The truth revealed here by veteran journalist and award-winning writer Sue Russell about Aileen Wuornos, a woman who became a serial killer, is much more compelling than the Hollywood version in the acclaimed feature film Monster, for which Charlize Theron won the 2003 Academy Award for Best Actress for her portrayal of Aileen.
I was hooked from the very first page of this 576-page book. Having recently read Secrets In The Cellar (posted here on 21 July 2016), I was keen to find our more about another house of secrets in Lethal Intent!
The curtains of Aileen’s childhood home was always drawn tightly across its small windows, and behind these windows, young Aileen was ritualistically beaten by her father with a doubled-over leather belt. Her father repeatedly told her that she was evil, wicked, worthless and should never have been born. By the time she was 11, Aileen was already incorrigible, with a fearsome and socially unacceptable temper. Her volcanic explosions were unpredictable and seemingly unprovoked. She also became increasingly involved with drugs. She was an object of ridicule and abuse. She was also raped.
There was also incest between Aileen and her father (who was also her grandfather), and a brother who was 11 months older. Aileen began shoplifting in her early teens. It seemed nobody ever cared about Aileen. She did not have a single good, healthy, supportive or nurturing relationship with a man during her formative years. Could this have been one of the reasons she took a lesbian partner later in life?
On top of all these, she became pregnant at 14, another shameful secret. Despite giving up her baby for adoption, Aileen was thrown out of her home and began a lifestyle of hitchhiking, petty crime and the sex trade. There was deep anger within her and in her twisted mind, incontrollable bouts of violence were pure survival skills.
As the years went by, Aileen degenerated further, including commiting thefts (not just of money, cars and firearms but also various identities) and a string of murders (of which she admitted to six). These eventually led to her execution by lethal injection when she was 36.
Lethal Intent is a truly enthralling and amazing read. I would like to get my hands on the other True Crime thrillers from Pinnacle Books (published by Kensington Publishing Corp).