Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Book Reviews:"Murder in the Heartland" and Ann Rule's "Too Late To Say Goodbye"

Two True Crime book reviews here.
One is a very personal, almost painful review. For it was this Blogger who originally was scheduled to write the story of the very troubled Lisa Montgomery, a woman who cold-bloodedly killed a young mother and ripped her unborn baby from her body.

A very handsome and talented M.William Phelps wrote the story instead, with a minimum of help from me. I did, however, know a few members of Lisa Montgomery’s family and this gave me an insight into how Phelps wrote the book, the skewed points of view within the book’s covers and the very, very wrong title for the book titled “Murder in the Heartland”.

The other book review involved this Blogger again in a fashion that surprised me. For under my “True Crime” headers I’d written about the very fine Barton Corbin and even received an insightful and thankful email from Jennifer Corbin’s father for my blogging activity in helping to keep this story alive.

Because Barton Corbin had the worst luck of most any man on earth.

He fell in love, even married, women who seemed to commit suicide all around him.

By Ann Rule, we review “Too Late to Say Goodbye”.

Web Site Worth the Visit
It’s the Season for WATERMELONS!

lots of watermelons

Watermelon Carving Site HERE

”Murder In the Heartland” by M. William Phelps

Amazon link for this book.

It was in December of 2004 when I, a relatively new and inexperienced Blogger, chanced to post the first news about the tragic and horrific death of Bobbie Jo Stinnet.

Bobbie Jo was pregnant almost to term when she invited a woman purporting to be interested in purchasing a rat terrier dog into her home. This same woman, Lisa Montgomery using an alias, then proceeded to murder Bobbie Jo then cut out her baby from her womb.

It was a crime that shocked the nation.

Since I was one of the first Bloggers to cover this case, the many, many comments came, HERE, and for a while my Blog was the place to be to discuss the Lisa Montgomery crime.

As time passed much more information came out about the case, all discussed HERE.

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In due course, what with all the activity on my Blog, I was contacted by Lisa Montgomery’s ex-husband, Carl Boman. I also chanced to meet, electronically, one of Lisa’s very sweet daughters. Phelps changes the names of Lisa’s children in his book thus I too will not reveal their real names.

There was a discussion about me possibly writing this book but, alas, first, everyone involved in this crime lived in either Missouri or Kansas. Second, the fact of the matter is that I would much rather read a true crime book than actually write one.

Which brings me to the author, M. William Phelps, who has other true crime books to his credit and who did a mostly fine job with the story of Lisa Montgomery and Bobbie Jo Stinnet.

I engaged in a small correspondence with Mr. Phelps. I directed him to my web site and Blog posts on the matter. I had quite a few emails I had received from Carl Boman and Lisa’s daughter but I did not provide these to Phelps because, hey, they were private emails. I agreed to answer any questions Phelps might have but he managed to finish the book just fine without me.

I have some thoughts on Lisa Montgomery’s rather odd family, all accurately documented in the book and I have some issues with the writing contained within the book.

First complaint…this book was entirely too much about Carl Boman and I’m going to admit it right now, I KNEW that Boman would be a problem in trying to pen this novel.

Of course Carl Boman played a very important part in Lisa Montgomery’s life, no doubt. He was, at one point in time, Lisa’s step-brother, his father once married to Lisa’s mother, Judy Shaughnessy. Carl Boman also married Lisa Montgomery not once, but twice. Finally, Lisa and Boman had four children together.

So the input from Carl Boman was valuable indeed in terms of deducing Lisa’s background and the environment in which Lisa began her mad mission of killing a pregnant woman to steal her child right out of her womb.

But this story is NOT about Carl Boman and I give Phelps credit for downplaying Boman’s input as much as possible. However, this story is as much about Jeb Stinnet and Kevin Montgomery as it is about Carl Boman and only bits of information on these two players were provided, necessarily I assume, by Phelps.

For sure Lisa Montgomery sprang from a strange, dysfunctional and convoluted family. Her mother had been married, divorced and remarried so many times that I finally lost track. If one were to hold a gun to my head and tell me how many children Judy Shaughnessy had I’d have to guess and I’d probably be wrong.

Insight into the psyche of Lisa Montgomery was handily provided, by Carl Boman I must suppose. I’d argue that someone needs to lift the top of Kevin Montgomery’s skull and see what mush lies within. Because this is a man who totally believed his wife somehow went into the hospital, gave birth, then phoned him up to meet her and their newborn baby at a nearby Long John Silver drive in.

What the hell…?

Kevin Montgomery had three sons, as Phelps revealed in the book and which I did not know. It’s not like the very, very dumb Kevin didn’t know about childbirth or anything is what I’m saying here.

As for Carl Boman, I did consider him a gentleman and he obviously was totally in love with Lisa and never quite fell out, judging by how he followed the woman around the country. Boman did remarry but forgive me, Carl’s wife should have married Kevin Montgomery that these two airheads should be together till death by stupidity do they part.

