But I Trusted You: Ann Rule's Crime Files #14

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In this volume of Ann Rule’s Crime Files, discover unforgettable cases of the spouse, lover, family member or a helpful stranger who is totally trusted—until it’s too late.

Trust. It’s the foundation of any enduring relationship between friends, lovers, spouses, and families. But when trust is placed in those who are not what they seem, the results can be deadly. The New York Times bestselling author Ann Rule offers a riveting, all-new collection from her true-crime files, with the lethally shattered bonds of trust at the core of each bloodsoaked account.

Whether driven to extreme violence by greed or jealousy, passion or rage, these calculating sociopaths targeted those closest to them—unwitting victims whose last disbelieving words could well have been “but I trusted you....”

Headlining this page-turning anthology is the case of middle-school counselor Chuck Leonard, found shot to death outside his Washington State home on an icy February morning. A complicated mix of family man and wild man, Chuck played hard and loved many...but who crossed the line by murdering him in cold blood? And why? The revelation is as stunning as the shattering crime itself, powerfully illuminating how those we think we know can ingeniously hide their destructive and homicidal designs. Along with other shattering cases, immaculately detailed and sharply analyzed by America's #1 true crime writer, this fourteenth Crime Files volume is essential reading for getting inside the mind of the hidden killers among us.
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This New York Times bestseller—from “America’s best true-crime writer” (Kirkus Reviews) and the author of The Stranger Beside Me—is a shocking tale of greed, sex, scandal, and murder on an isolated and eerie island in the Pacific Northwest.

With more than 50 million copies of her books in print—from her chilling personal account of knowing Ted Bundy to sixteen collections in her #1 bestselling Crime Files series—Ann Rule is a legendary true crime writer. Here, in Practice to Deceive, Rule unravels a shattering case of Christmastime murder off the coast of Washington State—presented with the clarity, authority, and emotional depth that Rule’s readers expect.

Nestled in Puget Sound, Whidbey Island is a gem of the Pacific Northwest. Accessible only by ferry, it is known for its artistic communities and stunning natural beauty. Life there is low-key, and the island’s year-round residents tend to know one another’s business. But when the blood-drenched body of Russel Douglas was discovered the day after Christmas in his SUV in a hidden driveway near Whidbey’s most exclusive mansion—a single bullet between his eyes—the whole island was shocked. At first, police suspected suicide, tragically common at the height of the holiday season. But when they found no gun in or near the SUV, Russel’s manner of death became homicide.

Brenna Douglas, Russel’s estranged and soon-to-be-ex wife, allowed him to come home for a Christmas visit with their children. The couple owned the popular Just B’s salon. Brenna’s good friend Peggy Sue Thomas worked there, and Brenna complained often to her that Russel was physically and emotionally abusive. Peggy Sue’s own life has been one of extremes. Married three times, hers is a rags-to-riches-and-back-again tale in which she’s played many roles, from aircraft mechanic to “drop-dead gorgeous” beauty queen as a former Ms. Washington. But in 2003, her love affair with married guitarist Jim Huden led the two Whidbey Island natives to pursue their ultimate dreams of wealth and privilege—even at the expense of human life.

Unravel the tangled web woven by Russel Douglas’s murder in Practice to Deceive, a heart pounding true-crime tour de force.
From bestselling author Ann Rule comes the engrossing true story of two beautiful, loving women, and their murder by the man in their life—handsome, charming, rich, a man marked for unlimited success—but one who would never allow any woman to leave him, no matter what the provocation.

Jenn Corbin, a lovely, slim, brown-eyed blonde, appeared to have it all: two dear little boys, a posh home in one of the upscale suburbs of Atlanta, expensive cars, a plush houseboat, and a husband—Dr. Bart Corbin, a successful dentist—who was tall, handsome, and brilliant.

But gradually their seemingly idyllic life together began to crumble. There was talk of seeing a marriage counselor. Bart was distraught; Jenn seemed disenchanted. She needed to reach out to someone she could confide in—beyond her mother and her sisters. Then, just a few weeks before Christmas 2004, Jenn was found dead with a bullet in her head, a revolver beside her. From the position of the body her death appeared to be a suicide. But Gwinnett County detective Marcus Head was not totally convinced, nor was Jenn's family, who could not believe she would take her own life.

And how was this death related to another apparent suicide fourteen years earlier—that of Dorothy "Dolly" Hearn, a spectacularly beautiful dental student? A star athlete and homecoming queen in high school, Dolly later dated Bart Corbin in dental school. Was there a connection, or was the answer to be found in a secret—even dangerous—relationship Jenn Corbin was having outside her marriage? For Too Late to Say Goodbye, Ann Rule has interviewed virtually everyone in any way related to the story—the victims' families, police investigators, prosecutors, and sources from Georgia to Australia—to uncover the truth behind the headlines of these two sensational deaths. What emerges is an incredible tale of jealous rage; of stunning circumstantial and physical evidence that runs from the steamy to the macabre to almost-unheard-of forensic techniques; and of a tragic irony—a fateful discovery that motivated the killing. The definitive unraveling of one of the strangest murder investigations of our time, Too Late to Say Goodbye is perhaps the finest achievement of a truly great writer's career.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Simon and Schuster
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Published on
Nov 24, 2009
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Pages
464
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ISBN
9781439160541
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Language
English
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Genres
True Crime / Espionage
True Crime / General
True Crime / Murder / General
True Crime / Murder / Serial Killers
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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FROM TRUE-CRIME LEGEND ANN RULE comes this riveting story of a young woman whose life ended too soon—and a determined mother’s eleven-year crusade to clear her daughter’s name.

It was nine days before Christmas 1998, and thirty-two-year-old Ronda Reynolds was getting ready to travel from Seattle to Spokane to visit her mother and brother and grandmother before the holidays. Ronda’s second marriage was dissolving after less than a year, her career as a pioneering female Washington State Trooper had ended, but she was optimistic about starting over again. "I’m actually looking forward to getting on with my life," she told her mother earlier the night before. "I just need a few days with you guys." Barb Thompson, Ronda’s mother, who had met her daughter’s second husband only once before, was just happy that Ronda was coming home.

At 6:20 that morning, Ron Reynolds called 911 and told the dispatcher his wife was dead. She had committed suicide, he said, although he hadn’t heard the gunshot and he didn’t know if she had a pulse. EMTs arrived, detectives arrived, the coroner’s deputy arrived, and a postmortem was conducted. Lewis County Coroner Terry Wilson, who neither visited the death scene nor attended the autopsy, declared the manner of Ronda’s death as "undetermined." Over the next eleven years, Coroner Wilson would change that manner of death from "undetermined" to "suicide," back to "undetermined"—and then back to "suicide" again.

But Barb Thompson never for one moment believed her daughter committed suicide. Neither did Detective Jerry Berry or ballistics expert Marty Hayes or attorney Royce Ferguson or dozens of Ronda’s friends. For eleven grueling years, through the ups and downs of the legal system and its endless delays, these people and others helped Barb Thompson fight to strike that painful word from her daughter’s death certificate.

On November 9, 2009, a precedent-setting hearing was held to determine whether Coroner Wilson’s office had been derelict in its duty in investigating the death of Ronda Reynolds. Veteran true-crime writer Ann Rule was present at that hearing, hoping to unbraid the tangled strands of conflicting statements and mishandled evidence and present all sides of this haunting case and to determine, perhaps, what happened to Ronda Reynolds, in the chill still of that tragic December night.
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