Fatal Trust (true crime)
You've got a great story there. Editor Rod Colvin of Addicus Books
researched, superbly written mystery! September 8, 2000
Reviewer: Midwest Book Review (see more about me) from Oregon, WI USA
Mary Ellen Cooper has published two true crimes and two cozy mysteries. Fatal Trust is her fifth novel. Set in Ozark, Arkansas, Fatal Trust is the story of tragedy and deceit.
Dr. Rebecca Johnson ran a successful practice and was considered to be beautiful and wealthy. Her marriage to Kurt Johnson seemed happy, but she also owned a manufacturing company that was steadily losing money and had a $175,000 lawsuit pending. Because Ozark was a small town, she was determined not to let the company go into bankruptcy and eliminate much needed jobs for the area. She cast about for some means to help her company regain solvency and was drawn into a web of intrigue that would cost her life and cast suspicion upon her family.
Alan Michael Johnson was a wannabe "con" man, who was a pathological liar who was on his third marriage to his wife, Libby, three times. Libby worked for Dr. Becky and suggested a meeting with her husband, who she believed could help Dr. Becky with her problems. When Dr. Becky disappeared, Libby would still defend her husband through thick and thin:
"Libby was not used to the hard stares of the Federal agents or the persistent questions she was asked. There was one certainty in Libby's mind and that was an unshakable belief in Mike. Hadn't he proved it daily for the past six months? He was always bringing her flowers for no reason, treating her like a princess."
Although this story is told in a narrative fashion, it still makes for fascinating reading. How could a doctor as smart as Rebecca Johnson be taken in by a two-bit con man? Even the police and FBI would have to work extremely hard to recover Becky's body and build a case against a man totally without scruples or conscience.
M. E. Cooper uses a straightforward chronological style of writing to good effect. She has meticulously researched her facts, and gives quite a detailed version of forensic science, which would do service to any good mystery writer. Her attention to detail and occasional lapses of humor make for an interesting and satisfying read.
Shelley Glodowski, Reviewer