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Runaway Devil: How Forbidden Love Drove a 12-Year-Old to Murder Her Family

3.65  ·  Rating Details  ·  425 Ratings  ·  60 Reviews
Marc and Debra seemed to have it all — a lovely home in the Prairie town of Medicine Hat, fulfilling careers, a supportive marriage, and two beautiful children: eight-year-old Jacob and twelve-year-old JR. After years of struggle to reach this point, they finally felt their future held promise. But on April 23, 2006, their bodies were discovered in their basement, covered ...more
Paperback, 296 pages
Published September 7th 2010 by McClelland & Stewart (first published January 1st 2009)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 995)
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Alisha Marie
I'm surprised that the Richardson family murders weren't a big headline in the U.S. despite the fact that it happened in Canada. You would think that some people would bring it up and say "See the US Justice System isn't THAT bad. Sure we let Casey Anthony out, but we would NEVER give an underage murderer a slap on the wrist!" But, nevertheless, this is my first time hearing of this case. I was intrigued by the cover, so I decided to check Runaway Devil out of the library, and was appalled by th ...more
Tara Lynn
Feb 22, 2010 Tara Lynn rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This reads like sensationalist tabloid true-crime.

Although most crime authors tend to sensationalize the story for the market, I really wanted to yell at both of these authors. First of all, if you're going to pretend to be a nonpartial observer/writer, be NONPARTIAL.

The entirety of the book is overwhelmingly pro-Jeremy, the 23yr old rapist/murderer who was "overwhelmed" and "seduced" by a "smart and emotionally moving" 12yr old.

I REPEAT: You're supposed to feel sorry for the 23 yr old for co
...more
Aubrey
Jul 15, 2013 Aubrey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In case I haven't made myself clear already, I really love true crime! This case hits close to home - it was a sensational case that took place in Canada. Headlines and nasty rumours even reached as far as where I was living at the time in Northern Ontario. There is one word that kept popping up throughout the book, as well as through other reviews I've read, and blogs still keeping track of the case - unthinkable. That's exactly what this case is. Unthinkable.

As the verdicts and sentences were
...more
Venus H
Feb 07, 2011 Venus H rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Really crap writing by Remington and Zickefoose. He uses an extremely condescending tone towards teens, and writes J's story as if he wasn't just another nosy reporter trying to make a buck off her. He describes it as if J killed her family because she's a teen, but I find it completely biased and at times ridiculous.
Derek Donais
Jun 23, 2011 Derek Donais rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
You know that strange urge to slow down and look that grips you when driving past the scene of an accident? That macabre pull to see what's happened? Well, I had that experience with the latest book up for review: Runaway Devil: How Forbidden Love Drove a 12-Year-Old to Murder Her Family. Seeing the book, it rekindled my curiosity regarding the horrific stories I'd heard after the events of that 2006 spring in Medicine Hat. While I can usually fight off the temptation to slow down and 'rubbernec ...more
Brittany
Jun 18, 2010 Brittany rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People who are interested in Canadian true crime or studying psychology
How I Came To Read This Book: I wish I remembered how I came to learn about the familial homicides committed by a twelve-year-old girl named Jasmine and her twenty-three-year-old boyfriend Jeremy, but I don't know. I just kept a passive interest in the case when it happened to cross my path, and recently I learnt there was a book written about it, so I borrowed it from the library.

The Plot: Technically speaking, there is a publication ban on the young offender implicated in the crimes in this bo
...more
Bree Mclaren
Sep 30, 2012 Bree Mclaren rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I thought this was really well written for a true crime book. "Runaway Devil" kept me interested in the story the entire time. The book wasn't to overbearing on the technical jargon of law, it was a good combination of 'narrative' like writing, quotes, evidence, and trial.

I had first heard of Jasmine Richardson on the show Deadly Women on Investigation Discovery. Originally they referred to her as JR (as they do in the book due to Canadian law of keeping the identity of young offenders as secre
...more
Fishface
An interesting story about a rare and horrible crime. I have to say the book dragged a bit when the authors were listing, it seemed, every single Instant Messenger communication that ever passed between the young lovers, but it didn't run into THAT many pages so I can forgive it.
Lo
This is a true crime book unlike any other, but is that a good thing?

Two reporters from Calgary desperately attempt to construct the exact argument used by the defense in this case, but their general lack of information leaves the book feeling like a rush job.

For starters, our merry murderess is referred to only as JR, and her friends all have reconstructed identities, due to Canadian juvenile laws. In lieu of her odd initials being used, the writers try calling her by a myriad of her screenna
...more
Kendra
Apr 21, 2014 Kendra rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: book-club
What kid hasn't said "I wish my parents were dead' but you don't actually mean it. Jeremy thought JR meant it. And the horrible murder of a Medicine Hat family occurred.



This book is haunting. Haunting in the fact that its so close to home.More haunting is the fact that right now, JR (name can't be provided as she was underage at the time of the murder and the Canadian legal system protects those...but if you do a google search you will be able to find her) has been out of jail since 2012 and bas
...more
Katie
The main reason I was stoked to read this book is because I live in the city where the grisly crimes were committed, but even if I didn't, it would still be a really interesting story. That is, unfortunately, butchered by the storytellers. The author(s?) like to veer wildly off-topic to describe the local geography, etc. I'm too lazy to find the actual quote, but there was something along the lines of this:

