"If I Am Missing or Dead", by Janine Latus
Here's a book as much about the author and the author's family as it is about the murdered woman.
Janine Latus, a provocatively good writer, an expert at the understatement, tell story of her family and her sister Amy, who went missing in the spring of 2002 and was found dead. Amy died at the hands of her lover at the time, a n'er-do-well she met on the Internet.
Amy was mistreated and abused by this man she dared to love. She often phoned her sister Janine with the problems with this man and Janine counseled her.
Only as the reader continues along the reader discovers that Janine has male issues of her own and they are very shocking. To all the world and to her troubled sister, Janine looked to have it all. She was married to a doctor, did not want for material things, had a beautiful home and a happening career as a journalist.
Latus doesn't shock the reader with the snippets of her life with a very weird and perverted man, no matter what the outside world saw. Instead the reader is guided through her young life in a rollicking family headed by a real nut case for a father. Janine, and Amy's, father was a bit of a pervert, spanking his daughters until they were well into their teens, talking trash and saying things that a father should never say to his daughters. The reader moves on to Janine's adulthood, her struggle to complete her education, obtain a college and extended degree, her life in a ghetto.
In fact so much of the book is about Janine Latus that I was left wondering when the murdered woman would merit a mention. Which is not to say Janine's story was not a compelling one but potential readers should know that Amy 's story is but a small part of the story.
Janine's husband, to my shock, was a genuine asshole of the highest order. He monitored everything Janine put in her mouth, he weighed her every day, he pressured her into having two breast augmentations. The most humiliating of all was how he demanded that she wear very short skirts, tight tops, very high heels and other provocative attire in public. In fact the more stares of shock his wife got the more Janine's husband was delighted, even if in front of his children.
It took a while for Janine to gather the courage she needed to leave her abusive spouse even as she constantly counseled her beloved sister Amy to ditch the creep she was living with. An affluent life is not worth the cost of a human soul even if Janine's husband didn't murder her as Amy's former lover did.
I found myself wondering what the Latus family thought of this book. There was no attempt to disguise the characters. Latus' ex-husband the pervert, once a respected doctor, and still a respected doctor for all I know, is depicted as a pervert for all the world, his medical colleagues and his children, to read at will. Janine's father is also a weirdo. Janine's siblings have all turned out well, even her murdered sister Amy was successful at her career.
But the rock over the creeps is definitely turned over and what's underneath is really ugly.
Here is Janine's Simon and Schuster web site.