A Twisted Faith: A Minister's Obsession and the Murder That Destroyed a Church
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A Twisted Faith: A Minister's Obsession and the Murder That Destroyed a Church

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3.6 of 5 stars 3.60  ·  rating details  ·  414 ratings  ·  67 reviews
New York Times bestselling author Gregg Olsen investigates the sensational story of a minister who seduced four of his female congregants, and hatched a cold-blooded plot to murder his wife.

On December 26, 1997, near the affluent community of Bainbridge Island off the coast of Seattle, a house went up in flames. In it was the shy, beloved minister's wife Dawn Hacheney. Wh...more
ebook, 320 pages
Published March 30th 2010 by St. Martin's Press
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Esteban del Mal
Oct 30, 2012 Esteban del Mal rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Those interested in the Coen Brothers, Rasputin, and the Pacific Northwest in the 1990s.
Recommended to Esteban by: I saw the story on the tv
When I was in my early twenties, I dated an attractive young woman who had had a nervous breakdown a few years prior wherein she had pounded on her neighbors' doors in the wee hours of the morning proclaiming herself Satan. I don't know what happened in the intervening years until the point at which I met her, other than she had been ushered away to some facility for a while, but by the time we dated the only remaining trace of her very specific mania was a penchant for wearing black clothing. H...more
BirdBrian
Nobody is really shocked anymore, when stories come out about ministers abusing their positions of power and trust, are they? After thirtysomething years listening to news reports of molested altar boys, televangelists with private jets, and of cult leaders with harems- religious figures abusing trust have become a well-worn stereotype. They were already cliché back in 1997, when the events in this book went down... but this stuff still happened, didn't it? Knowing these things are possible does...more
Robin
If you are looking for an Ann Rule read-a-like or book that reads like a suspense novel, then look no further. Gregg Olsen is an underrated author who has written both true-crime (Starvation Heights is also excellent) and suspense/thrillers. This is what I hope is his breakout book because it deserves to be picked up by anyone who likes a fascinating story about faith and love gone wrong.

Nick Hacheney was a charismatic preacher for a small church on Bainbridge Island in Washington who burned do...more
Valerie
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Hava
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Alison Whiteman
It was a hot sweltering week at Christian Youth Fellowship camp just outside Colorado Springs, the now mecca of sprawling evangelical churches to rival that of America's tasteless and tacky strip malls. I managed to narrowly escape the deceitful hands of a camp counselor four years my senior. Actually I didn't escape him entirely because of my numerous unexplained falls. He always appeared out of nowhere to cradle me with his athletic and toned 18-year-old arms. I was a scrawny 14-year-old girl...more
Jill Hutchinson
I like this author, he writes well but his subject in this true crime novel is so maddening that it is hard to give the book any stars in the ratings. I hated the characters........when you hate the characters, it is hard to like the book.
I am not conversant with the religion of fundamental Christians but any church (in this case, more of a cult than a mainstream denomination) that espouses the dogma described in this book cannot be spiritual.........get whatever you want, run up your credit car...more
Marianne Stehr
I am not a reader of true crime, but I am a fan of Gregg Olsen, so I thought I would read this one. I enjoyed the book (if that is the right words for reading a book that captures this youth pastor's disgusting behaviors) but remembered why true crime is not my thing: 1. I don't mind as much when I know the author made up a work of fiction that is disturbing and 2. I am not a fan of foreshadowing, since a true crime book has a definite end that is known to most people before you even pick up the...more
Lynne
While reading this book, I couldn't figure out whether I liked it or not. I had a hard time keeping all the names straight of the women Nick slept with - Lindsey, Nicole, Annette, Sandy, his wife Dawn - as well as their husbands, boyfriends, and, later, ex-husbands. Talk about a soap opera. At times the story seemed unbelievable, although I know it's all true. It's just crazy that one extremely unattractive man could display so much charisma. Until, that is, one sees how gullible and vulnerable...more
Sarah
This was a very well-written true crime book about a lascivious pastor who uses his position of mentor and counselor to manipulate women in his church, before and after his wife dies in a horrible fire. I thought the way the author presented the story, using dialogue to recreate conversations and scenarios as well as actual text from emails and IM conversations made it read almost like a novel, though not quite. I did get a little tired about 3/4 of the way through of reading play-by-play detail...more
frogfairie
This is a true crime book focused more on the bizarre behaviors of those involved rather than the trial itself. Although I would have liked more information on the trial it was an interesting read. I carried the book with me everywhere until finishing.
Burl
This tragic tale, brilliantly told, is another example of Olsen's literary talent, investigative skills, and heartfelt human empathy. Here is a true crime writer at the top of his form. Excellent in all respects.
Mary Ann
This is the riveting tale of a tight-knit church community that unraveled over the course of a few years. Against the backdrop of a fight over leadership of Christ Community Church on Bainbridge Island, Washington, one man, youth pastor Nick Hacheney, would commit deception, adultery, and eventually murder. By telling fantastic tales of prophecies and apocalyptic spiritual battles, Hacheney conned the women whose marriages he was supposed to be saving through counseling into sleeping with him; a...more
Wes
What's truly frightening about this book is how easily this Church leader
dove into a life of spiritual depravity; one of greed, sex, and murder while claiming to be following God and capable of leading a Church.

