A Fever in the Heart and Other True Cases (Crime Files,… (2024)

Sharon Orlopp

Author1 book834 followers

October 30, 2022

OMG! Truth is definitely stranger than fiction. That's why I love non-fiction so much, particularly true crime and memoir/biography/autobiography, as well as history and politics.

Ann Rule was an incredible New York Times bestselling true-crime writer who worked alongside serial killer Ted Bundy at a suicide crisis hotline center in Seattle. During the time they worked together, Rule did not see anything disturbing about Bundy's behavior and saw him as kind. Once Bundy was arrested in 1975 for kidnapping and later identified as a serial killer, Rule wrote her first book, The Stranger Beside Me, which is considered one of the most comprehensive biographies about Bundy.

Rule was a former Seattle policewoman, so many of her books focus on crimes in Washington state and Oregon. She wrote over 30 books and has sold over 20 million copies. She is one of my favorite true-crime authors.

A Fever in the Heart contains six true-crime stories but the majority of the book focuses on the first story where two beloved coaches in Yakima, WA are murdered within five weeks of each other. One is killed on the day after Thanksgiving and the other is murdered on Christmas Eve. It turns out both men were married to the same woman, Jerilee.

Warning: spoiler alerts ahead....

And it's not Jerilee who kills both of her husbands and it's not Jerilee who hires anyone to kill her husbands.

Husband #1 is Morris. Jerilee and Morris have been married for 9 years when Morris invites his longtime friend, Gabby (male), to live at his home temporarily while Gabby tries to get back on his feet.

Gabby and Jerilee develop an intimate relationship while three adults and two children are living under the same roof. Jerilee leaves Morris and divorces him and marries Gabby.

Less than one year later, Jerilee has left Gabby and is back with Morris. Morris and Jerilee want to get remarried once her divorce to Gabby is finalized.

Then the two deaths occur.

I won't give any more spoiler alerts because the story is incredible and hard to fathom.

Just when you think you have heard it all and things can't get any stranger.


Julie Buckler

76 reviews75 followers

December 5, 2022


A love triangle that went awry. One person could not and would not let go. He called it love, but it went out of bounds. People cannot be forced to reciprocate love, no matter what. This story involves desperation beyond realistic reach. Plans were discussed, and then actually carried out, and two deaths occurred as the ultimate result. All said and done, it's just so difficult to even imagine that this happened the way it did. It's strange, unusual and so unbelievable. Yes, again, truth is stranger than fiction.


239 reviews

December 26, 2023

As always, Ann Rule reminds us that monsters walk the planet among us.

On Thanksgiving Day an old friend from a rural Florida county where I attended high school was brutally murdered, dismembered and placed in the trunk of his $150,000 BMW. It’s hard to fathom what happened in this case, and we will never know.

True crime hits closely, and you never know how far the blood spatter will reach.

    nonfiction true-crime


2,884 reviews1,039 followers

December 28, 2020

I honestly felt mixed on this one. I thought at times we were getting too much of Ann Rule in this one, meaning her thoughts/feelings about the subject colored a bit too much of things. And I did think that one man should have ultimately been held responsible for the lives he damaged, but unfortunately he was dead, so the living were meant to pay for what he ultimately pushed others into doing.

Morris Blankenbaker was happy in his marriage to Jerrilee. When he decides to let his old coach (Gabby Moore) move in with them to help him get back on his feet he had no idea what would be set in motion. When Gabby decides that he must have Jerrilee at any costs and seduces her, the two (Jerrilee and Morris) divorce. Jerrilee takes her and Morris's children and moves in and marries Gabby. However, Jerrilee soon sees Gabby for what he is and realizes that their marriage and relationship are not good. When Jerrilee decides to divorce Gabby and remarry Morris, a dangerous love triangle erupts which ends up leaving two men dead. This book follows the murders and investigations.

