Death Trap
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Death Trap

3.8 of 5 stars 3.80  ·  rating details  ·  269 ratings  ·  39 reviews
Phelps relates the horrifying true story of Jeff McCord, a police officer who uses his expertise to plot with his wife and carry out the murder of her ex-husband in order to secure permanent custody of their two children. Original.
Paperback, 320 pages
Published March 1st 2010 by Pinnacle (first published 2010)
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♥ Marlene♥
This book reminds me of Ann Rule's writing and that is not a compliment!

It seems I am the only one who got really annoyed reading this book. I mean yes there are people who got annoyed because the way it was written but I do not see anyone who was annoyed for the same reason i was.

Okay Let's have it out. Why does Mr Phelps feels the need to constantly tell us how bad Jessica mcCord is and what an angel Alan Bates was.
It felt like Ann Rule because she has the same annoying habit.

Come on. We all k...more
I read this book because of a second degree of separation from the victims, who were valued friends of a valued friend. The low rating is because the writing is weak, but the story is incredible enough that it can still come through the bad writing. Having said that, please read the book. Maybe if enough people is the world are completely disgusted with Jessica she will spontaneously combust in her jail cell in Alabama.
On February 16, 2002 authorities responded to the report of a fire, they arrived to find a burned out car with two bodies in the trunk. It was Alan and Terra Bates, they had been murdered by Alan’s ex-wife, Jessica McCord and her husband, Jeff McCord, a police officer in Pelham, Alabama. Jessica wanted full and permanent custody of their children, without having to comply with the court ordered visitation allowed to Alan, she had already spent time in jail for disobeying the judge, and Jessica w...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
This was undoubtedly the worst written book I have ever read except for Taken by Debra Lee. It was awful. I feel like this author has never entered an English classroom, let alone have a sufficient enough command of grammar, spelling, sentence structure, etc. to think that he could ever be an author. The writing was so poor that after getting through a little more than half of the book, I looked up the story on Google, found that it had been profiled on the TV show Snapped, and watched it on my...more
Jim Nolt
Perhaps you've known someone who knows just the right words to make you do things her way. Or maybe she doesn't even need to use words. Perhaps a look or a certain move can cause you to forget all you were thinking and change course. "Death Trap" is a true crime tale of such a woman. You see, Jessica could make people do almost anything. Only Jessica wasn't quite so subtle about it. She didn't simply suggest or wheedle or seduce. Oh no.. Jessica did MADE things go her way by lying, shouting, and...more
Christi Budd
Quite horrific...and to think, I went to school with this girl and my mother worked with the police office for quite some time. Hard to believe...
This was a good book; one of Phelp's better ones. Very disturbing story. This story has been featured on Oxygen's Snapped.
Lynda Kelly
Wow, the main "baddie" in this true murder case was a true piece of work. A psychotic, crazy bitch. I was staggered at her absolute disregard for the law when it came to the custody/visitation court cases she had with her ex-husband. She'd just not turn up and get away with it. Well, in the end she served a whole 10 days in prison one Christmas (which greatly cheered me) but only after thumbing her nose at the law for years !!! The thing with her is she always thought she was the smartest person...more
I have read quite a few true crime books over the years, but I have to say that this particular book was quite memorable as far as the perpetrators of the crimes go. A young man married his pregnant high school girlfriend (a woman who regularly used abortion as birth control I might add even though she ended up giving birth to six children) but as young marriages often do, this one failed, primarily due to the personality problems of the girl, Jessica. She then carried out a many year crusade to...more
We teach our children, from a young age, to do the right thing. Make the right decisions. Stand up to your responsibilities. Accept the consequences of your actions. What we fail to teach them is that in doing so the heartache that can arise from "Doing the right thing" can have tragic endings. This story brings to the forefront how love can turn to hatred. Such a fine line. Other's saw the psychology of the woman in this story. But because the young man was raised in such a good home he overloo...more
Daniel Rippey
Great writing!

