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Cruel Sacrifice

4.03  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,946 Ratings  ·  71 Reviews
On a freezing January in 1992, five teenage girls crowded into a car. By the end of the night, only four of them were alive. The fifth had been tortured and mutilated nearly beyond recognition. Her name was Shanda Sharer; her age - twelve. When the people of Madison, Indiana heard that a brutal murder had been committed in their midst, they were stunned. Then the story bec ...more
Paperback, 333 pages
Published May 3rd 2005 by Pinnacle (first published 1994)
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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 LarsonTrue Hollywood Noir by Dina Di Mambro
Best True Crime
49th out of 562 books — 970 voters
Columbine by Dave CullenCruel Sacrifice by Aphrodite JonesUnder the Bridge by Rebecca GodfreyFatal Innocence by David James SmithIf You Really Loved Me by Ann Rule
Kids/Teens who kill
2nd out of 60 books — 24 voters

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Community Reviews

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Dec 05, 2011 Jaymee-laura rated it really liked it
Shelves: true-crime
Cruel Sacrifice, by Aphrodite Jones, is a true crime story about the now infamous and tragic Shanda Sharer murder. It is written with input from the killers family, court testimony, Psychiatry notes, and interviews from people indirectly involved in the lives of the teenage girls who committed this horrible act. Jones is a well known author, who has researched and written about many different crimes.
The beginning of this story details the night of January 10th 1992, when four teenage girls trick
Rebecca McNutt
May 31, 2015 Rebecca McNutt rated it it was amazing
The girls went to a McDonald's restaurant at 9:30 a.m. for breakfast, where they laughed about Sharer's face looking like one of the sausages they were eating.

I remember hearing Shanda's mum's thoughts on the murder on Dr. Phil, in a highly emotional episode where she and her other daughter confront one of the recently paroled killers. This case is truly horrific and disturbing; the fact that three teens could take a young girl and light her on fire and beat her up and do a number of other hor
Melissa Bond
May 28, 2013 Melissa Bond rated it liked it
I remember hearing about this case when I was a teenager, when 'satanic panic' and homophobia was at an all-time high regarding crimes involving teens, and of course it made for sensational courtroom drama for the adults. This story is horrific & certainly gives insight into how young children start exploring their sexuality, how far bullying can go, and how psychology is no more closer today in determining what factors create a killer & just how much we rely on such faulty science to de ...more
Sarah Marie
Jan 27, 2016 Sarah Marie marked it as to-read
I came across this book simultaneously through Jones' Wikipedia page after watching a TV show she hosts on the Investigative Discovery Network. This is a story that doesn't seem like a real event, but it happened and I can't believe that people like this exist. Then again my obsession with true crime proves that it happens a lot.
Aug 27, 2007 Christina rated it it was ok
Shelves: nonfiction
You know Truman Capote? not even close. Though considering I got this out of a $.50 bin, I can't really complain either. No, I can.

The story was interesting, but the writing was repetitive and written like a really long, somewhat dull article: very informative, little sensitivity. Also, I was a little pissed off about lesbianism being passed off as both perverse and as an identity issue. If this had been about a heterosexual teen love triangle, I doubt the book would have been written.
Paula Gruben
Nov 11, 2012 Paula Gruben rated it really liked it
I remember a friend lending me this book circa 1999 / 2000, and it making one helluva impression on me. Well-written, good characterisation and setting, with great attention to detail. WARNING: Contains explicit, graphic material. NOT for the faint of heart. A truly harrowing tale. I particularly liked the inclusion of photographs - of both the victim and the perpetrators. For me it made the story far more real and accessible.
Jul 18, 2014 Stacey rated it it was amazing
I probably read this book fifteen years ago - and when I was done practically all my co-workers read it. My memory on much may be fuzzy but I do remember I and all my co-workers reached the same 3 conclusions: 1) That a mother (a nurse) knowingly sacrificed her daughters to her child molesting husband just to keep him off of her , 2) The daughters wound up all messed up and one, who might not otherwise have, became a monster and 3) The lesbian with whom the killer and the victim associated with ...more
Apr 17, 2008 Emily rated it it was amazing
Aphrodite Jones is a pretty hit-or-miss true crime writer, but with this one she scored a home run. It's not well-written in the slightest; it's pulpy, per the genre; it's seamy and sordid in every way. But somehow the story itself bypasses the inner security-systems of those of us with a high threshold for this sort of thing, as do the mug shots of the perky, smiling killers, which are indistinguishable from yearbook photos. It's about a clique of teenage girls in Indiana who murdered a twelve- ...more
Dec 30, 2015 Justin rated it really liked it
I'd first discovered the bone-chilling and tragically gruesome murder of 12-year-old Shanda Sharer watching segments of "Too Young Too Kill" on YouTube. I was brought to tears a bit just by reading the Wikipedia article alone. I have an occasional interest in "true crime" stories; the same way I find myself in the mood to read ghost stories to give me that jittery feeling, or watch a sad movie because it feels good to cry. The circumstances surrounding Shanda's death are not for the squeamish an ...more
Jan 10, 2010 Faith rated it liked it
Very sad and gruesome story. I believe that the girls deserved their sentences, but even so I feel sorry for them as well as the victim. The two main perpetrators had horrible family lives, The other two merely didn't have the strength to say no to the torture and/or extricate themselves from the situation. This story makes me wonder ow parents can better watch their children (even as teens) and at the same time instill basic values. Very, very sad.
Feb 05, 2008 Andy rated it liked it
The ultimate in true crime sleaze, this one will cure you forever of your ghoulish desire to read this kind of thing ever again. A spectacular circus sideshow that piles lunacy atop lunacy, sleaze atop sleaze, and horror atop horror. Reads like a black-comic collaboration between the Coen Brothers, Takashi Miike, and Nancy Grace.
Feb 16, 2009 Lesley rated it it was ok
Someone else described this book as a train wreck and after finishing it, I have to agree. Poor writing and an over-abundance of quotation marks (actually bordering on obsessive, if you ask me) made for some tough reading of an already very confusing, very bizarre true crime tale.

