Drifting into Darkness: Murders, Madness, Suicide, and a Death “Under Suspicious Circumstances”

NewSouth. May 2022. 256p. ISBN 9781588384577. pap. $21.95. CRIME
Investigative journalist Pinsky (Met Her on the Mountain) chronicles a series of deaths, all of which, he argues, are the result of a con artist who was never brought to justice. Pinsky probes the double murder of Montgomery, AL, philanthropists Brent and Charlotte Springford. The couple had supported their adult son, Brent Jr., who was gifted and had a documented history of treatment for bipolar disorder, while he struggled to find his way. Yet, it was their son, who was arrested and convicted of their brutal murders. Through interviews, Pinsky pieces together a portrait of a woman, Carolyn Scoutt, who claimed to be an Indigenous shaman and allegedly manipulated her way into Brent Jr.’s life by marrying him in order to benefit from the Springfords’ wealth. Pinsky covers Brent Jr.’s death by suicide in prison. He also focuses on the frustration that investigators felt in not being able to charge Scoutt for her role in the couple’s death. Pinsky tries to track down Scoutt in Colorado to interview her and gets embroiled in another investigation of a “suspicious death” of another man close to her.
VERDICT The well-written, well-researched book is ideal for fans of true crime and general readers.
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