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Publisher's Summary

In April 2002, Janine Latus' youngest sister, Amy, wrote a note and taped it to the inside of her desk drawer. "Today Ron Ball and I are romantically involved", it read, "but I fear I have placed myself at risk in a variety of ways. Based on his criminal past, writing this out just seems like the smart thing to do. If I am missing or dead this obviously has not protected me...." That same spring, Janine Latus was struggling to leave her marriage - a marriage to a handsome and successful man. A marriage others emulated. A marriage in which she felt she could do nothing right and everything wrong. A marriage in which she felt afraid, controlled, inadequate, and trapped.
Ten weeks later, Janine Latus had left her marriage. She was on a business trip to the East Coast, savoring her freedom, attending a work conference, when she received a call from her sister Jane asking if she'd heard from Amy. Immediately, Janine's blood ran cold. Amy was missing.
Helicopters went up and search dogs went out. Coworkers and neighbors and family members plastered missing posters with Amy's picture across the county. It took more than two weeks to find Amy's body, wrapped in a tarpaulin and buried at a building site. It took nearly two years before her killer, her former boyfriend Ron Ball, was sentenced for her murder.
Amy died in silent fear and pain. Haunted by this, Janine Latus turned her journalistic eye inward. How, she wondered, did two seemingly well-adjusted, successful women end up in strings of physically or emotionally abusive relationships with men? If I Am Missing or Dead is a heart-wrenching journey of discovery as Janine Latus traces the roots of her own, and her sister's, victimization with unflinching candor.
©2007 Janine Latus (P)2007 Tantor Media Inc.
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Critic Reviews

"Unforgettable, unsentimental, and profoundly affecting, Latus' book resonates long after the final page is turned." (Publishers Weekly)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By James Gordon on 07-04-07


I wasn't paying attention when I purchased this book. I thought I was getting one of those true crime tomes done by authors like Anne Rule. Nothing wrong with that, but what this book is is so much more.

Once I got past the initial shock of hearing about the author's childhood (not something I thought I was interested in), I settled into what turned out to be a thrilling read. This book is really about that thing in us that allows intelligent, educated and giving individuals to settle for less in love than we deserve. It happens to both sexes and this book is clearly dealing with the subject in depth.

I think the author, Janine Latus, is a genius in coming to relate the horror of her own marriage, the murder of her younger sister and the pain caused by this inability to get out of what surely are horrific relationships.

I don't think I've learned as much from a book in recent years. This is a spellbinding search for our real souls.

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5 of 5 people found this review helpful

2 out of 5 stars
By LillyO on 12-17-10

Message Lost in Delivery

Such a great opportunity to get a strong message "out there" lost in borderline narcissism. Sigh. Would feel better if Janine had spent less time belaboring the point that they BOTH made bad choices in men (thanks, dad) and more time telling what she's learned. It would turn this from whiny to redemptive! Great narrator, tho!

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4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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