On the night of October 23/24, 1995 in Prairie Village, Kansas, a fierce, wind-driven fire devastated the luxurious mansion of Dr. Debora Green and her husband, Dr. Michael Farrar. Trapped and burned to death in the flames were twelve-year-old Tim and his six-year-old sister Kelly. Lissa, ten, was barely able to leap to safety from the garage roof into the arms of her mother, who was standing outside the house. When Michael Farrar returned to the scene, he had lost more than his children and his home. His entire life was in ruins.
The fire was the climactic event of Michael and Debora's lives. Until that summer, they seemed to have it all -- a happy marriage, successful medical practices, three bright and beautiful children. Then they went on a trip to Peru with their son. There, they met attractive, blonde Celeste Walker, whose husband, John was also a successful doctor. But after that trip, nothing was the same again for either couple, and all the dark hidden places in Debora and Michael's marriage bubbled to the surface in a series of almost unbelievable horrors.
Bitter Harvest is the chronicle of this tragedy in the heartland of America, the true story of the disintegration of a marriage and its horrifying consequences. Rule takes us deep in the psyche of a killer whose behavior was so twisted and so evil that it defies belief. Gripping, powerful, and ultimately terrifying, Bitter Harvest is a vivid recreation of an unthinkable crime -- and a depiction of the unimagined depths of a darkness within the human spirit.
Copyright © 1998 Ann Rule. All Rights Reserved
Performance copyright 1998 by Simon & Schuster Inc. All Rights Reserved
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Fans of Ann Rule will find much to relish in Bitter Harvest, the tale of a brilliant Kansas physician who holds herself together well enough to put on a decent show for the outside world, but in the heart of her horror-struck family is a violent and baffling monster. She drinks, abuses drugs, spews invective, and even lights fires. At one point she learns from an Agatha Christie novel about a potent toxin contained in castor beans, and she starts poisoning her long-suffering husband. Yet until the final fire that consumes two of her children, they continue to love her and defend her to attackers. Rule tells the story with flair, conveying all of the heady feelings involved, but still the book has a flaw: Rule fails to understand the main character. When a psychiatrist testifies that the doctor is at a younger age than a toddler in her ability to process or sustain emotions, Rule writes, "That was a shocker. Could a woman with an IQ of 165 and a biting, facetious wit, a woman who had zipped through college and medical school, be a child emotionally?"Yes, she could. Bitter Harvest would've been a stronger book if Rule had shown us how.About the Author:
Ann Rule is a former Seattle policewoman and the author of six New York Times national bestsellers, including Small Sacrifices, The Stranger Beside Me, Possession, If You Rally Loved Me, Everything She Ever Wanted, A Rose for Her Grave, You Belong to Me, A Fever in the Heart, and Dead by Sunset. She has testified before U.S. Senate Judiciary Committees, and presented seminars to scores of law enforcement agencies, including the FBI Academy. She served on the U.S. Justice Department task force which set up VI-CAP (the Violent Criminal Apprehension Program) -- now in place at FBI headquarters to track and trap serial killers. She lives near Seattle, Washington.
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