Two Book Review-Rule's "Bitter Harvest" & "Heart Full of Lies"

Two book reviews from the mistress of True Crime, Ann Rule.

Blogger NOTE-I received an email with a link to a web site by Liysa Northen

On her site, Liysa declares and vows her innocense. She also claims Ann Rule did not research HER side of the story (Liysa is currently in jail for killing her husband and is the subject of Rule's book "Heart Full of Lies"). I graciously include the link to Liysa's site and encourage readers to visit the site after reading my review of Rule's book below.

As for me, I'm going with Ann Rule on this one. For while innocent people are sometimes put in jail, it's damn rare. Those investigators and the jury did not throw this lovely young mother of two young boys in jail on flimsy evidence. The odds are that Liysa is guilty and while she's in jail for twelve years, her husband and father of her sons is dead forever.

Ann Rule has written DOZENS of true crime books. Per my post below, Ann is especially detailed in her writings.

All of a sudden Rule has it all wrong on the very fine Liysa Northen?

I'm not buying it.

Pic of the Day
Rolex Spider Watch

Quote of the Day

"What does Tiger Woods have in common with union officials? Answer: they both play a lot of golf. The only difference is union officials get to play on their members' dime. A lot of dimes, actually. Organized labor spent $1.3 million on golf in 2005."
- Columnist Michael Reitz in The American Spectator, 6/7/06

Web Site Worth the Visit
A fine collection of jokes and quotes.

Funny Site


1. She is not a "BABE" or a "CHICK" - She is a "BREASTED AMERICAN."

2. She is not a "SCREAMER" or a "MOANER" - She is "VOCALLY APPRECIATIVE."

3. She is not "EASY" - She is "HORIZONTALLY ACCESSIBLE."



6. She is not an "AIRHEAD" - She is "REALITY IMPAIRED."

7. She does not get "DRUNK" or "TIPSY" - She gets "CHEMICALLY INCONVENIENCED"

8. She does not have "BREAST IMPLANTS" - She is "MEDICALLY ENHANCED."

9. She does not "NAG" you - She becomes "VERBALLY REPETITIVE."

10. She is not a "TRAMP" - She is "SEXUALLY EXTROVERTED."

11. She does not have "MAJOR LEAGUE HOOTERS" - She is "PECTORALLY SUPERIOR."

12. She is not a "TWO-BIT HOOKER" - She is a "LOW COST PROVIDER."


1. He does not have a "BEER GUT" - He has developed a "LIQUID GRAIN STORAGE FACILITY."

2. He is not a "BAD DANCER" - He is "OVERLY CAUCASIAN."


4. He is not "BALDING" - He is in "FOLLICLE REGRESSION."


6. He does not get "FALLING-DOWN DRUNK" - He become s "ACCIDENTALLY HORIZONTAL."

7. He does not act like a "TOTAL ASS" - He develops a case of RECTAL-CRANIAL INVERSION."

8. He is not a "MALE CHAUVINIST PIG" - He has "SWINE EMPATHY."

9. He is not afraid of "COMMITMENT" - He is "RELATIONSHIP CHALLENGED."

10. He is not "HORNY" - He is "SEXUALLY FOCUSED."

11. It's not his "CRACK" you see hanging out of his pants - It's "REAR CLEAVAGE!

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Two Great Books by Ann Rule

"Was the victim ultimately answerable for the bloody crime? Or was the accused capable of a meticulously choreographed execution? And perhaps more important, who was the person who had held the weapon? There seemed to be a dozen different answers, and no way of telling if the personality shown to the world was truly the one almost everyone had perceived. Or was it all a clever masquerade, hiding evil?"

The above paragraph shows up in the first chapter of "Heart Full of Lies" and how could any fan of True Crime literature not continue on with gleeful anticipation?

First, the discovery of the library. For it was my unabashed joy at the discovery of a library larger than my living room here in the wilds of Delaware that had me stuffing my bag with all manner of books in my zeal.

Georgetown, Delaware is a quaint and cute little town. Anyone who drives through the town remarks on its picturesque beauty and small town ambience. Georgetown, Delaware has one library and it is, I'm not making this up, a little larger than my living room. Indeed the library is located in what was formerly an actual house. The first time I saw it I smiled at its cuteness. After a few visits I could only grit my teeth at the claustrophobia I felt as I perused the very limited offerings of books. The True Crime section of this small library held perhaps twenty books on a grand total of three shelves.

This past month I determined that no mind the TV's, no mind the mighty Internet, no mind the many distractions of the world, I simply HAD to read some books. It had been well over a year before I dared to enter that womb of a library so I figured surely they'd have some new books.

They did.

When I got home I discovered that no less than two of the books I'd dutifully checked out I had already read. That was it. I simply had to find a library with some books I hadn't yet read and perhaps a new release or two every once in a while. Georgetown quaintness lost its allure.

I did a search of the Internet and found a library located in Lewes, Delaware. Lewes is famed for its ferry rides from the coast of Delaware to the mighty casinos of New Jersey. I swear if it's not "quaint" in this neck of the woods than it's a tourist mecca.

