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Publisher's Summary

Stella Nickell's small-time world was one of big-time dreams. In 1986, her biggest one came true when her husband died during a seizure, making her the beneficiary of a $175,000-plus insurance payoff - until authorities discovered that Bruce Nickell's headache capsules had been laced with cyanide. In an attempt to cover her tracks, Stella did the unconscionable.
She saw to it that a stranger would also become a 'random casualty' of cyanide-tainted painkillers. But Stella's cunning plan came undone when her daughter Cynthia notified federal agents. And troubling questions lingered like the secret of bitter almonds...
What would turn a gregarious barfly like Stella into a cold-hearted killer overnight? Why would Cynthia, a mirror image of her mother, turn on her own flesh and blood? Did Cynthia reveal everything she knew about the crimes? The stunning answers would unfold in a case that sparked a national uproar, dug deep into a troubled family history, and exposed an American mother for the pretty poison she was.
©2012 Gregg Olsen (P)2013 Gregg Olsen
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By IndyMcDuff on 10-02-16

Another Gregg Olsen Gem

The gift that Gregg Olsen has of making real life sound like a well-done fiction novel is downright uncanny.

If you are a True Crime buff, you won't want to miss this.

Kevin Pierce is, as always, a top-notch narrator.

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4 of 4 people found this review helpful


By Robyn on 09-02-13

first class true crime

True crime readers will not be disappointed. Anyone wanting a quick overview of the Stella Nickell story may not be happy with all the detail which Olsen has meticulously tracked down and recounted, but if you want all the ins and outs of the plot and the characters, this book has it all. I wasn't counting, but this family must be in the race for the highest number of house moves and taking up temporary make-shift accommodation with friends or family, the most partner swaps, the most one night stands, the amount of alcohol consumed, and general bad parenting. On the other hand, they were either in work or looking for work, family (except mothers and daughters) were close-knit and stood by each other through thick and thin, and there was always a friend they could turn to in a crisis. Fascinating family, fascinating plot, intriguing outcome. Olsen's research is painstaking and he writes well, although the interweaving of the stories of the two victims' families was a bit confusing at first. Also I felt a bit of the story was missing in my version because it went straight from the jury room deliberations to after the verdict had been handed down which left me baffled about when the verdict had been reached and even more baffled about the phone call to a juror and possible re-trail which were being mentioned. I went back and listened to that section again to make sure it wasn't just me, but it still seemed that part of the book just wasn't there. It is very competently read by Kevin Pierce - a simple straight-forward emotion-free narration - just right for this type of book.

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9 of 10 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

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By Geoff on 01-29-16

Punchy! Gripping! Intense!

A Page Turner from The Start! Not Holding Back, or Pulling It's Punches as it explains The Internal Strength and Loyalty, often, found within Families routed along The Lower Levels of Society, even, to A Fault on Many Occasions. Darkness is Never Far from The Surface Here as Characters and Plot Play Out from Gripping Chapter to Gripping Chapter! Olson is Indeed A Master of True Crime!! I Recommend This Book to All who are Fascinated by The Human Condition for Power, Influence, and Ego.

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1 of 2 people found this review helpful


By Stephen Sharp on 09-27-14

A drawn out story with a lot of pointles detail.

What did you like most about Bitter Almonds?

This book is simply about a woman killing people using cyanide, so was not the book I thought it was.A very long drawn out story with a lot of pointless detail.It could have been summed up in less than a third of the 20 hours with writer took.

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1 of 3 people found this review helpful

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