in the folks involved, a glimmer of depth in any one of them, didn't find it, and finally decided to just get the book done as soon as possible.

"Never Enough" is an unsatisfying if, at times, absorbing read about awful people doing awful things to each other. But it's definitely not the polished and insightful family crime writing we've come to expect from McGinniss.
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