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Download If I Am Missing or Dead: A Sister's Story of Love, Murder, and Liberation Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample If I Am Missing or Dead: A Sisters Story of Love, Murder, and Liberation Audiobook, by Janine Latus Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (3,863 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Janine Latus Narrator: Shelly Frasier Publisher: Tantor Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: May 2007 ISBN: 9781400174010
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In April 2002, Janine Latus's youngest sister, Amy, wrote a note and taped it to the inside of her desk drawer. "Today Ron Ball and I are romantically involved," it read, "but I fear I have placed myself at risk in a variety of ways. Based on his criminal past, writing this out just seems like the smart thing to do. If I am missing or dead this obviously has not protected me..." That same spring, Janine Latus was struggling to leave her marriage-a marriage to a handsome and successful man. A marriage others emulated. A marriage in which she felt she could do nothing right and everything wrong. A marriage in which she felt afraid, controlled, inadequate, and trapped. Ten weeks later, Janine Latus had left her marriage. She was on a business trip to the East Coast, savoring her freedom, attending a work conference, when she received a call from her sister Jane asking if she'd heard from Amy. Immediately, Janine's blood ran cold. Amy was missing. Helicopters went up and search dogs went out. Coworkers and neighbors and family members plastered missing posters with Amy's picture across the county. It took more than two weeks to find Amy's body, wrapped in a tarpaulin and buried at a building site. It took nearly two years before her killer, her former boyfriend Ron Ball, was sentenced for her murder. Amy died in silent fear and pain. Haunted by this, Janine Latus turned her journalistic eye inward. How, she wondered, did two seemingly well-adjusted, successful women end up in strings of physically or emotionally abusive relationships with men? If I Am Missing or Dead is a heart-wrenching journey of discovery as Janine Latus traces the roots of her own-and her sister's-victimization with unflinching candor. This beautifully written memoir will move readers from the first to the last page. At once a confession, a call to break the cycle of abuse, and a deeply felt love letter to her baby sister, Amy Lynne Latus, If I Am Missing or Dead is an unforgettable read. Download and start listening now!

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Unforgettable, unsentimental, and profoundly affecting, Latus’s book resonates long after the final page is turned.”

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)

  • An honest, unsparing look a the deadly erosion of self-worth. Kirkus Starred Review
  • “An honest, unsparing look a the deadly erosion of self-worth.”

    Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

  • “[Frasier’s] performance is natural and believable.”

    AudioFile

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Stefanie | 2/20/2014

    " I read this book in less than 24 hours...could not put it down. It was a hard book to read...but a riveting true story of two sisters in relationships with bad men. This was a different book than I thought it would be from reading the jacket...the book was really more about the author and her awful, horrible bad relationships with men. That and in tandem, what she knew about her sister's relationships--equally horrible, tragic and in the end fatal. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kristina | 2/19/2014

    " Great book! couldn't put it down "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Dawn | 2/15/2014

    " While the title tells you it is not a happy ending, it is a great story. the self discovery of one woman and the love between two sisters is endearing, something not lost on anyone who reads this. I highly recommend this. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Jamie | 2/13/2014

    " Meh. I like a good true crime read, and although this delivered, I didn't like the way the author told the story. The story was technically about her sister, but the author wrote 70% about her own abusive relationship and what she was going through. Although it was relevant to the story, I thought I was going to read more about her sister's story. Obviously, with the sister dead she couldn't have told her own story, but I don't know -- I still felt like the author did a poor job of telling her sister's life story. Also, I remained bitter when the author attacked her sister's weight. I'm very sensitive to that issue in life, but I felt like she was acting holier-than-thou about her ability to manage her weight and her sister's inability to manage her's. I didn't appreciate the way she approached it. As usual, weight is an easy target - even if you're dead. So, there are my thoughts. I gave it a solid 2 stars. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Gloria | 2/9/2014

    " As depressing as this book was I give it 4 stars for the strong family relationship in it. Although very dysfunctional, (aren't we all??)there was a lot to learn about family support and being there for each other, yet still giving space to each other. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Denese Peebles | 2/6/2014

    " This is a must read for every woman (probably every man). It tells of the subtleties in which women suffer abuse or are demeaned (often times with no malicious intent). It is the story of two intelligent and resourceful women who fall prey to abusive partners. Goes to show that no one is immune. Purchased on a Friday night and finished on Sunday morning. Excellent book. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Michelle | 2/2/2014

    " I was tempted to put this in the realm of one star hell, but I don't think it deserves to go that low. It's not that Latus isn't a good writer technically, it was just that the book is advertised as being about the death of Amy. I am in full support of Latus giving background to that and also giving her heartfelt reaction to what happened. I could NOT get through how self centered this book was! And it always read to me like Latus felt she was OWED something. There would also be huge life changing things in the book that she gave NO details for. Like switching from journalism to botany. A breakup with an abusive boyfriend - to the man who took broken her into his arms and then turned out to be a piece of crap as well. Where are the transitions? Latus comes off as being extremely judgmental, she puts herself about others including Amy. It was hard to swallow. And really, how many times does she need to mention that her sister was overweight? I was happy to be finished with this book and grateful that the last three chapters actually dealed more with Amy's story. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Dana | 1/30/2014

    " The author's writing style is very sparse and to the point. Which I really enjoyed. She was graphic at times, so beware. She does use the F word kind of alot. It's about the abuse of both the writer and her sister.....kind of hard to read, but worth it. Made me grateful for my life now. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sarah Joyce Bryant | 1/15/2014