I thought the writing was okay, but the book just slows and I thought that Rule was looking for material to "fill" this one because it did not need to be as long as it was. I got it via Amazon's Kindle Unlimited, and I know that I read the full book years ago that included other stories. However, this version only follows Morris and Gabby's story.

The ending to the mystery of who killed Morris Blankenbaker and Talmadge Glynn "Gabby" Moore I thought felt unfinished to me. Probably because the book didn't do a great job of not having me think that [redacted] was responsible for everything and I think others were made to be a scape goat.

Pooja Peravali

Author2 books100 followers

September 20, 2022

In a small town in Washington, a woman discovers her husband shot outside her house, setting off a complicated investigation into the murder.

I like true crime, but a fairly specific kind that focuses more on the people involved in the case rather than gory details or courtroom drama. Luckily, Ann Rule and I happily coincide in this interest. Also, she is very good at finding bizarre stories to cover.

This is one of them. I had never heard of this case before, so when what I thought was going to be a straightforward solution went in a strange direction, I was instantly intrigued. Rule does a good job of guiding you through the twists and turns of the story, leading you to each player and incident in its time.

However, I thought the story was oddly unfocused, as there wasn't really any one central figure in the tale. Rule introduces us to an idea of a quartet of central figures at the beginning of the book, but I felt that while they were important to the story, their personalities were all depicted to be sort of incidental. As such I wished that Rule had followed one person more closely to really pull the story together.

Gary Holmes

8 reviews

February 22, 2018

LOL!! I dated the woman in this book in high school. She is renamed (for obvious reasons) in this account of love, jealousy, and murder in Yakima, Washington. I met her at a local drive-in burger joint named the Freezer in the summer of 1963. She was driving a 1961 Chevrolet Impala convertible but she loved my hot-rod 1956 Chevy.

Good times, but I am glad I left Yakima before she became so obsessive about men. I played ball with some of the guys in this story and was coached by one of the victims.

April 13, 2013

I used to read some of Ann Rule's books and enjoyed them as I enjoy true crime stuff as a guilty pleasure.

This book was a bit of an ordeal to get through because of the first story. It is wayyyyyy too long and meandering. Rule seems to get bogged down in too many details many of which are repeated over and over.

The other stories are well told and interesting. Too bad for the first one, or I'd have rated the book higher.

    non-fiction true-crime

Lorie Layne

112 reviews3 followers

September 16, 2012

Very interesting to me because I lived in the same town and the coach' wife was my PE teacher. I attended the school where he taught and they all seemed so normal.

Adrian Alexander

3 reviews

October 8, 2011

awesome read! i mean im sort of morbid i guess since i like to read true crime, but only because there is resolve and this book has several stories all with resolve (not justification mind you). there are 6 stories and ann rule does an excellent job of taking you to the times and places.

Katherine Addison

Author18 books3,111 followers

February 6, 2017

*"A Fever in the Heart": Yakima WA 1975: the murder of Morris Blankenbaker & the highly ambiguous death of Talmadge Glynn "Gabby" Moore
*"The Highway Accident": Salem OR 1976: man tries to make his wife's death look like a car accident, not knowing the police have already found the murder scene
*"Murder Without a Body": Rainier OR 1976: Vicki Brown's body was never found, but the cops found a sufficient corpus delicti to prosecute and convict her murderer.
*"I'll Love You Forever": Auburn WA 1974: woman falls prey to sociopath; her daughters brought a successful civil suit against him before the cops could put together a criminal case--but after he managed to squander most of the wealthy victim's estate. He died in prison and it couldn't have happened to a nicer guy.
*"Black Leather": Roy WA 1979: a sad*stic sexual psychopath's last victim manages to turn the tables on him
*"Mirror Images": the horrific lives of Carl Harp (rapist and sniper) and James Ruzicka (rapist/murderer), who met in prison, became friends--insofar as either of them was capable of it--and shared a pseudonym, "Troy Asin." Harp died in prison (most likely suicide, but there's an outside chance he had help) and Ruzicka is serving consecutive life terms.

