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Winter of Frozen Dreams

3.55  ·  Rating Details ·  148 Ratings  ·  19 Reviews
On a freezing Christmas morning in Madison, Wisconsin, a distraught young man named Jeremy Davies leads police to a corpse he'd placed in a snowbank some hours before. They find a man's body, naked, bloody and beaten. Davies insists that he hadn't killed the man but that he and his fianc e, Barbara Hoffman, had simply buried a stranger's body. Hoffman had dropped out of un ...more
ebook, 248 pages
Published October 1st 2012 by E-Reads (first published October 1990)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Nicole Bunge
I found this, strangely, because someone made a comment about one of the local 'massage parlors' on facebook: The Rising Sun. (Which, like the Geisha House, is still in business.) It was a 'yeah, you ever hear about that lady that worked there who murdered two clients?'

I've lived in Madison since 2000 and even with the film of the same name starring Thora Birch making the rounds of festivals back in 2009, I never heard about this case.

Anyway, the book doesn't stand up that well as a true-crime
Jul 01, 2010 M rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One semester shy of a bachelor’s degree and a promising career in science or medicine, a beautiful, quiet University of Wisconsin biochemistry major with a 3.9 GPA and a tested IQ of 145 drops out, becoming entangled in a lurid underworld of drugs and prostitution that author Karl Harter portrays vividly along with the trial that sends Barbara Hoffman to prison for a murder the prosecution later discovers she probably didn’t commit.

Fans of Rider Haggard’s novel She will recognize in Hoffman the
Jun 06, 2009 Kathryn rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2009
Tells the tale of the most infamous Madison, WI murder case. In the 1970s Barbara Hoffman, a bright university student turned massage parlor prostitute, manipulated two men and then murdered them for their money. However, Harter manages to make this story tedious, and hardly touches on the drama filled trial - which was the first televised trial un the U.S. Additionally, the sex scenes read like the fantasies of an adolescent boy.
Karen C
I liked the book. I like true crime and am always fascinated by what people will do. But I wish the author hadn't been so vulgar in his descriptions. I do not feel it was necessary and found it offensive.
Jan 29, 2016 Kimme rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was very informative. It was so finely detailed that it read very much as a text book. It reminded me of a Truman Capote book. Very dry.
Robin D
Dec 05, 2007 Robin D rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who wants to read true crime with a tabloid flair!
True crime story with a healing helping of sex and drugs. Read like a pulp novel from a drugstore. Great quick and trashy read. Interesting story that they are currently turning into a movie.
Feb 11, 2017 Mary rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
2.5 stars. I thought the author embellished an awful lot, which made it seem too fictionalized. I remember the trial in the summer of 1980, since it was televised, and my co workers & I would discuss it during our 4p-9p shift. The real mystery involves Barbara Hoffman's family, and why they did not attend her trial, other than to offer perjured testimony. I was not clear if the ending was the author's guess at what happened or if this really happened or what. Telephone records! Wisconsin Bel ...more
Apr 29, 2015 Valerie rated it really liked it
I happened to read about this book in one of the literary newsletters I receive in my e-mail. The book was interesting, but it brought up more questions in my mind than it answered. (Apparently, the book was made into a movie in 2009).

Barbara Hoffman is a brilliant woman from Illinois, who in 1975, and 1976 was a student at the University of Wisconsin studying for a degree in biochemistry, perhaps preparing for a career in medicine. By 1977, she was no longer attending college, having obtained a
Kelly MacIver
Not as thrilling as it could have interesting case but nothing really came out about it other than what was generally known. No big gotcha or reveal moment. Not the fault of the writer obviously as it's a true story with a little fictionalizing thrown in as to how things could have occurred. On a side note, something that was very annoying about the copy I borrowed from the library was that a previous reader decided all other readers needed to see how they would have edited it. I hate ...more
Deborah Mitchell
True crime books intrigue me which is why I selected this particular book. A young woman with a history of a's in her college classes suddenly drops out to work at a massage parlor... I had to wrap my head around this. Not only has she dropped out of college, worked in the skin trade. but now is accused of not one but two murders. The trial is the first televised in WI, yet the defendant never testifies. Although I had to continuously look up legal references it is an interesting read. The one t ...more
Kathy B
Sep 21, 2016 Kathy B rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Because I live in Madison, I greatly enjoyed this book with its local references and persona. I didn't find it as dry as other readers did; I think it is hard to make nonfiction poetic and flowery :).
Ronnie Cramer
An interesting chronicle of a 1970s double murder case in Madison, Wisconsin. The accused met her victims while working in various massage parlors, so there's no escaping the seamier elements here--but the language and descriptions might be off-putting to some readers.
Jan 03, 2016 Sharon rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebook, midwest, wisconsin
The writing in this book was BAD. I would have rated this book two stars, but as a Madison, WI resident, I was taken in by the overall story. I was entertained -- three stars.
Gina Giuliano
Aug 01, 2007 Gina Giuliano rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: local interest, or if you like true crime
The writing in this book is iffy - but the story interested me because they are making a movie of it in Schenectady, even though the actual events take place in Wisconsin.
Very exciting. Complicated, meticulous and very mysterious down to the last page.
Khris Sellin
Dec 20, 2015 Khris Sellin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sensationalist true crime storytelling at its best.
Jan 06, 2016 Kim rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
just started reading it. sounds like it will be a good book to read. was a interesting book
Jun 08, 2014 Sue rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Happened in my own backyard when I was in high school. I vaguely remember hearing about it. The book was chilling!
Pretty good
Stephanie Bodden
Stephanie Bodden rated it really liked it
Sep 22, 2011
PEG rated it it was amazing
Aug 25, 2016
Julie Wendt
Julie Wendt rated it really liked it
May 15, 2016
Eric rated it really liked it
Mar 21, 2017
David Bookstaff
David Bookstaff rated it really liked it
Jan 06, 2012
Emily rated it really liked it
Aug 21, 2011
Ginny rated it really liked it
Dec 29, 2015
Kurt Weller
Kurt Weller rated it really liked it
Jun 10, 2016
Maureen rated it it was ok
Jan 06, 2017
Jeannette rated it really liked it
Aug 20, 2011
Margo rated it it was amazing
Jan 13, 2014
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