Authors: Ann Rule
Tags: #Fiction, #General
"A gripping, powerful and terrifying noveL. The author spares the beholder nothing at all...."—James Dickey
The author of ten New York Times bestsellers, Ann Rule is peerless at capturing the darkly fascinating worlds of America's most twisted criminals. Now, this undisputed master of true crime brings her formidable talents to her first novel, a riveting tale of psychological suspense....
When Danny and Joanne Lindstrom's camping trip in the Cascade mountains goes terribly awry, beautiful young
Joanne is left alone and stranded in the savage wilderness. Her last hope is to rely on another camper, a
tall stranger who seems to know the forest and the dangers there all too well. Without him, she will surely
die; with him, her future is as unpredictable as the lowering clouds that envelop the mountain. He asks only that she trust him...totally.
"POSSESSION kept me writhing in its grip from beginning to end."—John Saul
"Vivid, threatening menace...."—Seattle Weekly
Praise for the Unparalleled Work of ANN RULE
"Fascinating material... Ms. Rule admirably recounts this labyrinthine tale. . . ."
—Walter Walker, The New York Times Book Review
"The similarities with the O.J. case are compelling."
—Dan Webster, The Spokesman-Review (ID)
"Rule provides a perceptive character analysis of a malignant, self-centered, charismatic con artist. It's a chilling, haunting portrait."
"Ann Rule delivers six tales of obsession and murder with the suspense and class we have come to expect from the author of The Stranger Beside Me. . . . Rule makes the story of each victim as fascinating as the pathology of the killer." —Flo Stanton, The Indianapolis Star
"Each of these stories could be a book in itself, and each will cause you to creep out of your bed at night to double-check the locks and make your heart skip a beat at the next unexpected knock."
—Edna Buchanan, Miami Herald
"The cases [are] explored in chilling detail. . . compelling. . . . Rule [is] the ruler of the whole true-crime empire."
—Kate McClare, The News (Boca Raton, FL)
"Ann Rule ... has a great knack for horrific detail."
—New York Daily News
"Fascinating . . . each page is a gripper-----Ann Rule is
truly a master crime writer in A Rose for Her Grave, a book that breaks new ground in the true-crime field."
—Real Crime Book Digest
"[In] this chilling collection . .. her unwavering voice presents even the most gruesome details rationally."
"Bone-chilling ... a truly staggering case . . . Rule does an admirable job of drawing out the drama and the nuances."
— Washington Post
"A real page-turner ... a passport into perversion."
—Seattle Times/Seattle Post Intelligencer
"A story of crime and punishment. . . bizarre enough to rivet anyone's attention."
—The New York Times Book Review
"Meticulous reporting ... the characters are
fascinating. . . ."
"Ann Rule has become a master of the true-crime genre."
"Ms. Rule . . . now turns her devastatingly accurate insight to the twisted mind of a modern-day Southern belle. A measure of how well she succeeds is the feeling that came over me after reading just a few paragraphs about Pat Allanson. I wanted to reach out and strangle her."
—The New York Times Book Review
"Yet another true-crime triumph for Ann Rule ... a magnificently constructed book."
— Washington Post Book World
Books by Ann Rule
A Fever in the Heart and Other True Cases
Ann Rule's Crime Files: Vol. 3 Dead by Sunset You Belong to Me and Other True Cases
Ann Rule's Crime Files: Vol. 2 Everything She Ever Wanted A Rose for Her Grave and Other True Cases
Ann Rule's Crime Files: Vol. 1 If You Really Loved Me The Stranger Beside Me Possession Small Sacrifices
For orders other than by individual consumers, Pocket Books grants a discount on the purchase of 10 or more copies of single titles for special markets or premium use. For further details, please write to the Vice-President of Special Markets, Pocket Books, 1633 Broadway, New York, NY 10019-6785, 8th Floor.
For information on how individual consumers can place orders, please write to Mail Order Department, Simon & Schuster Inc., 200 Old Tappan Road, Old Tappan, NJ 07675.
POCKET STAR BOOKS New York London Toronto Sydney Tokyo Singapore
The sale of this book without its cover is unauthorized. If you purchased this book without a cover, you should be aware that It was reported to the publisher as "unsold and destroyed." Neither the author nor the publisher has received payment for the sale of this "stripped book."
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are products of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
"Our House" by Graham Nash. Copyright © 1970 Broken Bird Music. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
A Pocket Star Book published by
POCKET BOOKS, a division of Simon & Schuster Inc.
1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10020
Copyright © 1983 by Ann Rule
Published by arrangement with W.W. Norton & Company, Inc.
All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce this book or portions thereof in any form whatsoever. For information address W.W. Norton & Company, Inc., 500 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10110
First Pocket Books printing August 1997
POCKET STAR BOOKS and colophon are registered trademarks of Simon & Schuster Inc.
Cover art by Don Brautigam Printed in the U.S.A.