"A Fever in the Heart" demonstrates as clearly as any of her work the point where Rule and I don't mesh. She's interested in the people; I'm interested in the case. Mostly, this isn't a problem, but in this particular story she's so interested in the people--particularly Olive Blankenbaker, the victim's mother, who asked her to tell the story--that she does a lousy job of presenting the case. And the case is, in a horrible way, fascinating.

Talmadge Glynn "Gabby" Moore was a phenomenal high school wrestling coach. Blankenbaker was one of his wrestlers, later a coach himself and Moore's friend. When Moore's first wife finally divorced him for being possessive, controlling, and manipulative, Blankenbaker let Moore stay with him and his wife for a few weeks "while he got back on his feet." Moore repaid him by seducing Blankenbaker's wife (pseudonymously called Jerrilee--and I'm going to call her that, even though I'm using everybody else's surname, because she shared surnames with both victims and it's too damn confusing, even though it's a patriarchal convention I loathe; just watch how rarely women get called by their unadorned surnames in anything you read). Jerrilee left Blankenbaker and married Moore, but less than a year later, she realized what a horrible mistake she'd made, divorced Moore, and went back to Blankenbaker. They were getting ready to be remarried when Blankenbaker was murdered. Moore was obsessed with Jerrilee and had told her he knew she'd come back to him if it weren't for Blankenbaker; she--and the cops--immediately suspected him, and even when his alibi held (he was in the hospital the night of Blankenbaker's murder), she and they were convinced he was behind it. He insisted he wasn't, insisted that he was trying to solve Blankenbaker's murder, that he was being stalked himself and was getting death threats. Jerrilee, the last time she was weak enough to speak to him, told him she didn't believe him, and he was trying to tell her he could prove it when she hung up on him. Moore could never grasp that she wasn't going to come back to him no matter what he did; he truly believed that Blankenbaker had been the obstacle in his path, not that he himself had driven her away.

Moore died less than a month after Blankenbaker of a gunshot wound that probably wouldn't have killed him if the .22 hadn't ricocheted off his rib and torn a hole straight across his body from left to right, through both lungs and the pericardium. (Low caliber bullets can do amazing things inside the human body.) The Yakima detectives working the case eventually dragged out the truth: Moore, who was like a god to his wrestlers, had gotten one of them to murder Blankenbaker and then, in pursuit of his delusion that he could "prove" his own innocence, browbeat that same wrestler into shooting him. Moore didn't intend that shot to be fatal, and one of the very important questions at trial was whether Angelo "Tuffy" Pleasant had also meant Moore to survive. Or not.

Angelo Pleasant (surely one of the most ironically misnamed people of all time) confessed to Yakima detectives on tape, then tried to recant his confession (throwing his younger brother and his best friend under the bus as the "real murderers"), but didn't have the intellectual stamina to maintain his new story under sharp and relentless cross-examination. It was hard to tell--and I think it was hard for Rule to tell--whether Pleasant was a conscienceless murderer or someone so malleable that Moore could verbally pin him to the mat and force him to do things he genuinely didn't want to do. Moore was a vile human being who hoist himself with his own petard.

Rule starts with Blankenbaker and her narrative meanders and loops and has to go spiraling off in all these different directions because Blankenbaker (to talk in terms of story-telling craft for a second) may be her hook, but he's not the throughline. In an awful, cruel, tragic way, Morris Blankenbaker is almost incidental to his own murder. Pleasant had nothing against him; he killed him because Moore wanted him dead. And Moore didn't care about Blankenbaker; he saw him only as the thing keeping Jerrilee away. And Jerrilee, in the worst tradition of courtly love, is also weirdly peripheral to the story; Pleasant barely even knew her and he said openly he didn't care about her one way or the other. She was Moore's idee fixe, the cruel beloved who appears in so much Renaissance lyric poetry, capriciously spurning the poet/knight until he proves his devotion. To give credit where it's due, Renaissance poets prove their worth by writing poetry, not by browbeating their former students into murder, but the cognitive schematic is the same. Feminist critics talk about the way the beloved in Renaissance lyric poetry is deprived of subjectivity, never allowed to be independent of the poet's desire for her, and that's exactly what Moore did to Jerrilee Blankenbaker. She had no subject position of her own in his conceptualization of her, no independent will that would keep her from returning to him if he just got rid of the other guy.

