Book #4: “Death Trap” by M. William Phelps

Death Trap is a true crime book based on the murders of Alan and Terra Bates. Alan’s ex-wife, Jessica McCord, and her husband, Jeff, were both arrested for and convicted of the murders. Jessica McCord was, in a word, evil in the most fascinating of ways. Alan Bates did nothing wrong, only trying to abide by the law and do the best that he could for the two daughters he had with Jessica.

The story itself is very interesting. There are people, real people, that deserve to have their stories told. You feel for the Bates family and the Klugh family and you can’t help but wonder what makes people like Jessica McCord do the things that she did.

I honestly wish there had been more to the story. The whole thing seems to have been told, but it could have been told better.

Phelps, someone I’ve seen on many crime shows on the ID: Investigation Discovery channel that I probably watch too much of, did not tell the story well. With sentences short in the extreme, some barely managing a noun and a verb, the book read more like he was writing a script for the narrator of one the aforementioned shows to read. The writing style was very distracting because of that. I could have dealt with him jumping from the early 1990s to the early 2000s and back again if what was in the chapters had been better; more fleshed out and thoughtful.

I never thought I’d complain that I book was too simplistic, but it really was.

All that being said, my thoughts are with the families of Alan and Terra Bates.

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