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Death Trap

3.84  ·  Rating Details ·  624 Ratings  ·  60 Reviews
This title tells the horrifying true crime story of Jeff McCord, a police officer who used his expertise as a law enforcement officer to plot with his wife, Jessica, to carry out the murder of her ex-husband in order to secure permanent custody of their two children.
Paperback, 320 pages
Published March 1st 2010 by Pinnacle (first published 2010)
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(showing 1-30)
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Mar 03, 2010 Julie rated it it was ok
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.
Mar 30, 2010 Shirley rated it it was amazing
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
Jul 01, 2010 Leslie rated it really liked it
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.

Jul 06, 2010 SenoraG rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
♥ 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
Sep 26, 2010 Ms_MotorbikeNut rated it did not like it
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.
Jan 21, 2011 Patricia rated it liked it
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.
Paula Humphrey
May 17, 2011 Paula Humphrey rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Christi Budd
Sep 25, 2011 Christi Budd rated it liked it
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...
Oct 20, 2011 Joe rated it it was amazing
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.
Lauren Silver
Jan 01, 2012 Lauren Silver rated it liked it
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 :)
Nicole Overmoyer
Mar 05, 2012 Nicole Overmoyer rated it it was ok
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.
Ashley Hansgen
Mar 09, 2012 Ashley Hansgen rated it really liked it
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.
May 18, 2012 J.R. rated it liked it
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.
Jul 04, 2012 Lindsay rated it liked it
I've read a lot of true crime, but there are few people who seem to be anywhere near as hateful as Jessica was in this book. I was left with a feeling of really just wanting to make her suffer as much as she made Alan and Terra suffer.
Jul 31, 2012 Dawn rated it did not like it
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
Aug 02, 2012 Peg rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a good book; one of Phelp's better ones. Very disturbing story. This story has been featured on Oxygen's Snapped.
Nov 03, 2012 Valerie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 27, 2013 Carol rated it liked it
Shelves: true-crime
This would've been a fine 200-page book but at 400 pages it went on too long and repeated too much of the same information. Got a bit weary, too, of the simplistic portrayal of the killers (eeee-vil!) and the victims (saints!).
Bonny Macisaac
Jul 11, 2013 Bonny Macisaac rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Lynda Kelly
Nov 14, 2013 Lynda Kelly rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: true-crime
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
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.
Joleen Devens
Feb 01, 2016 Joleen Devens rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
OK...So I am a True crime junkie. Love books like this. I am always amazed of people who can take another person's life and have no remorse at all. I love when the guilty are finally caught and punished. My heart goes out to the families of the innocent.
Jim Nolt
Apr 21, 2014 Jim Nolt rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Alisi ☆ wants to read too many books ☆
This wasn't terrible. It's one of his better books and it was an interesting case. The book was knocked down two stars for the following:

Slut Shaming: I think Jessica was a terrible person and I think her guilt was rather plain for all to behold. However, I found the numerous times the author referred to the number of her lovers and/or 'tons' of abortions as going off topic. I don't thinking having lots of lovers or lots of abortions as making anyone particularly evil and it just got tiresome to
May 18, 2015 Kellye rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
A great case, but poorly written

This is the second, and probably last, book I've read by Mr. Phelps. It's a truly fascinating case, which is saying something, because there's really no mystery about who the killers are. But the subject is really interesting. However, the writing is like reading someone's sarcastic oral dictation. It's an attempt, I think, at having voice. But it comes across as an author overly impressed with himself. He constantly makes asides to the reader, which I found distr
Aug 19, 2015 Lynn rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good story but the author could make it much better

While the story of the murders of Alan and Terra Bates by Alan's first wife and her police officer husband is chilling, Mr. Phelps does himself no flavors in the manner in which he portrays the suspects. His decided prejudice against the prime suspect, Jessica McCord, while justified, is not helpful. Readers want to come to their own conclusions based on the facts presented. Asides and put-downs tend to weaken his case instead of bolstering it i
Dec 24, 2015 Theresa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
True murder

This was another very well written book by this author. He presents the story in chronological order and give pertinent background information so the reader understands what happened. Maybe not why,but then who can ever know what is going through a murderers head when they commit the crime.
As always, Phelps has done a thorough job telling this story. Your heart will break for Alan and Terra, and their families. And you'll be ready to kill Jessica. Well, maybe some torture before killing. She's a horrible person. It's a sad story. Well, pretty much all murder stories are sad stories. But this one is so senseless and unnecessary. I do hope Jessica and Jeff spend a very long time behind bars. Personally, I think that's better than Jessica deserves, but at least she's not out there to ...more
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Crime, murder and serial killer expert, creator/producer/writer and former host of the Investigation Discovery series DARK MINDS, acclaimed, award-winning investigative journalist M. William Phelps is the New York Times best-selling author of 30 books and winner of the 2013 Excellence in (Investigative) Journalism Award and the 2008 New England Book Festival Award. A highly sought-after pundit, Ph ...more
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