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Runaway Devil: How Forbidden Love Drove a 12-Year-Old to Murder Her Family

3.67  ·  Rating details ·  518 Ratings  ·  68 Reviews
Marc and Debra seemed to have it all — a lovely home in the Prairie town of Medicine Hat, fulfilling careers, a supportive marriage, and two beautiful children: eight-year-old Jacob and twelve-year-old JR. After years of struggle to reach this point, they finally felt their future held promise. But on April 23, 2006, their bodies were discovered in their basement, covered ...more
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published August 4th 2009 by McClelland & Stewart (first published January 1st 2009)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Alisha Marie
Jul 22, 2011 rated it it was ok
I'm surprised that the Richardson family murders weren't a big headline in the U.S. despite the fact that it happened in Canada. You would think that some people would bring it up and say "See the US Justice System isn't THAT bad. Sure we let Casey Anthony out, but we would NEVER give an underage murderer a slap on the wrist!" But, nevertheless, this is my first time hearing of this case. I was intrigued by the cover, so I decided to check Runaway Devil out of the library, and was appalled by th ...more
Tara Lynn
Aug 18, 2009 rated it did not like it
This reads like sensationalist tabloid true-crime.

Although most crime authors tend to sensationalize the story for the market, I really wanted to yell at both of these authors. First of all, if you're going to pretend to be a nonpartial observer/writer, be NONPARTIAL.

The entirety of the book is overwhelmingly pro-Jeremy, the 23yr old rapist/murderer who was "overwhelmed" and "seduced" by a "smart and emotionally moving" 12yr old.

I REPEAT: You're supposed to feel sorry for the 23 yr old for co
...more
Aubrey
Jul 07, 2013 rated it really liked it
In case I haven't made myself clear already, I really love true crime! This case hits close to home - it was a sensational case that took place in Canada. Headlines and nasty rumours even reached as far as where I was living at the time in Northern Ontario. There is one word that kept popping up throughout the book, as well as through other reviews I've read, and blogs still keeping track of the case - unthinkable. That's exactly what this case is. Unthinkable.

As the verdicts and sentences were
...more
Venus H
Feb 07, 2011 rated it did not like it
Really crap writing by Remington and Zickefoose. He uses an extremely condescending tone towards teens, and writes J's story as if he wasn't just another nosy reporter trying to make a buck off her. He describes it as if J killed her family because she's a teen, but I find it completely biased and at times ridiculous.
Fishface
Jan 15, 2016 rated it liked it
An interesting story about a rare and horrible crime. I have to say the book dragged a bit when the authors were listing, it seemed, every single Instant Messenger communication that ever passed between the young lovers, but it didn't run into THAT many pages so I can forgive it.
SouthWestZippy
Sep 11, 2017 rated it it was ok
What a Horrific crime but the story is poorly told. Lots of blame games but does not truly put together an overall unbiased conclusion on the effects of an unstable home life, Authors give the feel of must be the music and other teens that drove them to commit the crime. You can tell some research was done but a lot of it comes from transcripts.
Miss Crossan
Sep 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Brittany
Jun 15, 2010 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: People who are interested in Canadian true crime or studying psychology
How I Came To Read This Book: I wish I remembered how I came to learn about the familial homicides committed by a twelve-year-old girl named Jasmine and her twenty-three-year-old boyfriend Jeremy, but I don't know. I just kept a passive interest in the case when it happened to cross my path, and recently I learnt there was a book written about it, so I borrowed it from the library.

The Plot: Technically speaking, there is a publication ban on the young offender implicated in the crimes in this bo
...more
Derek Donais
Jun 23, 2011 rated it really liked it
You know that strange urge to slow down and look that grips you when driving past the scene of an accident? That macabre pull to see what's happened? Well, I had that experience with the latest book up for review: Runaway Devil: How Forbidden Love Drove a 12-Year-Old to Murder Her Family. Seeing the book, it rekindled my curiosity regarding the horrific stories I'd heard after the events of that 2006 spring in Medicine Hat. While I can usually fight off the temptation to slow down and 'rubbernec ...more
Bree Mclaren
Sep 17, 2012 rated it really liked it
I thought this was really well written for a true crime book. "Runaway Devil" kept me interested in the story the entire time. The book wasn't to overbearing on the technical jargon of law, it was a good combination of 'narrative' like writing, quotes, evidence, and trial.