So most of the story is Moore and the steadily widening gap between Moore and reality, but Moore isn't the throughline either, because the investigation of his death made the investigation of Blankenbaker's death a whole new ballgame. But Pleasant, the murderer, isn't the throughline, because the motivation for Morris Blankenbaker's murder had nothing whatsoever to do with Angelo Pleasant himself.

You can see why Rule didn't think she knew how to tell this story, and I don't for a second pretend I would have done any better in her shoes.

But looking at what she did write, I think her throughline was staring her in the face in the person of Vern Henderson, a Yakima detective who was one of Moore's former students; was Blankenbaker's best friend; was--like Pleasant--an African-American man in a community that was 95% or more white; who found the shell casing at the scene of Blankenbaker's murder; shared investigative duties on the Blankenbaker/Moore case; and worked Angelo Pleasant into the right state of mind to confess. Henderson saw Jerrilee make the mistake of meeting with Moore after she'd returned to Blankenbaker, so although he wasn't close to Jerrilee (the poor woman exists in Rule's narrative almost exclusively in terms of her relationships with Blankenbaker and Moore), structurally he holds all the pieces of the story. If you follow Henderson, you get everything, and that isn't true of any of the other players. Also, if you follow Henderson, you stay focused on the case, but--because his life was so intertwined with Blankenbaker's, Moore's, and Pleasant's--you don't lose sight of the people. QED.

    20th-century essays every-womans-nightmare


410 reviews2 followers

October 26, 2022

The main case was compelling and kept me turning the pages night after night. The shorter cases in the back third of the book were a little more hit and miss and missed some of the nuance a contemporary analysis would include. The latter almost persuades me to give this a 3.5 rating but I can't set aside how hooked I was by the main story.

Anne Hawn Smith

909 reviews65 followers

October 3, 2021

Ann Rule's books are always good and this was no exception. This is a series of stories loosely grouped around themes. The first story about Morris Blankenbaker is the saddest. A fine young man was killed and so many lives torn apart because of the basest kind of betrayal. All the people involved seem to have led charmed lives and yet that wasn't enough for two of them. When I read about something like this, I remember some of my earlier training in a small Catholic school. The nuns tried to instill in us the knowledge that big evil deeds and evil people hardly ever start out that way. In the beginning, people are usually just bending the rules. They know what they do is wrong, but they do it anyway. Little by little, they lose the ability to see how far they have gone. We were told to not give into temptation over the little things and our characters would be strong enough to withstand the large things that we really wanted to do. This story is such a sad example of this. None of this needed to happen if two people had been satisfied with what they had and not thrown it away for something fleeting and inferior.

The last story, "Mirror Images", especially interested me because I worked in Juvenile Corrections. I was on a team which decided where to place the boys who were "sent away." I read the files of so many boys like the ones mentioned. One of the files I read was on Charles Manson and it was eerily like the file of James Ruzika. In so many cases, the boys were raised in single parent homes with mothers who have a series of relationships and children with multiple fathers. The start with a predictable pattern of theft, school problems, truancy and violence. In many cases, the boys are abused by their mother's partners and they are set up for deviant sexual behavior. Over time, we saw that many of the boys who came to us were becoming more and more emotionally disturbed. This was in the 70's and 80's. I can only guess at what it is like now. I'm afraid that cases like Ruzika and Harp are the tip of the iceberg.

