Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Review: In the Name of the Children

In the Name of the Children: An FBI Agent’s Relentless Pursuit of the Nation’s Worst Predators by Jeffrey L. Rinek and Marilee Strong.

Review by Robert A. Waters

I’ll admit it—I have a case of serial killer fatigue.  Serial murderers seem to be deeply disturbed and conscienceless individuals, yet much of film, fiction, and even non-fiction portray them as fascinating and romantic rebels.  Sometime ago, I grew tired of reading about such characters, particularly when their victims, many of whom came off as far more interesting, were given short shrift.

Then I picked up In the Name of the Children and couldn’t put it down.  One of the reasons I liked this book is that the authors give the victims as much attention as they give the killers.  Jeffrey Rinek is a retired FBI agent who specialized in obtaining confessions from some of the nation’s worst predators.  His most sensational case was the Yosemite murders.  Cary Stayner kidnapped and murdered four innocent women: Carole Sund, Juli Sund, Sylvina Pelosso, and Joie Armstrong.  The murders of these women were brutal, heartless, and random.

Stayner, whose younger brother had been kidnapped and held as a sex slave for seven years, nearly got away with it.  The killer’s surprise confessions to Rinek and his partner revealed a warped, twisted soul.  Did the ordeal of his brother play a role in developing his psyche?  Read the book and find out.  There’s little doubt, however, that Stayner would have killed again and again had he not been caught.  The authors delve deep into the case to flesh out a sometimes flawed investigation.

Other cases the authors describe include the kidnapping and torture of an eight-year-old boy, a throwaway child, and a group of children used as sex objects by a notorious cult.  These cases, as would be expected, took a toll on the author.

The book is well-written and I found no typos, the sign of a well-constructed package.

If you have any interest in true crime at its finest, read In the Name of the Children.  The authors have done a good job of bringing each case to life.

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