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Death Trap

3.84  ·  Rating Details ·  651 Ratings  ·  64 Reviews
Trap Them And Kill Them. . .A loving father and his new wife set out to pick up his kids for a scheduled weekend visit--but never suspected they were walking into a death trap.Drag Them And Burn Them. . .A handwritten note instructed Alan and Terra Bates to enter the back door of his ex-wife's Alabama home. A day later their charred bodies were found hundreds of miles away ...more
ebook, 320 pages
Published March 1st 2010 by Pinnacle Books (first published 2010)
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Raina Apparently she used abortion as a form of birth control which is mentioned in the few chapters after the initial mentioning of it. I just wasn't…moreApparently she used abortion as a form of birth control which is mentioned in the few chapters after the initial mentioning of it. I just wasn't patient enough at the time I asked this(less)
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♥ Marlene♥
Sep 03, 2010 ♥ Marlene♥ rated it liked it
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
Mar 03, 2010 Julie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
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.
Jul 31, 2012 Dawn rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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.
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...
Jan 19, 2017 Lee rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a sad story this is about a vindictive and mentally ill woman trying to keep her children from seeing their father which ends in murder. I was familiar with this case from seeing it on TV before but this book really explored the complex personalities of many of the characters. It was heartbreaking to read to what lengths this mother went to in order to use these two young girls as pawns against their father and his family. This is definitely another great read by Author Phelps and if I coul ...more
Excellent book! It is my first read of M. William Phelps and I am now hooked! The book was very well written and with good detail. It was not overly wordy or boring in any way. I could picture the events easily from what he wrote.

If you have never read any of his books and you read true crime, do yourself a favor and read his books.
Lynda Kelly
Nov 12, 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
Jim Nolt
Apr 05, 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
Nov 01, 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
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
Mar 30, 2010 Shirley rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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
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
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
Bonny Macisaac
May 08, 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
Kimberly Jackson
This is one book true crime book I will never forget. Phelps has done a great job going in detail about the sad case of Alan and Terra Bates. Two awesome people who were loved by so many and hated by one woman ho deserves to be six feet under. Jessica and Jeff McCord should have known better from the beginning. Jeff working for the law at the time of this brutal killings, should have known to just walk away from it all. Custody cases can lead to a bad end of a good end, but overall Alan was a fa ...more
Apr 30, 2012 J.R. rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Sep 26, 2010 Ms_MotorbikeNut rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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.
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.
Jul 01, 2010 Leslie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.

Dec 19, 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.
Oct 20, 2011 Joe rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Joleen Devens
Feb 18, 2014 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.
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.
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.
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 :)
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.
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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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