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Picture Perfect: The Jodi Arias Story: A Beautiful Photographer, Her Mormon Lover, and a Brutal Murder Hardcover – September 3, 2013

4.2 out of 5 stars 275 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“Picture Perfect is almost perfect. . . . It isn't often that a true crime book reads like a Patricia Highsmith novel, with shades of Ruth Rendell passing across the pages as the story of lives converge toward what the reader knows is a horrifying conclusion. . . . Hogan has established herself as a skilled writer of suspense, whose future books are likely to just keep getting better.” ―Janice Harper, Huffington Post

“A riveting read that paints a vivid picture of this unfortunate couple who illustrate so clearly what happens when an obsessive relationship goes horribly awry.” ―Bookreporter.com

“With its detailed research, front row narrative, and no-fluff presentation, Shanna Hogan turned a book into an addiction. . . . Picture Perfect is one of the best true crime books of 2013. Don't be the only one who hasn't read it!” ―True Crime Zone

About the Author

Shanna Hogan is an acclaimed Arizona journalist and true crime author. Her debut book, "Dancing with Death: The True Story of a Glamorous Showgirl, Her Wealthy Husband and a Horrifying Murder," was released in 2011 by St. Martin's Press. An Arizona State University journalism graduate, Shanna has worked as a writer and editor for numerous publications. Her work has garnered numerous writing awards for feature writing, crime reporting, and investigative journalism. In 2010, she was named Journalist of the Year by the Arizona Press Club. Shanna lives in Phoenix with her husband, Matt LaRussa, and their two dogs.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press; First Edition edition (September 3, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1250049458
  • ISBN-13: 978-1250049452
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.2 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (275 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #714,068 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book was easy to read and many parts were interesting so I can see why people like it for those reasons. However I personally did not care for the way it was written. At times it reads like fiction, I've heard others say that it reads like a story and they may like that I just happen to disagree. The author often describes events as if she were there and knew exactly what words were spoken and even how people were feeling at the time which is of course not possible. I realize she used transcripts, talked to people, etc but some of it went beyond that. For example she couldn't have known what Travis was thinking and feeling at different points because he's not around to say. This doesn't really affect my review however because it's the authors way of writing and some are going to like it, some not.
I began to have issues with the book when I realized the author was using much of Ms. Arias's own words given on the stand to describe her life and versions of what happened. She does on occasion write "according to Arias" but often seemed to write things as if they were facts, details that came from JA without anyone else being able to verify them. I don't think the author was trying to "favor" Arias, she sums her up as the heartless murderer she is, but I don't understand how anything Arias testified to can be counted on as truth. For instance when describing the early years of Arias. Her mother carried a wooden spoon to hit her with and her Dad pushed her into walls and furniture, hit her with a belt, etc. Is it possible these things happened? Of course it is but to take it at face value from a proven liar makes me question what is being written. I noticed this also happens when describing the sex life.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I am giving this book three stars for a specific reason. I thoroughly appreciate the time it took to write this book, the research effort and in fact the book is written quite well with interesting new tidbits about the case and a nice flow of language. The problem with the book and many others written is that it adapts the testimony of Arias as if it were truth. Not the actual murder part, that is balanced over with facts from the prosecution. The problem is that to take the testimony of Arias about the actual events of the relationship and not analyze it is like going to Disneyland and pretending the Mickey Mouse walking around is real. Whatever Arias said occurred such as sexual events and the time line she gave were ultimately fabrications. It genuinely bothered me to read this book and have the author present her comments as facts. Had the author done a bit more research she would have been able to disregard almost all the sexual interaction Arias claimed occurred until about January 2008. That is tremendously significant and those of us who truly paid attention to this case cared about the presentation of Alexander's character. I enjoyed and appreciated reading more about Arias early history of family and dating but I struggle to say this is a great book because of what I perceives as errors in research and presentation.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If you watched the trial there really is no need to buy this book. There are no new facts in this book. The book was written ok, but if you didn't watch the trial I'm not sure you'd be able to completely follow it. I also felt that the writer was particularly biased in the writing. Anything about Jodi Arias was taken only from her testimony while it seemed the author did much more interviewing of the victims friends and family. While I agree with the guilty verdict and am equally as irritated the penalty phase retrial hasn't started yet, I was hoping for some further insight or something that wasn't reported in court, interrogation interviews and television interviews and specials.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I read this in two sittings so it really flows well. I didn't follow this as closely as many people, so I was learning a lot about the case from the book, and the end of each chapter made me want to keep reading. I'd probably give it 4 and a half stars if you could give halves.

One thing jumps out at me. Not to speak ill of the victim, because the crime was horrible, but Travis is an example of everything not to do when you realize someone is obsessed with you: You don't give them false hope. You don't keep sleeping with them just because you enjoy the sex. You don't maintain any contact at all. You have to just cut them off entirely.

The author tries to portray Travis as this great guy, and I'm sure he was admirable in a lot of ways, but what came through to me is that he seemed a little insufferable, with his shallow affirmations, and his praying for more wealth and material possessions as goals, instead of something more meaningful. There is also the hypocrisy of proselytizing religious views to people while doing what he did with Jodi.

Don't get me wrong, this is a horrible tragedy, and the evidence of guilt is overwhelming, but if I were her lawyer (and I am a trial lawyer), I would have argued that she shouldn't get the death penalty because she was pushed over the edge by someone giving her mixed signals, jerking her back and forth, and having sex with her while looking for a younger purer girl to marry.

Anyway, that's my probably unpopular take on things. I would recommend the book because it's a great read in this genre.
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