C A I T L I N R O T H E R
What others are saying about Caitlin Rother as a speaker:
True Crime Uncensored radio show
NYT bestselling author of “Summer at Tiffany”
What others are saying about Caitlin Rother's books:
My Life, Deleted:
“A fascinating glimpse into how the loss of memory can erase who we are but how the love of family can create us anew. Bolzan’s [and Rother’s] MY LIFE, DELETED shows how the past creates patterns of relating to self, others, and the world at large, and how, its loss opens a newfound appreciation to the novelty and preciousness of every moment of life.”
-- Susan L. Smalley, author of Fully Present: The Science, Art, and Practice of Mindfulness
"Once again, Caitlin Rother demonstrates in LOST GIRLS why she is one of the best storytellers going in the true crime genre today. Written with the verve, pacing, and characterizations of a detective novel, combined with her reporter's eye for detail, LOST GIRLS should be on every true crime fan's bookshelf."
-- Steve Jackson, author of Love Me to Death
“LOST GIRLS, Caitlin Rother’s gripping account of the chilling disappearances of two San Diego area schoolgirls, is a must read that goes beyond Chelsea King’s and Amber Dubois’s terrible fates at the hands of John Gardner. Rother paints a compelling picture of the victims' families’ heartbreak that illustrates how courage can spring from desperate grief, while also giving us a nuanced inside look at how and why the two police investigations ended with such different outcomes. Rother deftly traces the roots of Gardner’s monstrous rage and mental illness that prefaced his heinous crimes, and describes how such a man was able to roam free and act on his impulses.”
-- Sue Russell, author of Lethal Intent
"More than a disturbing true crime account of a mentally disordered serial rapist and killer, this tale shines a revealing light on the complex arena of sex offender evaluations. Rother is at her best when she boldly dissects how a boy with psychological problems formed into a man indifferent to his monstrous acts toward two young girls."
-- Katherine Ramsland, author of The Mind of a Murderer
"Caitlin Rother stirs up the lethal stew of family dysfunction, mental illness, substance abuse and deadly psychopathology that lead to the murder of two young girls. LOST GIRLS is a frank and riveting look at the life and mind of San Diego rapist and killer John Gardner."
-- Diane Fanning, author of Mommy's Little Girl, the Casey and Caylee Anthony story
"Well researched and a quick, engrossing read, this should be popular with true crime readers, especially the Ann Rule crowd."
-- Starred review in Library Journal
“Many of us harbor fears: fear of falling, fear of drowning. For Tom and Jackie Hawks, that latter fear was realized when they were tied the anchor of their yacht, Well Deserved, and thrown overboard alive — halfway between Newport Beach Catalina Island. Skylar Deleon, a charming con man and hermaphrodite wanna-be, then stole their yacht and began to pillage their bank accounts. Caitlin Rother, a former investigative reporter with The San Diego Union- Tribune and a Pulitzer-Prize nominee, brings a journalist’s careful attention to detail in this chilling look into the mind of a psychopath. She interviews accomplices in the murders and others in Deleon’s past, to unmask this cold and calculating killer, who unmercifully ordered his captives to sign documents, giving him access to their property, as they pleaded for their lives… all the while surely anticipating their demise.”
-- Coronado Lifestyle Magazine
"True Crime Triumph for Caitlin Rother... a grim and bloody tale, one that directs our attention to the often-shocking complexities of the human animal and the sordid depths to which he may descend. Rother, who was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize during her tenure at the U-T, tells it well, thereby solidifying her star status in the field of true crime. (Local readers will be especially interested to learn that the Chelsea King-Amber Dubois case is due for the Rother treatment at some future time)."
-- The San Diego Union-Tribune "In what's destined to be one of the best true crime books for 2011... Rother gives readers over 470 pages of thorough research, personal interviews, and clipped trial transcripts. With no long, drawn-out verbatim writing that puts you to sleep, readers will find themselves anxiously turning each page – even during the trial portion of the book! ... I strongly recommend DEAD RECKONING by Caitlin Rother. To miss it would be missing one of this year’s best books!"
