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Cruel Sacrifice

4.03  ·  Rating Details ·  3,494 Ratings  ·  92 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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Nov 29, 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
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 read many more of Aphrodite Jones books.
Melissa Bond
May 17, 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 Flora 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
Aug 18, 2009 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.
May 04, 2013 Annie rated it liked it
I have read a lot about this case. The book was good (if not a bit trashy/tabliody). Considering who the author is...and knowing her normal way of presenting a story in the most sensationalized, one-sided way possible...I was pleasantly surprised. This was an in depth (albeit a bit outdated) and "fair" account of a horrible crime. Certainly worth a read for any fan of the true crime genre.
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 12, 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.
Feb 10, 2009 Briana rated it it was ok
Was very scattered with the details and facts. She got better in her later books, but this one made me search the internet for further info to keep the facts straight.
Stephanie Chu
Jun 21, 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 06, 2009 Vickie rated it liked it
Sad. Scary Disturbing.
Kim. E.
I had very mixed feelings about reading any book about Shanda Sharer. My career professionally crossed paths with this case years ago and I wasn't sure I wanted any reminder. None the less, recently I came across an older Dr. Phil episode about Shanda's mother and the culprits, so I decided that was my cue.

Because of the heinous matter of this event and the media attention it received this is one of two books written, the other called Little Lost Angel by Michael Quinlen. Now that I have read b
Oct 26, 2016 Stephanie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was insane good read sad how this child had to go thur so much there were so many opportunity for her to be saved
Aug 31, 2016 Jlsimon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle, true-crime
This book is exceptionally well researched, and exceptionally well written. The story itself is heartbreaking, striking, shocking, and saddening. The thing that is hardest to deal with, and the same question I'm sure Shanda's family must still come to grips with every day is, "why did this happen?" I understand the reasons presented in the book. I get the love triangle, jealousy motive, but honestly, I just don't understand.

I purchased this book because I couldn't understand how two of the girl
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
Frances L Dobbs
Aug 08, 2016 Frances L Dobbs rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The truth..

I remember this story from when I was in High School. I'm one of those kids that paid attention to the news growing up and I remember thinking how these girls weren't much younger than I at the time. Truth be told after the shock wore off, I never heard what happened to them throughout the court dates. To sit down and actually read this was interesting, fascinating, amazing. Those the three words that come to mind when I think about this book. Interesting? I have a daughter who just
Mar 26, 2012 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
Denise Wallace
Dec 14, 2016 Denise Wallace rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A shocking story about four murderesses and their fascinating childhoods.
This cover. No, they are not like mean girls at all. I have zero clue what "teen lesbianism" is.

My point, being a little more 90s than we need to be here.

This is such a seriously hot mess of a case and while she interviewed family and had access to psychiatric files, the book is just ok. It lacks all the extra stuff true crime books need to stand out. This one is worth the read, it is an interesting case, but she was very lazy with sense of place (which would have made the book less, uh, less
Gemma Shucksmith
Aug 23, 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
Jan 28, 2013 Lynn 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
Mar 16, 2011 Kimberly rated it liked it
Recommends it for: those interested in the case who don't mind poor writing
While factually informative (and therefore highly disturbing: this was a terribly cruel, sadistic murder), this book is very poorly written. I read true crime books for the details because I have a need to understand how these things can happen, and, indeed, every horrible detail is explained here. I can't imagine what this child must have been going through. I am forever fascinated with the psychology of those capable of such revolting things, and brilliant writing isn't really necessary to exp ...more
Ronnie Cramer
Jul 12, 2016 Ronnie Cramer rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I did not enjoy this book. The crime itself was of course horrifying; perpetrated by a group of unsympathetic young girls on an even younger victim. Naturally the author has nothing to do with the facts of the case, but I didn't think much of the writing either; it was repetitious (I lost track of how many times the basic information was presented) and never really painted a picture of the settings or people. Years ago I read DELLA'S WEB by Aphrodite Jones and thought it was terrific, but the fo ...more
What a pile of steaming crap this is...I had hoped for an insight into a terrible crime, some sort of anything to better understand how such a terrible thing happens. Instead it is a poorly written, difficult to follow piece of trash that leaves more questions than answers. I will never read another by this author again. It is obvious she only wanted to make money and gain notoriety by writing this steaming pile of shit. So poorly written, disjointed, difficult to follow. It was tasteless.
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Aphrodite Jones is an award-winning American reporter and author who writes about murder. Her knack for detail allows her to dissect bizarre murder cases and bring readers into the heart of darkness. Now, the author has taken her career to TV as the executive producer and TV host of the ID series, True Crime with Aphrodite Jones, which airs on Investigation Discovery.
Jones is now filming her sixt
More about Aphrodite Jones...

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