The Night My Husband Killed Me
Genre: Fiction/Paranormal/True Crime
Publisher: Taylor Street Books Publication Date 07-11-2012
Number of pages: 328
Word Count: 90.000
Cover Artist: Tim Hewtson
A movie heart-throb
A sports superstar
A brilliant surgeon
These are the stories of those they killed.
'The Night My Husband Killed Me', is the story of four women who were murdered by their husbands.
All of the women were beautiful, and were either famous at the time of their deaths, or became famous for being the victims of the charismatic, disturbed, men who ended their lives.
Being dead doesn’t end a woman’s feelings, or her anger. There is Natalie, the international and revered movie star who died the death she had most feared all of her life. There is the beautiful, life-loving Nicole, who might just have gone back to the stunning athlete she loved, if only he hadn’t killed her first. Then there is Sunny, heiress to one of America's greatest fortunes, sent into an irreversible coma for paying too much for all the wrong things. And finally, there is Colette, the high school sweetheart who married the golden boy and endured a marriage of increasing lies and disappointment, culminating in her death and that of her little girls shortly after Valentine’s Day.
These four amazing women’s lives were cut short, but each has a story to tell … and now they have.
Read an excerpt:
THE NIGHT MY HUSBAND KILLED ME
“Yet each man kills the thing he loves
By each let this be heard.
Some do it with a bitter look, some with a flattering word.
The coward does it with a kiss, the brave man with a sword!
Some kill their love when they are young and some when they are old;
Some strangle with the hands of lust, some with the hands of gold.
The kindest use a knife because the dead so soon grow cold.
Some love too little, some too long, some sell and others buy.
Some do the deed with many tears, and some without a sigh.
For each man kills the thing he loves, yet each man does not die.”
The Ballad of Reading Gaol
Chapter One PART I COLETTE
“From such a gentle thing, from such a fountain of all delight, my every pain is born.”
Of course I didn’t see it coming. One minute I was going on with my life and then I was fighting for it and then it was over.
I never saw myself as special when I was alive. I think maybe if I’d been given time I might have become a little special; at least I was trying. I never stopped trying; not after I had to drop out of college because I was pregnant──not during the rough hurried years of early marriage and motherhood which happened to me simultaneously. No matter how little time or money or how few my chances were, I kept trying.
I was taking an extension class the night my husband killed me. I was pregnant again for the third time in five years and like always; we were living somewhere I didn’t much want to be because he was trying something new.
The night he killed me I was a very ordinary woman who was struggling to become someone that things didn’t just happen to, and my husband…well he was his ordinary self too. The thing of it is though, my husband had never been ordinary and nothing ever just happened to him. He was a rainmaker and what he wanted, he achieved. When he was around, people could barely restrain themselves from clapping. I was supposed to clap too, and I had── I almost always had,
except for that one night── one rainy night when I was tired and pregnant again and maybe feeling a little sorry for myself and for the whole camp-follower lifestyle I was living. I didn’t clap and I didn’t pay enough attention to him. I didn’t try to make it up to him even though I understood the rules. Despite how he saw himself and how I knew by then he wanted to be seen and to be living, I treated him like an ordinary husband and father. I asked him why, just for once he couldn’t have washed the dishes for me.
We had a silly little argument; at least I thought it was silly. Instead of just answering me or shrugging it off, he started a recitation of all that was on him: The responsibilities, the constant need to shine, the expectations and how he didn’t need to hear complaints from me of all people, because who should know better than me what he sacrificed.
It was the kind of argument every married couple has had hundreds of times over the course of a marriage, but those kinds of arguments weren’t the norm in our marriage. I had spent our years together listening to his stories and applauding his accomplishments and if I clapped hard enough and acted very excited, then he might deign to ask me about my day or even better, play with the girls for half an hour or so.
I knew all of that; I knew it that night. I knew he saw himself as the big hero for having let me go to class and for having stayed in for three whole hours with the girls. I understood my script too. I was supposed to rush in and thank him at least three times for letting me go off gallivanting to the university’s extension class and then encourage him to tell me either his latest story of heroism from the emergency room or the story of someone else’s incompetence and how he had to go in and clean it all up.
This was our routine, but it was late and I was wet from the rain and pregnant and tired and I slipped up. Instead of going into the kitchen and just pouring us both the aperitifs he liked to drink before bedtime, I went into the kitchen and saw the sink full of dirty dishes and asked him why he couldn’t have washed them for me.
That’s a normal enough question, or I imagine it’s normal enough in other people’s marriages; it was atypical for us though, and the stunned look he gave me made me feel like I had asked or said something much more explosive than my innocuous comment.
We had some undetonated land mines in our marriage, he and I. Governments were doing that back then, back when I was alive; they buried bombs in the ground. I think they said it was to protect our battle lines, but they didn’t seem to work like that──the buried bombs, because it seemed like every night on the news I was watching Walter Cronkite tell some sad story about an innocent civilian who had stepped on one and gotten blown to kingdom come.
That’s a pretty good description of what happened to me, an innocent civilian who unknowingly detonated a buried land mine and got blown apart. There were children who stepped on the mines too… that’s called a casualty of war. My children sleeping in their beds that night became casualties of war.
