Mary Ronan Drew's Reviews > Son

Son by Jack Olsen
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Jun 28, 11

bookshelves: library-book
Read from May 10 to 15, 2011

In 1980 there were 127 rapes in the city of Spokane. In 1978 there had been 49. Most of these crimes were being committed in the neighborhood where I now live and they bore certain similarities. The rapist was reported by many victims to have jammed his hand, covered with an oven mitt, into their mouth so that they couldn’t scream. Most of them were attacked while out running or after getting off a bus. Spokane was the victim of The South Hill Rapist.

In 1981 Spokane police arrested Kevin Coe, from a prominent family, the son of the Spokane Chronicle editor. He was found guilty of the four rapes for which there was the most evidence against him. His mother, with whom he had a tangled relationship, has been described as making Lizzie Borden look like a combination of Mother Teresa and Mary Poppins. She proceeded to hire a hit man to kill the prosecutor and the judge. Unfortunately for Ruth Coe the man she chose was an undercover cop.

Coe’s original convictions were overturned on the grounds that the victims had been hypnotized but he was tried again and found guilty. He was sent to prison in Walla Walla and when he was eligible for release he was declared a dangerous sexual predator on the basis of new evidence including DNA tests and was incarcerated for life.

Jack Olsen tells the story in mesmerizing detail in this true-crime book which was the basis of a TV movie, Sins of the Mother (which starred Elizabeth Montgomery of all people.)

2011 No 93 Coming soon: Kissed a Sad Goodbye, by Deborah Crombie
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Reading Progress

05/15/2011
99.0% "Finished on 11 May 2011"

Comments (showing 1-4 of 4) (4 new)

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message 1: by Cynthia (new)

Cynthia Mary that's so chilling. Richard Ramirez was commiting crimes in the same city I lived in and even worse the Hillside Stranger(s) lived a few blocks from where I was then living. Your boy (and his mommy) sound every bit as bad :(.


Mary Ronan Drew Cynthia, I was stunned when I read this book and realized how many rapes this guy got away with before the police or the newspapers warned women there was a serial rapist out there. Of course his daddy being the editor of the evening paper had somethng to do with their not jumping on the bandwagon. This guy followed a girl who got off the bus at the end of my block and raped her two blocks away. There were incidents in many places I walk by frequently. It must have been horrible for women who had to come home after dark or be on the street for any reason.

I remember reading about the Hillside Strangler. You put an S? Were there more than one? I don't think I know about Richard Ramirez. I'm off to investigate.


Mary Ronan Drew I'm back. Which of the books about the Hillside Stranglers should I read? I'm tempted to read the one that's available on Kindle just because I can get it so easily but that's not a very respectable way to choose which book to read. The library has a book about the Night Stalker so I'll take a look at that one.


message 4: by Cynthia (new)

Cynthia I've never been able to read a Ramirez book. It was one of the hottest summers ever and I lived on the ground floor. I couldn't sleep with the windows shut so I lay there all night worried.

The Hillside turned out to be two cousins working together....Bianchi and Buono. I think the one I read was by Ted Schwarz though I'd have sworn Ann Rule wrote one too. I can't find it on amazon though so I could be mistaken.

When I read your review I coulnd't help thinking that you like to walk. Not warning people of their danger is a crime in and of itself....unimaginable.


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