this is the first m. william phelps book that I've read. I'm a big true crime fan and this is definitely in my top ten. I've already downloaded several other books of his. can't wait to read them. big fan of Mr. phelps.
Michael McGeehan
Chilling portrayal

Chilling portrayal

sinister story of murder that goes deep in the mind of a scorned, vindictive, manipulative and psychotic wife and mother.
Stephanie Chu
Jessica McCord is such a narcissistic and evil woman. She rob the children of a good father. Poor Terra and Alan. :( I hate that woman. She is psychopathic to the core.
Abbi Wilder
I was curious about this case after seeing a profile on TV. A well written account of an unsettling crime.
Annie Booker
Heartbreaking and horrific true crime story. The author is able to hook the reader from the first line by delving into the lives of the victims and the lives and motives of the killers.
Bonny Macisaac
I love true crime stories and this is my first time reading a M. William Phelps book. It had me intrigued right off the start. You can tell reading it that the author has done his research! I didn't know this story bevfore picking up the book. I felt emotionally invested as the story was being told. Fast paced, leaves you wanting more. I could hardly sleep each night as I didn't want to put this book down. Will certainly be buying other books by Mr.Phelps. Absolutely loved it! A great crime writ...more
Nicole Overmoyer
I would have given this book a higher rating if M. William Phelps hadn't written it in the same voice that the narrators on every crime show on televsion use. The vast majority of the sentences are extremely short - some to the point of barely having a noun and a verb. It probably would have made an excellent audio book, but the overly simplistic writing style ruined what could have been an otherwise fascinating, in all the wrong ways, story.
Definitely a page turner, and extremely sad.
Suzie Flohr
this was a good book but, very long and drawn out too much about Jessica and her personality not about the murder.
What did I think? Not much. I wanted to read some non-fiction, and was also interested in a murder story. This book is both of these, but I wish it was written a little better. I had trouble staying with it, and found it somewhat redundant in places. It also has too many grammatical errors for my taste. I thought the description of the characters was ok, but I wasn't riveted as I thought I might be.
I found this book hard to read although I do love criminology books, even though it was a struggle for me to read. It was small view into a murder's mind & personality. In this book M.William Phelps didn't deliver the punch like he does in a lot of his other criminology books. My suggestion is if you want to read this book then don't It was one I could have gladly left on the shelf never ever to read.
Teresa Rollen
A good true crime book. These murders were totally senseless.
Death Trap is a great true crime book that I couldn't put down. The story takes place in Alabama and Georgia and is an emotional roller coaster from beginning to end. Jessica McCord is a woman who got what she wanted, when she wanted it, even if it meant the murder of her ex-husband and his new wife. I highly recommend it to those who like to read true crime.

The book's title suits the story dead on. It's apparent that there is no limit to the level of hate towards another person. Jessica McCord's head had to be rotted with hate to the last brain cell. To hate somebody to this extremety is beyond diabolical. The book is well written, I recommend this book if you like reading about crazy evil women.
Paula Humphrey
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Writing wasn't as good as Kathryn Casey, but the story was very enthralling. I also just finished She Wanted It All a while ago and it's amazing how similar these two women are, I mean Celeste Beard and Jessica McCord, who were featured in these books.
Lauren Silver
Every single time I read one of his books I grow more appreciation for his style of writing. I can't imagine how difficult it must be to take a book based simply on fact and make it so interesting to a reader! This book was great :)
Ashley Hansgen
I've read quite a few True Crime books and this was the first from M. William Phelps. He lays out the story very well, doing a great job of transitioning between the timeline of events. I'm looking forward to reading more of his work.
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M. William Phelps lives in Connecticut with his wife and three children.

He is the author of 14 true crime books.
More about M. William Phelps...
Because You Loved Me Murder In The Heartland The Devil's Rooming House: The True Story of America's Deadliest Female Serial Killer Cruel Death Perfect Poison: A Female Serial Killer's Deadly Medicine

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