Erased: Missing Women, Murdered Wives

Marilee Strong, Author, Mark Powelson, Author . Jossey-Bass $27.95 (360p) ISBN 978-0-7879-9639-0

In her exhaustively researched account of the Scott Peterson trial and similar cases, journalist Strong (A Bright Red Scream ) makes a convincing case that there is a growing number of men—whom she calls eraser killers—who murder their wives or girlfriends with premeditation and dispose of the body in an attempt to make both the crime and the victim “disappear.” They kill, says Strong, because the woman “no longer serves any 'purpose' ” in the man's “emotionally desolate world,” or because he sees her as an obstacle to a life he fantasizes for himself. Strong traces the phenomenon back to the 1906 case of Chester Gillette, convicted for murdering his pregnant mistress and the model for Dreiser's An American Tragedy . Between the Gillette and Peterson cases is a series of gruesome murders that Strong contends were committed by husbands who then staged kidnappings or robberies to disguise the murder or simply stashed the bodies so well that they are never found. Her accounts of various eraser killings around the country are compelling, but none more so than her meticulously detailed examination of Laci Peterson's murder. With its blend of novelistic journalism and concise psychiatric research, Strong's exposé will appeal to more than just true crime fans. (Mar.)

Reviewed on: 12/24/2007
Release date: 03/01/2008
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