The Soldier of Fortune Murders

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( 8 ratings by Goodreads )
 
9780440214014: The Soldier of Fortune Murders

Relates the murder case and trial of a Vietnam veteran who advertised himself as a hit man in Soldier of Fortune magazine and became obsessed with a woman who hired him to murder her brother-in-law. Reprint.

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From Kirkus Reviews:

Appalling, fascinating story of murder for money and low- rent lust in the trailer courts and Dogpatches of Texas and Florida. As Florida investigative-journalist Green tells us, John Wayne Hearn grew up in Pasadena, Texas (``storage tanks, chemical plants, and belching smokestacks...as far as the eye can see''), and escaped to Vietnam. After two tours, he returned to a boring 18-wheeler driving job and combat flashbacks. But one day while reading Soldier of Fortune magazine, inspiration struck. Hearn placed an ad for his ``World Security Group,'' which offered the services of ``'Nam vets willing to take on high-risk assignments.'' Soon 20 to 30 calls a day came in from contra suppliers, drug distributors, dirty-money dealers, and people looking to do away with their spouses, lovers, business partners, etc. One of these was Debbie Bannister, steamy siren of the Sims clan--a clutch of redneck queens given to pistol-whipping recalcitrant boyfriends. Romancing Hearn through a string of no- tell motels in Georgia and Florida, Bannister convinced him that she was worth killing for. Hearn came to stay with her family on Starvation Hill in Gainesville, Florida: first up was Bannister's sister's husband. Hearn quoted $10,000--which the Simses raised by burning down Granny's house for the insurance. The husband took two 12-gauge magnum rounds in the face while he slept. Next up was Bannister's own husband, who got caught in the sights of an AR-7 while driving home one night. On the lam, Hearn killed a housewife in Texas for $1000, which he spent taking his inamorata and her children to Disney World. Green gives all the tasty crime details, outstanding portraits of the lawmen who ran Hearn to ground, and vivid shots of little-seen rural hamlets. In a coda, he follows various lawsuits brought against Soldier of Fortune- -``the flagship of the violence industry in America''--for its classified ads. Top-drawer lowlife saga. (Eight pages of b&w photographs-- not seen.) -- Copyright ©1991, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

From Library Journal:

John Wayne Hearn, a Vietnam veteran unable to find success or happiness in his post-Vietnam life, decided to continue his career as a freelance soldier and advertised his services in Soldier of Fortune magazine. At the same time, Debbie Bannister and her family in Florida were seeking a way to get rid of her sister's ex-husband, and Bob Black in Texas was actively looking for someone to murder his wife Sandra. The Bannisters and Bob Black found Hearn, and deadly contracts were struck. Hearn, a weak man who was unable to sustain relationships with women, became obsessed with Debbie Bannister, who manipulated him for her own goals. Ultimately, three murders were committed. A second part of the story involves the "wrongful death" suit brought against Soldier of Fortune by Sandra Black's family. It was the first of many suits against Soldier of Fortune pitting the first amendment issue of freedom of the press against responsibility for criminal wrongdoing. Well written, suspenseful, and fast paced, this book will be popular with "true crime" fans. Recommended.
- Sandra K. Lindheimer, Middlesex Law Lib., Cam bridge, Mass.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Green, Ben
Published by Dell (1992)
ISBN 10: 0440214017 ISBN 13: 9780440214014
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