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Extended Audio Sample Cruel Doubt, by Joe McGinniss Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (786 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Joe McGinniss Narrator: Stacy Keach Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio Format: Abridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: August 2008 ISBN: 9780743581752
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From the New York Times bestselling author of Fatal Vision comes a shocking true account of murder, family secrets, and final justice.

One hot summer night in 1988, Bonnie Von Stein’s second husband was murdered in their bed, Bonnie herself stabbed, beaten, and left for dead beside him. It looked like a brutal but tragically typical case: Von Stein was newly wealthy, and Bonnie’s troubled son, Chris, seemed like the obvious suspect.

But Chris turned out to have an air-tight alibi, and new leads suggested the crime could be much more complex. The trail led to Chris’ two strange new friends from college and a real-life enactment of a bizarre Dungeons and Dragons fantasy adventure—and it implicated Bonnie’s teenage daughter as well.

In Cruel Doubt, Joe McGinniss probes the dark heart of family life and small-town North Carolina society to uncover a fascinating and terrifying story that is at once a chilling murder mystery, a tense courtroom drama, and a heartbreaking account of a mother forced to doubt her own children.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “McGinniss has drawn a riveting portrait of parental devotion that flies in the face of the truth. His reputation as a brutally honest storyteller will attract many readers. Highly recommended.” 

    Library Journal

  • New York Times Bestseller

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Bernie | 1/12/2014

    " Good but drags a bit. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 David | 12/23/2013

    " If you remember the case of the college boy who conspired with his classmates and fellow "Dungeons and Dragons" players to murder his wealthy parents to inherit their money, you'll enjoy this book. The made-for-TV film version was a bit melodramatic, but so is the story. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Annmbray | 11/3/2013

    " Not nearly as good as Fatal Vision. The characters were bland and there was no forensic evidence to speak of. Lots of questions remain unanswered. Seemed like McGinniss just kept repeating the same stuff over and over again. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Salsadancer | 10/18/2013

    " True-story family murder that took place in Washington, North Carolina. Copyright 1991. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Cori | 10/2/2013

    " I thought Cruel Doubt was much better than Bledsoe's Blood Games (about the same case). It's more clearly written, and addresses suspects that were dismissed in Bledsoe's book. McGinniss had access to the family, and he created a fuller portrait of the victims and the killer. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lori Schmidt | 7/16/2013

    " I love the twists and uncertainty in this book. I found myself really feeling sorry for Chris and could understand where he was coming from. The mom certainly had it rough and McGinniss does a great job relaying the story and really drawing you in. If you enjoyed Fatal Vision, you'll like this too! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Margaret Boehm | 7/9/2013

    " Well written. How true, the truth is never the same for people. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Amanda | 2/28/2013

    " Really good. Kept me wanting to read it...very detailed & well-written in my opinion. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Beverly | 2/26/2013

    " Joe McGinniss is a very good writer. This is another true crime about a woman whose son murders her husband and attempts to murder her. It happened it the late 1980's and there has been a movie made about it, but the book is always better. I would recommend this one for all you true crime lovers! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Sue | 1/5/2013

    " Fluff, fluff, fluff. I'm disappointed because this book was NOTHING like "Fatal Vision." I had to skip through. Awful. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sara Johnson | 7/19/2012

    " Really haunting. The coldness of the alleged attackers is depicted brilliantly. All the details leading to the crime are presented so well and the story builds to make it really gripping. A good read if you like true crime. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Thapelo | 12/11/2011

    " that wealth can get you out of control "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sharon | 11/12/2011

    " Good book, really crappy tv movie of the week. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Nicole Gust | 10/26/2011

    " was a slow read for me so that normally means it is not that good. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Debdanz | 9/23/2011

    " this is an extremely redundant, repetitive account of true crime- the 1988 murder in NC by a drug using, D&D playing NCSU student and his friends. could have told the same story just as effectively in 100 pages. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Cheryl Schibley | 8/18/2011

    " Very good true crime read. Anything by Joe McGinnis is a good read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kathleen Woodruff | 5/14/2011

    " Don't ever watch the movie! It shows up on Lifetime once in awhile. Book was excellent, kept tossing back and firth between empathy and loathing for Chris. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kathleen | 1/16/2011

    " Don't ever watch the movie! It shows up on Lifetime once in awhile. Book was excellent, kept tossing back and firth between empathy and loathing for Chris. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Margaret | 8/22/2010

    " Well written. How true, the truth is never the same for people. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Thapelo | 3/24/2010

    " that wealth can get you out of control "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Cheryl | 6/16/2009

    " Very good true crime read. Anything by Joe McGinnis is a good read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Salsadancer | 5/18/2009

    " True-story family murder that took place in Washington, North Carolina. Copyright 1991. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sharon | 12/10/2008

    " Good book, really crappy tv movie of the week. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sierra | 7/28/2008

    " fascinating to read about how much denial Bonnie had. Family members can truly do things you'd never imagine. Leaves me wondering about Angela. I believe it is possible she was involved in some way. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Debdanz | 8/13/2007

    " this is an extremely redundant, repetitive account of true crime- the 1988 murder in NC by a drug using, D&D playing NCSU student and his friends. could have told the same story just as effectively in 100 pages. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 David | 7/22/2007

    " If you remember the case of the college boy who conspired with his classmates and fellow "Dungeons and Dragons" players to murder his wealthy parents to inherit their money, you'll enjoy this book. The made-for-TV film version was a bit melodramatic, but so is the story. "

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