Omnipotent Dystopian Now
Uggh, not for the faint of heart. This is one of the toughest true-crime stories I have ever read. The book is well done though, and I applaud the author for tackling this gruesome story. This is one of those things that are so horrible you wish you could remove it from your mind.
Gemma Shucksmith
Sep 24, 2014 Gemma Shucksmith rated it it was amazing
I first heard of this case when I watched the programme 'Deadly women'. The case really intrigued me as I couldn't understand how teenagers could kill a child of 12, especially in such a grisly way. I was shocked to find that the victim Shanda was sexually active at the age of 12 to Amanda Heavrin who was quite a bit older than her. Even though Melinda and Laurie came from homes that had abuse in them, it is no excuse to have gone and committed the crime they did. Other people that have come fro ...more
Stephanie Chu
Sep 29, 2014 Stephanie Chu rated it it was amazing
The book is hard to read. It's just so unbelievable that teenage girls could do such cruel and sadistic thing to an innocent girl. RIP Shanda. :(
Apr 29, 2009 Vickie rated it liked it
Sad. Scary Disturbing.
Feb 07, 2016 Reannan rated it it was amazing
This is a very sad book. The book begins a few hours before the crime itself and then goes back in time to tell the story of the perpetrators. The girls in this crime all had difficult lives. The mastermind behind the crime, Melinda Loveless, wanted to kill Shanda Sharer because of another girl, Amanda Heavrin. Loveless had an upbringing that few would envy. There were allegations of incest between Loveless and her father. Loveless was a lesbian who had her heartbroken by Amanda Heavrin. Laurie ...more
Oct 18, 2015 Heather rated it it was amazing
I read this book about 20 years ago and it still haunts me. I think about that poor little girl begging for her mommy and I still get choked up. Even though it was hard to read its wonderfully written. It gives you all the information you need/want. I had No questions at the end of it. This was also the book that led me to reading Aphrodite Jones books.
Lynn Fergusson
Aug 17, 2013 Lynn Fergusson rated it it was amazing
This story left me sickened and saddened. Sickened that four teenage girls could actually do what they did to a 12 year old child. It's a brilliant book, well written and it tells the story of what happened in graphic detail. There were some bits I couldn't get out of my head and my heart broke for young Shanda.... what those evil girls did to her was sadistic and beyond belief. it gives you lots of background info on all involved and goes in depth especially into Melinda Loveless's childhood wh ...more
Apr 10, 2015 Alice rated it really liked it
Shelves: own, true-crime
I read this book a while back , its by Aphrodite Jones . This was an absolutely heartbreaking , sad , shocking , but tragic story . It is great but was a disturbing true crime book .
May 04, 2014 Kathryn rated it liked it
Sensationalist true crime storytelling. This was a stripped book at the B&N where I worked 20 years ago so I read a copy on my breaks. Just remember thinking how f*cked up these kids were.
Sep 24, 2014 Heather rated it really liked it
Could barely put it down. Heartbreaking that this happened especially that the victim was only 12 years old and the girls committing murder were between 14 and 17.
Stephanie White
Sep 02, 2014 Stephanie White rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
chilling to think what people are capable of doing to each other -- the true account of how 4 teenage girls murdered a 12-year old child out of jealousy and revenge
Feb 20, 2015 Lenny rated it it was amazing
Group of young girls fascinated by lesbianism and witchcraft and death have fun one night by killing a young girl. Sick story! Too bad its all true!
Chantal Belanger
Dec 31, 2015 Chantal Belanger rated it it was amazing
just showed how evil people are. they should have been put to death for what they did to that poor girl.
Jen Trigsted Sebring
Nov 09, 2014 Jen Trigsted Sebring rated it it was amazing
This book is haunting. It's stuck with me for the last 17 years... Not necessarily in a good way.
falon Broussard
Dawn Barber
Aug 22, 2014 Dawn Barber rated it it was amazing
Read this book back in mid 90's. Awful subject, great writing.
Sep 03, 2015 Tanya rated it it was amazing
Cyanine Rachelle Rintacutan
Sponsor please :)
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True crime writer published by Pinnacle Books and HarperCollinsPublishers.

She is also the host of the TV series True Crime which airs on Investigation Discovery.

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