Perhaps even more frightening is that these people listened to this guy and allowed him to lead them and talk them into joining this pastor's sinful lifestyle. They thought they were following God, when it's obvious that none of them were. Not one of them had the intellect or spirituality...more
Thomas Holbrook
Review of: A Twisted Faith: a Minister’s Obsession and the Murder That Destroyed a Church (1st ed.) by Gregg Olsen, St. Martin’s Press, 175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010. 2010 by Gregg Olsen. 304 pages. [Jan. ‘13]

There is much good about the way the Protestant, Revivalist faith Traditions “do” church. In those traditions, the individual is responsible for his/her relationship to God and for how that relationship is expressed in life. If, however, a person uses the freedom of such a tradition...more
Jennifer
First let me begin my review by letting you know that I am not a religious person. Sixteen years of Catholic education has left me a bit jaded, to say the least. Therefore, as I read Gregg Olsen’s latest true crime novel A Twisted Faith I was stunned not only at the depravity of the main character, Nick Hacheney, but also his ability to brainwash and control a plethora of seemingly intelligent individuals. I use the word individuals because I think that Nick’s control was not limited to the wome...more
Janis Gilbert
New York Times bestselling author Gregg Olsen investigates the sensational story of a minister who seduced four of his female congregants, and hatched a cold-blooded plot to murder his wife.

On December 26, 1997, near the affluent community of Bainbridge Island off the coast of Seattle, a house went up in flames. In it was the shy, beloved minister's wife Dawn Hacheney. When the fire was extinguished, investigators found only her charred remains. Her husband Nick was visibly devastated by the lo...more
Cheryl
I don't normally get that disturbed by true crime books, particularly when, like in this case, I have seen the true crime television program(s) telling the story. However, this book really disturbed me. The television retellings of these events limited the discussion of Nick Hacheney's sexual proclivities to his affair with Sandy Glass. This book makes it clear that there were others who fell under his creepy but charismatic spell.

I was appreciative of the sensitivity with which Olsen portrayed...more
Katherine Coble
Olsen does a good job of writing respectfully about religious people--a skill often found wanting in modern authorship.

Unfortunately this just isnt that gripping a story. It basically boils down to The Anatomy Of A Church Split With A Murder Thrown In. Aside from the "murder" part, for a 41 year old woman like me who grew up in church and Christian school, the whole church politics/cliques/legalist bullies thing is about as normal and unremarkable as a lightswitch. A sad commentary to be sure, b...more
Michelle Robinson
This book is well written and would be a great read for someone that loves to read true crime, as I once did years ago.

I felt so bad as I read this book. It reminded me of how people will take one person's true faith and twist it into something ugly and despicable. Something to make one feel ashamed, dirty and ugly. I don't think there is anything wrong with faith, by itself, but this book is a testament to what happens to vulnerable people who fall into blindly following other people and not th...more
Alisi ☆ needs to stop starting new books ☆
The writing in this book was more than drab and boring. I wanted more of a, I don't know, true crime novel than a blow-by-blow description of all the women he slept with.

Truly. He spent a tiny bit on the actual murder and everything from then on is about the women he was sleeping with. We didn't any kind of perspective on the murderer other than he was rushed to the hospital as an infant. There's no details on his early life.

