Sunday, March 8, 2009

Murder So Cold by Patricia Springer:true crime book review

On Wednesday, September 28, 1994, in Portage, Michigan, seven-year-old Candace Smith's world crumbled when her father, Russ, told her that mommy had run away with another man. But he wouldn't say why the bathroom upstairs was a wreck, with blood in the sink. Or what was in the barrel loaded into the back of his pickup as he drove Candace to her grandparents' house miles out of state. Married for eight years, the Smiths seemed the perfect couple. Neighbours couldn't believe that doting mom Khris would ever have abandoned her daughter. After her disappearance, Russ Smith completely remodelled the upstairs bathroom. He also dramatically changed his lifestyle, sporting flashy clothes and dating strippers. Worse, his relationship with Candace was discovered to be dark and disturbing, culminating with the courts taking custody of the child.Through it all, Khris Smith remained among the missing, and the case ground to a halt. Four years passed before the Smith file was reopened, by an elite squad of "cold case" investigators. Painstaking interviews of those closest to the Smiths brought a crucial statement to light, and Russ Smith, now engaged and living happily in Florida, was picked up by the detectives. On an eight hour drive back to Michigan, he told a story- a story of narcissism, rage, and murder so cold...

I saw this original story on Crime & Investigation channel and wanted to know more and so I ordered the book online.I was right in that there was so much more information in the book which obviously they could not all fit onto a half an hour show.I am amazed at how this man got away with murder for so long.In fact he was only caught by a cold case squad a few years later.The original investigators seemed to be incompetent in that they dismissed the case as a woman who had run away from home despite relatives and friends assurances that she would never have left her child.It seems that if you murder someone and hide the body well enough (and this man travelled miles with the body in his trunk)the chances are very good that you might get away with murder.This murderer was blatant in his actions even remodelling his bathroom.The amazing thing is you could think that maybe this was so long ago that the investigators were perhaps not so well trained that they did not know how to conduct an investigation but this case was only in 1994.

The entire time I read this book I had a constant feeling of disbelief that this man was not getting caught so I can well imagine the reactions of the people close to the victim.They had to live the nightmare and incompetence in the investigation of this case.I was also constantly worrying about the child still with this unstable father.

The book reads well but was a bit of a disappointment as I had watched the tv program before so I knew about the main twists and turns.Paricia Springer does however fill up the spaces in between with pertinent information and a few surprises here and there.I would recommend this book if you are passionate about true crime books and especially if you have never seen the tv program before.

I read this book in June 2007.It has 302 pages and an amazing 16 pages of pictures which was really nice as these books usually only have about 8 pages.The pictures are really good and include the actual bathroom where the crime took place and also a picture of the victim,her murderous husband and child in happier times.Seeing that picture just made me realise how appearances can be so deceiving.


  1. Ahem...I really hate to say this Ms.Kelly.
    But, I am sorry for putting this comment in the wrong place...

    By any chance, do you read any books on Ian Rankin? I had a collection of these titles and I didn't see any reviews about this book on your blog. So...if you have the time, could you please post some of them on your blog??

    This is the titles which I am reading - at present: Exit Music (Inspector Rebus) (Hardcover).

    Anything which you would like to say, please feel free to send me an email. Well...I am only a student.

    Notes: if you're going to approve this comment, please filter my email address.

    Thank you for your time.

  2. I have no idea how to filter a comment but will go and read up on it so I can do it next time.I will also look into Ian Rankin books.I have sent e mail as well.By the way let us know when your novel is completed.Maybe we can have something done for you here ok?

  3. I'm reading this book again right now. Did they change the daughter's name? The book says its LISA not CANDACE. Thanks!

  4. i was friends with his daughter, her name is candace.

  5. I really hate reading books, but this book was great! and you couldve read the book and found that the daughter's name was Candace! Answer this question where is Candace living now?


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