Judgment Ridge: The True Story Behind the Dartmouth Murders
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Judgment Ridge: The True Story Behind the Dartmouth Murders

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3.78 of 5 stars 3.78  ·  rating details  ·  254 ratings  ·  48 reviews
On a cold night in January 2001, the idyllic community of Dartmouth College was shattered by the discovery that two professors had been hacked to death in their own home. Investigators searched helplessly for clues linking the victims, Half and Susanne Zantop, to their murderer or murderers. The residents of Hanover, New Hampshire, speculated endlessly -- could the killer...more
Hardcover, 432 pages
Published September 16th 2003 by HarperCollins (first published September 1st 2003)
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Earl Solper
Aug 21, 2011 Earl Solper rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: Women who marry death-row inmates
Shelves: ★★
So much useless detail. Do I need to know that little Jimmy Parker's 4th grade substitute teacher allowed him to stand on his desk? Is it important that "escargot with soft polenta and beurre rogue" cost $7.75 at the Hanover Inn? Is it important that the movie Diane and Mike watch as the troopers search their house is "Air Force One", which, the authors helpfully point out, stars "Harrison Ford playing the president during a terrorist hijacking"?

Next, the redundancies. The books shifts through t...more
Lobstergirl
Jan 19, 2014 Lobstergirl rated it 3 of 5 stars Recommends it for: Jang Song-thaek

This is a chilling portrayal of teenagers turned evil. 17-year-old Robert Tulloch, whom the authors persuasively argue was a psychopath, was best friends with 16-year-old Jim Parker in the tiny town of Chelsea, Vermont. The two friends thought of themselves as intellectually brilliant, far smarter than everyone around them. (This was in fact belied by their high school grades, B's and B minuses, their numerous misspellings and grammatical errors in notes and emails the authors viewed, their subp...more
Dawna
As far as true crime books goes, Judgement Ridge is one of the best I have read in a very long time. The book is so detailed, you almost feel as though you are a member of the small community of Chelsea. Having lived very close to Hanover, NH and spent a lot of time at Dartmouth, I can picture these areas in great detail. But the way the writer writes about these places, he is able to transport anyone to the beautiful green mountains of Vermont and New Hampshire. He also is able to show the live...more
R_
I suppose reading In Cold Blood spoiled me. In this genre, it's hard for any author to live up to that one. Apart from any fault in the writing, I think the problem with this book stemmed from the subject matter -- idiotic motives of the two teenage killers, Tulloch & Parker. Randomness...banality...teen angst. These guys were such boring morons that it was probably hard for the author to create a lot "complexity" to this book. They were so absolutely guilty that even they realized that goin...more
Barb
Blrgggg... Sounded like an interesting real life crime. I really liked In Cold Blood . This was SO not that. The writing was atrocious. If I received a paper written like this from my students, esp when it was NOT the first draft, I would FAIL it. Run the other way. Read another book. Read any other book. Find an article that sums up the story of the murders and be done with it.
Karen
Although somewhat captivating, I found there was too much filler in this book. There were detailed examples of police terms, background information on insignificant characters and opinions from random townspeople.
♥ Marlene♥
Just finished it and I am so glad it is over! Over is the constant talk about the smallest things.

Over is the constant talk that poor little innocent Jim was a victim of the mean nasty Robert.

Sorry I do not buy it for a second. Jim was the actor and Jim was the only one who told the story so it is so easy to say yes Roger made me do it.
This author fell for it hook line and sinker.

I did like the first half of the book although I did think there was way too much filler but because I was interested...more
Lance Gideon
I understand why some have given this offering a lesser rating due to its heavy (and as they say, seemingly useless) detail, as I also found myself getting a little distracted during such sections of the book; however, I found that these "useless" details were essential in telling the whole story, and made the read that much richer. To come to a true understanding of the depth of this account, and why it truly shocked so many, one needs to be exposed to the intricacies of life in Chelsea and Han...more
Carrie "Slugger"
I liked this book overall. It was an interesting story with some interesting characters. It was, however, a little too long. As true crime books go, this one wasn't that thrilling. There was too much background information that didn't really seem to add much to the story. As an example, the authors went into a great deal of detail about Robert Tulloch and Jim Parker's high school exploits, which, beyond helping us understand why investigators were initially reticent to believe two high school ki...more
Peggy Jeffcoat
This is a true story behind the Dartmouth murders in 2001. Two teenagers murdered a couple of Dartmouth professors in their home. The telling of the story reminds me of Truman Capote's In Cold Blood. It deals with the days and weeks leading up to the murders, the capture of the boys and their sentences. Very well written...probably a 4+
Menus67
Mar 06, 2014 Menus67 rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: people who like true stories, murder mystery (even though this is true)
Because I mostly buy books on my nook, sometimes I don't read all the fine details before purchasing. That was the case with this one.
I did not catch "The True Story Behind the Darmouth Murders" subtitle. When I began reading I was disappointed that it wasn't written
more story like. Then I figured out that it was a TRUE story and I wanted to start it over again! I read whole thing and was amazed and stunned by
the attitudes and behaviors of the boys accused and what they did.
What a scary time...more
Judy
Most murders I read about don't seem close to home but this one was chilling in that the murderers were two high school aged boys living in a Vermont town next to my sister and in an area I'm quite familiar with. Their escapades started with breaking into empty homes to raid the refrig and then one night deciding they would commit a murder at random, even digging the graves beforehand. The would be victims were a New York man and his son on a getaway weekend to their Vermont cabin. Luckily, the...more
Thomas Aspel
Judgement ridge