I had first heard of Jasmine Richardson on the show Deadly Women on Investigation Discovery. Originally they referred to her as JR (as they do in the book due to Canadian law of keeping the identity of young offenders as secre
...more
Mia
May 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
A journalistic reporting of Jasmine Richardson and Jeremy Steinke's relationship and their murder of Jasmine's parents and 8 year old brother.

Remington and Zickefoose provide more background and detail than newspapers provide, allowing readers to move past early reports that Richardson was under Steinke's control.

From a psychology perspective, I would like to have seen more evidence of Steinke's cognitive deficits if that is available--the authors bring up the possibility of fetal alcohol syndro
...more
tiara wisowaty
Jul 02, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
While highly informative about his subject matter, the author presents the material from a very middle class older and generally clueless about the generation in which he is discussing point of view. It's almost funny in some parts and the only comparison I find accurate is if I were to author a book about a murder involved in the late 2000's trap music scene.
Holly
Jul 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely scary! Nauseating at the thought of what these two did. Couldn't stop reading it but so unbelievable and knowing it was true and happened close to home kept me reading. Very sad for the family.
Kendra
Jan 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: book-club
What kid hasn't said "I wish my parents were dead' but you don't actually mean it. Jeremy thought JR meant it. And the horrible murder of a Medicine Hat family occurred.



This book is haunting. Haunting in the fact that its so close to home.More haunting is the fact that right now, JR (name can't be provided as she was underage at the time of the murder and the Canadian legal system protects those...but if you do a google search you will be able to find her) has been out of jail since 2012 and bas
...more
Katie
Jun 12, 2013 rated it liked it
The main reason I was stoked to read this book is because I live in the city where the grisly crimes were committed, but even if I didn't, it would still be a really interesting story. That is, unfortunately, butchered by the storytellers. The author(s?) like to veer wildly off-topic to describe the local geography, etc. I'm too lazy to find the actual quote, but there was something along the lines of this:

(setting, the cop has just realised who the teenagers at the gas station are and is going
...more
Mikayla Vodon
Jun 27, 2016 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Lo
This is a true crime book unlike any other, but is that a good thing?

Two reporters from Calgary desperately attempt to construct the exact argument used by the defense in this case, but their general lack of information leaves the book feeling like a rush job.

For starters, our merry murderess is referred to only as JR, and her friends all have reconstructed identities, due to Canadian juvenile laws. In lieu of her odd initials being used, the writers try calling her by a myriad of her screenna
...more
Daniella Ivette
I came to read this book after watching the "J.R." case on "Deadly Women". Since I already read a lot about it, I was not expecting an easy read.

Fortunately, it's quite poignant. In fact, it's a very reliable source on the "J. Richardson / Steinke" case - not just about the crime itself, but it showed how the relationship between "J.R." (who we all know is named "Jasmine Richardson", if you did your homework!) and her parents. And, of course, how it all ended up.

One thing I will tell you is that
...more
Teddie
Jan 21, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was very interesting and did a good job describing the 2 killers relationship. And the difference between Canadian and USA laws regarding minors is quite different. To say the 12 year old walked away with a slap on the wrist is an understatement. I was shocked at her sentence. But I did find the book lacking in details. I would have loved to learn more about her home life. I would have like to learn more about the victims. It seems to me the victims in this book were forgotten. And wha ...more
Anne
Feb 10, 2013 rated it it was ok
Was excited to read this book however it fell way short of my expectations with the writing.