(setting, the cop has just realised who the teenagers at the gas station are and is going
...more
Nicole
This book is truly about the story...not on the merits of the writing. I don't remember ever hearing about this crime...it is seriously shocking. The parallels between this girl and Karla Homolka are insane. I truly believe no matter who this girl hung around, what movie she watched, what music she listened to and who her friends were… She was bound for destruction. Terrifying for to read as a parent...
Erika
Interesting book about a triple homicide in Alberta. The perpetrators were a 12 year old girl and her 23 year old boyfriend. Fairly solid account with some good background information, but some glaring errors in mental health definitions, which affected my trust in the authors' accuracy overall.
Monique Stockdale
Feb 07, 2016 Monique Stockdale rated it really liked it
I enjoy reading true crime novels, especially when they are based on Canadian events. This case was extremely interesting and educational in regards to Canadian law. I recommend this story to anyone who enjoys learning about psychology and what drives people to engage in such violent acts.
Andrew
Mar 10, 2016 Andrew rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Disturbing read at points. I could not put this down. I also was reading Lethal Marriage, about Karla Homolka at the same time. Good build up of the timeline up to the crimes, and really good account of the forensics investigation and trials.
Teddie
Jan 21, 2011 Teddie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was very interesting and did a good job describing the 2 killers relationship. And the difference between Canadian and USA laws regarding minors is quite different. To say the 12 year old walked away with a slap on the wrist is an understatement. I was shocked at her sentence. But I did find the book lacking in details. I would have loved to learn more about her home life. I would have like to learn more about the victims. It seems to me the victims in this book were forgotten. And wha ...more
Melissa M
Jan 09, 2016 Melissa M rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is very well written and is a page turner. At the same time the account is so horrific. I'll never understand that kind of evil.
Randi
Dec 09, 2014 Randi rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
It was like an accident. Can't look away even though you kind of want to. Guilty pleasure read, I guess.
Viky S. Deneault
Some fucked up book I read when I was 13 or so and it scared me and made me want to be a criminologist at the same time!
Daniella Ivette
I came to read this book after watching the "J.R." case on "Deadly Women". Since I already read a lot about it, I was not expecting an easy read.

Fortunately, it's quite poignant. In fact, it's a very reliable source on the "J. Richardson / Steinke" case - not just about the crime itself, but it showed how the relationship between "J.R." (who we all know is named "Jasmine Richardson", if you did your homework!) and her parents. And, of course, how it all ended up.

One thing I will tell you is that
...more
Kristi
Jan 18, 2011 Kristi rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book is absolutely horrible. It's written poorly. The story is over by less than a 1/3 of the way in and it's another 200 and some pages. I'll admit it's probably unfair of me to review it as I felt there was no point in finishing it. A terrible stupid little girl meets a terrible stupid older boy and they do terrible things and then blame each other for it. But for the most part it's just an unreadable book that is finsihed about 100 pages in and then just starts to drone on and on and on ...more
Anne
Feb 15, 2013 Anne rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Was excited to read this book however it fell way short of my expectations with the writing.

The factual content was great and well researched however the authors tended to stray into other area's and kept having to retrack to the original story which was annoying.

I believe this book could have been better written with about 50 pages less - divergance from the subject was extremely distracting and boring as was the authors clearly biased opinions on the goth world and also JR's mental condition.

A
...more
X-tina Campos
So far this book is very interesting for me. the girl whose code name in the book is JR has a kind and loving family yet has problems with them. like any teenager she is rebelling. but she goes darker when shes 12. she begins hangin out with jeremy who is almost twice her age, and both are unaware of this. very captivating so far,
---

This book is very psycological. its insane but you can see what happened how it happened and wonder... how many more stories similar to this there are
Jessica
Jan 02, 2012 Jessica rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am fascinated by what makes people murder - especially children and those you wouldn't think would ordinarily "do such a thing." As an armchair psychologist, delving into the minds of sociopaths and people with borderline personality disorders is very interesting.

This little girl (now an adult getting ready to be unleashed back into society) bears a startling resemblance to Karla Holmolka - and that's not a good thing. Makes you hope and pray that your children just act out by smoking pot.
Janelle
Aug 17, 2009 Janelle rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have never started crying, or felt so much emotion while reading a book before. I knew going into this novel that it was going to hit home, but it was so emotional. I really enjoyed it, and I was glad to finally know what actually happened with this horrible tragity. I reccomend this book to everyone who is looking for an amazing non-fiction read. The two are twisted, sick, and completely disgusting, and now I think everyone has some closure after reaing this.
Tracey Evans
both fascinating and disturbing, it lends credit to the argument that sociopaths are born, not made...and the partnering of two such people can create something unbelievably sinister.
Arieanca
Apr 11, 2010 Arieanca rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2009
I live about 2 blocks from where this horrific tragedy happened. It has opened many memories again. I am hoping after reading this book, that I can make more sense of what happened. But, then how can anyone make sense of a murder? I didn't know the family personally, but some of my friends did. Reading this book has opened up emotions, memories and questions. I feel attached to the story, because it happened in my neighbour hood.
Emily
Oct 16, 2013 Emily rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
okay read. I really didn't appreciate the bad perspective they gave the goth scene. The people who investigated the crime thought Maryln Manson was metal music which is way off. I think if anything, it proved to me how horribly prejudice the justice system is in any country. Yes the kid has mental health issues but there is no need to make her into a monster, or "devil" as the book puts it.
Alyssa
Apr 13, 2016 Alyssa rated it liked it
this book reads a bit too much like a newspaper for me, with a lot of facts that don't pertain to this exact case that while reading you tend to gloss over, but this is still an educational good read, that I couldn't put down.
Beth
Jul 24, 2010 Beth rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Okay, every once in a while I venture out and read true crime books (thanks in part to Ann Rule's book about Ted Bundy and Thomas Capano of Delaware). This book was tragic. Honestly, it could have ended after the first 2 chapters, but the end of the book makes interesting read for anyone into court tv, criminal justice, etc.
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