book reviews, true crime

Repost: A review of Son: A Psychopath and His Victims…

Here’s a reposted book review from May 6, 2016. It appears here as/is.

It’s been a long time since my last fresh book review.  That’s because I’ve spent weeks reading a very long true crime book by the late Jack Olsen.  Originally published in 1984, Son: A Psychopath and His Victims has been made available once again to true crime fans.  At over 500 pages, this book was not a quick read.  I’m happy to be finished with it, although I must admit Olsen spins a compelling tale. 

In this case, Olsen is writing about Fred Harlan Coe, otherwise known as Kevin Coe as well as “the South Hill rapist”, back in the late 1970s and early 80s.  Coe was a clean cut guy who lived in Spokane, Washington and had an unusually enmeshed relationship with his parents, especially his mother.  From 1978 until 1981, Coe victimized women who lived in Spokane.  He was a classic stranger who jumped out of the bushes and caught women unaware, stuffing his hand down their throats, threatening them with knives, and sexually assaulting them.  Fred Harlan Coe had women terrified and police baffled until he was finally captured.  In 1982, he legally changed his name to Kevin Coe.

Kevin Coe’s story is very convoluted.  He had been married to a woman named Jenifer who was alcoholic.  After divorcing Jenifer, who had her own stories about life with Coe, he became involved with his girlfriend, Gini.  Gini was completely unaware of her boyfriend’s proclivities toward rape, though she must have been aware of his poor showing as a working man.  An unsuccessful disc jockey in Las Vegas, Coe moved back to Spokane, where he became an unsuccessful realtor who sometimes used his position to try to gain access to his victims.

Coe had a special fondness for slight women with long, brown hair and pretty eyes.  Most of his victims met that physical standard, though they ranged in age from their early teens to their early fifties.  Coe would often strike while he was jogging.  Surprisingly enough, he wore the same type of clothes most of the time, which gave police some clues as to who he was.  He also often failed to “get it up” when he committed rape. 

Somehow, he would convince friends, family, and lovers to lie for him.  While Olsen’s description of Coe makes me think of him as not very likable, he had a charisma that influenced otherwise good people to do bad things.  Moreover, because Coe is a sociopath, he believed he was smarter than the police.  That erroneous belief eventually led to his downfall.  

What really makes this story even more compelling, though, is the fact that Coe’s mother, Ruth, was arrested three months after her son was convicted of multiple rapes.  Ruth suffered from bipolar disorder and would occasionally get so angry that she’d make threats.  She was so crazed by the idea that her son was headed to prison that she tried to hire a hitman to murder the judge and prosecutor.  Instead of finding a “legit” hitman, she tried to hire a police officer.  Ruth Coe was sentenced to twenty years in prison, all suspended, ten years parole, and one year in the jail of her choice. 

Coe’s case was eventually retried because many of his victims had been hypnotized before they identified him.  He was freed on bail for a year preceding the new trial.  In 1985, Coe was convicted again and sentenced to life plus 55 years in prison.   

As recently as 2008, Coe was still a suspect in dozens of unsolved rapes in the Spokane area.  He has been diagnosed with personality disorder not otherwise specified with narcissistic and antisocial traits and was committed indefinitely to the Special Commitment Center at McNeil Island in Washington state. 

I think Jack Olsen did a very thorough job covering this case, although the book took a very long time to read.  I have read several of Olsen’s books and most of them have been a bit of a struggle for me, though he was a very well regarded true crime author.  I don’t think he has quite the gift for storytelling as, say, Ann Rule or Kathryn Casey. Or maybe he’s not as consistent to me as Rule and Casey have been. I notice that I liked Olsen’s writing better in the book, Give the Boy a Gun.  

Nevertheless, Son: A Psychopath and His Victims is definitely a bizarre story.  Some readers will be thrilled by this book and, according to Amazon.com, many people obviously were.  Count me among those who felt this book was far too long.  I felt like I’d never finish it, even though Coe’s story was one worth writing.

I think I’d give it 3.5 stars on a five star scale.  I read this on Kindle.  It includes photos at the end of the book.

