cover image Love Me to Death: A Journalists Memoir of the Hunt for Her Friends Killer

Love Me to Death: A Journalists Memoir of the Hunt for Her Friends Killer

Linda Wolfe. Atria Books, $24 (272pp) ISBN 978-0-671-51720-5

Veteran true-crime journalist Wolfe (Double Life, etc.) first heard the name of Ricardo Caputo in 1985, a year and a half after her friend Jacqui Bernard had been murdered. According to a P.I. looking into the case, Caputo was the culprit. In 1994, Caputo was finally arrested in Argentina and confessed to several murders--but not to Bernard's. Wolfe's latest (after Double Life) is far from the usual true-crime report, not only for the author's intimacy with the victim but also for her focus on the aftermath of the crime rather than on a reconstruction of it, and for her ability to forge relationships with the principals in the case, including Caputo's lawyers and family. As Caputo awaits trial, the chief suspense stems from whether Caputo's attorney will mount an insanity defense; meanwhile, Wolfe lets the testimony of detectives, psychiatrists, attorneys and victims' families guide the reader through the human tragedy Caputo has left in his wake. The killer's m.o. was that of an upwardly mobile Lothario--he mixed easy assurance with good looks and an invented past to avail himself sexually and financially of his victims. He killed after he had worn out his welcome and his victims were looking for a way out, or were beginning to refuse his increasing demands for lavish financial assistance. When Wolfe finally interviews Caputo, she worries that she ""might succumb to Ricardo's much-touted ability to charm,"" but the criminal here proves less imposing than his crimes, and certainly less seductive than the fine book Wolfe has wrought about him and the evil he purveyed. Eight pages of b&w photos, not seen by PW. (Feb.)