If I Can’t Have You: Susan Powell, Her Mysterious Disappearance, and the Murder of Her Children

Gregg Olsen and Rebecca Morris. St. Martin’s, $26.99 (336p) ISBN 978-1-250-02714-6
Veteran true-crime authors Olsen (If Loving You Is Wrong) and Morris (Ted and Ann) do a solid job depicting the heartbreaking case of Susan Powell, a young wife and mother who disappeared from her home in a suburb of Salt Lake City in December 2009, and the murder of her two sons—seven-year-old Charlie, and two-year-old Braden—less than three years later. From the outset, Powell’s husband, Josh, oddly indifferent to her disappearance and possessing a spotty alibi, is the obvious suspect. In addition, the marriage had problems for years, amply documented in emails to friends in which Powell indicated that she feared divorce or worse. Readers also learn about the suffering endured by Susan’s parents, Chuck and Judy Cox, who had the loss of their daughter compounded by Josh’s deadly response to a custody battle, before he ultimately attacked his boys with an axe and blew up the house with all three inside. There are a few lapses, such as one passage describing an event that no one witnessed, but overall this is a powerful narrative of one family’s tragedy. Agent: Susan Raihofer, David Black Literary Agency. (May)
Reviewed on: 03/24/2014
Release date: 05/20/2014
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 336 pages - 978-1-250-02575-3
Mass Market Paperbound - 320 pages - 978-1-250-06668-8
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