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A Twisted Faith: A Minister's Obsession and the Murder That Destroyed a Church

3.66  ·  Rating details ·  710 Ratings  ·  98 Reviews
New York Times bestselling author Gregg Olsen investigates the sensational  story of a minister who seduced four of his female congregants, and hatched a cold-blooded plot to murder his wife.

On December 26, 1997, near the affluent community of Bainbridge Island off the coast of Seattle, a house went up in flames. In it was the shy, beloved minister's wife Dawn Hacheney. W
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published March 30th 2010 by St. Martin's Press
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Esteban del Mal
Sep 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Those interested in the Coen Brothers, Rasputin, and the Pacific Northwest in the 1990s.
Recommended to Esteban by: I saw the story on the tv
When I was in my early twenties, I dated an attractive young woman who had had a nervous breakdown a few years prior wherein she had pounded on her neighbors' doors in the wee hours of the morning proclaiming herself Satan. I don't know what happened in the intervening years until the point at which I met her, other than she had been ushered away to some facility for a while, but by the time we dated the only remaining trace of her very specific mania was a penchant for wearing black clothing. H ...more
Jun 19, 2015 rated it liked it
Audiobook: There’s something salacious about true crime stories that always intrigues, yet the author’s reportage of intimate thoughts and conversations always makes me wonder just how accurate they can be. Some of the intimate details and verbatim conversations where only the perp and one other person are present tend to set off my crap detector. The scene where the victim’s mother goes out with Nick and then gives him a BJ had me wondering just who his source was for that little tidbit.

Sep 15, 2009 rated it it was amazing
If you are looking for an Ann Rule read-a-like or book that reads like a suspense novel, then look no further. Gregg Olsen is an underrated author who has written both true-crime (Starvation Heights is also excellent) and suspense/thrillers. This is what I hope is his breakout book because it deserves to be picked up by anyone who likes a fascinating story about faith and love gone wrong.

Nick Hacheney was a charismatic preacher for a small church on Bainbridge Island in Washington who burned do
Feb 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There can be different types of Faith

A very good book. It shows you, when you mix religion with a lie, it's not going to work out good. Very good book.
Jun 04, 2015 rated it really liked it
Truth can be stranger than fiction, but what I initially found strangest about this book was that so many people would be taken in by Nick Hacheney for as long as they were - believing even that his actions had the sanction of God.

