Genres: True Crime
Narrator: Pam Ward
After killer Shelia Eddy pled guilty to first-degree murder and was sentenced to life in prison and Rachel Shoaf was sentenced to thirty years for second-degree murder, family, friends, investigators, and other key sources reveal the facts you would have learned if the case had gone to trial. Including specific details drawn from Rachel's confession, Pretty Little Killers looks at the crime through the eyes of the victim and killers, providing intimate testimony from the pages of Rachel's personal journal, Skylar's diary and school papers, and court records. Daleen Berry and Geoffrey C. Fuller examine all this, including previously unreported details about Rachel and Shelia's rumored lesbian relationship, and explain why more than one investigator believes that Skylar's murder was a thrill kill. Most important, Pretty Little Killers provides a satisfying answer to Skylar's final question: "Why?"
I love true crime stuff and cases that involve teenagers always fascinate me (since I teach teenagers!). So, Pretty Little Killers was a story I was drawn to right away. 3 teenage girls are BFFs until they aren’t. You have the usual teen drama: vague twitter posts, gossipy lunch rooms, and lots of conjecture. And 1 teenage girl ends up missing, then found dead months later.
The details of this case are fairly well known if you do a simple google search. The book attempts to summarize them in one place. The before facts about the 3 girls, the during facts about the murder and the days leading up, and the after events that led to the arrests. While it was great to have all the information in 1 book, there wasn’t much new included other than conjecture. The book would take some liberties about what ‘might have happened’. For example, the authors attempt to describe what the car ride to the murder site might have been like. This, of course, is pure fiction and while I’m sure its based on facts they gathered about the girls, its still NOT TRUE. Also, the story attempts to answer the question of “Why” 2 girls murdered their one time friend. Again, they make a lot logical leaps that I don’t necessarily agree with. One of the killers said simply they didn’t want to be friends with her. The authors seem to feel this isn’t a reason. Obviously, they don’t know teenage girls. Both girls were evaluated by the behavior analysis unit of the FBI and found to have psychopathic tendencies (Sheila) and sociopathic tendencies (Rachel) so the idea that they ‘didn’t want to be friends with her’ seems pretty believable to me. However the authors seemed to focus a great deal on possible lesbian love affairs that were popular rumors around the school. Is there any evidence? No. So again, this book takes some liberties. Just like its teenage subjects, the story gets caught up in the gossip and rumors that plague small towns and teenagers. I appreciated the facts and details about the crime and even liked the small snippets of interviews from FBI agents because this all adds to the story. However, I feel this book veered far into fiction at times and was written by someone who seems to put too much stock in rumors and gossip.
The narrator was okay most of the time. Then, she would try to sound like a teenage girl when reading their tweets. This made me want to shove a fork in my ear. I know they are teenage girls. I don’t need your bad acting to remind me. Sweet Jesus it was so frustrating.
The Innocent Man by John Grisham, Picture Perfect: The Jodi Arias Story…then you will probably like Pretty Little Killers.