-- True Crime Book Reviews
“DEAD RECKONING by Caitlin Rother is one of the best true crime books I have read in years. First, it's one of those "too wild and crazy to have made up" stories about the horrific murder of Tom and Jackie Hawks on their yacht Well Deserved off Catalina Island by Skylar Deleon, a con man, killer and hermaphrodite, along with his wife Jennifer and three other accomplices. However, it took Rother's investigative journalist's tenacity and eye for detail and her knack for telling a good detective story that reads like a novel to set this book above most in the genre. This was one of those true crime tales that gave me chills, and that's not easy to do.”
-- Steve Jackson, NY Times bestselling author of "Not Lost Forever"
"With this headline-grabbing case of multiple murder, Caitlin Rother delves beyond the whodunnit to its chameleonic center: a psychopathic con artist with a gift for persuasion. Rother skillfully discloses his predatory methods and motives while telling a breathless tale of unthinkable events that no true crime fan should miss."
-- Katherine Ramsland, author of "The Human Predator" and "The Devil's Dozen"
“In Dead Reckoning, author Caitlin Rother digs deep into the story of this horrible murder -- unearthing never-before-told details of the crime, the investigation and the twisted mind of the man who set it all into motion.”
-- Susan Leibowitz, producer of The Last Voyage, Dateline’s show on the Deleon case
"For those who question the true story behind the horrific headlines, Rother gives readers compelling insight to an unthinkable American nightmare. This gripping read is all the more intense when set against the fragile family background of the victims and their families. The book is frank and frightening, and it sizzles."
-- Aphrodite Jones, author and host of True Crime, Investigation Discovery
“Impressively reported in a forthright narrative, Dead Reckoning is a pitch-perfect study of avarice, compulsion and pure California illusion. Caitlin Rother at her best!”
-- Ron Franscell, author of The Darkest Night
“We've finally found the next Ann Rule! Caitlin Rother writes with heart and suspense. Dead Reckoning is a chilling read by a writer at the top of her game.”
-- Gregg Olsen, author of A Twisted Faith
"From the book’s opening pages, Caitlin Rother’s Dead Reckoning demands our attention, grabbing readers by the throat, summoning our worst fears about death and dying, dramatizing them in a narrative packed with power, punch and journalistic integrity. A gripping, brutal, riveting—an in-depth account, perfectly executed, of a true psychopath at work, a boy-next-door who worked coldly, callously, and calculatingly, without mercy. Rother’s portrayal of the victims—-garnering my utmost respect—-is compassionate, gentle, considerate. Once again, Rother delivers a thrilling account of murder and mayhem, allowing us to look into the minds of greedy maniacs hell-bent on taking what they want and leaving a trail of blood behind.
-- M. William Phelps, author of Cruel Death and The Devil’s Rooming House
"If this is Rother's intent - to make a reader feel somewhat badly for Ford - she did an excellent job. Yet with a slight of hand (read: turn of a page), Rother's written point of view changes and readers meet a cold, brutal, lying, manipulative killer who deserves no sympathy. And just when you think you can feel no more disgust, Rother introduces Victoria Redstall; a former breast-enhancement (get the irony?) herbal supplement spokesperson turned self-proclaimed journalist (using the term loosely) and Ford "agent." This 406 page paperback true crime is a must read for anyone who enjoys this genre. I found it to be very well-written, extremely intense; a book that I could not put down."
-- Kim Cantrell, The Mom Trap
"I couldn’t put this excellent book down... It should reach the gore market, despite her protestations that it is not aimed in that direction, but it is also ideal for the law enforcement, criminal law, and aberrant-psychology markets...Because it is so well researched (she spent days interviewing major characters) and so well written, it should [also] reach those interested in good journalism."
