- Publisher: Gryphon Editions (2004)
- ASIN: B001AHI4X2
- Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 2 x 1.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #11,888,552 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Poison Tree: A True Story of Family Violence and Revenge. Hardcover – 2004
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Top Customer Reviews
In my opinion, this is as skillfully researched as anything written by Olsen, Rule, McGinnis or Bledsoe. If you're captivated by the evil that men do and how they are brought to justice, this is a book you must add to your library.
Prendergast accurately describes the 2 teen's trial and appeal court proceedings for the murder of their father, while providing insight into the family's dysfunctional dynamics not available in the court records. Through the mother and children, the reader learns how Richard Jahnke had routinely inflicted physical, emotional and sexual abuse in varying degrees on his wife, daughter and son.
Much of the author's information came from the family, sources which are not reliable depending on how and what each one chose to recall. Each one's recollection was clearly skewed by that person's age, grief, anger, abuse, shame, and family position. However, the author never loses objectivity in telling the story through their eyes and their insights.
I knew how the story ended, but I couldn't put the book down--it IS that well written! Highly recommend to anyone from Wyoming or interested in the state of mind which exists behind patricide.
I found the book to be a fast and interesting read about an interesting case and also about the concept of murder as self-defense as it relates to years of ongoing abuse rather than to a specific and immediate incident. There are many positive and one - to me - glaring negative.
Pendergast's research is outstanding and provides an in depth sturdy of a family gone all wrong. The book contains no filler or repetition and, as in all good true crime, the trial is discussed judiciously providing new and relevant information and eschewing tedium.
The author has clearly made the effort to write a good book here and has to a great extent succeeded.
But there is one major complaint I have with this book. Pendergast can be, and usually is, a talented professional writing for adults. But he repeatedly makes use of two devices, commonly found in lesser true crime and lesser writing that I found highly off-putting.
The first is omniscience. Pendergast was apparently privy to the thoughts of numerous of the participants and rather than describe their attitudes or feelings, he presents it with a stream of consciousness rendering of those thoughts:
At the police station, "(Maria) was starting to spend the rest of her life answering questions. Then the two officers stepped out of the room to confer in private. She wondered if they would let her go now.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I needed it for a paper on Richard Jahnke. It worked out fine. I got an A on that paper.Published on May 7, 2014 by Michelle Korn
Saw the movie on tv that was based on this book. Very upsetting, but hopefully it eventually turned out ok for the two children.Published on November 3, 2013 by Jane Austen