"Pat you're just not going to find a library as big as the one in Maryland," husband scolded as he researched Mapquest to give me "normal", ie NOT Mapquest, directions to the Lewes library. I'd just finished a lament over the lack of libraries around this neck of the woods and longed for the big spacious library I'd so adored in the state of Maryland. I'd also just requested husband to find me the same sort of library near our home in this, the swamps of Delaware.

Husband did give me directions to the Lewes library but I was skeptical. Anywhere there are a bounty of tourists is sure to be lacking any sort of library with actual books. At least as I figured.

The Lewes library turned out to be a delightful place tucked away securely from the eyes of the ferry-riding Lewes tourists with a bounty of parking. Okay, so maybe it wasn't quite as big as my former beloved library but it was way bigger than someone's living room. I was tickled pink and stuffed my bag full of books with little forethought. Several of my favorite writers' books landed in the bag and with a passion I devoured two of them within as many days.

Two Ann Rule Books

Two very strange murderers, both female, both almost mesmerizing in terms of their personalities, intelligence and personal wealth.

Liysa Northon was featured in Rule's "Heart Full of Lies". Liysa was pretty, intelligent and fortunate enough to live in two homes, one in Hawaii and one in Bend, Oregon. She was married to a Hawaiian Airlines pilot, Chris Northon, and was a talented photographer and writer in her own right.

Dr. Debora Green was a physician married to another physician, a Cardiologist, Dr. Mike Farrar. The couple owned a luxury home in Prairie Village, Kansas.

Both women had beautiful children; Liysa had two precocious boys while Debora had a son and two daughters. Both women wanted their husbands dead. One succeeded, the other gave it a try. Debora Green's house burned down and two of her precious children perished in the flames.

Both of these women are crazy as loons.

Had I not found that alternate library very likely I would not have read these books in such an immediate succession that gave me such an insight into lives that outwardly seemed so perfect but hid deep emotional scars if not outright psychosis. For once I closed the book on "Heart Full of Lies" I was so boggled by what I'd just read I immediately plucked Rule's book "Bitter Harvest" from my library bag of goodies and chanced to read yet another tale of a successful woman gone bad.

No one does it quite like Ann Rule and this is a fact. In fact I once had an email correspondence with Ms. Rule and found her to be a down-to-earth and dedicated artist of the writing craft, specifically of the True Crime genre.

Both of these books, lest I not point this out clearly, were about true crimes that actually occurred. Liysa managed to kill her husband while Dr. Green managed to kill her two children with an almost successful attempt to kill her husband with Ricin, a product of Castor beans.

But yes, that's part of the intrigue of a True Crime book: that not only do supposedly "normal" people murder their spouses and/or children, but the amazing lengths they go to orchestrate, plot and plan their crime. In fact, I was approached to write a True Crime book myself but I balked. Love to read them, don't think I'd have a fraction of the patience required to write one.

Ann RuleAnn Rule does it right. She interviews everyone involved with the crime, pores over court transcripts, talks to various investigators, prosecutors and defense attorneys until she has compiled enough information to present the story complete with the history of all person's involved through to the trial and verdict. When I read a tale of True Crime, I WANT to know the backgrounds of the victims and the killers. I WANT to know the details of the investigation, how the original plan was conceived, how it was carried to fruition, how the investigators figured it out. Ann Rule never leaves me wondering. And yet she doesn't shove her opinions in the reader's face. Rule's style is to present the facts where the fall and the reader decides.

One of the challenges of writing about True Crime is that the outcome is often known to the reader. I'd not heard of these two women as their crimes took place in the early to mid-90's, before my intrigue with True Crime was at a peak. It's no mind, however. Rule has written plenty of books on True Crimes with which I was very familiar from the publicity. She still manages to magically delve into histories and pasts not covered in the headlines.

Since both of these books were such a compelling read into the bent minds of two women who should have been living with a zest for life, I benefited greatly by reading them concurrently.

I also like that Rule provides pictures in her books of all of the players: the defense attorneys, the prosecutors, the perpetrator, the victims, people from the past. Once I read far enough into the narrative to get an acquaintance with the subjects of the book I love to browse the pictures to get a better feel for who I am reading about.

Both books had me riveted. The female perpetrators fascinated me with the lengths and tricks their amazing minds went to in order to rid their lives of the unwanted. Liysa Northon began a campaign of pretend wife abuse some two years prior to the death of her husband, Chris. Dr. Green did the same thing, telling everyone around her how awful her husband was, how much she despised him, how he betrayed her.

With Dr. Green, the reader plows through the novel knowing that this woman's children perished in a horrific fire. The reader slowly absorbs the reality, suspected during the read, that Dr. Green may have set the fire that killed her own children. Intentionally.

Which is the crux of a True Crime novel, this knowledge that people really DO these things and with a detailed, well-written background provided by the author, the reader might be able to figure out why.

Add the amazement of two tales of very successful women, women who had abilities, possessions and family many of us can only dream about, and a True Crime aficionado will walk away feeling as if the world is nuts, it's all upside down, this is not how it's supposed to be.

Liysa Northon and Dr. Debora Green had it all. Beauty, brains, talent, wonderful families. These two books shatter any illusion the reader might have that such successful women MUST be happy with the bounty God gave them.

Amazon Link for "Heart Full of Lies"

Amazon Link for "Bitter Harvest"
More Book Reviews HERE

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