Son of a Grifter: The Twisted Tale of Sante and Kenny Kimes, the Most Notorious Con Artists in America: A Memoir by the Other Son

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9780060188658: Son of a Grifter: The Twisted Tale of Sante and Kenny Kimes, the Most Notorious Con Artists in America: A Memoir by the Other Son

In 1998 a troubled young man and his flamboyant mother were arrested for murdering a wealthy widow in her New York City mansion. Suddenly, America was transfixed by a pair of real-life film noir characters, an Oedipal team of scam artists who left a trail of blood, lies, and larceny from coast to coast. The media couldn't get enough of the twisted relationship between Sante Kimes and her twenty-three-year-old son Kenny.

But the most chilling story of all was never told -- until now. Kent Walker, Sante's elder son, reveals how he survived forty years of "the Dragon Lady's" very special brand of motherly love and still managed to get away.

As a child Kent watched his mother destroy his hardworking father, Ed Walker, and then -- with Kent's painful collusion -- snare what Sante called "my millionaire." When she married seemingly respectable real-estate developer Ken Kimes, it was a match made in hell.

For the next two decades Kent's mother and stepfather indulged in a globetrotting orgy of criminal behavior, laying waste to each other and anyone who got in the way. Kent, their would-be recruit, was privvy to the family business -- torching houses, defrauding friends, crashing White House parties, "shopping" for trunkloads of fur coats -- and Sante's self-serving style of adultery. When Kent's half-brother, Kenny was born, Kent was twelve years old -- old enough to know that he was his younger sibling's only protector. Kent tried desperately to save Kenny from his mother's sinister bidding. His failure haunts him to this day.

Here, with shocking and sometimes brutal frankness, Kent explodes the romantic Hollywood image of the grifter as antihero and exposes the truth about Sante Kimes behind the headlines. Sone of a Grifter poignantly chronicles what it means to love somebody despite your better instincts, your worst fears, and even your most forbidden hopes.

"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.

About the Author:

Kent Walker lives in California with his wife and children.

From Publishers Weekly:

Convicted last year of murdering millionaire heiress Irene Silverman in New York City and waiting to stand trial for a second murder in California, Sante and Kenny Kimes, mother and son, have become two of the best-known American criminals of recent years. In the wake of widespread, high-profile media coverage, this book purports to fill in missing details of Sante's murky biography. Walker, who is Sante Kimes's eldest son and half-brother to Kenny, catalogues the wrongdoings of the woman he still affectionately calls "Mom," including everything from shoplifting and theft to multiple counts of arson, insurance fraud and slavery. Walker vividly recounts his childhood with Sante and her third husband, Ken Kimes, detailing how the couple indoctrinated him into criminality. The author, who appears to be exorcising personal demons, does a fine job of elucidating the psychological and emotional price of being loved and cared for by a sociopath. It is this tension, between the loving mother and the criminal willing to neglect and at times even betray her child, that pushes the story forward. Unfortunately, the litany of crimes is so vast and comes so fast that the narrative never quite lingers long enough to develop real drama or suspense. Well researched and touching, though, it testifies to how one son can evolve into a killer and the other live to tell the tale. As a chronicle of Sante Kimes's life, it's unlikely to be surpassed by any other. The only person likely to tell a more intimate tale is Sante herself. Photos not seen by PW. (April 23)Forecast: This is the first major look at the criminal Kimes family, and with the media attention surrounding the forthcoming trial as well as appearances by Walker on Larry King and NBC's Dateline it should attract many readers throughout the summer.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.

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