In the Arms of Evil: A True Story of Obsession, Greed, and Murder (St. Martin's True Crime Library)

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9780312948023: In the Arms of Evil: A True Story of Obsession, Greed, and Murder (St. Martin's True Crime Library)

Nancy Jean Siegel of Maryland became addicted to gambling during her first marriage. Sneaking off to Atlantic City―and sinking deeper and deeper into debt―she began stealing identities, conning family members, and leaving two ex-husbands buried in bills. Then she sold cemetery plots door-to-door and met Jack Watkins, a man thirty years her senior. He not only bought a grave site from the attractive younger woman, he leased a car for her, sold his house and gave her the proceeds. But Nancy wanted more...

Watkins' body was found in a steamer trunk near the Appalachian Trail. Half-naked and strangled, he remained unidentified for more than six years. Meanwhile, Nancy cashed his Social Security checks and opened new lines of credit under his name. By the time the police tracked her down, she had committed bank fraud, mail fraud, wire fraud, and more. New York Times bestselling author Carlton Smith takes you inside the greed, the gambling, and one gruesome murder―to question the very nature of evil...

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About the Author:

Carlton Smith wrote the New York Times bestselling The Search for the Green River Killer. An award-winning journalist for The Los Angeles Times and The Seattle Times during the 1970s and 1980s, he was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in investigative reporting in 1988. His books include Mind Games, Cold Blooded, The Prom Night Murders, and Cold as Ice. There are more than two million copies of his books in print.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

The late model black BMW had been on the road for more than an hour. Its driver had taken the turn-off from I-70 at Frederick, heading southwest on Route 340 toward West Virginia. It was dark, the traffic sparse for the time of night, around 10 P.M. The BMW crossed the bridge over the Potomac River just east of Harpers Ferry, on the way to the racetrack and slot machine emporium at Charles Town. There, where three different states had their borders within a minute-and-a-half, the BMW’s driver decided to stop and do what she had come to do. Just over the bridge over the river, within eyesight of where John Brown and Stonewall Jackson had once made the name of Harpers Ferry known to everyone in America nearly a century-and-a-half before, she pulled off the highway into a deserted wayside. There she turned off her engine and lights, and got ready to undertake the biggest gamble of her life.
At length, she got out of the car, then opened the back door. The old packing trunk was heavy—it weighed almost as much as she did. Somehow, though, she got it out. It fell to the dirt with a heavy thud. Fortunately, it had wheels along one side of its bottom. She dragged it toward the edge of the wayside, where there was an enclosed trash container. The wheels of the trunk left clear tracks in the dirt. She left it next to the trash can.
It was now just another piece of the past, something that, once out of sight, would be out of mind. It was the way she thought about life in general—always think ahead. Dwelling on the old never did anyone any good. She got back into the BMW and drove away, old anxieties floating away to make room for new ones that would soon settle in. But at the time, they were little worries, not big ones, and they were easier to tolerate than those that had chafed her too long to be borne. Out with the old, in with the new—that was the way to survive. Like Scarlett O’Hara, for Nancy Jean Sweitzer, tomorrow was always another day.
But in reality, not fiction, time has a way of catching up with everyone.

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