Seeing the look on his face, I backed down. I always thought that someplace out ahead of me in a Colette I wanted to be but wasn’t yet, that I might in truth set off some real landmines. I might for instance bring up the other women and the lies; my God there were so many lies. But it wasn’t going to be that night.
I was too young and my babies, including the one in my stomach were too young and I hadn’t had enough life and time yet to become the future Colette who could begin conversations like that. It was a pretty big breakthrough for me to even bring up the dishes, but seeing his face I backed down; you couldn’t criticize him and I knew that. I started backpedaling. I tried to make a little joke about saying it, telling him that I was turning into an old nagging, pregnant shrew.
He didn’t laugh but he did take the little glass of liqueur I poured for him. I tried to shore him back up asking about his new on call job at the hospital but he was too displeased with me to engage, and I was very tired. I decided we were both exhausted and that maybe it wouldn’t hurt anything if just once I just went bed and left him unappeased.
I told myself I would be extra attentive in the morning and I would remember not to ever ask him to wash the dishes again and it would probably be fine. He let me kiss him on the head and told me that no, he was going to stay up and read for awhile. He said it was the first chance he had had all night to be alone. It was a direct hit at me… a reminder that I had made him stay with the children.
There was this entire subtext to his remark as well; in that at least we weren’t so different than other married couples. In every marriage something as simple as good morning can mean are we okay, are you still in this with me, do you still love me, like me, want me, want us?
In my case that night since he was punishing me, his remark meant I am trapped in this small cramped apartment with you and two children I never wanted. I am trapped in this ill fitting life that I don’t belong in, and it’s all your fault and instead of trying to make it easier on me you nag me about doing women’s work?
I was pretty versed in marital speak and in my husband’s not so subliminal signals by then, so I got it in one. Maybe if I had turned back to the living room instead of towards bed, we all would have gone on living; maybe not happily ever after but at least gone on. I didn’t feel like sitting down with him though and stroking his ego back up with a gratitude I didn’t feel anymore.
I guess if I thought about it at all then, I thought that we would get up and face another day and if the days were starting to drag for him, then it wasn’t any different for me. That phrase, ‘chain of days’ can be pretty apt.
What I understood though and saw too late that he didn’t, was that this was simply the life that people went through when they were young and had small kids and not much money. I understood that it would change over time and get easier.
Our parents and their parents before them had gone through it and I figured we would too. I also understood that us getting through it with the minimum of trauma and residual resentment rested mostly on me. It was up to me to keep the waters as smooth as possible for him so he didn’t give into his desire to make a run for it. If I’d had to declare the state of our union that night, I wouldn’t have said his level of disappointment or boredom or frustration was any higher than usual. Nor was my level of stoic concealed sadness any more apparent.
It was just one more night for an ill suited couple who had been forced by some circumstances into a marriage that probably should never have happened but had anyway. In that, we were pretty typical, I imagine, of millions of other people at that time and place in our country. I thought we would get by, or if not, that it would take a few years longer… at least until the kids were a little older before it ended.
How could I have known that for him it had become truly unbearable? He didn’t tell me; well he couldn’t have. That would have been an admission of failure and at least in his own eyes he could never fail.
So there we were …the tired pregnant woman who, if not happy, still thought she might become that way, and the tired desperate man who had begun to feel like he couldn’t breathe anymore and I had without knowing it, put a spark to the tender of his growing anger.
It’s natural that his anger faced outward at the girls and me; nothing was ever his fault. So if you can, then try to look through his eyes that last night. There he was…a young brilliant surgeon, a winner by any standard, trapped in a small on-post apartment that dissatisfied him, never mind that it was his choice alone that had landed us there.
This book is definitely an interesting concept, passing true crime stories off as fiction. They are true crime in that the stories are real. They are real people who were really murdered. The fiction part comes into play with what was actually said between some of them. A lot of that would be speculation based on the hours and hours of research that would have gone into tracking down the stories of these women's murders. I can't imagine trying to do all of that research! Also, the stories are told from the point-of-view of the deceased women. They are ghosts sharing the stories of their final days on Earth, and what brought them to that point.
The women are all ghosts, which elicits visions of wispy beings floating through the air. Their voices are much like this. They tend to ramble, with some thoughts rabbit-trailing here and there, which fits with that vision. I think if you read each woman's story at a separate time, instead of trying to read through, you will hear their individual voices a bit more clearly between parts. Reading the book all at once, as I did, their voices almost seem to stay the same from character to character.
The gruesome ends that these women met are horrifying, no matter how the story is told. All four of them are famous stories. If you aren't sure what really happened or who someone is, you can easily Google the actual accounts. Chances are, the stories are already quite familiar to you. I found myself getting annoyed with them, as the signs of abuse and inevitable murder seemed to obvious. Then again, I have the benefit of hindsight. Would those signs have been quite as obvious to any of us had we been in the middle of the situations?
This is the kind of book that is going to appeal to those who like true crime and Hollywood gossip.
About the Author
Kathleen Hewtson lives and writes in San Francisco California, her writing focuses on actual cases which she then takes and makes into books about how it might have happened. This is her fifth novel.