Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Book Review: "Catch the Devil: The Sierra Diablo Murders and Nazi Spy Espinoage in America" by Clark Richmond

You know how the truth is stranger than fiction? This is one of those times. The real life story of the brutal torture and murder of Nancy and Hzel From sound ike it was made for Hollywood. (I'm sitting here trying to think of who would direct this movie. Not enough violence or oppurtonities to say the n word for Tarantino. Though there's a lot of talk about explosions, not enough actual explosions for Michael Bay. Not quirky enough for Wes Anderson. Maybe Ron Howard? I feel like Ron Howard is a good guess.)


The Frome family were the Jones's that everyone was trying to keep up with. A successful husband and father, and adoring wife, beautiful, progress, social, independent daughters. They're basically living the California American dream.

Mom and daughter Nancy and Hazel decide to drive across the country to visit another daughter who has recently gotten married and moved to the east coast. It was a little bit scandalous for two women to make a trip like this by themselves, but they often went on long trips unescorted, so they decided it wouldn't be any big deal. Unfortunately things do not go as planned and the two women's bodies are found badly beaten on the side of a lonely road in Texas.

How did these women end up in such a torrid situation? 

It wasn't a robbery...the expensive jewelry the women had was still on their bodies.

Did it have something to do with that mysterious envelope that they received at their hotel?

Who was that creeper who accosted Nancy when she was walking out of a hair salon?

Did it have something to do with the fact that there were Nazis crawling all over El Paso, who used as a route to smuggle information (and themselves) in and out of the country?! (Did you know that was a thing? I totally didn't know that was a thing, but now I want to know all about Nazi spies in America, because according to this book there seemed like A LOT of them).

So, murders, Texas Rangers, a suspicious sounding Dad, a "guy with buggy eyes", explosives, international intruge and a Nazi whose name (hand to heart) was Killinger. That is a Dr Doom name if I've ever heard one. All adds up to a compelling whodunnit.

One of the best things about this book is that the author gives his own take on what actually happens at the back of the book. Mr Richmond and I are 100% on the same page. Now if only we could prove it...or if most of the people weren't dead....

 It was maybe about 20 pages too long, but this book kept me intrigued and riveting even though true crime isn't usually my thing. But you know, the World War II connection I couldn't turn it down. 3.5 out of 5 stars!


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