It's boring.

What is worse is the fact that the author (as I said) onl...more
Kitty
Poor God. He gets the blame for everything. This book is just another example of many, many that show what happens when you follow a man or women, for that matter, that says they know what God wants for your life and then begin to let you in on it. This story is as old as time and I am sure the main women in this book will never get over how naïve, trusting and duped they were. A good true story and it moves right along.
Tracy
I enjoy Gregg Olsen and his writing style, and although I've gotten out of the true crime genre for the most part, I liked this books. For me, true crime that reads like a novel, with interesting characters, is what brings the awfulness home, and this book does just that. In addition, it is set in the Pacific Northwest, specifically Bremerton and Bainbridge Island, two places I am familiar with. The minister in question does not, from his pictures, look like anyone who could be sexually desirabl...more
Erika
Very well written story about a murder that took place in a church congegation. A youth pastor who has multiple affairs with women in the church, kills his wife then covers it up with arson. He nearly got away with it. Olsen does an excellent job of bringing the people alive, I couldn't help but wanting to know more about them. What is perhaps the most fascinating aspect of the story, is how utterly and incredibly duped all those people were. There are times where I stopped reading and shook my...more
Chicken Little
1)I am still literally rolling on the floor laughing at people's stupidity. Those women were all f@@@@ idiots, so it's hard to feel sorry for them. OMG when I read how many of them were maxing out their credit cards because God wanted them to be happy I couldn't really believe it. How gullible are people??!!!!

2)The only person I felt for was Dawn, who was such a great wife and deserved somebody to love her back with just as much dedication. Unfortunately, she died without having known the love o...more
Sue
Seems fairly straightforward, but I always detest when people entertwine their religious views into the crime, to justify or accompany a motive.

It is also a very unsettling pyrrhic victory when the accused continues to assert his innocence. Doesn't sit well with me that there is that shread of a possibility he may not have committed the crime he's accused of, and years later DNA or other investigative means free someone, who alleged all along that he was innocent.

Much better to have a case like...more
Moe
The author did a great job putting this twisted story together. There is so much detail, yet it all flows smoothly through the story. Perfect title - it fit's the story perfectly.

There's a lot of wickedness going on in this church using God's name & twisting the Words of the bible around to justify adultry and murder.

The story begins with power struggles between pastors; pastor Nick twisting God's word & convincing women to have sex with him after the death of his wife. A prophetess pre...more
Yvonne
In this true crime book, a murder takes place in 1997. An unattractive man, who is a minister, has mastered that art of manipulating women, all in the name of god.

It's baffling to me how many women were manipulated by this, not especially good, con man who has the physique of the Pillsbury Dough Boy. He even slept with his dead wife's mother for crying out loud. Of course this is a church where women are expected to be submissive. When religion becomes cult like, everyone involved should beware...more
Jane
As usual, the peripheral characters are most compelling in the great majority of true crime accounts. How a pudgy, unattractive young man was able to manipulate so many women (including his mother-in-law) into sleeping with him is baffling, until you realize that they belonged to a church which encouraged members to give credence to certain prophets' wild claims about messages from God. The kicker, of course, is that the book starts out with the death of his young wife. You can fill in the rest....more
Dawn Colclasure
This book had all the makings of a true-crime story: A creepy suspect, lots of misdirection, a murder mystery and suspense. I could not stop reading this book. The whole time I kept wondering if Pastor Nick was innocent. It definitely had me glued to the pages. There's a lot of drama and some of it reads like a soap opera but this is a true story and the ending was a big shock. It took my breath away! I liked how the author gave updates on everyone at the very end of the book.
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Throughout his career, Gregg Olsen has demonstrated an ability to create a detailed narrative that offers readers fascinating insights into the lives of people caught in extraordinary circumstances.

A New York Times bestselling author, Olsen has written seven nonfiction books, three novels, and contributed a short story to a collection edited by Lee Child.

The award-winning author has been a guest o...more
More about Gregg Olsen...
Envy (Empty Coffin, #1) Starvation Heights: A True Story of Murder and Malice in the Woods of the Pacific Northwest Abandoned Prayers: The Incredible True Story of Murder, Obsession and Amish Secrets Victim Six A Wicked Snow

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