Kiss of Death: True Cases of Fatal Attraction

Michael O’Mara Jul. 2021. 328p. ISBN 9781789292299. pap. $15.95. CRIME
Although local news coverage and the popularity of books, podcasts, and films about serial killers may suggest otherwise, most murders are not committed by random strangers in the dark; instead, killers and their victims are usually intimately connected. Ritchie (Little Girl Lost) compiles accounts of intimate partner violence to convey this reality in stark detail. Though her writing can be lurid and pulpy, Ritchie is empathetic in her depictions of the victims and gives in-depth accounts of their lives. She discusses Jill Cahill, who was abused and later murdered by her estranged husband. Ritchie writes that Cahill’s legacy includes legislation that made it harder for people accused of abuse in New York State to be released on pre-trial bail, as well as the gardens Cahill planted in her hometown. Ritchie also adeptly explores the lives of some perpetrators of intimate partner violence, including Colin Howell, a dentist and devout Baptist who plotted with his lover to murder both their spouses, only to turn around and confess.
VERDICT With cases spanning the globe, this compelling volume reinforces the sobering reality that the person most likely to end your life might just be lying next you. A great beach read for true crime fans.
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