    1-social-psychological-issues 1-true-crime kindle


495 reviews7 followers

January 27, 2018

Another interesting volume of true crime by Ann Rule. This one was mostly about a very strange double murder involving a bunch of unusual names like Tuffy Pleasant, Gabby Moore, Jerilee (of many last names), and Morris Blankenbaker. The case was fascinating but did go a bit slow in the book.

Later on there were several shorter cases involving some strange sexual deviants and lying sociopath who conned his way into a marriage. Always interesting stuff.

    crime non-fiction

margaret siemer

26 reviews

January 11, 2020

An unbelievable story of love, betrayal and vengeance. The tragedy that unfolded in this love triangle is just heartbreaking. 2 senseless murders that could have been prevented. Wow, what one will do to keep idealism alive in a manipulative relationship. Many lives effected for vengeance and selfishness. Ann Rule keeps you intrigued to keep turning the next page. Eventually, the right killer went to jail but the ghost went free. Very good read.

Rupesh Goenka

632 reviews13 followers

November 21, 2016

All the true crime cases are from 1970's time period. The 1st main case is too long & gets tiresome in the end. MEDIOCRE NOVEL.


769 reviews5 followers

July 8, 2017

You can never go wrong with Ann Rule when you're in need of some true crime.


Doug Phillips

126 reviews12 followers

September 17, 2017

The matriarch of modern true crime used her research skills to uncover details on numerous crime cases. This collection of various cases (her third in a series) dedicates well over half of the book to the sordid Morris Blankenbaker murder and subsequent investigation.

Rule's retelling of this infamous case starts with setting the scene as it occurred in Yakima, Washington - a town I called home for the first 20 years of my life. I was just a teenager when the love triangle-turned complicated crime transpired. It is interesting to read the details, witness and suspect interviews, and other facts that are collected and presented by Rule in a procedural style that makes the tragic tale seem stranger than non-fiction.

The remaining five much shorter cases are interesting, but my mind kept returning to the first part of the book and my childhood home. If you like Rule's style and willingness to present both sides of the story, you'll enjoy this installment.


Kerry Henderson

848 reviews3 followers

January 3, 2020

Ann Rule looks at a love triangle that led to murder and mystery when two of the participants died. Plus a couple of other cases.

I really enjoy her books but this wasnt my favourite one. I enjoyed the mystery and finding out how it came about but the rest of the story dragged on a little. I hadn't heard of the other cases so that was quite fascinating to read. An interesting read.


209 reviews7 followers

May 15, 2018

I found the first story very interesting, but too long once we got to the court part. I wish that was shorter, especially considering there were 4 or 5 other stories after it. I felt like the first story should have been a book on it's own and the others, while very interesting, should have been put in another book. Aside from that the writing is great and the stories were interesting.


Michael Greer

278 reviews32 followers

November 26, 2020

"In 1975 the Friday after Thanksgiving in Yakima was icy and bleak..."

Today, as I am now reviewing this work which I just finished ten minutes ago, it is Thanksgiving Thursday, 2020. Forty-five years separate me from that cold bleak day in Yakima that was, as Rule says, "icy and bleak." Yet even in sunny California, the coasts of Morocco, the shores of Andalusia, the by-ways of Mauretania, the sun shines in an "icy and bleak" way over our planet, troubled as it is by the callousness of the human heart.

The readers are always alert to Rule's associations, the author taking time to point out the twelve year gap between the horrible events in Dallas, Texas as JFK was seeking reelection. A dead shot to the brain. You see, dear reader, in earthly terms there are no sunny days without shadows, no warm environs without chilly reminders of what has been, no living persons without a corpse to remind us how it all ends. That's simply the way it is under this banner of stars. Let's brighten the room a bit by referencing Christmas ornaments. They might already be up, even before the end of Thanksgiving. Yet, as Rule writes, outside it was "still cold, still so very cold."