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politicians, politics, stupid people, Trump

Strange times…

We are definitely living in them. Yesterday was a relatively normal day for me. I’m six hours ahead of my American friends and family, knowing that by the evening, things were going to get weird. But until the evening, we enjoyed a regular day of clouds and drizzle. I did some writing, practiced guitar, washed my sheets, and put together a new bookshelf to hold some of the fancy foodie books I’ve gotten for Bill over the years. An added bonus is that I also have a place to put board games and jigsaw puzzles I’ve done. I thought I’d put the shelf in the living room, but there’s no good place for it down there.

Usually, by now, I would have taken down the Christmas trees. I haven’t done it yet, because the trees make the living room look cozier and I like the lights. I find them comforting. I’ll take the trees down this weekend, when Bill can help me with that chore. Then I’ll do a thorough vacuuming… I’ve made such mundane plans.

And yet, what we saw in the news last night was anything but mundane. Like so many other Americans I was absolutely horrified, but not at all surprised, to see people rioting in Washington, D.C. over Trump’s assertion that the 2020 election was “stolen” from him. It was appalling to see crazed, lawless people breaking the windows in the Capitol building as our lawmakers were evacuated. No, I’m not particularly shocked that this happened. Trump said it would, and it probably made him proud to see all of the chaos reigning as Congress was trying to settle the election.

We knew that many members of Congress intended to object to the electoral votes cast in favor of Joe Biden in certain states. I am sure that the fact that both run off elections in Georgia, one of the formerly red states that turned blue, ended in victories for the Democrat candidates. It’s clear that a lot of people who ordinarily don’t vote came out to make their voices heard, and the majority voted against the Republicans. Republicans, who had been enjoying their powers under Trump, have now been checked by the majority of the American people. A lot of them are pissed off, threatened, and just plain scared that things are going to swing way to the left. So their response is to fight back in a lawless way. One of my conservative friends actually posted this on her Facebook page. All I’ve got to say to it is… wow. Talk about someone who is out of touch with reality.

I feel like half of Americans have Stockholm Syndrome. How can they not see that their dear leader is the biggest abuser of all?

There is nothing cool or honorable about what happened in Washington, D.C. yesterday. So far, four people have died over this stupid shit. A lot of people were injured and arrested. And how many will get sick with COVID-19 remains to be seen. What’s even worse is that the world is watching this crap unfold. This is the kind of thing that happens in banana republics. It’s senseless and ridiculous and completely embarrassing. Trump is cheering it on and encouraging people to be violent and disorderly.

The highest leaders in Washington are talking about invoking the 25th Amendment. It’s an unprecedented move, but it may be the one thing the saves the country.

I really think it’s long been time to invoke the 25th Amendment. It’s sad that it’s only NOW that people in the government and talking about removing Trump from office. Trump was never suited to lead the country, and what we’re witnessing right now is the reason WHY he was never suited. And this behavior is also why I have repeatedly compared Trump to Hitler. It’s not because he’s rounded up six million people and assassinated them, but because his seditious rhetoric inspires the unhinged to react with violence and commit mayhem. It is appalling and terrifying to watch this from afar. I can only imagine how scary it is to actually live near D.C. and see this happening up close and personal. It makes me glad Bill is retired from the National Guard and we no longer live at Fort Belvoir.

Author Michael Wolff said in 2019, Donald Trump’s presidency would end in tears… Donald Trump’s tears. He says Trump is “more isolated, more alone…” and this is the story of one of the greatest political meltdowns in history. How astute he was in June 2019!

Anderson Cooper says speaking to Trump is like speaking to a child.

And yet people are still cheering him on and championing him, to the point of storming the Capitol building and interfering with Congress’s attempts to finalize the election.

Trump has no impulse control. He has no shame. He doesn’t care about anyone but himself, and clearly he is not an adult who knows how to negotiate. He’s just a bully and a tyrant and he needs to be escorted out of the White House… sooner than January 20, 2021. And every single one of the miscreants who breached the Capitol building needs to be arrested and punished. Law and order is for everyone, not just BLM. But… like I said, this isn’t a surprise for me. Donald Trump, like all malignant narcissists, has never hidden who and what he is. If you’ve spent any time with a narcissist, you know what’s coming. Some are worse than others. Trump is clearly among the worst.

