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Cruel Sacrifice

4.03  ·  Rating details ·  3,903 Ratings  ·  111 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 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 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 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.
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
Melissa Bond
May 17, 2013 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 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 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
Aug 27, 2007 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 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.
Lord Beardsley
Jan 19, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read2018
I vividly remember hearing about this when it happened. In 1992, I was 11-12 years old, the same age as the victim -Shanda Sharer- and a baby lesbian. This story fucked me the hell up. Of course it was treated incredibly salaciously in the media at the time. The whole lesbian aspect of the story was made to be the biggest thing - not the savage attack these girls did. It was all about them being baby dykes who were into witchcraft. I was a baby dyke into witchcraft, but that didn't mean I was go ...more
First off these 4 girls were so stupid, I don't care how scared or young I was nobody was going to make me be a part of a murder. One thing I didn't like is that Aphrodite focused too much on Melinda loveless and her family: SHANDA SHARER was the victim and hardly any pictures of her was in this book and she was hardly talked about as well. Marjorie Loveless was a stupid woman who didn't care about her kids all she cared about was herself. And Gary Loveless was so sick and deranged was he held t ...more
Jun 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
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
Mar 26, 2012 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
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
Jul 18, 2014 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 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 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 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 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 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.
Apr 06, 2009 rated it liked it
Sad. Scary Disturbing.
Feb 10, 2009 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 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. :(
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.
Sep 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Cruel Sacrifice

As always Aphrodite Jones does a though job of writing about this horrendous crime. In the years since this crime I've often wondered about the loved ones and friends of this victim Shanda. This true crime story is well worth reading.
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
Dec 23, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Date approximate. I got rid of this book but recall thinking that it was inexcusable to print photos of the 12-year-old victim's dead body.
Crystal Bearrington
Another of my favorites. This case, this book, will break your heart and make you cry.
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.
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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
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