Lessons in Philosophy 101: on page 11 of my edition, Warner Brothers, published 1996-oddly enough the imprint reads Lancaster Place, London, yet Warner Brothers studios are just down the road in Burbank, California-Olive Morgan Blankenbaker said, "Why should it be that way? When people are so happy, why does it all have to disappear?" Not that Olive is a philosopher, merely an all too human observation that things tend to arise, endure, and then perish. Everyone can remember a time when the bananas turned black. But we can elevate the discussion. Why do things come to be and then pass away? Why does it have to be thus and so?

The non-philosopher considers that a waste of time. Yet for Olive, an experience fundamental to the human condition, arrives on this day: Her wonderful world was beginning to disappear. Olive and Ned had been married-marriage, the one hedged bet that there will be stability for the duration-when Ned left, and Olive abandoned to raise Morris, two at the time, all by herself. I mean I do feel for Olive. What sane man abandons his only child?

"Mor-ris Blank-en-baker! Mor-ris Blank-en-baker!" the crowds would roar. Running track or carrying the football into the end zone, "Mor-ris Blank-en-baker!" could be heard time and time again. Then we come to the inevitable disappointments that follow a successful high school career. Morris moving past the preoccupation with his balls(football and baseball), notices Jerilee Karlberg for the first time. We find out that Morris had the courage to ask Jerilee to marry him in 1965.

"It's the near tragedies to show us all that life doesn't go on forever..." (page 26)

Morris rescues Gabby from a near drowning incident. Gabby divorces, moves into Morris' home, and insinuates himself between Morris and his wife Jerilee. "When Jerilee told Morris that she was leaving him for Gabby he was polaxed." (see page 35) I don't want to spoil all the excitement intended by Rule, the author of this tale, so I'll leave you here with a photo: "Morris's body lies in his own yard."


328 reviews4 followers

April 27, 2013

I have to give it three stars because I did finish it but this was definitely not one of Ann Rule's best. I thought it was her newest book out but it was actually written more than ten years ago. She should have kept it a short story. It was an interesting and very convoluted story, very strange, but she told it four or five times. And with a name like Morris Blankenbaker, why couldn't she have just used Morris instead of the full name every time. She must have gotten ten pages out of Blankenbaker alone. In other words she tried to stretch a short story into a full book.



1,244 reviews13 followers

March 7, 2021

There are a lot of sick people out there, and I think Ann Rule encountered every one. Another collection of horrible crimes which sometimes took years to solve. We can't discount the dedicated, unswerving dedication of law enforcement to help families reach a resolution when they have lost a loved one. This author had a distinctly personal way to explain the unexplainable to us. Another terrific book to keep me up at night. By the way, she has written about girls I have known who were murdered, which may be a reason why I keep going back to her.


166 reviews22 followers

March 17, 2021

No matter how many times I read a true crime novel, it still baffles me of the horrors and depravity that some humans place apon another. Ann Rule has a way of telling a true story to make it read like fiction. Sometimes while reading, I stop and think "Holy crap! This really happened?" She was an amazing writer.

Side note: I didn't mind that the majority of the book was given to the first story 'A Fever in the Heart'. It was engaging and kept me on the edge of my seat.

You can never go wrong with Ann Rule!


1,247 reviews22 followers

November 14, 2018

This is another true-crime short story collection with a novella attached. The longest story "A Fever In the Heart" is a peculiar crime in which the victims were both male coaches, both men at their prime of life. One of the victims was probably involved in the death of the other, and that same victim had asked to be shot, though not killed. These stories are atypical Ann Rule stories, proving once again that truth is stranger than fiction. Enjoyable as always.


Kate S

579 reviews73 followers

April 1, 2015

I did not like the first story. I felt it was 200 pages of repetitive drivel. The other stories in this book were an interesting collection of crime fighting in the 1970s in the Pacific Northwest. How times have changed!