This book takes place in the late 1990s in Bremerton and Bainbridge Island, Washington, where I have lived more than half my life. Bainbridge Island is known for having a well-educated demographic, more people with secondary and post-secondary degrees than just about
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Alison Whiteman
May 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing
It was a hot sweltering week at Christian Youth Fellowship camp just outside Colorado Springs, the now mecca of sprawling evangelical churches to rival that of America's tasteless and tacky strip malls. I managed to narrowly escape the deceitful hands of a camp counselor four years my senior. Actually I didn't escape him entirely because of my numerous unexplained falls. He always appeared out of nowhere to cradle me with his athletic and toned 18-year-old arms. I was a scrawny 14-year-old girl ...more
Jan 01, 2011 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jill Hutchinson
Jan 27, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: biography
I like this author, he writes well but his subject in this true crime novel is so maddening that it is hard to give the book any stars in the ratings. I hated the characters........when you hate the characters, it is hard to like the book.
I am not conversant with the religion of fundamental Christians but any church (in this case, more of a cult than a mainstream denomination) that espouses the dogma described in this book cannot be spiritual.........get whatever you want, run up your credit car
Beverly Garside
Apr 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A Twisted Faith: A Minister's Obsession and the Murder That Destroyed a Church I don't read much true crime, but this tale of a Christian role-playing church, complete with apostles, prophets, exorcists, and a minister with an entire harem of married women taking turns in his bed was one I could not put down. By the time the demons are cast out and the prophecies are announced, you can almost forget about the suspicious death. For me, the most fascinating aspect was the degree of deception we ar ...more
Dec 07, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: true-crime
While reading this book, I couldn't figure out whether I liked it or not. I had a hard time keeping all the names straight of the women Nick slept with - Lindsey, Nicole, Annette, Sandy, his wife Dawn - as well as their husbands, boyfriends, and, later, ex-husbands. Talk about a soap opera. At times the story seemed unbelievable, although I know it's all true. It's just crazy that one extremely unattractive man could display so much charisma. Until, that is, one sees how gullible and vulnerable ...more
Marianne Stehr
Apr 14, 2010 rated it really liked it
I am not a reader of true crime, but I am a fan of Gregg Olsen, so I thought I would read this one. I enjoyed the book (if that is the right words for reading a book that captures this youth pastor's disgusting behaviors) but remembered why true crime is not my thing: 1. I don't mind as much when I know the author made up a work of fiction that is disturbing and 2. I am not a fan of foreshadowing, since a true crime book has a definite end that is known to most people before you even pick up the ...more
Apr 29, 2015 rated it really liked it
This could have been a quick read but took my time due to subject. Dawn died in a fire while her husband is away on a hunting trip. With a quick glance it should have been a open and shut case but over a period of time secrets come out and truth is revealed. I enjoy Gregg Olsen's writing style and admire his ability to to let you draw your own conclusions.
Dec 30, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This tragic tale, brilliantly told, is another example of Olsen's literary talent, investigative skills, and heartfelt human empathy. Here is a true crime writer at the top of his form. Excellent in all respects.
Apr 17, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a true crime book focused more on the bizarre behaviors of those involved rather than the trial itself. Although I would have liked more information on the trial it was an interesting read. I carried the book with me everywhere until finishing.
Jun 08, 2010 rated it did not like it
There is a story here; but the author fails to captivate with his rendition of it.
Dara S.
4.5 stars Truth is stranger than fiction!
Mar 16, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: true-crime
My dirty little secret as a reader is that I absolutely adore true crime books. I think they're fascinating. I like police procedurals, forensic science, the justice system, and especially, justice. I really like for the bad guy to get his or her just rewards. This was an interesting case, especially for me as a Christian, because it highlights the dangers of not knowing and understanding scripture on your own. This guy seriously twisted things to get his way and to have what--and who--he wanted ...more
Jerimy Stoll
Nov 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This was a typical, high drama, true crime novel. I worked at the prison where this guy served his time, and I have to admit, reading about him in this book and knowing him as an inmate made for some awkward moments. The author did a good job at catching the persons mild manners and delves deeper into the plot. The book almost reads like a fictional piece and has a lot of parts that seem unreal. Knowing how true much of it is made the book, even more, fun to read.
Nov 11, 2017 rated it liked it
I honestly don't know how a "normal person" would relate to this tale of a church's turmoil . . . to me it was way too familiar. I'm tempted to write a book here myself. I'll just say, I was fascinated, appalled, but not surprised. Oh yes - and sad, very sad.
Oct 01, 2010 rated it really liked it
First let me begin my review by letting you know that I am not a religious person. Sixteen years of Catholic education has left me a bit jaded, to say the least. Therefore, as I read Gregg Olsen’s latest true crime novel A Twisted Faith I was stunned not only at the depravity of the main character, Nick Hacheney, but also his ability to brainwash and control a plethora of seemingly intelligent individuals. I use the word individuals because I think that Nick’s control was not limited to the wome ...more
Thomas Holbrook
Jan 28, 2013 rated it really liked it
Review of: A Twisted Faith: a Minister’s Obsession and the Murder That Destroyed a Church (1st ed.) by Gregg Olsen, St. Martin’s Press, 175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010. 2010 by Gregg Olsen. 304 pages. [Jan. ‘13]