The factual content was great and well researched however the authors tended to stray into other area's and kept having to retrack to the original story which was annoying.

I believe this book could have been better written with about 50 pages less - divergance from the subject was extremely distracting and boring as was the authors clearly biased opinions on the goth world and also JR's mental condition.

A
...more
Kristi
Jan 18, 2011 rated it did not like it
This book is absolutely horrible. It's written poorly. The story is over by less than a 1/3 of the way in and it's another 200 and some pages. I'll admit it's probably unfair of me to review it as I felt there was no point in finishing it. A terrible stupid little girl meets a terrible stupid older boy and they do terrible things and then blame each other for it. But for the most part it's just an unreadable book that is finsihed about 100 pages in and then just starts to drone on and on and on ...more
Arieanca
Aug 08, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2009
I live about 2 blocks from where this horrific tragedy happened. It has opened many memories again. I am hoping after reading this book, that I can make more sense of what happened. But, then how can anyone make sense of a murder? I didn't know the family personally, but some of my friends did. Reading this book has opened up emotions, memories and questions. I feel attached to the story, because it happened in my neighbour hood.
Nicole
May 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
This book is truly about the story...not on the merits of the writing. I don't remember ever hearing about this crime...it is seriously shocking. The parallels between this girl and Karla Homolka are insane. I truly believe no matter who this girl hung around, what movie she watched, what music she listened to and who her friends were… She was bound for destruction. Terrifying for to read as a parent...
Jessica
Jan 02, 2012 rated it really liked it
I am fascinated by what makes people murder - especially children and those you wouldn't think would ordinarily "do such a thing." As an armchair psychologist, delving into the minds of sociopaths and people with borderline personality disorders is very interesting.

This little girl (now an adult getting ready to be unleashed back into society) bears a startling resemblance to Karla Holmolka - and that's not a good thing. Makes you hope and pray that your children just act out by smoking pot.
X-tina Campos
So far this book is very interesting for me. the girl whose code name in the book is JR has a kind and loving family yet has problems with them. like any teenager she is rebelling. but she goes darker when shes 12. she begins hangin out with jeremy who is almost twice her age, and both are unaware of this. very captivating so far,
---

This book is very psycological. its insane but you can see what happened how it happened and wonder... how many more stories similar to this there are
Janelle
Aug 15, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I have never started crying, or felt so much emotion while reading a book before. I knew going into this novel that it was going to hit home, but it was so emotional. I really enjoyed it, and I was glad to finally know what actually happened with this horrible tragity. I reccomend this book to everyone who is looking for an amazing non-fiction read. The two are twisted, sick, and completely disgusting, and now I think everyone has some closure after reaing this.
Krystal
Mar 27, 2011 rated it liked it
Haunting read with vivid description of the crime scene and the events leading up to & after; especially if you lived in the city when it happened, like I was. Great descriptions of the city and I loved reading the history although perhaps there was too much of it at times. I think it would make a good movie.
Teresa
Feb 11, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: true-crime
Wow. Very interesting to read true crime subject matter that is close to home. Tells the tale of the Richardson family of Medicine Hat AB, who were brutally killed (mom, dad, and son) by their then 12 year old daughter, Jasmine, and her 23 year old boyfriend, Jeremy.

Great investigation by the co-authors!
Emily
Oct 01, 2013 rated it liked it
okay read. I really didn't appreciate the bad perspective they gave the goth scene. The people who investigated the crime thought Maryln Manson was metal music which is way off. I think if anything, it proved to me how horribly prejudice the justice system is in any country. Yes the kid has mental health issues but there is no need to make her into a monster, or "devil" as the book puts it.
Beth
Jul 24, 2010 rated it it was ok
Okay, every once in a while I venture out and read true crime books (thanks in part to Ann Rule's book about Ted Bundy and Thomas Capano of Delaware). This book was tragic. Honestly, it could have ended after the first 2 chapters, but the end of the book makes interesting read for anyone into court tv, criminal justice, etc.
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