-- Don Bauder, San Diego Reader columnist
"As with all of her nonfiction, Caitlin Rother delivers page-turning excitement and blood curdling terror once again with BODY PARTS, yet her skill screams loudest in covering the details of murder--sometimes the most ghastly crimes imaginable. Using a reporter's edge, novelist's eye, and a crime-scene investigator's nose for evidence, Rother's latest is all at once riveting, unbelievable, fast-paced, and sure to keep you up at night wondering how evil seems to top itself time and again."
-- M. William Phelps, author of I'll Be Watching You
“A killer walks into a police station with a dismembered woman's breast in his pocket ... and then it gets weird. With a seasoned journalist's doggedness and a novelist's ear for drama, Caitlin Rother paints every page with all the violent colors of a malignant sociopath's fever and captures what all too often is hidden right in plain sight. This kind of frightening and fascinating glimpse into a killer's mind is rare, and an extremely intuitive Rother makes the most of it.”
-- Ron Franscell, bestselling author of The Darkest Night
“Drawing on illuminating interviews and her understanding of aberrant psychology, Caitlin Rother has produced a superior study of the formation of a serial killer and his lost and lonely victims. You’ll want to lock up your daughters - and raise your sons with respect and compassion - after reading about the depraved acts of Wayne Adam Ford.”
-- Carol Anne Davis, author of Sadistic Killers
“On a November afternoon in 1998, Wayne Ford walked into the Humboldt County Sheriff's Department in Eureka, CA, and confessed to something horrible. Caitlin Rother explores Ford's savage career in chilling detail. Her fast-paced narrative and the brutality of Ford's rampage come together in a book crime aficionados will be loathe to put down. A story this shocking can only be true.”
-- Simon Read, author of In the Dark
Twisted Triangle: A Famous Crime Writer, a Lesbian Love Affair and the FBI Husband’s Violent Revenge:
“A harrowing tale of one woman's struggle to maintain a balance between being a mother, an FBI agent, and dealing with a corrupt husband, also an FBI agent. A must read.”
-- Joseph D. Pistone aka Donnie Brasco, author of Donnie Brasco and The Way of the Wiseguy
"This book will haunt you. It will move you to look at some of the harsh realities of life in a new way. A powerful story -- and masterfully written."
-- Aphrodite Jones, New York Times bestselling true crime author
“Hitchcock wishes he’d dreamed it up. Capote wishes he’d written it. Rother’s mesmerizing narrative chronicles a wife’s heroic struggle against great odds to survive her psychopath husband’s elaborate scheme to make her murder the perfect crime. This spellbinding tale offers an added treat -- it’s true.”
-- Marcus Stern, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and co-author of The Wrong Stuff
“This in-depth account brought back memories of a most bizarre case, proving once again that the truth can be stranger than fiction.”
-- Paul B. Ebert, Commonwealth's Attorney for Prince William County
“This book has it all; suspense, emotion and attention to detail. I was there and I wonder, was Caitlin Rother there also? I have not read any other crime story that was as able to bring out the raw emotions felt by the victims. This book should answer any questions that [Margo’s daughters] Lindsey and Allison Bennett should have and hopefully will help bring to the case a little more closure for Margo.”
-- Ronald K. McClelland, Sgt. Retired, Prince William County Police Dept.
"The story was widely reported in the late 1990s, but [Margo] Bennett gave Rother ——a Pulitzer Prize–nominated journalist and former investigative reporter with The San Diego Union-Tribune——unprecedented access, including hours of interviews and personal papers, photographs and legal documents. The result is a vivid, detailed retelling of Bennett’s disintegrating marriage, her affair, the kidnapping and its aftermath."
-- San Diego Magazine
"As the subtitle adequately implies, this breathless, lurid accountof two FBI agents' marriage-gone-wrong has it all, even though the crime writer alluded to, Patricia Cornwell, was only one of Margo Bennett's lesbian loves, and the Sapphic romance with Cornwell is hardly the big story here. Husband-and-wife cat-and-mouse shenanigans are the main event, for Margo's hubby, Gene, consumed by jealousy over his wife's dalliances, concocted an intricate plan to kidnap and murder her. This is all written up in made-for-TV style, with lots of snappy,re-created dialogue and terse descriptions, perfect for an hour's worth of A&E or Tru TV programming. Rother and Hess keep a fairly tangled story line perking sweetly along as readers share Margo's searching story. Is she gay? Is Gene trying to do her in? And what about the kids, especially in light of scenes like the one in which a Bennett daughter discovers Margo in the embrace of another woman? It's an Oprah-level tearjerker moment. A true-crime thriller with relationship issues! Is this a circulation booster, or what?"
