Echoes In The Darkness

Joseph Wambaugh

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Echoes In The Darkness

Echoes In The Darkness On June the naked corpse of schoolteacher Susan Reinert was found wedged into her hatchback car in a hotel parking lot near Philadelphia s Main Line Her two children had vanished The Main Li

  • Title: Echoes In The Darkness
  • Author: Joseph Wambaugh
  • ISBN: 9780688068899
  • Page: 424
  • Format: Hardcover
  • On June 25, 1989, the naked corpse of schoolteacher Susan Reinert was found wedged into her hatchback car in a hotel parking lot near Philadelphia s Main Line Her two children had vanished The Main Line Murder Case burst upon the headlines and wasn t resolved for seven years Now, master crime writer Joseph Wambaugh reconstructs the case from its roots, recounting thOn June 25, 1989, the naked corpse of schoolteacher Susan Reinert was found wedged into her hatchback car in a hotel parking lot near Philadelphia s Main Line Her two children had vanished The Main Line Murder Case burst upon the headlines and wasn t resolved for seven years Now, master crime writer Joseph Wambaugh reconstructs the case from its roots, recounting the details, drama, players and pawns in this bizarre crime that shocked the nation and tore apart a respectable suburban town The massive FBI and state police investigation ultimately centered on two men Dr Jay C Smith By day he was principal of Upper Merion High School where Susan Reinert taught At night he was a sadist who indulged in porno, drugs, and weapons William Bradfield He was a bearded and charismatic English teacher and classics scholar, but his real genius was for juggling women three at a time One of those women was Susan Reinert How these two men are connected, how the brilliant murder was carried off, and how the investigators closed this astounding case makes for Wambaugh s most compelling book yet.

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    One thought on “Echoes In The Darkness

    1. Larry on said:

      I don't think I've ever worked so hard to finish a book, for so little reason. Don't get me wrong, I like Wambaugh, his Hollywood cop novels are entertaining and full of the dark humor that makes me giggle at other people's problems.But here, his smart-assiness seems to be out of place and really forced a lot of the time. A couple of things probably don't help him here.1) The characters he is dealing with are complete idiots. I kept wondering to myself how stupid I'd have to be to listen to some [...]

    2. Kelly on said:

      I read to page 148 before putting this book aside and finding no motivation for picking it back up. It wasn't bad, really - the case itself was interesting enough, and the book was at least semi-enjoyable; however, the writing style was very odd IMO. The author's constant use of italicized words was distracting and made it hard to take this account of a true-crime murder case seriously. Examples:p.63: "And to all of little faith, he said there might be a possibility of opening yet another store [...]

    3. Skye Skye on said:

      Wambaugh's novel about the real-life murder of Susan Reinert, an English teacher in the Upper Merion school district of PA is intriquing to read. The case was current, as I followd it in the newspapers,and far too-close-for comfort. I found it to be somewhat compelling, with many,inexplicable loose ends, several bizzare characters, and stranger motives To this day, I am uncertain whether or not the facts were revealed and if the real perpetrators had been arrested; in fact, there are many missin [...]

    4. John Spann on said:

      This is actually the story of a murder that took place at the high school that I attended. I was in junior high, when it happened. During my time at the senior high school, I actually met some of the people involved in the case. It was very interesting, and a bit creepy. The book is well-written, however I believe that there's a lot more to the story then told in any of the books. I still wonder what happened to Karen and Michael. It's been over 30 years, and they still have never been found.

    5. Jtfreeman on said:

      A nearly unbelievable account of a series of horrific crimes. Unforgettable. My dad was in the same army reserve unit as the character nicknamed "The Prince of Darkness". He remembers the combs they handed out as recruiting tools of those combs proved to be a key piece of evidence in the trial that ultimately led to the conviction of that monster. The TV mini-series starring Peter Coyote and Robert Loggia is outstanding.

    6. James on said:

      A sad story, well told too bizarre for fiction - I found myself, over and over, wishing I (or anyone) could have grabbed various people and shaken them, tried to get them to see the dark craziness they got sucked into for what it was, in this nonfiction account of a multiple murder followed by a long and harrowing investigation.

    7. Leslie on said:

      I really enjoy this book for reasons that are purely self-indulgent. I am aware that subsequent information has come out regarding the author and the police and improprieties.The crime behind Echoes occurred immediately after I graduated high school in the Philadelphia area. The newspapers reported on the missing children, the strange happenings and the mystery.I worked at a company near to the Sears in Saint David's, later I one of my customers was an important witness in the trial. Eventually [...]

    8. K.A. Krisko on said:

      This guy just has a way with words that I like - slightly sarcastic, tongue-in-cheek, too clever by half. 'The Onion Field' was probably the first true-crime book I read, and it launched me on a lifetime of true-crime reading. Although this book is somewhat out of date, it's worth reading for the details about each person's life and activities - sometimes unbelievable. The chronicle of Bradfield's downhill spiral and the credulous people he took with him is amazing. It's discomfiting to see appa [...]

    9. Jayne on said:

      My husband went to this high school and knew some of those involved, which made it and especially scarey read for me.

    10. Dave Klaboe on said:

      The famous mainline murders told by Wambaugh. Having learned that after retrial, smith was set free and died soon after, I now wonder about the real facts of this true story. Even in the first reading, there were many confusing characters, motives, and hard evidence. Nevertheless I think Wambaugh got the story right. It is one of the best crime stories I have read. A very compelling and creepy book, that I would put on the same shelf as In Cold blood.