LAURA, LESLIE, ANDY, MIKE, BRUCE, REBECCA, AND MATTHEW. MAY THEY ALWAYS KNOW THAT LOVE IS THE ONLY POSSESSION THAT MATTERS. Acknowledgments
For their inspiration, patience, support, intelligence, and friendly criticism, I owe many thanks to the following:
Fred J. Homer, former Sheriff, Okanogan County, Washington; Paul Bernstein, former Chief Prosecutor, City of Seattle; Larry Nash, Chief, Puyallup, Washington, Police Department; Darrel Wilsey, Head Ranger, National Forest Service, Stehekin, Washington; Bill Wilsey, Betty Wilsey, Margie Wilsey, Stehekin Landing Lodge; Ernie Gibson, Chelan Airways; Miriam Giles, Barbara Easton, Gerry Brittingham, Lola Cunningham, Charles S. Miles, Maureen and Bill Woodcock, the late Sophie M. Stackhouse, and the Northwest Authors' B. and M. Society: John Saul, Michael Sack, Donald E. and Carol McQuinn, Ann Combs, Donna Anders, Margaret Chittenden, Terry and Judine Brooks, Jeanne Okimoto—and me too—a stalwart, if occasionally disorganized, group. To my agents: Joan and Joe Foley, good friends.
And to Starling Lawrence, my editor, whose pencil is as deft as it is ruthless.
May 23, 1957
Lureen Demich might have been surprised to know that her labor pains began less than a mile from where she had conceived the child. She had been with so many men for so many reasons in the year past that she could not be absolutely sure who the father was. Sometimes she let them do it because she was lonely, sometimes for money, and occasionally she had only been bored. But never once for love.
She moved on when the carnival's tents were struck and the caravans lumbered off to the next town, and the men blurred in her mind along with the cities along the circuit: Cincinnati, Moline, Ann Arbor. But she did remember one gangling, carrot-haired boy who'd been pushed into her trailer by some drunken fraternity boys, the kid who'd stuttered as he'd shoved a ten-dollar bill at her. He must have been a smart kid to be in college even though he couldn't have been over sixteen. She saw that he was a joke to the others, that they resented him for his brains, and she heard them laugh when his book smarts and fancy words failed him where it counted.
She'd taken his money and told him to hurry as his friends chanted cadence outside. And hurry he had. Never even really got into her before he spilled it all over her thighs. Then she'd laughed too and turned away to clean up the mess.
The carnival was a thousand miles away when she began to vomit. Lureen had drifted aimlessly for all of her short life, planning nothing, and dreaming only impossible dreams. She always expected magic and begged the card readers to promise her a better life. But she had little aptitude for anything beyond attracting men, and when each one left
her, she always felt that things were a little worse than they had been before.
She was not yet eighteen when she crouched, terrified, against the cool metal wall of the Nashua trailer and felt her belly contract. She thought she might burst. She had been there all day and most of the night, attended by the blank-faced old gypsy woman who watched her with slight interest. There was no compassion, and no one to share the weight of Lureen's fear. The others had told her that the gypsy would know what to do, then left the two of them alone as if pestilence drenched the trailer house.
Lureen knew she was going to die; there was no way that
she could push a baby out of her without dying. She turned
her face away and gagged as the gypsy held a jelly jar full
of whiskey to her lips, and then heard herself grunt deep
in her throat. She bore down against the mattress beneath
her hips. Her own sounds startled her; she sounded like
an animal. The gypsy woman grunted with her, urging
her down to darker tunnels of pain she had no wish to
explore. She prayed that the baby was dead. She had never
The gypsy woman moved toward her, blocking the window with her bulk, and Lureen closed her eyes and pushed with a shudder that shook her body. She felt herself split and something slippery and wet burst from between her legs.
For a moment, it was very quiet. She watched the gypsy rub the red and white thing with a rough towel, watched with a sense of complete removal. It was dead. Good. And then its mouth opened suddenly and she heard its cry bounce off the tinny trailer sides.
The old woman muttered with satisfaction and pushed the squalling bundle near her face. It lived, an ugly thing with a head drawn to a point, slick with her blood and covered with stuff that looked like cottage cheese.
She turned away, pressed her face into the mattress, and slept.
In Coatesville, Pennsylvania—when her name was still Louise—her own mother had gone away, leaving behind one snapshot for her daughter to study. The little girl had been able to discern that Dorothy Demich had been pretty (as she was, full-breasted to the point of incredulity (as she would be, and young, very, very, young. Louise understood that Dorothy could not have survived long in the half-house she shared with Pete Demich and her grandmother, Lena. She understood it more through the years when she waited her own time to flee. The house smelled of painted-over dirt and old women. There was no dining room; her father slept in the single bedroom, and Louise shared a Murphy bed in the living room with the old lady.
Once she had longed for rugs, or even just one rug, to cover the linoleum that was so scuffed you couldn't tell what pattern it was supposed to have. She even tried to wash the gray lace curtains and found the old Easy Spin-Dri in the basement full of nothing but shreds after the water drained away. She finally accepted that there was no way to change the half rowhouse from what it was. The neighbors who shared the common center wall painted their side every five years; Pete never bothered. Louise had tried to take friends home a couple of times, but when Pete worked all night at the Lukens steel mill, he woke in the late afternoon and walked through the house in his undershirt and shorts, scratching his testicles as if the girls weren't there, embarrassing her and frightening her schoolmates. When he worked days, Lena sat in the corner of the living room in the sagging, wine-plush chair and stared at them, her clubbed fingers spewing out lengths of tatting. What use there was for the strange knots that emerged Louise never learned. Lena refused to speak English in front of her granddaughter's friends, barking out comments in Polish to Louise. The other girls gathered up their paperdolls and went home to houses with mothers who baked cookies and hugged them.
Lena Demich had never hugged her, or kissed her, or even run a rough hand over her braids in a gesture of affection. At night, the old woman snored and farted, and
her great girth pulled Louise over to her side of the Murphy bed. Louise learned to sleep with one arm hooked around the bed frame.
Her grandmother was a presence. Nothing more. She
seemed to have some attachment to the other old women