cover image Blind Faith

Blind Faith

Joe McGinniss, Jr.. Putnam Publishing Group, $21.95 (381pp) ISBN 978-0-399-13352-7

Rob Marshall, member of the country-club set of Toms River, N.J., led a freewheeling life of casino gambling, parties and astronomical debt. But Rob was also a civic leader and family man, so his three teenaged sons couldn't believe it when their father was put on trial for having their mother, Maria, murdered in order to collect $1.5 million in insurance and pursue a sexual affair with a neighbor's wife. This true-crime book is about the three boys' crumbling faith in their smooth-talking, high-flying father; on that level, it is often moving and heart-wrenching. It also concerns a suburban coterie's faith in a you-can-have-anything-you-want philosophy and the social and class tensions within one community. Rob's mistress was a friend of a high-ranking New Jersey political figure; drug dealing, loansharking and conspiracy were elements in the unfolding courtroom drama that McGinniss skillfully re-creates. While the story lacks the inherent sizzle of his Fatal Vision , it is absorbing nonetheless. The case took some bizarre twists, as when the wife of the accused hit-man went to live in the bereaved sons' house. First serial to Rolling Stone and Ladies' Home Journal; TV rights to NBC-TV; BOMC and Reader's Digest Condensed Books selections. (Jan.)