On June 4, 2008, at approximately 5:30 PM in a quiet suburb of Phoenix, Arizona, Jodi Arias stabbed Travis Alexander 29 times, cut his throat, and then shot him in the head. The killer then went to great lengths to cover up the crime, including sending his grandmother flowers, going to the memorial service, driving by the victim's house, and calling the lead investigator, Detective Esteban Flores.
It would take five years before the case would be put in front of a second jury and leave them to decide whether Arias was a cold, calculating killer or the victim of extreme domestic violence at the hands of an abusive boyfriend.
Paul Sanders sat in the public gallery for each and every one of the 47 days of the trial, and took extensive notes, transposing every twist and turn of it to social media every night. With allegations of pornography, racial slurs, and a search for the answer to the question of domestic violence and alleged child abuse, the journey is both painful and meticulous.
Humbling, intimidating, and powerful at the same time, this trial would test the jurors in ways they could never have foreseen, in their ultimate search for truth and justice.
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the absolute worst!
Maybe there is a least discriminating reader somewhere who might be able to find some redeeming qualities in this work to in some way justify the overall investment. But I cannot see how this amazingly worthless, annoying book ever got to be an Audible offering.
The case in point was the death penalty trial for Jodi Arias in the murder of Travis Alexander. She had already been convicted of the crime. The trial was to determine death penalty vs. life in prison. The author was attending as a public observer, not a juror. He takes copious notes each day and it is obvious that the tiniest, most unrelated details he observes get spelled out IN FULL and that is what gets dumped in the book eventually.
I love courtroom stories (must be nonfiction), no matter how boring they get sometimes, and how bogged down with procedure, lawyers' antics, etc. But it is taking a supreme effort on my part just to tolerate the shortcomings presented here. To mention a few (briefly):
-The sheer number of repetitions of certain phrases/references is just nauseating. The listener has to stifle cuss words and bite the tongue just to continue. So many offenders, but the one that drove me insane the worst was some rendition of "as a former juror...". If I have to hear that wording one more time before I depart this vale of tears, it will push me over the edge. And I am not done with the book yet, and it is a test of my will power that I intend to finish it.
It appears the author's previous experience as a juror on a death-penalty case was not only the highlight of his life, but also of his education, his profession, etc. It made him an expert on absolutely everything about the current case (and no doubt any other case).
Another example that is unnerving is that at each and every mention of a person's/witness' name, the author has to give the title also, as in Mrs. Mary Jane Jones, Ph.D., forensic scientist for the current case"...
It isn't helping the listener to spell that information out 5 times in every chapter of the whole book! By a couple chapters after the first mention, the listener knows who Mrs. Jones is. It is harassment to keep repeating this information over and over. Probably, this was for the benefit of possible newspaper articles being created... But if so, it speaks to the laziness/sloppiness of authorship that these repetitions were not cleaned out when the book was created.
The repetitions were widespread; every pertinent (and trivial) fact about the case was repeated in nearly every chapter! I surmise the author was reporting for a newspaper on the case as it proceeded; so I suppose all the previous facts had to be re-told with each new chapter/article. I really do not know for sure. But if I somehow deleted everything I had heard twice already, and then all the fluff about clothes, hairdo's and lunches, this book would have been about 1/4th as long. And of much higher quality.
- The amount of pure fluff/padding in this tome is sickening! The listener has to hear every single detail of every single garment worn by every single person at issue, on every single day of a trial that lasted well over a year, (not to mention makeup and hairdos), including the shade of a woman's hose (I mean, can you even SEE nude stockings?). I still cannot believe an author would have the raw guts to detail what all the men are wearing all the time, no matter how boring and irrelevant. These are a lot of LAWYERS, for pete's sake. They dress like LAWYERS! The womens' details were no more interesting. Is there a listener on the planet who cares about the wardrobe of lawyers who all wear suits and ties, or women who dress conservatively for court appearances? I was pulling out tufts of my hair. It is so blatently just FLUFF, word filler! If there were some noteworthy aspects of the wardrobes on display, it would be one thing. But the only point of all those descriptions was to ADD WORDS.
Now, I am getting into all-caps mode, and I must settle down.
Of course, I also got treated to every detail of the lunches the author and a few of his lunch companions ate. And of course, the weather. Honestly! A little bit would have gone a long way.
There was enough total padding that anyone would just give up on this book, but I am 3/4 of the way through because I just could not believe, at the beginning, that this entire book could continue as it started. Some books get off to slow starts... so I kept going.
I have literally hundreds of audiobooks in my library. I am an audiobook addict. And I am pretty forgiving and willing to go along with an author and overlook stuff that others would not, and find the thread of redeeming value in an author's work, if I can.
But this work just seems to be another stab at milking the legal goings-on of the couple cases the author has participated in, for money. It appears he has done some previous writings about the cases (that I am not familiar with, but he references). How else to explain this work, that seems not to have been even glanced at by any editor.
The narration does not help either. There are some skippings of words and some slurring here and there and I wondered if the narrator had possibly been "overtired" or something. But I could put up with that.
I will be curious to see what other listeners got out of this book, and if they saw it similar to the way I see it. To me it is the most miserable excuse for an Audible offering that I have encountered since Audible dot com was invented. Shameful and disgusting attempt to rake in some cash, on the author's part, without putting hardly any effort into it.
I know I could return it but I look at it as an educational experience, just this one time. I have felt that Audible needs to tighten the reins lately in the quality department overall. This certainly feeds into that impression. I cannot believe if someone at Audible had read this as a pre-screen that it ever would have been available for sale.
If only there had been some way to know ahead of time, how badly quality of offerings by Audible has slipped lately, I would have been spared this pain of wading through this book. It is not the genre that I have been turned off on. It is the full confidence that Audible is only bringing me the choicest offerings to choose from. It seems no one at Audible is doing quality examinations on the offerings.
I was not impressed with the narrator. I would probably avoid this narrator unless I was sure the actual book would be worth it.
As noted above. There was 3/4 of the entire word count of the book that could have/should have been omitted. Not scenes, just basic word salads that served no other purpose other than making more pages in the book. Sad!
Please, Audible! Listen to the darn books! All the way through. Do not depend on whatever you are now depending on to base your decision as to whether any book is up to standards before you put it out there for us, your loyal customers. This book was scraped off the bottom of the barrel.
Pretty good recap
- Traci P.