    2015 non-fiction


352 reviews15 followers

February 21, 2024

This story is really interesting--and I suppose Ann Rule told it the way it would have been told in the mid-90's when she wrote it down. But I think it would be much more intriguing if someone took on the story again and applied sociological and psychological lenses to the involved individuals and the situation. The crime happened in 1975, when being a high school coach and teacher was a highly regarded ambition (what?), many people married very young, and Ray Price's song, "For the Good Times" was a hit. Some of the more lurid particulars:
--a lovelorn championship high school coach in the throes of a mental health crisis becomes obsessed with his best friend's wife after his own wife leaves him (ostensibly because of his jealousy).
--best friend once saved lovelorn coach's life on a fishing trip
--lovelorn coach and best friend's wife fall in love while listening to "For the Good Times" and when it doesn't work out, lovelorn coach spirals downwards into alcoholism while looking at photo albums of himself and best friend's wife while drinking in whiskey and listening to "For the Good Times" on a loop.
--And then, two murders. . . .

The culture of competitive sports, mid-life crises, Svengali-like coaches, the idea that women are trophies and race play roles in this really messed up situation, but Rule only superficially hints at what lies beneath the sordid mess.

Hailey Sky

232 reviews5 followers

February 17, 2022

I read this for a report I need to write in my criminal investigations class. My professor suggested anything by Ann Rule so I picked this up used. I can't say I feel strongly about this book, besides the strangeness I feel thinking 'I didn't like that story' when it's something as emotionally heavy and serious as the real murders of real people. However, from a purely subjective view on the writing, I think her title case was unnecessarily dragged out in it's writing. It takes up 2/3 of the book and I found myself slipping in engagement and feeling though each chapter was a slog. By the time I finished it, I was not in the least motivated to pick up the book and read the other cases.

Also, though this I guess is more my fault, I was under the impression that these were cases that Ann Rule herself was involved in before I read the book. I was excited to see her perspective and read about the experience of women in law enforcement in the seventies and eighties. However, Ann appeared not to have any personal involvement with any of the cases besides her extensive research of them.

SE King

1 review

April 1, 2023

I went into A Fever in the Heart not knowing anything about the case of Morris Blankenbaker, and I’m glad about that. Every time I thought I had this case figured out, something new and unexpected would happen. Ann Rule weaves an enthralling (true) tale and keeps the pages turning. I was infuriated, frustrated, and saddened by how this all played out. There is justice, yes, but at the same time… not enough of it.

A Fever in the Heart is a true crime novel that focuses more on the people surrounding the crime than the actual crime. By the end of the book, you feel as though you truly know every player; perhaps that affected me the most. There are more than two victims in this case, and honestly, nobody wins at the end of it all.

If you are a fan of Ann Rule, you’ve probably already read this one. If not, I highly recommend it, especially if you enjoy true crime that gives the people involved their due rather than focusing solely on the gruesome details of the crime.


Ronnie Cramer

1,032 reviews26 followers

October 12, 2018

Ann Rule has a terrific body of work, but I still have my issues with her. One thing that has always annoyed me is her lack of follow-through when writing about a case years after the fact. For example, in this volume she tells the story of Vicki Brown's murder at the hands of Dexter Bryson, who was found guilty and sentenced to life imprisonment. Then, in the last paragraph she announces, 'Dexter Bryson has been a free man for some years now' and leaves it at that. I wish she had done some additional research to fill in the gaping holes here. How long was he in prison? What were the circ*mstances of his release? What were the reactions of the victim's friends and family? What became of Bryson? Etc.


312 reviews17 followers

August 25, 2023

Holy crap the pointless exposition, Batman.

Really loved Ann Rule as a kid, but with my experience now, I really wonder why she adds soooooooooo much detail that is basically meaningless to the overall plot and does things like introduce characters super late... A lot of missed opportunities to make these more enjoyable to read. She loves to tell you about a suspect's family and friends of theirs that have nothing to do with the plot and... It's all just in need of an edit. Too bad as the first story is really fascinating and would make a great true crime story if rewritten - particularly if she avoided that super long news article with a salacious first paragraph style. Works in articles, not so much in books.

A Fever in the Heart and Other True Cases (Crime Files,… (2024)


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