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Cruel Sacrifice

4.02 of 5 stars 4.02  ·  rating details  ·  2,380 ratings  ·  60 reviews
Veteran true crime journalist Aphrodite Jones reveals the shocking truth behind the most savage crime in Indiana history--the torture, mutilation, and murder of 12-year-old Shanda Sharer by four teenage girls. Here is a tragic story of twisted love and insane jealousy, lesbianism, brutal child abuse, and sadistic ritual killing in small-town America. Includes 16-page photo ...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 LarsonColumbine by Dave Cullen
Best True Crime
44th out of 450 books — 708 voters
Columbine by Dave CullenFatal Innocence by David James SmithUnder the Bridge by Rebecca GodfreyCruel Sacrifice by Aphrodite JonesIf You Really Loved Me by Ann Rule
Kids/Teens who kill
4th out of 42 books — 19 voters


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Community Reviews

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Jaymee-laura
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
...more
Christina
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.
Melissa Bond
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
Emily
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
Faith
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.
Paula
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.
Stacey
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
Lesley
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.

Disco Biscuit
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
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
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. :(
Vickie
Sad. Scary Disturbing.
Lynn Fergusson
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
Kathryn
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.
Heather
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
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
Jen Trigsted Sebring
This book is haunting. It's stuck with me for the last 17 years... Not necessarily in a good way.
Dawn Barber
Read this book back in mid 90's. Awful subject, great writing.
Cyanine Rachelle Rintacutan
Sponsor please :)
Amy
Horribly sad story. Good read but it was difficult to keep up with all of the names.
Ginnie Grant
So very sad. and shocking to think this awful crime took place less than 50 miles from my home. I have said before how teenage girls are the most vicious breed of being in nature and this proves it. the fact that petty jealousy could led to something so violent in girls so young is just appalling. But the book itself is very precise and well written, with eye witness statements and accounts. as far as one can discern, very fact based.
Joe
I read this book awhile back ,and was shocked by the girls' actions. When I went to high school, there were girls from all walks of life, but never involved in a story like this. Made me wonder if these girls had any sense of right from wrong or if they had any sense of reality in their lives. A very cruel way for Shanda to die, since she didn't do anything wrong. It's a sad, sad story.
Leigh Anne
I'd never even heard of this crime until I read this book, and I was shocked by the details of this senseless and appalling murder. The author covers the case, and each of the characters in this tragedy in through detail. A deeply disturbing look into how dark and cruel some young people can be. I couldn't put down, and recommend it to anyone interested in true crime cases.
Andy
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.
Mary Andreopoulos
What an enticing book. What spooked me the most is that the fact that this actually happened and not just a grueling story an author made up. Loved the pictures also!
Kellie
A train wreck. A combination of terrible organization, writing and subject matter are forcing me to abandon this book. I can hardly keep track of who is who, am thrown off by the use of quotation marks, and the believability of the Loveless family's claims is in question.

This one is going to Goodwill tomorrow.
Wendy Hojnacki
I don't know what to say....this is the telling of a senseless horrific murder to a little girl. I will never understand human behavior & what makes someone want to hurt another person in such a way. Aphrodite Jones does a great job of telling Shanda's story & the story of the girls involved in the crime.
Bookworm
I couldnt believe these girls had so much hate in them Jealous enough to kill,wow. Read this book quite sometime ago then Dr Phil had someting on it. Had forgotten all about this story and then picked up the book again. Still cant believe bullying can go to ths extent.
Sam
One of the best true crime books I've read! I've read it at least 7 times and it always intrigues me each time I read it. It's about Shanda Sharer, a girl in the early 90s who was murdered by a group of teenage girls in a small hometown close to where I grew up.
Cynthia Bond
Feb 25, 2012 Cynthia Bond rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to Cynthia by: My Mother Read it
I read it, as a teenager myself and it was extremely chilling and disturbing. It happened very close to where we lived at the time and so much of the side events and culture I was familiar with, made it even hard to comprehend these girl's actions.
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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.

More about Aphrodite Jones...
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