    11. Kent on said:

      Done with this stinker. This was not a fun experience for me but I persevered. I'm not proud of the fact that I stayed with a bad book to the end. Wondering if anybody else found it such a chore and waste of time? I felt it was mostly monotonous babble. This was a fascinating true life crime story that I thought was written just plain badly. I like a lot of Wambaugh but not this bad-boy.

    12. Juli on said:

      I don't think anyone could have invented this story - the characters are so shallow, yet there are so many layers to them. Many times while reading this book I wanted to dope-slap some of the characters for their stupidity, gullibility and complicity. Makes one wonder what secrets would you keep for a friend or lover?

    13. Sheri on said:

      Excruciating. The story is incredibly interesting, twisted, dark and outrageous. It's really hard to believe that the writer could take such rich source material and turn it into complete trash. I am forced to assume that English is not his first language OR that he never went past the third grade. I think this might have been the most poorly written book I have ever read.

    14. Scott on said:

      The novel that hooked me as a Wambaugh fan. About the Main Line murders from a few decades ago in the Philly area. Psychologically accurate and very disturbing, this is a scary portrayal of a true sociopath that you feel more than read. Emotionally intense, amazing stuff.

    15. Kim Grosser on said:

      Good synopsis of a local mystery. I have always wanted to dig deeper and press harder. There is so much more to this story! I will gather the facts from personal connections before everyone expires!

    16. Fishface on said:

      Very gripping story of how an English teacher nicknamed "Busy Whiskers" laid waste a co-worker's family.

    17. Naomi Blackburn on said:

      This book absolutely broke my heart. Not Wambaugh's best but up there. He is such a talent for true crime books that if the ratings could go up to 10, he would be up there!

    18. Lisa Mossie on said:

      This was a quick re-read for me as this story is about my high school, though the events depicted occurred while I was in the Junior High. I was compelled to revisit this book as the topic of Jay Smith and Bill Bradfield came up in a conversation with friends, who moved here after the Reinert murders and did not live through the notoriety. From a purely objective standpoint, Wambaugh tells the story of one of the more memorable and fascinating murder mysteries in recent memory, a case with many [...]

    19. Claire on said:

      If I could have given this 3.5 stars, I would have. This is a tremendous, true story about the murder of a schoolteacher on Philadelphia's Main Line, and the presumed murder of her two children. I am fascinated by this case (which I learned about on My Favorite Murder), which has some intersections - minor ones - with my husband's family. I've only given it four stars because I thought Wambaugh, who is a terrific writer, spent way too much time setting up how crazy/devious one of the principal p [...]

    20. Jessica Schlott on said:

      This book was recommended by my grandma for a book challenge I wanted to complete at my local library. I needed to read a book that was set in Pennsylvania. I never heard of this case before and that's because I wasn't even born. Learning about the case showed how sometimes how the truth is stranger than fiction. Overall, I felt that the author explained the strange case the best he could. There are still more questions than answers with this case and unfortunately it may always stay unresolved. [...]

    21. Cathy on said:

      I am not from PA so I was not aware of this story. I recently learned Susan Reinert and her children lived in my neighborhood, just a few blocks away. A memorial now sits in a park across the street from their home. The book is not an easy one to slog through, the writing is pretty terrible. Still lots of questions about what happened.

    22. Ellen on said:

      This true crime story was featured on "My Favorite Murder" and it really is a doozy of a story. Joseph Wambaugh loves a simile and piles them on, and his sexist and homophobic language feels so antiquated. But he's got some extremely bizarre characters to work with and the benefit of the fact that the truth really can be stranger than fiction.

    23. Debbie on said:

      Very detailed account of the Main Line Murders. Written in 1987, the cop "lingo" is funny in some spots. I wish some of the other true-life murders I have read show police putting the same time and dedication into cases that these men did.

    24. Richard on said:

      Confusing. I never got a real feel for any of the characters. Bradley really had a cult following, and I do not understand how no one could think for themselves.

    25. Melissa on said:

      So, yeah, I went to Upper Merion, the high school where the murder victim and one of the murderers taught and the other murderer was the principal. Lots of people did, and we all talked about reading this book, but really, barely anyone did. Mostly, we'd pass around video cassettes of the TV movie that was made from the book, and we thought we knew enough from that. We probably did know enough from it. I mean, I'm 29 at the time of this writing, and the murders had taken place three years before [...]

    26. Jill Hutchinson on said:

      Fiction could not be stranger than this true crime tale of the "Main Line Murders". It is so convoluted that it will have you shaking your head when you are finished. is the naivete and basic stupidity of the persons involved that is so hard to believe. The story can't be summarized in a review but basically it involved Jay Smith, a high school principal and one of his teachers, Bill Bradfield. Smith is an odd character and gets arrested for theft at a local Sears store and Bradfield gets the id [...]

    27. Kathy Fimognari on said:

      Well it's time to revisit a book from my past. I've been thinking a lot about high school lately since a new co-worker and I went to the same school. I attended the school that this book is about and knew the teachers and principal involved. I was in 9th grade (Jr. High) when the murders took place and in high school when the investigation and trial were in progress. My siblings were in high school before all this happened and they could tell you some wild stories about the main characters. One [...]

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