There is much good about the way the Protestant, Revivalist faith Traditions “do” church. In those traditions, the individual is responsible for his/her relationship to God and for how that relationship is expressed in life. If, however, a person uses the freedom of such a tradition
Dec 01, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I love true crime, but this one doesn't work for me. I think it has a lot to do with my views on religions. It involves a group that has started its own church and believes in "Notes" (special communications from God). One person, Sandy, seems particularly prone to receiving Notes. One of them tells her that her husband will die. One (which she does not share with the congregation but does share with some of her friends) reveals that she and the youth pastor, Nick, will both be free and live tog ...more
Jun 23, 2014 rated it really liked it
This was a very well-written true crime book about a lascivious pastor who uses his position of mentor and counselor to manipulate women in his church, before and after his wife dies in a horrible fire. I thought the way the author presented the story, using dialogue to recreate conversations and scenarios as well as actual text from emails and IM conversations made it read almost like a novel, though not quite. I did get a little tired about 3/4 of the way through of reading play-by-play detail ...more
Katherine Coble
May 31, 2011 rated it liked it
Olsen does a good job of writing respectfully about religious people--a skill often found wanting in modern authorship.

Unfortunately this just isnt that gripping a story. It basically boils down to The Anatomy Of A Church Split With A Murder Thrown In. Aside from the "murder" part, for a 41 year old woman like me who grew up in church and Christian school, the whole church politics/cliques/legalist bullies thing is about as normal and unremarkable as a lightswitch. A sad commentary to be sure, b
Jun 05, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: true-crime
I don't normally get that disturbed by true crime books, particularly when, like in this case, I have seen the true crime television program(s) telling the story. However, this book really disturbed me. The television retellings of these events limited the discussion of Nick Hacheney's sexual proclivities to his affair with Sandy Glass. This book makes it clear that there were others who fell under his creepy but charismatic spell.

I was appreciative of the sensitivity with which Olsen portrayed
Apr 24, 2013 rated it liked it
This is the riveting tale of a tight-knit church community that unraveled over the course of a few years. Against the backdrop of a fight over leadership of Christ Community Church on Bainbridge Island, Washington, one man, youth pastor Nick Hacheney, would commit deception, adultery, and eventually murder. By telling fantastic tales of prophecies and apocalyptic spiritual battles, Hacheney conned the women whose marriages he was supposed to be saving through counseling into sleeping with him; a ...more
Jul 01, 2010 rated it it was ok
What's truly frightening about this book is how easily this Church leader
dove into a life of spiritual depravity; one of greed, sex, and murder while claiming to be following God and capable of leading a Church.

Perhaps even more frightening is that these people listened to this guy and allowed him to lead them and talk them into joining this pastor's sinful lifestyle. They thought they were following God, when it's obvious that none of them were. Not one of them had the intellect or spirituality
Janis Gilbert
Apr 07, 2011 rated it liked it
New York Times bestselling author Gregg Olsen investigates the sensational story of a minister who seduced four of his female congregants, and hatched a cold-blooded plot to murder his wife.

On December 26, 1997, near the affluent community of Bainbridge Island off the coast of Seattle, a house went up in flames. In it was the shy, beloved minister's wife Dawn Hacheney. When the fire was extinguished, investigators found only her charred remains. Her husband Nick was visibly devastated by the lo
Michelle Robinson
This book is well written and would be a great read for someone that loves to read true crime, as I once did years ago.

I felt so bad as I read this book. It reminded me of how people will take one person's true faith and twist it into something ugly and despicable. Something to make one feel ashamed, dirty and ugly. I don't think there is anything wrong with faith, by itself, but this book is a testament to what happens to vulnerable people who fall into blindly following other people and not th
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Do you think that Sandy Glass got away with Murder? 10 153 Sep 13, 2014 03:29AM  
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Throughout his career, Gregg Olsen has demonstrated an ability to create a detailed narrative that offers readers fascinating insights into the lives of people caught in extraordinary circumstances.

A #1 New York Times bestselling author, Olsen has written ten nonfiction books, ten novels, and contributed a short story to a collection edited by Lee Child.

The award-winning author has been a guest on
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