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Bitter Blood: A True Story of Southern Family Pride, Madness, and Multiple Murder
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Bitter Blood: A True Story of Southern Family Pride, Madness, and Multiple Murder

4.02 of 5 stars 4.02  ·  rating details  ·  3,004 ratings  ·  91 reviews
The killings began with the murder of a feisty millionaire widow and her beautiful daughter in their posh Louisville, Kentucky, home. Months later, another wealthy widow and her prominent son and daughter-in-law were killed in North Carolina. Clues led to the person who linked the families, former child "princess" and fraternity sweetheart Susie Sharp Newsom Lynch. "A tale ...more
Paperback, 573 pages
Published April 4th 1989 by Onyx (first published January 1st 1988)
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In Cold Blood by Truman CapoteHelter Skelter by Vincent BugliosiThe Stranger Beside Me by Ann RuleThe Devil in the White City by Erik LarsonColumbine by Dave Cullen
Best True Crime
40th out of 453 books — 717 voters
In Cold Blood by Truman CapoteHelter Skelter by Vincent BugliosiThe Stranger Beside Me by Ann RuleThe Devil in the White City by Erik LarsonThe Manson File by Nikolas Schreck
True Crime
23rd out of 398 books — 418 voters

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Community Reviews

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Ruth Turner


I love big books, but at 1072 pages on my laptop, this was a chore to read, and with 100 pages to go I abandoned it.

Firstly, the number of people in this book, some of them adding nothing to the story, is mind-boggling, and it was exhausting trying to keep track of everyone. I had to keep a notepad and pen beside me and at one point I honestly contemplated doing a family tree.

Marjorie, a church friend of Tom Lynch’s mother, Dolores, makes an appearance in the first 322 pages and then is never
I like true crime stories, and I started reading this book I think because the murders were based in my home-state, North Carolina. I very good book to read if you like true crime novels. It's a bit slow going @ first, but it gets better and turns out to be a real page-turner.
Andrea Clark
This book has immense details surrounding tragic family murders.It is one of the most bizarre true crime stories I have read.I do believe a lot more could have been done by law enforcement to prevent the final tragedies.Prayers go out to all my personal opinion lack of awareness and acceptance of mental illness play a huge part in how things exploded into an unfixable situation.It is hard to identify mental illness,especially in prominent families where a "problem"such as "crazy"jus ...more
Geraldine Meskill
Good read

Good read

very well researched, left you wondering. sad to think that people like these two murderers exist, it's scary. would recommend if into true crime.
Mary Ballard
Blood on their hands

I read many books in true crime, and I'm usually sad afterwards, but this story made me so angry. My heart goes out to Tom Lynch. I highly doubt Susie was controlled by Fritz, or anyone else, in fact it sounds like she was controlling everyone and everything her entire life. She was nothing but a spoiled, selfish bitch. Shame on her family for sitting back and doing nothing and making excuses for her, while 2 small boys suffered emotional abuse and brainwashing at her hands.
Teresa Slack
I read this book on the recommendation of my dentist who went to dental school with Janie Newsome. This was my first true crime book, and maybe my last. I'm used to fiction and found this very dry and very clinical. History on every family member, every detective, judge, lawyer, neighbor, counselor, and reporter. I think he even covered the guy at the car wash. Okay, maybe it wasn't that bad, but I started skimming pages about 1/2 way thru. Maybe all true crime books are like this. Now I know.
Read this because it takes place in my hometown and surrounding areas. My family knew the Klenners, which made this an exciting read, but the prose style was lackluster and the structuring of sections of the story was tedious and hard to get through - the author gave every character's whole biography before explaining any of their relevance. It took about a hundred pages before the story felt like it properly began.
There is a thing as too much information. I didn't need to know about the churches that each member of the police force belonged to. Yawn.

On the other hand, the story was intriguing if a bit grisly. Certainly, it would be hard to develop a fiction as odd as this.

The family tree helped and the photos were illuminating. Living in Greensboro definitely made it more interesting.

If I could give this one more than "5 stars" I would; awesome read and scary someone could think and do these things. If you think you have a nutty family, be grateful! This one was "normal" too, except for a few explosive personalities that found one another or rubbed each other the wrong way! If I didn't have such a long reading list, I'd read this one again!
Jan 25, 2013 Shana rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: True crime nuts like myself
Whoever said "truth is stranger than fiction" must have been talking about this totally unbelievable true crime story. This is a well researched and well written account of this bizarre story about Susie Lynch, who is from a wealthy and well known southern family. After a bitter divorce and custody battle with Tom Lynch, she returns to her home town in North Carolina and becomes romantically involved with her crazy (I mean seriously, stone cold crazy) cousin. Unfortunately, they seem to develop ...more
Although this is a good book, it is not as good as Bledsoe's book, Before He Wakes: A True Story of Money, Marriage, Sex and Murder, which sucked me in from page one and kept me going even until today. I recommend it every chance I get. This book has a large number of "characters" which need to be kept straight. This one seems to have a tad bit more information/history than what I think benefits the book, but that is just my opinion. If you are looking for a fantastic 5 star read by this author, ...more
Rita McDowell


