Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Evil Beside Her by Kathryn Casey

At first, Linda Bergstrom's marriage to her husband James was idyllic. They were young and in love; he was about to enter the Navy and she was eager to start a family. But it wasn't long before the dream exploded. James became abusive and violent, prone to sudden bursts of anger, long silences, and unexplained disappearances. But Linda vowed to hold on, despite the pain and fear,and her disturbing suspicions about her husband's secret life. Then, not long after their move to Houston, Texas, she made a terrifying discovery: James's hidden cache containing duct tape, a ski mask, and handcuffs. No longer could Linda Bergstrom deny the hideous truth. The man she lived with, the man she married for love, was a dangerous psychopath. And there was no escape and nowhere to run. Because no one,not her friends, the Navy, or the police would believe her.

This is my final review on true crime books by Kathryn Casey until her next crime book is published.This was a hard story for me to read as it was quite close to home.I know someone who for many years I considered a friend.This man held a good position with a well known company.In fact I met him at that company when I started working there.He was polite,well groomed and extremely conservative in his views.On 3 August 2004 I received a phone call from him that he was in jail for public indecency.What I found out later is that is the name he chose to call it.He had in fact been exposing himself to schoolchildren.It later emerged that he had been doing this since he was 18 years old.In 2004 this man was 44 years old and had never spent more than 3 nights in jail.This time it was considered more serious as it involved minors.He spent 8 months in jail this time and now holds another excellent position in another company.As in the case of Linda Bergstrom,this man's family protected him.They knew about his past and never found it relevant to warn me considering I have a daughter.I remember his sister calling me telling me that 2 of the female schoolchildren victims had been unable to identify him in a line up and she laughed at them saying"they were so confident and arrogant on the way in".This woman,the sister, has a small daughter of her own.I had had absolutely no idea about this and yet when I received the news.I started to remember small details.The one time I asked him why he had binoculars in his car.The other time he explained in detail what the ladies next door had done during a party including sexual conduct.I remember telling him "You must have been watching out here in the dark for a long time.I remember leaving work every day and looking up at the offices and he was always watching me.I recall saying to him once that I saw him at a traffic intersection and his answer was "I have seen you much more times that you have seen me".And calling the police one time because my daughter and I had a feeling we were being watched.When the police got there they walked around our small garden and found in the one corner close to a big bush so many cigarette butts that the police was convinced that the prowler came to this spot often.Since coming out of jail he hooked up with a lady with a small daughter and after I warned her she married him(thinking I was competition who wanted him for myself).His true colours came out because she divorced him four months later.

I could carry on but I will just say this.I am disgusted by family members that cover up or minimise the crimes committed by family members.In no way do I include Linda Bergstrom in this category.This woman tried everything short of locking him up herself.I have read other readers' reviews and quite a few seem to be disgusted with her decision to stay.It is obvious to me that they either did not read the book or they,themselves do not have children.She chose to stay because no lawyer could guarantee that they could restrict access to her daughter by the father,James Bergstrom.He had never been convicted so in the event of a divorce he would have had unrestricted access to Linda's little girl.She knew he was a monster and she could not take that chance.I would have done exactly the same thing.Do not judge until you have walked a mile in someone's shoes.She put up with years of abuse in order to protect her child.She put her own life in danger by constantly trying to get him arrested.

I found so many parallels between this story and mine and can only imagine the life she went through considering I did not live with this sexual offender and Linda Bergstrom did for 7 years.I have enjoyed reading all of Kathryn Casey's books and this one is a re print.This was originally published as The Rapist's Wife when Kathryn Casey was relatively unknown.Now she is well established as a true crime writer this book has been republished.Kathryn Casey has developed close relationships with the victims' families of the crime she writes about.This book I believe is to publicise the fact that this serial rapist came up for parole and was rejected.He is due for parole again next year and the details below are from Kathryn Casey's website.Please believe me when I say I am 100% sure that this man will offend again if he is released.He has no remorse for what he has done.A truly remorseful man who has spoken about the fact that his "problem" is a big one and has proven that he cannot control his urges,would not have been requesting that the jury put him on probation.Surely he would want to make sure he was never in a position to hurt anyone again,if he was truly sorry for what he had done.And this plea for medical help?Why now after he gets caught?Why did he not seek help on his own?Please..I have no mercy,none whatsoever,and anything I can do to help keep this monster in jail,I will do.

This is from Kathryn Casey's website
James Bergstrom was refused parole in March 2008. He'll be eligible in 2010. I urge you to write to protest. James is a dangerous psychopath, and we're all safer if he remains behind bars.
To protest:
Via email to:

Or snail mail:
TDCJ Victims Services
8712 Shoal Creek Boulevard, Suite 265
Austin, TX 78757

Or Fax: 512-452-0825

In your letter, state why you believe Bergstrom should be denied parole, i.e., that he is a sexual predator and a psychopath who remains a continuing danger on women.

Include the following information:
Name: James Edward Bergstrom
TDCJ Number: 00659297
SID Number: 04408281
Birth date: 4/6/1963

If you want to read the full story South African readers can access this book via Kalahari Books or via the Amazon link below.
Evil Beside Her: The True Story of a Texas Woman's Marriage to a Dangerous Psychopath

I read this book in April 2009.


  1. Nice review, I have this book on my TBR pile also. Can't wait.

  2. Thanks Bella.Put this one right on top of your TBR pile.Never mind that it is a good read,i wish that I had read it before 2004.

  3. This sounds a very interesting read. I've not read true crime books much. How different do you find true crime books from crime fiction?

  4. This book was excellent.I enjoy both but definitely the true crime books more.I will be reviewing Base Instincts:What makes people kill soon.I think this is one you will enjoy.Explores all the possible reasons why a child grows up to be a killer.Debate of nature vs nurture.

  5. How scary and how awful to have to live like that. Your brush with this kind of thing is scary too. It just goes to show that you really don't know people.

    I'm looking forward to the review of Base Instincts.

  6. I would like to start off by saying, thank you for reading the book & thank you for understanding the reason my mother stayed in that relationship instead of insulting her for it. Also, thank you for posting this on your blog- letting people out there know so that they can help in keeping James behind bars you have no idea how much that means to my mother and I. We thank you very much.

    -Ashley Nicole Bergstrom

  7. Oh Ashley I hope that you and your mother are doing well and keeping strong.Thank you for visiting my blog.I got goose pimples reading your comment.I will post another reminder for my readers early next year about the parole hearing.Hope you both have a wonderful weekend!!

  8. Ashley - So good to see your post. I have just finished reading the book, and I have already emailed the Texas Dept. of Corrections about keeping James in prison. I hope that you and your mother are well.


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