    " I was disappointed about the misleading title and description of this book. I felt that Janine Latus' story was compelling enough that it could have stood on its own without leading the reader to believe that the book was mostly about her sister's murder. It was knowing that the book was eventually going to cover her sister's story that built tension and kept me reading. I believe I would have taken the book in differently if I hadn't known that before reading. That being said, I believe that Latus is very courageous to share her story. I understand, after finishing the book, that she could not cover her sister's story because she was not there to know the details. She wove her life with what she could of her sister's and the comparison was stunning. Though Latus went one way and her sister another, they both could have ended up the same way. It was heartbreaking to see how much Latus' sister had gone through only to end up murdered by her boyfriend. Latus covered some very important beliefs, feelings, and errant thinking that women have when involved in domestic violence situations. We get an inside view of the thinking that kept her in her marriage for so long. Overall, I felt this was a very good book and something every woman should read. I found the afterword to be excellent and really showing Latus' purpose in writing this book. This surely was not an easy book to write, but clearly one that needed to be written. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Helen L | 1/3/2014

    " A pretty good read. Like I've said, I'm no book reviewer I just know that I enjoyed reading this and found her story interesting. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Kim | 12/11/2013

    " In order to enjoy this book at all, I had to let go of my expectations that it was about Amy's death and just accept the book as Janine's unloading her life story of abuse and domestic violence. After that it was interesting enough but still not what I was hoping for. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Cynthia | 11/29/2013

    " I picked this book up at Target. I was expecting a murder mystery of some type, but got something completely different. I am really enjoying this book. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Melissa | 11/6/2013

    " The author does come off as self-centered. I will say that she is unflinchingly honest which is a good thing in a memoir, but I had to force myself to finish the book. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Shauna | 10/29/2013

    " Good book, however not what I was expecting. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sharon Jones | 10/24/2013

    " Great book club selection - generated great discussion. Well written. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kati | 10/17/2013

    " This book was fabulous- a must read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Peggy | 6/3/2013

    " 2 sisters, both abused. One goes missing. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Angie | 1/5/2013

    " This book was so bad. It's not so much a sister's story of love, murder, and liberation, as it is a sister's story of murder and the writer's own story of bad relationships. The two are not connected. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Denise Sellers | 10/15/2012

    " This book was heart breaking as well as scary. Kept me awake many nights. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kristi Bumpus | 7/23/2012

    " Intensely disturbing "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kristin | 4/25/2012

    " Just a very touching true tale about domestic abuse and what can really end up happening in the end. Really makes you think. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Rochelle | 2/26/2012

    " This book was compulsively readable. Unfortunately it is mis-packaged as the story of Amy Latus' murder, when in reality the whole thing is basically Janine's autobiography. Despite everything she has been through, Janine is not a terribly likable narrator. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 ciera | 1/24/2012

    " this book seemed like it would be a really good book and how people go missing the book was a good read and fast and to amy the book does talk about her sister all the way through "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sally | 11/26/2011

    " True story. Difficult subject matter, but very good read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kristi Dixon | 10/2/2011

    " if you don't fully comprehend the issue(s) of domestic violence, you should read this book. It's a lot deeper issue than the average person might think. This is heavy, but it's real life...no sugar coating in this book. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Anne | 8/16/2011

    " This book is engaging and beautifully written. It is, however, about domestic abuse and the murder of the author's sister. Kind of a downer. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kacey | 6/3/2011

    " Everyone who has ever or will ever be in a relationship should read this book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Heather | 5/21/2011

    " An eye-opening read for sure... "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jonna | 5/21/2011

    " This memoir makes me want to call each member of my family, especially my sister, and tell them how much I love them, make sure they are safe, and then keep doing that every day.
    "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Tara | 4/12/2011

    " A sad, gut wrenching and strong story of domestic violence. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ketti | 3/16/2011

    " the women is this book made me so sad...they really thought very little of themselves...tragic story "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Allison | 3/15/2011

    " This title of this book is very misleading. I assumed it would be about disappearance of the author's sister. It is not, it's about the author's destructive relationships, which is not the kind of story I was anticipating when I picked it up. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sandy | 3/12/2011

    " Anyone who has lived with an abusive spouse or has a friend or family member who has done so, should read this book! "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Sheri | 3/11/2011

    " Didn't finish it. Lame. Females being constantly victimized by the men in their life and allowing it to happen over and over again without taking steps to avoid it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sally | 3/2/2011

    " True story. Difficult subject matter, but very good read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Tammy | 2/14/2011

    " Good book! Had a hard time putting it down when I didn't have time to read it. Wanted to read it all the time!!!!!
    Very intense story about two women.
    Definitely would recommended this to anyone to read, man or woman! :) "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Erika | 1/23/2011

    " This is more of a rant about the authors Co-Dependent life style then about her sisters murder... The writing is not bad and some ppl maybe able to relate, although, all-in-all it was a waste of my time. "

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About the Author

Janine Latus has been a freelance writer and radio and TV personality for more than a decade. She has given numerous speeches across the country on both domestic violence and the art of writing well. She serves on the board of directors of the American Society of Journalists and Authors. Latus lives in Virginia with her daughter.

About the Narrator

Shelly Frasier has appeared in many independent film and theater projects in Arizona and Southern California and has done voice-over work for commercials and animation projects. She trained at the Groundlings Improv School in Hollywood and South Coast Repertory’s Professional Conservatory in Costa Mesa, California. She has performed at theaters throughout North Hollywood and Orange County. Recent performances include Blue Window, The Battle of Bull Run Always Makes Me Cry, The Haunting of Hill House, and a British farcical version of A Christmas Carol. She resides in Hollywood.