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Witness for the Prosecution of Scott Peterson By Amber Frey

Jacket: Hardcover
Pages: 210 pages
Publisher: Regan Books; (2005)
Genre: True Crime
ISBN: 0060799250

Comments about the author:

Review: Beginning on December 24th, 2002, the news of Laci Peterson's disappearance and eventual recovery of her body (and that of her unborn son) rose to the national level, rivaling stories about the Iraq War and Columbia Space Shuttle disaster. Even though one hundred forty-seven other adults disappeared from Stanislaus County, California, the same year under suspicious or unknown circumstances, the Peterson tragedy and 2004 murder trial captured the country’s attention and generated media mega-profits. We can expect more hype when the civil trial begins in April 2006. We may even see Amber Frey testify again.

A major attraction to this case was the sudden appearance of Scott Peterson’s stunning “other woman”. Regardless of anyone's opinion of Frey – party girl, heroine, mistress – when the guilty verdict was finally returned, court watchers and analysts believed her involvement was crucial.

Rather than begin her book with autobiographical information, Frey plunges into the details of her relationship with Peterson. This will be gratifying for readers who are very curious about their intense romance. Frey does not discuss the salacious, much-publicized details, yet gives enough information to keep the reader interested. Her description of Peterson’s treachery is chilling – he had designed a glamorous, powerful, fantasy persona in incredible detail. She was instantly bowled over by his charm, thoughtfulness, and perceived success. As she describes their happy dates and phone calls, she includes what Peterson was secretly doing – buying a boat, making concrete anchors, and researching currents in San Francisco Bay.

Frey assumes that every reader must be familiar with the facts of the crime, so the crime is not the focus. Frey herself is the focus. Readers who followed the case and the trial will be quite interested in her recollections of Peterson and the legal proceedings, even though the media has already analyzed each detail to a ridiculous degree. Hearing her experience described in the conversational first person makes it more understandable and real. At times, Frey's tone is bleak and her misery is apparent. Throughout the book, she views herself as an innocent single mother trying to make her way in a complicated, cruelly unpredictable world.

Following the description of her experiences with Peterson and initial contact with police investigators, Frey describes her childhood and college years, her turbulent relationships with men, and the years when she sought a vocation in life. She is a devout evangelical Christian and she speaks often about her reliance on religion.

The last chapter of this book describes her experiences during the trial, her unwanted celebrity status, and thoughts on the verdict. This will be gratifying for readers who wonder what it was like to testify about intensely personal events while face-to-face with Peterson in court.

In any "true crime" or autobiographical book there is always a section of photographs, and this book offers a small, full-color sample. Some recent images will be familiar and some are from Frey's childhood. There are no exclusive photographs of Scott Peterson. Modeling portfolio photographs are included even though the media has already promoted her image beyond measure.

Witness for the Prosecution of Scott Peterson was completed in a just few months so it could be printed the moment Peterson was sentenced to death on December 13 th, 2004. It is not intended to be a literary masterpiece; however it is required reading for those with an interest in the case. It is especially useful in trying to fathom Peterson's mental state. In sum, Witness for the Prosecution of Scott Peterson is recommended, especially for readers who enjoy reading about true crime and follow national crime headlines.

California Department of Justice Reports of Missing Adults by County (2002).

— Reviewed by: Lesley A Paul
Librarian, Herkimer County Community College [Herkimer, NY]


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