cover image Smoke, Mirrors, and Murder: And Other True Cases

Smoke, Mirrors, and Murder: And Other True Cases

Ann Rule. Pocket Books, $7.99 (464pp) ISBN 978-1-4165-4160-8

Bestseller Rule looks at marriages gone bad in her latest volume of true-crime case files. Stories include ""The Minister's Wife,"" about a woman convicted of shooting her husband in 2006, and ""The Painter's Wife,"" an amazing tale of two strangers kidnapped by a hardened criminal. The bulk of the book is taken up by ""The Deputy's Wife,"" the sad tale of a once-promising young police officer, Bill Jensen, who eventually took out a contract on his own family. It's a good yarn, full of horrifying twists, but at 150 pages can get repetitive. For those not used to it, Rule's fondness for potboiler prose-""Their marriage had spun like a colorful top...Now as it wound down slower and slower, Sue could see the pattern of lies""-can also annoy. Many of the seven cases here are gruesome but unmemorable, perhaps the inevitable result of Rule's prodigious output.