Son ~ by Jack Olsen

This is an older book, published in 2015 (I usually buy newer releases), but I did very much enjoy The Misbegotten Son by Olsen which I read back in February of this year.  In fact, I found out that several of Olsen’s books are now considered classics in the genre (true crime?) So, that’s when it went on ye olde Wish List. 

Son: A Psychopath and His Victims 
by Jack Olsen 
Read by Kevin Pierce 21 h 6m
Rating: A / true crime – psychological 

Olsen is thorough I’ll say that, one reason the story moves rather slowly is because it’s complex and Olsen has a LOT of relevant material. He writes very nicely, smoothly building tension as the 600+ page tale unfolds. There’s a bit of repetition due to Olsen building the case and zeroing in on Coe’s psychological difficulties. 

In the Introduction, Gregg Olsen writes that the author’s (Jack Oleson) focus is on the victims giving them all the attention they deserve. That shows in the subtitle, “A Psychopath and His Victims.” So although there are some “thriller,” procedural, and courtroom drama scenes and situations, it’s certainly not typical of the numerous “true crime” books I’ve read. This is a psychological portrait of a serial rapist. The thrust is the observations of victims, family, law enforcement, acquaintances, co-workers, even jurors.  Olsen went to great lengths to get all these people interviewed. These are vitally important to creating a complete, but non-professional, psychological portrait of a very dangerous man, a psychopath. The FBI profile is fascinating. 

The story of Kevin (Frederick) Coe of Spokane, Washington was thoroughly researched and written in more detail than Wikipedia and was an incredibly sad case. The title is “Son” because that’s what his parents, the well-to-do Ruth and Fred Coe, called him even when talking to others, until he was in his thirties. Jack did have a girlfriend – Ginni Perham,  who met him as he and his prior wife were divorcing. (Link includes info unavailable at the time of publication if you want the updates – they’re very interesting.)

Although it’s bulky at around 600 pages, after a slow but steady increase in tension, a high point comes at just about 1/2 way.  Olsen (d. 2002) was a master, it’s beautifully done.  (Olsen died in 2002.) 

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