I truly hope more people have seen the truth… and we’ll all learn from this craziness.

And now, Joe Biden is formally on track to be our 46th president. Thank GOD.

I am so ready for the Trump chapter to close forever.

I’m also delighted that Mitch McConnell’s unholy reign of terror as Senate Majority Leader is finally over. However, I will commend him and Mike Pence for FINALLY going off on Trump and defying him as he melts down. Too bad it’s taken so long for the two of them to grow spines. This never should have happened. Trump never should have been allowed to run for president.

And finally, a little old school humor that hits home as I watch this crap unfold…

Tell me about it.
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politicians, social media, Trump

Mayor Bowser has major moxie!

Hi folks. I’m not feeling particularly deep today… I guess the events of the past week have shaken me up a little bit. It occurs to me that just a few months ago, I’d be itching to go out and do something fun today. Saturday used to be my day for outings. Now, I don’t have much of a desire. I don’t feel like mingling among the mask wearing folks… nor do I necessarily want to see demonstrations or riots. We have no riots in Germany that I’m aware of at the moment, but there are demonstrations. I suppose I could get dressed and venture out to downtown Wiesbaden to see what’s going on… but I just don’t feel like it. Coronavirus has really done a number on my desire to go out anymore. I’m sure I’m not the only one. The weather is kind of overcast and yucky, anyway.

I’m proud to be a Gen Xer like Mayor Muriel Bowser. She’s got guts!

I started off this morning playing Sims 4, which I haven’t done in ages. Then I practiced guitar. Now I’m sitting here thinking about Washington, DC’s mayor Muriel Bowser, who responded to Donald Trump’s overweening power grab by having the words “BLACK LIVES MATTER” painted in bright yellow paint at what was once known as Lafayette Square. Mayor Bowser also had the square renamed Black Lives Matter Plaza.

This was done partly in response to Trump’s decision to have federal police and National Guard units sent to Washington, DC against Mayor Bowser’s wishes. Trump wants to quash protests regarding the murder of George Floyd by cop in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and he thinks he has the ultimate authority to send Guard units, even if governors or mayors don’t want them. Trump is acting like he’s king. Bowser is reminding him that he’s not. I think that’s pretty awesome.

I looked up Mayor Bowser last night. She and I were born weeks and a couple hundred miles apart. She was born in Washington, DC and lived her whole life there. I was born a couple hundred miles south. I am very impressed by her. She earned a scholarship to Chatham College, then went on to earn a master’s degree in public policy from American University, which happens to be Bill’s (and one of my sister’s) alma mater. I read that she never saw herself as a politician, but I must say she’s doing an incredible job of setting Trump straight. I think she’s going to go places.

The mural was paid for with funds for DC’s mural project. I’m sure Trump will do what he can to have it removed. Still, the fact that Mayor Bowser had the moxie to do that is just great. Fuck Donald Trump. Fuck him for everything he’s doing to destroy the country and divide people. Fuck him for emboldening the racists, the misogynists, the ignorant, and the general assholes of the country. It makes me sick to see how much the country has declined since Trump took up residence in the White House.

I’m just really glad Bill is retired from the military. He could have easily ended up in this mess up to his eyeballs. Bill was a member of the National Guard before he retired. He was what is known as a Title X Guardsman, serving at the pleasure of the governor of Arkansas. However, because he was Title X, he was “federalized” and basically was paid and functioned as if he was a regular Army soldier. He was simply paid from a different pot of money and dealt with different promotion procedures.

A screen grab from the video below…

Here in Germany, people are taking notice of our stupid president’s antics. Check out this funny news spoof. It’s in German, but you can follow if you try. There’s some English in it, too.

He’s totally humiliating and embarrassing Americans everywhere with this non-stop hateful bullshit.

And finally, I had a good chuckle at what one person’s response was to Melania Trump’s plea for everyone to be peaceful…

Ha ha ha… 3rd Lady! This is too funny! People are fucking fed up with the Trumps. I know I am.

It really feels like the universe is violently doing its best to put things in balance this year. What’s next? Massive floods a la Noah’s Ark?

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