It was Carl’s wife Vanessa who allegedly got a job stuffing envelopes at home (ALWAYS a scam) and promised Lisa $45,000 in back child support just as soon as she stuffed enough envelopes. This incident, mentioned prominently in Phelps’ book, might well have launched Lisa Montgomery on her quest to steal an infant because that $45K wasn’t likely to come from Vanessa Boman’s job stuffing envelopes, money it is believed Lisa planned to use to purchase a black market baby.

I was most impressed by Phelps’ listing of source information provided at the back of the book. Phelps researched his subject well. When I looked over the long list of reading material and such that Phelps used to research I was thankful I did not embark on such a task. I admire Phelps for it, however.

Finally, come on Mr. Phelps…you couldn’t have come up with a better title than “Murder in the Heartland”? It sounds like a “48 Hours” show. But maybe that was the intent?

By me, this was the story of a woman so desperate for a baby that she committed a most horrific crime that shocked the nation. Phelps’ title should have captured that part of the story…”Murder for a Newborn”, something like that. As it is, Phelps’ title could have been any murder in Tornado Alley.

Lisa Montgomery, by the way, got the death penalty for her crime.

The REAL book here would be one about, and in conjunction with, one of the following three:
-Lisa Montgomery
-Kevin Montgomery
-Jeb Stinnet

Get me one of those three and maybe I’ll write it.

”Too Late to Say Goodbye” by Ann Rule

Amazon link to this book.

Once again I find myself remotely involved with this book, and/or the crime. For Barton Corbin was also a fellow whose crime made it to my True Crime posts and received comments along with personal notes by those who knew or were related to the victims.

Once again it was a far better, more experienced and much more dedicated True Crime writer who sat down, researched and wrote the story in the form of Ann Rule.

As regards this Blog, we begin HERE, with my thorough analysis of the crime and many comments on same.

We move on to HERE, posted after Corbin pleaded guilty to the murder of BOTH Jennifer Corbin and Dolly Hearn. This post included an interesting comment by a former school chum of Dolly.

We end up HERE with the posting of an email from Jennifer’s father who also announces that Ann Rule is writing a book about this case.

Barton Corbin is a dentist, currently in jail for “most” of the rest of his life (more on this later) for the murder of his wife, Jennifer Corbin and a former girlfriend, Dolly Hearn.

Barton Corbin

Dolly Hearn and Jennifer Barton

I love Ann Rule but at times I lament she is just too damn nice. Although I’ll allow that she needs access to law enforcement and such for her research. But the case of Dolly Hearn was totally mishandled by Richmond county investigators. Which might be while Scott Peebles took such an earnest interest in the REINVESTIGATION of the death of Dolly Hearn. Because Dolly was murdered in cold blood fourteen years prior by the lovely Bart Corbin. If those Richmond investigators had did their damn job, especially Scott Peebles’ FATHER who was a lead investigator, perhaps Bart Corbin wouldn’t have had the nerve to repeat the same crime on his wife and mother of his two sons.

Rule was kind to the Richmond investigators but never was one reason given, not even the DNA excuse for old cold cases, for why Bart wasn’t arrested for the death of Dolly Hearn. There was a WEALTH of evidence implicating Bart Corbin and by me those Richmond investigators should be embarrassed and ashamed.

In fact, once Jennifer Corbin was discovered dead by a gunshot wound to her head that obviously could not have been delivered by Jennifer, soon enough it was discovered that Barton Corbin, a most unfortunate fellow, had yet another lover who too committed suicide in a manner not humanly possible.

THEN, heh, the Richmond investigators not only re-opened the Dolly Hearn case, they opened it BEFORE the Gwinnet county investigators could gather all the information on Jennifer Corbin’s death.

Ann Rule never mentioned this blatant audacity by the Richmond county investigators who didn’t do their job fourteen years earlier but were only too eager to hone in on the publicity on the Jennifer Corbin murder. Also come on, the whole world was scratching their heads and wondering why those guys didn’t do their job when it mattered, just ask the family of Dolly Hearn for example.

It turned out that Gwinnet county prosecuted the case despite the Richmond county’s total joke of a performance and their outrageous behavior.

In an interesting aside, it turned out that Jennifer Corbin had been having an online dalliance with a fellow, who turned out to be a woman, whose last name was Hearn, all entirely coincidental. Jennifer’s fine husband, Bart, had murdered a woman name Hearn oncit but there was no relation.

Bart Corbin pled guilty to the murders of both Dolly and Jennifer and was given two CONCURRENT life sentences. Which means every day in jail is a day for Dolly and a day for Jennifer’s murder.

It seems unfair but as Rule explains, Corbin will likely be behind bars for a good 28 years and if he should get released he won’t have much of a life left.

As always, Ann Rule did a wonderful job. She did not, as I complained, go into that joke between the two investigative authorities but I sure did on my Blog links.

In the end, justice WAS served, for both Dolly and Jennifer.

I’ll never quite get over how Dolly Hearn’s death was left to get cold until Bart Corbin killed yet ANOTHER woman in his life because hey, he got away with the first one, right?

More Book Reviews HERE

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