Genres: True Crime
Setting: Reno, NV
Narrator: Shaun Grindell
Also by this author: Playing with Fire, Tangled Vines: Power, Privilege, and the Murdaugh Family Murders
A MARRIAGE: DESTROYED
They were a picture-perfect family-until a bitter divorce drove Darren Mack over the edge. A Reno millionaire, Mack was ordered by the court to pay his wife $10,000 a month in alimony. Instead, he stabbed her in the garage while their daughter watched TV upstairs.
A JUDGE: TARGETED
The only person Mack hated more than his wife was the family court judge who presided over their divorce. So, after killing his wife, he loaded his gun and went after the judge... and headed for Mexico with a stash of concealed weapons.
A KILLER: WANTED
So began an international manhunt for a rage-filled fugitive-featured on "America's Most Wanted"-that eventually ended in Mack's capture. In a dramatic trial, the public would learn shocking details of the swinging lifestyle that ended his marriage, the ugly divorce that fueled his anger, and the final straw that triggered his bloody spree.
I enjoy true crime stories and frequently listen to podcasts and read books focused on true crime events. I had heard the basics of the story of Charla Mack and her ex-husband Darren, but didn’t know a great deal about the events resulting in Charla’s death. The story is well researched and Glatt includes interviews from Charla and Darren’s family members.
I prefer to think of this book in 2 sections: first, the before; then, then after. In the before, we learn about Charla and Darren, their marriage, and their hugely contentious divorce. In this section, there is a noticeable bent towards Charla. Darren is portrayed rather harshly. However, in the after (the murder and trial), I felt the book suddenly took a much less harsh take on Darren. He was portrayed as a guy who had no choice but to brutally murder his wife and attempt to kill a judge. It was such a jarring switch. Honestly, I am curious as to what a jury would have said had the case gone to them. I thought he was a narcissistic, manipulative liar; that wasn’t the way the second half of the story presented him. I felt like no one was standing up for Charla once she was dead.
True Crime buffs will enjoy this story simply because it is remarkable! As I said, the story is well researched, but I felt something was off in the second half. Maybe it was just me projecting my own thoughts regarding Darren!
I listened to the audio version and Shaun Grindell did a good job. The accent, while pleasant, did make it challenging at times to understand the names. But, that is most likely due more to my hearing impairment and not his narration!