Wednesday, December 14, 2011

BOOK REVIEW: Poisoned Love by Caitlin Rother

Poisoned Love is a True Crime Mystery.

Kristin Rossum was the All-American girl, coming from a wealthy family who coddled her every need, popular in school, pretty, charming, to name just a few of the characteristics associated with her early years.  She was a go-getter, an over-achiever in all aspects of her life, from her academics to ballet, Kristin had to excel in everything she did or she would feel like a failure.

On the day that Kristin tears the muscle ligaments in her leg, her dreams of being a Prima Ballerina are shattered and she finds relief in drugs and alcohol.  Her grades begin to suffer, her friend base changes, she fights with everyone and her parents are worried.  Everyone is at their wits end as to what to do with Kristin when, she disappears around Christmas time. 

She had been placed on academic probation for her poor grades and she decides to head to Mexico where drugs, especially her drug of choice, Meth, was easily obtained.  As she was walking across the border on that fateful day, she runs into her future husband and from there, their destinies twine to its morbid and fatal conclusion.

Greg DeVillers is the oldest of three sons of divorced parents.  His father is neglectful in his parental duties and he and Greg have an estranged relationship.  Greg's mother is always sick and it has fallen on Greg to be the patriarch in the family, learning responsibility and control.  He isn't very successful with the women, being shy and reserved and until he meets Kristin, his long term girlfriends had been few.  Greg's brothers think there is something odd about Kristin and encourage Greg to end their relationship, however, Greg has other plans and asks Kristin to marry him.  Greg believes his love will save Kristin from her recurring drug habits.

At first their romance is beguiling as the two lovers become entranced with each other.  And for several years it appears they are the perfect couple, but then Kristin begins to show signs of using again and it becomes a game of cat and mouse as she tries to hide her addictions and her affairs from those she loves.

Kristin works at a toxicology lab for the County Coroner's office where she works on determining the cause of death via hard to locate substances found within the body.  At some point she has an affair with her boss, Michael Robertson and the two of them become infatuated with each other.

Greg hadn't been feeling well of late and when he fails to show up for work one day, which is against his character, his co-workers feel like something is wrong.  When they learn the horrible truth each of them shares their tales of Kristin and Greg and the mixed messages that Kristin was always sending out to others.  At first it is decided that Greg took his own life after learning of his wife's transgressions but there are some people who just don't buy that verdict and what they uncover not only shocked them but brought the truth to light.

Dealing with the investigation and the court case that follows we watch as Kristin and Greg's life unfold and the final outcome of Kristin Rossum, All-American girl.

I thought this was an interesting book.  I thought it began well, giving the reader much information to process so that you can get to know the people involved with the story.  The back story lives of each of them is shared and delivered in a linear form without emotion, allowing the reader to draw their own conclusions.

I became flabbergasted over the paths in life, here we have Kristin, born with silver spoon in her mouth and it wasn't enough for her.  Her narcissistic and over achievements were her folly and while one can make excuses about her drug usage, there truly isn't any explanation or reason behind any murder.

When I read the reasons why she did what she did, I was again, dumbfounded, there appeared to be a certain lack thereof as to a motive.  I got from the story that she did it because she could and I didn't feel any remorse on her part as I read the descriptive passages.

I would give Poisoned Love a three and a half stars out of five.  I thought the book started out excellent but then, about half way through I found it to be a bit repetitive and redundant.  I thought the addition of the pictures helped give the story balance as the reader could put faces to all the people mentioned throughout.  I did enjoy the writing style of the author, Caitlin Rother, and for this being her debut novel I feel she does have a excellent start in this genre. 

SYNOPSIS:
On November 6, 2000, paramedics answered a call to find Kristin Rossum, 24, sobbing. Her husband, Greg de Villers, wasn't breathing and she claimed he had overdosed on drugs after learning she was leaving him. But family and friends who knew of Greg's distaste for drugs weren't buying Kristin's story - particularly the idea that he would take his own life. The daughter of a well-to-do California family, Rossum was a brainy blonde beauty whose talent for toxicology had won her a post at the San Diego County Medical Examiner's Office. But her sweet smile masked a dark side. She'd developed a taste for methamphetamine in high school, and six months after her marriage to Greg, she'd begun seeking secret trysts with other men. At the time of her husband's death, Rossum was engaged in an illicit affair with her married boss. Investigators found that the Medical Examiner's Office was missing supplies of meth and fentanyl, the narcotic that had killed her husband. With each clue discovered, another piece of Rossum's "good girl" facade fell away. What the world would eventually see was the true face of a murderer - and the hand of justice...

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