Fair. Good copy for reading, may have heavy page wear with writing textual notes highlighting or be an heavily used ex library copy with library markings, stickers or stamps. Dust jacket or accessories may not be included.
Very good in very good dust jacket. Glued binding. Paper over boards. With dust jacket. 371 p. Contains: Illustrations. Audience: General/trade. VG first edition of this true crime story of Velma Barfield.
Publishers Weekly, 1998-09-07 In 1978, 52-year-old grandmother Velma Barfield admitted to poisoning four people, including her own mother. While she would be convicted of only one murder?that of her fiancÚ, Stuart Taylor?it would be enough for her to die by lethal injection in 1984, the first woman to be executed in the U.S. after the reinstatement of capital punishment in 1974. Relying mostly on anecdotes from Barfield's two children, veteran true-crime writer Bledsoe (Before He Wakes; Blood Games) glides smoothly through Barfield's history, from a brief look into her own poor, brutalized childhood through the love and stability she provided for her own young children and finally to her decline into the prescription-drug addiction, which Barfield's lawyer would argue compromised her judgment and her responsibility. Bledsoe's account of the trial itself, particularly of the courtroom antics of district attorney Joe Freeman Britt ("the world's deadliest prosecutor"), is so vivid that it is hard to believe he was not there. Likewise, the tortured ambivalence of Barfield's son Ronnie for a mother whose drug problems destroyed his life, but whom he still remembers as his class mom, adds a depth of feeling that is often difficult to capture in true-crime literature. It is only when Barfield becomes a born-again Christian that Bledsoe's narrative gets a bit heavy-handed; although he tries to balance the testimonials to Barfield's newfound faith with interviews with the victims' families, the former far outnumber the latter. But ultimately, for Bledsoe, Barfield's story seems to be a cautionary tale that discredits the death penalty because it offers no possibility of redemption, no second chances. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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