Family Blood: The True Story of Yom Kippur Murders : One Family's Greed, Love, and Rage

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9780060165697: Family Blood: The True Story of Yom Kippur Murders : One Family's Greed, Love, and Rage

Gerald Woodman, an Englishman and an Orthodox Jew, came to American penniless and hungry for the good life. By 1980 he had gained and lost two fortunes, had built his plastics company into a cash cow that supported his large extended family in great luxury. Killed in 1985 along with his wife Vera, the police asked Vera's sister if the Woodmans had any enemies, she replied , 'Yes, their sons.' Family Blood follows the investigation of these murders and reveals a story of the American Dream gone wrong. Gerald, behind his facade of charm, piety and filial warmth, was a ruthless, amoral businessman, a philandering husband, a ferociously abusive father, and a compulsive gambler. His sons, Neil and Stewart, inherited his charm and business principles. This is the story of the hidden dynamics of an outwardly successful American family that came to a shocking and violent end. It is also the story of a clan of whose menfolk guarded a dark secret from their wives - and everyone else - for three generations. Further it is the chronicle of two dogged police detectives who exposed the Woodman's sordid secrets to the light of justice.

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About the Author:

The son of a junk man and a mad housewife, Marvin J. Wolf worked as a dishwasher, sold encyclopedias door-to-door, taught hand-to-hand combat in the US Army Ranger School, served as a basic training drill instructor, and as an infantry squad leader--all before his 21st birthday. In 1965 he reenlisted and maneuvered himself into a combat photographer's assignmen. The following year, in Vietnam, he was awarded a battlefield commission. Over the next eight years he served as a company commander, a senior staff officer, and as the Seventh Infantry Division Public Affairs Officer. Following his discharge, Wolf spent the next decade as a photojournalist. After gaining sole custody of his teenage daughter, Wolf segued into writing, beginning with magazine work. His first book, The Japanese Conspiracy (Empire Books, New York, 1983) led to a career switch and a dozen more books, including collaborations with ABC Television founder Leonard H. Goldenson, Native American leader Russell Means, and former South Vietnamese prime minister General Nguyen Cao Ky. In 2001, Wolf took up screenwriting. (Ladies Night, USA Network, 2005) In 2011 he wrote his first novel. He lives in Los Angeles with his now forty-something daughter and a snobbish terrier-chihuahua mix.

From Kirkus Reviews:

Lackluster, overcomplicated chronicle of patricide and matricide in southern California. The morning after Gerry and Vera Woodman were gunned down in Brentwood, California, in September 1985, several members of the victims' family told cops that the couple's sons, Neil and Stewart, had orchestrated the slayings. By the time these accusations proved correct, police had engaged in a lengthy process of identifying four Las Vegas thugs who'd been spotted lurking near the murder site, and of linking them to the Woodman brothers by tracing hundreds of phone calls and interviewing witnesses who'd seen the suspects together. The legwork was fairly routine and, as detailed by Wolf (Fallen Angels, 1988 paperback) and Attebury, not especially exciting or ingenious. Meanwhile, the authors load their text with extraneous details--names and business histories of Woodman employees, backgrounds of minor witnesses, etc. They supply the necessary background, though, telling us that Gerry Woodman, a foul-mouthed bully, immigrated to US from England shortly after WW II. After taking up residence in California, he built a plastics- manufacturing business that bankrolled a luxurious lifestyle. But during the corporate-takeover frenzy of the early 1980's, Woodman's eldest sons wrested control of the company from their father, who vowed revenge. A major reason for Woodman's rage was that he was no longer able to skim millions of dollars annually from the company, a practice that for decades had financed his gambling habit and numerous mistresses. Neil and Stewart continued the skimming, though their money went to sprawling mansions, prestigious autos, and designer originals for their wives. But the sons lacked their father's business sense and, by 1985, the company faced bankruptcy. Neil and Stewart, desperate for cash, planned to collect on a $500,000 insurance policy on their mother's life and use it to salvage the firm. A complex tale lacking in narrative drive--but of interest for its Oresteian picture of a family bent on self-destruction. (Photos) -- Copyright 1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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