If I am Missing or Dead

  • by Janine Latus
  • Narrated by Shelly Frasier
  • 8 hrs and 53 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

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.


What the Critics Say

"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

All About Janine

The premise is chilling. I wish the author had delved more into why Amy was so into this guy, who was obviously using her. The author seemed to have picked up on the role their father played in forming the daughters' self-esteem, but in my opinion the author still has a long way to go in healing her own self-esteem. Frankly I'd probably have liked Amy a lot better than I would like to get to know Janine Latus. I wouldn't like to be in the same room with her.
I know she has healing to do but her little asides about other people and their inferiority are just astounding!

All through the book, single people are "losers." People who are not as trim, slim, wealthy, attractive and fashionable as Janine and her then-husband are losers too. "We were the couple everyone wanted to be!" Just when you think Latus is going to come down off her perch and be happy to embrace the regular people, she does it again. Horrors, she can't take the job in North Carlina, that's tobacco country and she just knows there won't be any kindred spirits! And when she starts dating again, the dismissive way she rejects guys on the basis of "paunch" and some other externals--all I can say is some of the sweetest, most loving, and supportive non-controlling guys have a little "paunch." I'm not saying Janine deserved her controlling husband--I am just saying she sure comes across as conceited.
How is she going to handle aging if she's that wrapped up in her looks? This book should have been titled "How Superior I, Janine Latus, Am." Maybe her dad made her overcompensate, ego-wise.
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- Ellen


This book truly moved me and I plan on buying a copy to circulate between my sisters and my friends. There were so many relationship truths in this book, and I found myself saying over and over "I thought that just happened to me." And the story was told in a way that I didn't want to stop listening, I truly enjoyed every minute. If you're a woman, I highly recommend that you read this book and then urge 5 of your friends to read it. If you're a man, read this book to understand how women really feel.
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- Amazon Customer "Audio Book Fiend"

Book Details

  • Release Date: 04-04-2007
  • Publisher: Tantor Audio