"Though readers might pick up this title hoping to find out more about the private life of bestselling novelist Patricia Cornwell, the real protagonist is FBI agent Margo Bennett, who struck up a brief affair with Cornwell in 1992 after the author visited the training center where Bennett worked. When Margo’s husband, also a Bureau agent, finds out about his wife’s liaisons, he exacts a horrifying, meticulously plotted revenge, covering his tracks with lies and working the system against her. Though covered in the press, journalist and author Rother (Naked Addiction) presents the full story from Bennett’s perspective for the first time. The narrative is engaging ... and Rother is a fine interviewer, able to penetrate some of Bennett’s most traumatic memories... Bennett’s tale is gripping, and should appeal to those who want to see a different, darker and more personal side of the lives of FBI agents."
-- Publisher's Weekly
"TWISTED TRIANGLE tells the compelling, disturbing story of Margo Bennett and her husband's violent revenge... Caitlin Rother's book ... is both heartrending and inspiring. Heartrending -- particularly for those who have experienced abusive, controlling relationships and domestic violence ... Inspiring because she survives his manipulations, threats and assaults and comes to terms with her sexuality... A Pulitzer Prize-(nominated) journalist, Rother writes in a clear, concise style, eschewing the hyperbole that could sensationalize an already tragic story. It's a riveting tale, all the more powerful because it's true."
-- Philadelphia Gay News
"Unless you have been in an abusive relationship it is truly hard to comprehend what a person must do to survive. TWISTED TRIANGLE by Caitlin Rother has shown how devastating that type of life can be. I applaud not only Margo Bennett’s determination to survive an abusive husband and coming to terms with her sexual orientation but her willingness to share her story in the hopes of giving other the courage to do the same. Caitlin Rother has written a articulate story of Margo Bennett’s struggles and given the impartial view point of each and everyone involved in the disturbing situation. With Rother’s 20 year tenure as an investigative reporter and her newly developed skill as a thriller author, she has all the talent necessary to research all the facts of any non-fiction story and mold them into an intriguing and very readable novel."
-- Book Hunters
"Twisted Triangle... hits the ground running with a gun battle between a woman and her FBI agenty ex-husband, with their priest tied to a nearby chair and wired with dynamite. The story of Margo Bennett, her ex-husband Gene and her lesbian love affair with crime writer Patricia Cornwell moves and crackles, barely pausing to catch a breath before taking you further into the tale. Caitlin Rother has ... taken the setting totally out of the narrative. If she didn't tell you it took place in DC and Virginia, you'd imagine it happened in downtown Denver, which lends it immediacy. And the facts in the case are so damn bizarre you don't miss the setting at all. Add to this a rip-roaring courtroom finale, and you have a great beach or airplane read. As long as you're not flying to DC."
-- Out Front Colorado
"This book unfolds like a TV procedural that keeps you tuned in until the murderer is caught. Here, there’s no murder, just mind-boggling attempts by the father of all stalkers—an FBI undercover agent who tries twice to neutralize with extreme prejudice his Lesbian ex-wife and one-time fellow FBI agent, Margo Bennett. She hands him a motive and a courtroom weapon by having a fling with noted mystery writer Patricia Cornwell, but the triangle here has one very short side to it since Cornwell herself has a limited role, mostly in the ugly coverage that the press typically comes up with in the charges and counter-charges involving: Oh, no—homosexuality! The telling here is serviceable enough, and there is some fuzziness to the endless plot details and screw-ups by all. But as with most extreme criminal cases it holds us in thrall, right up to this last fact: the imprisoned monster is due for parole in 2016, leaving Ms. Bennett and us feeling queasy and apprehensive."
