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Cruel Sacrifice

4.03  ·  Rating details ·  3,712 Ratings  ·  105 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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Nov 29, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
BAM The Bibliomaniac
True Crime Commemoration # 13
Setting: not kidding! My hometown I know all of these streets, buildings, landmarks
This was such a tragedy
Oct 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
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 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jun 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
i really enjoyed this book and jones' writing style. she really seemed to acknowledge the many sides of this story while allowing me to make my own conclusions, which i appreciate in true crime. there was a great sense of "there really isn't a right answer here" just the fact that a 12 year old girl was made to suffer immeasurably for something very petty. shanda did not deserve what happened to her, under any circumstance, and i respect the court for holding these four girls accountable while m ...more
Jul 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
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.
Apr 06, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sad. Scary Disturbing.
Feb 10, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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. :(
Shelby H
Feb 20, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
cruel sacrifice is a true chime story about the now infamous and tragic murder of shandy sharer.
this book is written from the input of the killers family, and has psychiatry notes and interviews from people involved in the girls lives.i liked the it talks about how the girls meet and how/what happen when they were younger. if you like chime story's then you will like this book.
Oct 26, 2016 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
May 23, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Bonnie Thrasher
Mar 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My hometown... Students I taught quoted in the book. Horror beyond belief. Wounds that still fester today. This true story will scare the hell out of you.
Ailina Willis
No shortage of detail or documentation references in this book. I appreciated the author's thorough relation of such a bewilderingly evil crime, personal histories of all key persons involved, and the subsequent sentencing.

I almost set the book down though. Not because of the graphic nature of the content, but because there seemed to be a huge and sudden break in the author's investment in the narrative, about 1/4 of the way through.

In chapters that began to describe teenagers' social conflicts
Aug 31, 2016 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
Feb 28, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This true crime story will disturb you for years because nothing can give you the necessary mental adjustment to understand how or why it happened. I rated this book lower because the writing was rushed, choppy, and had quite a few errors.
Dec 30, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
chilah harris
Feb 24, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good story but so sad

I am kind of sad that I read this because it is such a sad meaningless crime that could have been prevented. This story hurts my heart. It was a good read. I would like to know how everyone is now including the disgusting dad. This author did a good job covering this horrific story.
Frances L Dobbs
Aug 08, 2016 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 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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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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