not the greatest true crime story of all time, but a good read nonetheless. I can give it a modest thumbs up.
David
One giant, tragic, gray cloud with barely a trace of a silver lining (i.e. the resilience of a small community, the beauty of the two victims' interesting and rich lives). The book is thoroughly researched, arguably to a fault. Bogged down in excruciating and very often unnecessary detail, sometimes repeated. The authors did their homework and seem overly eager to prove that to the reader. Their efforts for extra credit actually count against them. That being said, there is surely no account of...more
Stella Fouts
With their book Judgment Ridge: The True Story Behind the Dartmouth Murders, authors Mitchell Zuckoff and Dick Lehr expand the picture of the tragic and senseless murder of two beloved professors. We see in these added details that murdering Half and Susanne Zantop was never really about robbing them. The account of how the Antops became targets is chilling in its simplicity. And if it happened to them, we know it could just as easily happen to us. There are evil people in this world, and we can...more
Jesse
Up there with "columbine" in thinking about young white male violence. Would recommend.
lynn
Great book for those who love true crime. This arbitrary murder of two Dartmouth professors is reminiscent of Capote's In Cold Blood in its narrative of the events leading up to the murder and the solving of the crime. The author includes significant background information regarding the two smalltown teens who, for some reason only trully explained by psychiatry, killed two people they did not even know for no reason other than to do it! Fascinating!
Paula
This was an exceptionally-written book; particularly for the true crime genre. In many cases, true crime books are short, and we don't tend to come out of the book knowing or understanding the characters.
In the case of this book, the author takes the time to familiarize us with all the people involved, and even the town is painted so vividly in words, that it seems like a character as well. A great book describing a tragic situation.
Kim
An excellent, if extremely uncomfortable, exploration of, as the cover of the book queries, "how, in a close-knit community, could two popular, bright boys have become vicious killers?" With recent local events raising that question again, I find myself looking closely at my own roles as educator, parent, and community member, checking and inquiring into my own assumptions about what makes a difference.
Caitlin
I don't usually read true crime books, because they freak me out. This one definately did. The whole story is just really really strange - two 13 year old boys who, to prove their superiority, decide they can kill without guilt. Pretty good book, but by the end I didn't really feel any closer to understanding why they felt that way - were they mentally ill, just bored, what?
Barb
I needed to put some days between finishing reading this book and writing a review to let the strong impact settle. Sometimes a story hits a nerve, and this one did. Being non-fiction made this frightening, although I have to say I'm glad I read the book. It's as scary as "In Cold Blood" and left me feeling even more unsettled than Truman Copote's master work.
Nancy Whitlatch
Good true crime story. Dick Lehr is very good at researching his subject. Similar to Ann Rule, who writes mainly about true crime that's occurred in the North Western part of the country, Lehr writes about crime that occurred in the Boston area.He researched and wrote about the notorious Whitey Bulger. I would recommend Judement Ridge if anyone is into true crime.
Rae
Two "normal" teenage boys, one a leader and probably a psychopath, and the other a follower, murder two Dartmouth professors in cold blood.

I read true crime because I am fascinated by why people do what they do. The disturbing thing about this case is that other than the psychopathic tendencies, there really wasn't much else to account for the murders.
Dawn
I'm not usually a big true crime fan and this book was no exception to the trend. The police work to find and catch the killers was fascinating, but the attempts to understand the mind of a teenage psychopath (or sociopath, I don't remember) were lacking. Fortunately, it's a mind set very few of us understand or can relate to.
Mary Frances
A pretty good true crime book. I didn't know the details of this case, and was struck by how much it reminded me of the Leopold/Loeb murder (famously fictionalized in Compulsion, an excellent book, and Hitchcock's quirky movie Rope. It was well written in a journalistic style, which means a little dry but still interesting.
matt sakaguchi
excellent recount of this tragedy. the back-story of the victims in this case is compelling, and the book possesses an intriguing structure which keeps you wanting to discover more. this is a fast read and easy to stop and start. a must for true crime fans.
Pat Lampe
Sad story of a random murder by two teenagers. Another case of a sociopath and a somewhat lost kid finding one another. Without the bad guy, the other teen probably would have been okay. And this really admirable couple would not have been killed. So sad.
Nick
An gripping account of a murder committed in a small town that grabbed national headlines. An arrogant pyschopath whose boredom leads him to induce his friend to join him on a murder for kicks. Very well written.
Kelly
Wow!! This was the AP summer read for quite a while. I found this fascinating, and my book club literally talked for hours about the two boys who murdered the Dartmouth professors. The book is gripping!
Sarah
This book provided a great look into a small town with the mentality that "nothing like this could ever happen to us". At times the story was a bit drawn out with so many details, but all in all a good read.
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Dick Lehr is a journalist who received a BA from Harvard in 1976.
More about Dick Lehr...
Black Mass: The True Story of an Unholy Alliance Between the FBI and the Irish Mob The Underboss: The Rise and Fall of a Mafia Family The Fence: A Police Cover-up Along Boston's Racial Divide Whitey: The Life of America's Most Notorious Mob Boss Whitey and the FBI: The mobster and the agent who crossed the line

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