Thursday, April 9, 2009

A Descent Into Hell by Kathryn Casey

Bright, attractive, and both from good families, University of Texas college student Colton Pitonyak and vibrant redhead Jennifer Cave had the world at their beckoning. Cave, an ex-cheerleader, had just landed an exciting new job, while a big-money scholarship to UT's prestigious business school lured Pitonyak to Austin. Yet the former altar boy had a dark, unpredictable streak, one that ensnared him in the perilous underworld of drugs and guns. When Jennifer failed to show up for work on August 18, 2005, her mother became frightened. Sharon Cave's search led to Colton's West Campus apartment, where Jennifer's family discovered a scene worthy of the grisliest horror movie. Meanwhile, Colton Pitonyak was nowhere to be found. A Descent Into Hell is the gripping true story of one of the most brutal slayings in UT history--and the wild Bonnie and Clyde-like flight from justice of a cold-blooded young killer and his would-be girlfriend,Laura Hall, who claimed that her unquestioning allegiance to Pitonyak was just the way I roll.

I received this book yesterday and meaning to start preparing for my Easter lunch I thought I would just read a few chapters and then go on with my Easter To Do List.Instead I started reading and could not put this book down.All I can think of now is that of Kathryn Casey's true crime books I have read She Wanted It All,A Warrant To Kill and A Descent Into Hell.I also received with my last order Die My Love which means I need to order Evil Beside Her and then wait for Shattered:The David Temple Case which is the new true crime book that Kathryn Casey is working on.Since I have no idea when that will be finished and I happen to adore Kathryn Casey's style of writing I think I am going to order her fiction book Singularity,just to keep me going until the David Temple true crime book is released.

Now to get on with my review of A Descent Into Hell by Kathryn Casey.First of all the title is absolutely brilliant for this book.This is a descent into hell like never told before.Kathryn Casey takes you to the beginning and details the childhood and growing up years of Colton Pitonyak.You get to meet a nice enough boy and slowly the reader goes through the deterioration of this boy though his drug abuse.I, as a reader, took that journey with this young man and since the first thing I do before I read a true crime book,is look at the pictures in the middle,I must say I liked this boy's face.He had such an open face,seemed like a nice guy.I really believe the drugs destroyed him and turned him into a monster.

Kathryn Casey also takes us back into the early life of Jennifer Cave the young woman who was murdered by Colton Pitonyak.What a wonderful girl and really makes you think that some people really are too good for this earth.I believe that Jennifer Cave was too sensitive to deal with the harshness of this world hence her escape into drugs as well.I take my hat off to her mother Sharon who brought up her girls and son single handledly and remains so strong still despite all the trauma.This book is filled with good people and yet their lives had to be tainted by evil.An absolute tragedy and a lesson to all of us,that none of us are immune to life and we can just do the very best we can to survive relatively unscathed.

This book is brilliant and is one of those which has touched me deep inside my heart maybe because I have a young daughter.I am keeping this book close to my bedside.This is just my way of doing what exactly I dont know.All I know is that I need to keep it close for a while.I feel like I know these people and I am so very sorry for their loss.

Kathryn Casey wrote this book really well and the two main life stories of Colton Pitonyak and Jennifer Cave then merge when they meet.And even though they are never together as a couple the writing is such that the stories remain interspersed and end obviously with the tragedy and the subsequent courtcase.

I have however one strong opinion to voice and that is on Laura Hall the girlfriend of Colton Pitonyak.I absolutely hate this defense theory that she did what she did out of "love".I see things in black and white and I dont care how much she "loved" him.My point is there is legislation about gun laws and that guns should be banned.Well a gun on its own on a shelf is relatively harmless.But if a person has hold of a gun you can then use this gun to create harm.The same applies to people who can be manipulated by others to create harm.So if some people believe guns should be banned then people who use as a defence that they were manipulated by others into causing harm should be put away for as long as the manipulator themselves.They are in essence as dangerous as guns.Just my opinion,use it dont use it.

If you would like to find out more about this book then go to
Kalahari Books for South African Readers
or if you would like to access more reviews on this book then go to the Amazon link below
A Descent Into Hell: The True Story of an Altar Boy, a Cheerleader, and a Twisted Texas Murder

Publisher: Harper
ISBN: 9780061230875
Publication date: July 2008
Length: 173mm
Width: 107mm
Thickness: 27mm
Weight: 191g
Pages: 366
Illustrations: Illustrated

I read this book in April 2009 and it has 8 pages of pictures but the nice thing is it has about 4 photographs on each page which is quite unusual but wonderful to have so many faces to connect to the story.


  1. I also read this something close to one fell swoop, as I do most of Kathryn Casey's work. She is just one of the best at telling the back story and taking us into the lives of all involved. I also believe Laura Hall has a special place in hell waiting for her and she may even be more dangerous than Colton ever was. Great blog, glad I found you. It's going to take me awhile to read all your reviews, but I think I only saw two titles that I haven't read. I am a Nurse and worked ICU Psych @ one of the largest free standing Psych hospitals in the nation, then became their Admitting Mgr. for many years. I started reading copies of my Mom's Crime Magazines back in the 60's. It is nice to find others who are devoted to this genre and it's GOOD authors, I'm hoping you will help me weed out the bad ones, before I waste my money. Who am I kidding, if it gets terrible reviews on Amazon, I just wait till I can find it at half price books! Thanks Again

  2. Hello
    I am really glad you found me and I hope my blog does help you decide on which books to choose next.I should have a free book giveaway next week for Columbine by Dave Cullen and possibly The Accountant's Story by Roberto Escobar.This giveaway is only open to USA and Canada residents so I hope you are from there.I cannot wait to read Columbine.And I know exactly what you mean about the reviews.I will also still read despite bad reviews.Hope you have a good weekend and thank you so much for taking the time to comment and telling me a bit about yourself.Happy Reading!!

  3. This sounds like a book that I would read. I am going to have to add this to my TBR pile

  4. Trish,without a doubt I love Kathryn Casey books. I would recommend any of her books!

  5. I read this book last week and I agree, Laura Hall deserves more than she got. I know what you mean when you say you feel like you get to know Jennifer's family. I cried at a couple of different points while reading this book. My heart hurts for them.

    I'm glad I stumbled upon your site. I'm currently reading about Darlie Routier (Hush Little Babies), and had Googled her name and came across your site. I'm still up in the air regarding her guilt or innocence.

    I look forward to reading more of your reviews. Thanks...Kelly


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