-- Frontiers magazine
"A wonderful underlying message throughout the book for abused women who might feel if they were physically stronger that maybe they would not be abused,this book puts paid to that thought. Margo Bennett was an experienced FBI agent who was still abused over many years by her husband. The book highlights the fact that spousal abuse is very much a mental assault which then evolves into physical abuse. By the time the physical abuse starts,the mental abuse has totally incapacitated the victim to the point where there is virtually no fight or will left. ...[The book tells the story of] a courageous woman's will to protect herself and her children whilst dealing with a sexual identity which is for the most part still frowned upon and not totally accepted by all members of society."
-- True Crime Book Reviews
“With a journalist's eye for the telling details of life, Caitlin Rother is a keen architect of the most important part of storytelling: character. The people in her prose grip you tightly with their truth.”
-- Michael Connelly, Edgar award-winner and New York Times best-selling crime novelist
“Naked Addiction is a strong debut from a perceptive and unflinching writer. Detailed and tightly focused, the story unfolds on the sun-drenched but dangerous streets of San Diego.”
-- T. Jefferson Parker, Edgar award-winner and New York Times best-selling crime novelist
“Caitlin Rother walked the walk as an award-winning journalist, and now she talks the talk in her debut novel Naked Addiction. Rother's honed reportorial eye gives us the five W's of murder set out on turf she knows so well. With a deft hand, Rother puts a bloody fingerprint on the picture postcard setting of San Diego. The sun and surf are a gorgeous backdrop, but in Rother's Naked Addiction, trouble in paradise abounds.”
-- Alan Russell, author of Shame and Political Exposure
“Caitlin Rother’s first novel is an excellent police procedural...”
-- Genre Go Round Reviews
"Award winning author Caitlin Rother's debut into the fiction genre is astounding! With superb character development and an insider's view to the truth about "the people's right to know" (law enforcement vs. reporters), the case of a serial killer makes for an addicting, page-turning read. Rother, an investigative journalist and true crime writer, uses her journalist skills and criminal knowledge to reach out to mystery fiction fans with Naked Addiction."
-- Kim Cantrell The Mom Trap
“Outcome of this suspense will keep you guessing… The convolutions in Naked Addiction will keep you uncertain of the end right until the final pages.”
-- Fresh Fiction reviews
“This taut procedural is the first in a new series featuring Detective Ken Goode and the picturesque city of San Diego which, as this tale shows, has a dirty underbelly. Rother, a prize-winning journalist, showcases her fiction skills with multilayered characters, a skillfully conceived mystery and a narrative structure that allows readers to see parts of the action from different points of view. Best of all, the ending leaves a fine set-up for the next episode.” “Summary: Undercover narcotics cop Ken is ready to make the jump to Homicide. He just needs the chance to prove himself. Driving home one evening, he takes a shortcut through an alley and almost hits a man crouched over a mannequin. But it turns out to be a stunningly beautiful dead woman, and Ken is quickly wrapped up in a murder investigation. All thoughts about his transfer drift away as more bodies turn up, and all appear linked to a local beauty school. Each clue sends Ken in a new direction -- until he realizes the answers have been right in front of him from the beginning.”
-- Romantic Times reviews
“NAKED ADDICTION by Caitlin Rother is one of the most well-constructed murder mysteries that I have ever read in 40 years of reading that genre. Rother’s years as an investigative reporter put her on the front line of crime and she has used that experience to construct real and authentic characters and scenarios that are so factual that you feel you could be reading a newspaper account of a crime. The plot of “Naked Addiction” is so complex and elaborate that you never suspect who the murderer is until Rother decides to let you know…. at the end of the book. Caitlin Rother’s debut into the fiction genre is impressive and has a long life ahead of it."
-- Book Hunters
“A true-crime thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat. This first-time author has done a brilliant job of captivating the inner workings of a female killer...someone who uses her cunning ways to commit murder.”
