If anything ever happens to me, promise me that you will see that there is an investigation....And find Ann Rule and ask her to write my story," Sheila Blackthorne Bellush told her sister after she divorced multimillionaire Allen Blackthorne. Now, in perhaps the first book ever written at a victim's request, America's Number One bestselling true-crime writer, Ann Rule, untangles a horrific web of lies that culminated in Sheila's savage murder more than ten years after she left Blackthorne.
When beautiful, blond Sheila married the charming, handsome Blackthorne, she was convinced she had found her perfect soul mate, and helped him reach his goal of living the privileged life of the country club set. But behind Allen's smooth facade, she discovered a violent, controlling sociopath -- a liar, a scam artist, a sexual deviant. When she finally fled with their two young daughters, she was skeletally thin, bruised, and beaten.
Although Sheila recovered, remarried, and was starting a new life and family, she still felt she was doomed. Joyously pregnant, she and her new husband expecting quadruplets, Sheila still feared Blackthorne, who had sworn to her he would monitor her every move and "every breath you take." And, in fact, Blackthorne inevitably tracked her down, as did her killer, who left her in a pool of blood marked by the tiny footprints of her two-year-old toddlers. The questions remained: Could the authorities ever link Sheila's murder to Blackthorne himself? Was his true obsession high-stakes golf and his extravagant pink mansion -- or was it to destroy Sheila?
Following a trail of deception from Oregon and Hawaii to Texas and Florida, Ann Rule gained complete access to Sheila's family, friends, and neighbors, as well as to the detectives and prosecutors on the case. With Every Breath You Take, Ann Rule has written a heart-pounding account of obsession, revenge, and murder that will enthrall readers from beginning to end.
As in her previous true-crime accounts, Rule presents the facts of a murder case with all the intrigue, suspense and characterization of an accomplished novelist. Listeners learn how young Sheila Bellush met and married charismatic Allen Blackthorne, only to find that his charming exterior hid a ruthless, abusive swindler. After years of beatings and the birth of two daughters, Sheila left him and later remarried and had quadruplets. Alan also remarried and was hugely successful in business, but seemed obsessed with the need to punish Sheila for leaving him. When she was found brutally murdered, her toddlers crying and huddled around her body, investigators quickly found the culprits but were they sent by Sheila's ex-husband, or did they act on their own Veteran narrator Brown strikes just the right note in her reading. Her voice is varied and expressive, not one-note, and pleasant to listen to. But apart from a touch of sympathy, she is not emotional and does not project herself into this nonfiction account. Instead, she steps back and lets the story tell itself, altering her voice slightly to indicate a quote and deepening it a bit if it's a man talking, but not offering character voices. Based on the Free Press hardcover (Forecasts, Sept. 17, 2001). (Jan.) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
Showing 1-1 of the 1 most recent reviews
1 . Watch out for con men!!!
Posted July 02, 2010 by Vickki , ChicagoI 've always followed Ann Rule. She gives you a frightening description of what goes on inside a seemingly normal mind. To most of the people that was involved in this story, most were nice and naive people who this murderer took advantage of.
November 25, 2002
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Excerpt from Every Breath You Take by Ann Rule
Friday, November 7, 1997, was an ordinary day in Sarasota, Florida -- or so it seemed. It was a weekday, and the morning began with the sun burning golden in an azure sky, but as one enthusiastic resident remarked, "The sun is always shining, and every day is beautiful in Sarasota. It took me a while to realize that I didn't have to take advantage of the days the sun shone the way I used to do in Connecticut; I could stay inside and read because there would always be another perfect day... and another... and another."
But later on this November day, clouds moved in over Sarasota. They were a peculiar leaden gray-purple shading to black, full of unpredictable electrical impulses that made one's hair stand on end. It was going to rain, but it wouldn't be a soft rain; it would surely be rain that thudded against the earth with a vengeance, forcing trees and bushes to the ground with the sheer weight of water, pounding the grass flat.
The entrance to the Gulf Gate subdivision was flanked by sweeping buff-colored brick walls bearing its name, but that was the limit of Gulf Gate's ostentation. In November the jacaranda trees planted there four decades ago were a froth of peach-colored blossoms, so lovely that they could not be real. Many of the summer flowers were faded, save some bougainvillea, and residents planted petunias and impatiens to carry them through the winter until the late summer sun's molten heat fried them.
Once a family neighborhood where children played, Gulf Gate was home now to many older couples and widows, who kept their shades drawn and hired yardmen to mow their lawns and prune their glossy-leafed trees into round orbs that looked like green plastic. Gulf Gate was close enough to Bee Ridge Road and I-75 for easy shopping and access to downtown Sarasota, but it was quiet, the streets hushed and almost free of traffic in the middle of a weekday. More often than not, there was no one walking a dog, or even peering out at the street from behind jalousie windows, those windows whose very name originates in the French word for jealousy -- "to see without being seen." But few of the residents watched from their cool rooms, because there was nothing to see outside.
One woman who lived in Gulf Gate was watchful, almost unconsciously moving often to the front windows of her home to scan the street for a strange vehicle or for someone she didn't recognize approaching her house. She had good reason to be leery, although she and her husband had taken every precaution to keep their address secret.
Most of the homes in Gulf Gate were owner-occupied, not lavish but very comfortable L-shaped ramblers, painted in the soft pastels of the Florida gulf coast, peach and pink and even lavender -- sunrise and sunset colors. Many had Florida rooms and swimming pools to make up for Gulf Gate's distance from Sarasota Bay. Although the neighborhood was far away from the beach, the November air was usually drenched with the salty-clean smell caught in the wind as it raced east toward the Atlantic Ocean.