I’ll open with the proviso that the publisher of this book, Wild Blue Press, is the same publisher that is printing our next true crime book. They did not solicit this review – I saw their notice for a flash-sale on this book for 99 cents and picked it up. (If you follow them on Facebook, they do these kinds of sales often and obviously you can score some good true crime cheap.) So, this is an unbiased review. Also, I will give no spoilers.
Burl Barer sucked me in early on with this book. Frank Hernandez dies at home, dying a most horrible death…apparently from poisoning. His wife suspected a colleague of the crime. From there, Barer takes you on a joyride into the bizarre. From the opening of this crime this seemed cut-and-dry, but it is like riding the Hulk rollercoaster at Universal Studios. You think you’re going one way and bam! You’re suddenly spinning the opposite direction.
Mr Barer does an outstanding job of putting the reader in the community where this murder took place, Montebello, CA. Adding to that was the details of what this poisoning did the victim. This is not a clinical read, but one that helps you understand just how horrific this murder really was.
I have never read any of Burl Barer’s books but I became a quick fan. He leads you down a dark corridor, lantern in hand, on a journey that I didn’t expect at the start of the book. I devoured chapter after chapter, not ever losing my interest. After the first third of the book, it was as if there was a new twist every chapter or two. Barer masterfully takes you on the long journey from murder to conviction.
To say that this case was full of bizarre behavior is an understatement. The murderer seems to be running con jobs within con jobs at times.
About halfway through the book I realized I actually had heard something about this case. That didn’t diminish it in the least for me.
Is this a good solid true crime book? Absolutely. I give it 4.5 out of 5 stars. Well worth your time to consume (pun intended).