I reviewed Patrick Kearney: The True Story of The Freeway Killer by Jack Rosewood in return for a free copy of the book.
I did not read this book in a reverse order, from back to front. But I should have. At the 78% point (loc 992) there is a bonus chapter. This chapter was well written and organized, much more than the rest of the book that precedes it. This review will look at the book from the more conventional front to back order.
The first part of the book lacked focus. I expected to read about Patrick Kearney. Just when I thought the text was going in that direction, a victim would be mentioned, then a bit about the victim, then perhaps observations made by people who knew the victim. Then there might be information that was irrelevant to any of the above. One example “Hughes Aircraft, founded by none other than the eccentric and successful Howard Hughes, whose friends and lovers included Katharine Hepburn, Bette Davis, Ava Gardner, Olivia de Havilland, Ginger Rogers, Gene Tierney and Joan Fontaine” (loc 115-116). Why do I want to know this last information? It is interesting that Kearney worked for Hughes Aircraft; it serves to show the level of his abilities. But the same information is given later (loc 205) without the additional information.
The whole section on Anita Bryant was hard for me to connect to Kearney. I felt Rosewood was trying somehow to connect the anti-gay stance of Bryant to Kearney’s homosexual relationship with Hill. Kearney was a psychopath; any connections made by a psychopath have meaning only to the psychopath. Trying to make a connection between an orange juice drinking evangelist to a truly self-centered person like Kearney is a credibility stretch.
Throughout this first part of the book other serial killers are presented with brief discussion. This just makes it more difficult to focus on Kearney. When it comes to victims, they show up at different sections of this first part. We learn of a five-year-old victim. Much later in the book we are given information about the five-year-old from a family member in a section about testimony at a parole hearing. I found myself going back to search for information in the earlier part, very distracting.
In contrast, the additional chapter was clear. There are seven topics presented and Rosewood selects different serial killers that he feels illustrate each theme. This is not distracting; it is cohesive.
I will read more by this author because I like the genre, but I am also curious about what the author’s future style of presentation will be.