Jack Olsen, "the master of the true crime book,"* now gives us an incisive, probing look into the creation and development of the criminal mind, as well as a shocking case of justice gone awry.
From childhood, McDonald Smith took to heart the lessons drummed into him by antisocial relatives and peers. As a teenager, unburdened by conscience or pity, he experimented with child abuse and bestiality, then moved on to larceny, stickups, incest, and, finally, rape. Warned by a "witch" that he was about to be arrested, he fled Los Angeles for Seattle and the Northwest -- already the breeding ground of predatory monsters like Ted Bundy, Kenneth Bianchi, and the Green River Killer. There, for years, he stalked the women of Seattle, seeking his prey on the dark streets and in the quiet homes, then returning to his wife and family: too careful -- and too clever -- to be caught.
By fall 1980, Mac Smith's luck still held. A respectable young businessman named Steve Titus found himself charged with one of Smith's most sadistic rapes in a nightmarish case of mistaken identity and injustice. The idealistic Titus was certain that the American system of justice would clear him -- right up to the day that a jury of his peers returned a verdict of guilty as charged.
While Mac Smith continued to terrorize the women of Seattle, Titus lost everything: his reputation, his job, his loved ones, his freedom. It was only when a Pulitzer prize-winning reporter answered Titus's pleas for justice that the terrible truth emerged: a truth that was darker than anyone imagined.
Predator is a gripping work of true crime reporting: Jack Olsen doing what he does best. It is a searing study of violations: of women, of justice, of power, and of the human spirit.
With careful reporting that sticks close to the facts, Jack Olsen tells stories that seem straight out of crime fiction, and yet are all the more compelling for being true. This book focuses on three men--a criminal who preyed on women, a carefree partygoer who was wrongly convicted of the predator's crimes, and a reporter for the Seattle Times who won a Pulitzer Prize for tracking down the truth. It's supposed to be a rare event in the U.S. judicial system that someone this innocent gets screwed this badly. Even if it only happened to one person every decade, it would still be a horrible thing. And the smiling rapist, described as having a sweet "Jesus-like" countenance, knowingly allowed that to happen. Olsen not only delivers a real page-turner, but he ties up all the loose ends before the book's memorable and satisfying finale.
Olson ( Cold Kill ), arguably the best true-crime author around, triumphs again with the story of a serial rapist on the West Coast and of an innocent man destroyed by the police and the justice system--which found him guilty of one of the rapes. It is the tale of McDonald (``Mac'') Smith, a child of the '50s raised in Ohio and the L.A. area by very young, seemingly psychotic parents. It's also an account of Steve Titus, a happy-go-lucky, rising young Seattle executive who was convicted and then exonerated of a rape charge in 1981, not long before his death from a heart attack. Olson tells, too, of Paul Henderson, a newsman who risked his career at the Seattle Times to prove Titus's innocence, and of Ronald Parker, a policeman and violent bully who withheld and distorted evidence to convict Titus. Compelling throughout, the book builds to a climax in its final sentence, dealing a blow to the idea that police in the case cared a whit about justice. Literary Guild/Mystery Guild selection; author tour.
Couldn't put it down
Kept my interest all the way through. The author does a great job in delving into the mind of a sociopath.
I gave it one star because I couldn't do less, worst book I ever tried to read