-- Aphrodite Jones, New York Times best-selling crime author
“Caitlin Rother has written a gripping and chilling book. A tawdry and twisted story of sex and drugs, deception and murder. And here's the scariest part—it's all true.”
-- Tom Murray, producer for Pretty Poison, Court TV’s documentary on the Rossum case
“Absorbing and impeccably researched, Poisoned Love is classic California noir, a story of passion and betrayal and death, with a beautiful, scheming adulteress at the center of the web.”
-- John Taylor, author of The Count and The Confession: A True Mystery.
“Caitlin Rother, a seasoned reporter with integrity, class and skill, weaves this complex story seamlessly, offering it up in the page-turning fashion of a suspenseful novel. ... An exciting debut from a tirelessly hardworking reporter.”
--Investigative Journalist M. William Phelps, author of Perfect Poison, Lethal Guardian and Every Move You Make.
“Poisoned Love chillingly illustrates how Kristin Rossum and others refused to accept responsibility for their behavior and choices. Caitlin Rother paints a portrait of the culture that raised Kristin, hired her, was lured by her beauty, and now must share in the dire consequences.”
-- Kevin Barry, producer for The Kristin Rossum Story on Oprah Winfrey’s Oxygen Network.
"Caitlin Rother has written a lively and immaculately researched book which explores the defendant's life before, during and after the murder trial. Moreover, she understands addiction and co-dependency, having lived with an alcoholic husband who eventually committed suicide."
-- Carol Ann Davis, author of Children Who Kill.
“Poisoned Love demonstrates that Kristin Rossum's love was poisoned long before she thought about using fentanyl to dispose of her husband. Rother paints a devastating portrait of the family that shielded their daughter from the consequences of her addiction. In that respect, the American Beauty Murder may more fully reflect our American obsession with self-reinvention than we care to admit. This book cuts close to the bone in its unwavering look at how one young woman fantasized herself into murder.”
-- The San Diego Union-Tribune
“Reporter’s published account of ‘Poisoned Love’ is a page-turner.”
-- San Diego Metropolitan magazine
“Rother covered the Rossum case from arrest to sentencing for The San Diego Union-Tribune, and has written a gripping account of what is ultimately a very sad story – a smart woman whose judgment, clouded by addiction, ruined the lives of many people, including her own.”
-- San Diego Magazine
“Poisoned Love by Caitlin Rother (Pinnacle, 2005): She was a gorgeous blonde toxicologist who graduated summa cum laude from San Diego State University, but Kristin Rossum was also a crystal-meth addict who, while having an affair with her boss at the county Medical Examiner's office where she worked, decided she was married to the wrong man. After Rossum's young husband — who made a point of never touching drugs — died of an overdose, it was discovered that the lethal chemicals had been taken from her workplace. Driven by well-drawn characters and a dynamic investigation, this absorbing page-turner was authored by a journalist who was once herself married to an addict.”
“Poisoned Love is a concise and riveting account of one of the most challenging but fascinating investigations of my police career. Reading Rother's book brought back the many exhausting hours, effort, and stress I lived and breathed for close to two years in bringing this case to trial. Time's passage sometimes changes a person's convictions. Poisoned Love reaffirms my belief that justice was served.”
-- Laurie Agnew, San Diego Police Department homicide detective
“A riveting and detailed view of a cold, calculated homicide romantically staged as a suicide. Rother gives us an insightful account of how a pretty, scheming and conniving young woman who, despite her intelligence, falls to the scourge of drugs and methodically destroys several lives. I couldn't put it down and I already knew the story well.”
-- Bob Petrachek, Regional Computer Forensic Laboratory examiner
“Caitlin is not only a writing teacher, she is a very successful published author, and she brings that experience to the classroom. The class was challenging, and she held her students to a very high standard, but in the end, I appreciated it very much. My writing improved, my understanding of what publishers ask and expect improved, and the rigor of her approach has changed my approach to writing for the better.”