Bitter Blood ~ by Jerry Bledsoe

Oh such a fine True Crime book!  First published in 1988 so it’s an older tome, but it’s a classic, imo.  I’ve been reading True Crime off and on since the 1980s, but at that time I was kind of stuck on Ann Rule and a few others, so I think I missed Bledsoe. Ann Rule was great and Bledsoe is quite similar. The research, including excellent interviews, is amazing.  It hit #1 on The NY Times Best Seller list in 1988.  

Bitter Blood:  A True Story
of Southern Family Pride, Madness and Murder

by Jerry Bledsoe
Read by Kevin Stillwell, 20h 8m 
Rating;  A+ / True Crime Classic 

Delores Lynch was a widow in 1985, living comfortably in a lovely home in Prospect, Kentucky, near her grown but single daughter, Janie. Delores attended church with friends and kept busy with community actives. Although she could be difficult, she was generally tolerated by all. Tom, her son, was living in Arizona with his new wife, Kathy, but his ex-wife, the mother of his two boys, Susie Sharp has just moved back from Albuquerque to Reidsville, North Carolina, where her large and prominent family lived.

There is a lot of Sharp/Newsom/Lynch family history here, because this is a complex case. Fortunately, there’s an excellent family tree which simplifies things. There are cousins and in-laws who don’t show up on it, but it worked well as a reference for me. (How was Susie related to Fritz? etc.)  

Bledsoe writes with great attention to detail which rarely interferes with tension and sometimes, surprisingly, works to enhance it. It definitely adds to the realism which is necessary in True Crime.  There’s one scene which involves a multi-car pile-up and many things happen simultaneously . The skillful writing is amazing.  

I listened to this and although other readers had some complaints about the narrator I have no complaints.  Kevin Stillwell did a superb job with his slight but deliberate country lilt adding to the setting of rural Kentucky and North Carolina. 

True Crime books are rarely (if ever) thrillers of any sort.  What readers of this genre want are factual realism and background information.  

Although this is my first, Bledsoe has written quite a few books and it seems his subject matter and his “style,” are quite a lot like Ann Rule’s with its focus on family dynamics.
an overall report
including the family tree

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