This book will bring into reality that there exists evil in the world! I truly had to keep reminding myself that this was a true story and not a fictional one! To read that such evil exists was extremely difficult. Guaranteed to keep
you turning pages rooted and reading to there very last word. Awesome!
This was most true crime books I feel like the trial drags on too long and I end up skimming. This story didn't really have a trial, but there were detailed backstories on some of the characters which I didn't think necessary, and there was a big epilogue/aftermath discussion in the last 50-100 pages that I mostly skimmed through. I also really look forward to the pictures in true crime novels (I wait until I'm finished the book to look at them) and these were pretty disappointing.
Being familiar with all of the prominent locations in this book, I found it fascinating. It is very detailed, with lots of backstory that some might find unnecessary, but to me it added much to the story. Recommend for those who enjoy true crime novels.
Although this was an interesting crime story particularly due to the locale of one of the crimes being so close to home, I thought the author added far too many family related details that, in my opinion, added nothing to the story.
Kelly V
Sep 30, 2008 Kelly V rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: people who like true crime books
I don't have a whole lot to say about this book. I did enjoy reading it, though it also scared the living crap out of me (and I had to sleep with the light on for several days). It's the story of two sets of multiple murder that end up being related. They're related by one woman in North Carolina in the midst of using her children to get back at her ex-husband, while having a fling with her crazy cousin. The book can go slow at times, because there is a lot of background information needed to ge ...more
This book is a "fleshing out" of a series of newspaper articles that Bledsoe did for for what I believe was the Greensboro Record back in the mid-80's. My mom saved all of them for me to read on my trips home from college.

As an adult now living in Winston-Salem, NC, I often pass by the lovely colonial home where Bob & Florence Newsom and Bob's mother, Nanna, were brutally slain, and I never fail to think about Bledsoe's book and the aftermath of 2 families torn apart by hate, revenge and she
Started off thinking this book was way too rambly and disjointed, but it came together in a masterful way. Would recommend.
This book broke my heart! It's both interesting and disturbing, and shows there are many kinds of evil in the world.
When I read it I thought it would be a great movie. Discovered that it was a Lifetime movie. Will have to watch.
This is a must read for my OC friends! I didn't love the style of writing, and I'm not a "true crime" reader. But the fact that I frequently drive by the house where these murders took place, and that I knew two of the people who were mentioned in the book, kept me reading! If you know the OC, you will recognize landmarks, common family names, OC churches, etc. This is a story that shook this community in the early 80's, and people who were around then remember it, and usually have something to ...more
May 25, 2008 Nomanisan rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: see above
If you like meticulously researched, painfully detailed coverage of actual crime, this book is for you. If you can't hang in for 600+ pages of every possible detail, think twice before you pick this book up, because you're going to find it hard to put it down till you get to the very end. Bledsoe does a remarkable job of tracing down every tiny piece of information about, background to, and aftermath/impact of the 1984 and 1985 murders of Delores and Janie Lynch, and Bob, Florence, and "Nanna" N ...more
Andrea Forro
Decent book by Jerry Bledsoe Took me quite a while to understand the characters and the relation to each other. Well written as usual but not his best. The story itself is wild though!
I have several ties to this book. I was living in Greensboro when these events occurred...and had just moved out of the apartment complex where Susie and Fritz lived. My daughter was a classmate of John Lynch's when he was killed. For these reasons and more, I had a special interest in reading this book and so it is difficult to give this book an unbiased review. I found it engrossing.
Jerry Bledsoe is an excellent writer and carefully researched this fascinating story. He guides you through the
If you like the "true crime" genre, this one is a good choice. Great writing.
Lyn Richards
Truth is stranger than fiction. This woman reminded me of my mom.
Oct 20, 2013 Tommy added it
I actually grew up in the house across the street from the murder house. I was too young at the time to really understand what was going on. I just recently read the book and now when I drive down the driveway and look across the street at the door that she was shot at and the retaining wall where her daughter was shot the first time at.... My hair stands up on the back of my neck. Love the book, but REALLY describes too much in detail for the guy that lives across the street from there lol!
OMG!!! How could a woman do that!!! I don't care if you dislike your ex-mother in-law and your ex-sister-in-law, you don't kill them!!! You don't kill family!!! And you don't kill your babies!!! You don't kill people!!! This lady is this book is a spoiled brat!!! IT TORE MY HEART APART AND BELIEVE ME I HAVE READ SOME TRUE STORIES BEFORE LIKE HELTER SKELTER BUT OMG!!! THIS ONE WAS JUST AS BAD IF NOT WORSE!!!!! It was a good book but if you read it please have a lot of tissue with you please
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