If you know me, you know I’m some what of a true crime junkie. I mean, just look at how I raved about Kara Thomas’s THE DARKEST CORNERS.
Recently (and by that, I mean a lot later than everyone else), I was introduced to The Jinx. I watched it, rapt. My feelings about Robert Durst fluctuated between, “he’s misunderstood” to “he’s a cold-hearted killer!” to “did he really just confess…?”
So when I was browsing at my favorite local haunt, Barnes & Noble, I was (of course) in the True Crime section and stumbled upon this beauty:
I was like WHAT!? But because I’m on limited funds, I decided to see if the library had a copy. (They did!) And I got it within a few days. (Eei!)
Some Background: Jeannine Pirro is a retired New York District Attorney. She was the one that brought the Kathie Durst case back to the light of day around 1999 (long before The Jinx aired on HBO). She’s currently a Fox News consultant, and I was immediately like, “Uh oh.” Because, you know, Fox News…
As it would turn out, Pirro is pretty freaking hilarious. I would definitely gobble up any books she’s written before (or will write in the future). I especially liked the style of this memoir — but I’ll save that for the review.
Here’s the review for
He Killed Them All by Jeannine Pirro
Simon & Shuster, 2016
What It’s About:
A true crime memoir written by retired District Attorney Jeannine Pirro and her quest for justice against Robert Durst in the unsolved cold case of his wife, Kathie Durst, who went missing in 1982.
Not only does Pirro talk about reopening the case, but she includes anecdotes of her time as DA of Westchester County in New York; her work as a domestic violence advocate; The Jinx, and Durst’s alleged murders of Susan Berman and Morris Black.
It’s a pretty comprehensive look at all things surrounding Durst, but also gives a good insight into what it’s like being an elected government official.
Since this is a nonfiction book, it’s hard to break this into plot, character, setting, and so on. Instead, I’ll focus on narrative structure, the evidence presented, and overall thoughts about the book.
Narrative Structure: I’m going to start off by
repeating myself saying that Pirro is funny. There are several areas where she breaks away from the formal narrative structure of the story to include her thoughts (usually ones that are full of disbelief and swearing). It was great to read this. As a reader, I felt like she was legitimately telling me the story in person, not that I was just reading it second-hand. Also, this shows her personality really well, which I appreciated — again, as a reader.
While the focus of the book is about Robert Durst and the cold case involving his wife, Kathie Durst’s 1982 disappearance, there’s a lot of other information. However, this is really only included to help the story make more sense. For example, Pirro talks about her early days as an ADA and how she helped develop training for professionals who encountered domestic abuse victims. (It all ties to Kathie Durst’s story.)
The narrative is fluid, easy to follow, and contains great information. It really was a well-told story. (And let’s be honest, there are a lot badly written true crime books out there. This isn’t one of them.)
Evidence Presented: While the focus is on Kathie Durst’s disappearance, Pirro accurately includes information about Susan Berman’s death (most of which was included in the Jinx), and Durst’s acquittal of Morris Black’s murder. She builds a solid case against Durst with evidence she’s collected and what she’s discussed with other key players in the case. If Pirro weren’t involved in a lot of this herself, I’d say she did a great job with research. But, of course she did — she was the spearhead of the case being reopened!
Overall Thoughts: This is a definite must-read for any true crime fan. It’s not only well-written and full of great information, but it does add so much more to what Andrew Jalecki presented in The Jinx. If you liked the documentary, definitely read this!