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A ship's pilot legendary for guiding mammoth freighters through the narrows of Puget Sound, Rolf Neslund was a proud Norwegian, a ladies' man, and a beloved resident of Washington State's idyllic Lopez Island. Virtually indestructible even into his golden years, he made electrifying headlines more than once: after a ship he was helming crashed into the soaring West Seattle Bridge, causing millions in damages; and following his inexplicable disappearance at age 80. Was he a suicide, a man broken by one costly misstep? Had he run off with a lifelong love? Or did a trail of gruesome evidence lead to the home Rolf shared with his wife, Ruth? On an island where everyone thought they knew their neighbors, the veneer of the Neslunds' marriage masked a convoluted case that took many years to solve. And, indeed, some still believe that the old sea captain will come home one day.
"The Sea Captain" is a classic tale as blood chilling as murder itself. Along with six other equally riveting, detailed accounts of destruction and murder committed without conscience or regret, Ann Rule takes listeners into frightening places they never could have imagined in No Regrets.
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Ann Rule is a former Seattle policewoman and the author of more than two dozen New York Times bestsellers. She is a certified instructor for police training seminars and lectures frequently to law enforcement officers, prosecutors, and forensic science organizations, including the FBI. For more than two decades, she has been a powerful advocate for victims of violent crime. A graduate of the University of Washington, she holds a Ph.D. in Humane Letters from Willamette University. She lives near Seattle and can be contacted through her website AnnRules.com.Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:
Most of us have made decisions that we wish we could go back and change. Sometimes it is for something we have done and then again, we may regret something we should have done and didn't. "Conscience doth make cowards of us all," Shakespeare once wrote, and like scores of the Bard's quotes that have stood the test of time, this is as true today as it was hundreds of years ago. Even if we are the only ones who know our secrets, that little voice inside reminds us. That nagging voice brings back memories that are painful to people who have empathy for others' feelings and who do have consciences. But not everyone does. For some, yesterday is gone and entirely forgettable, the slate is wiped clean, and they never look back. Some of the most horrifying crimes I have ever chronicled were committed by people for whom another's life is no more important than that of a flea or a crushed rose.
In No Regrets, I write about a number of murderers who didn't feel at all sorry for what they did to further their own purposes, but I also tell some heart-wrenching stories of people who had profound regret. They could technically be called killers, although I believe they suffered more than their "victims." There are even a few cases here where one might say the so-called victims reaped grim rewards they deserved. Over the many years I have written about actual criminal cases, I have learned that there is nothing about any homicide that can be taken for granted. Just as human behavior is unpredictable, so are the many views of each murder. Like snowflakes, no two cases are just alike, and some are shockingly unique.
I have written more than a thousand articles and twenty-six books about murder. I have never forgotten any of them, although I must admit that sometimes names escape me. This is Volume 11 of my Crime Files series. Only those stories that have stood the test of time make the cut when I'm selecting cases.
That is true for "The Sea Captain," the book-length case that comes first, and for all the shorter cases that follow:
"It (Ain't) Hard Out There for the Pimps," "The Runaway and the Soldier," "The Tragic Ending of a Bank Robber's Fantasy," "A Very Bad Christmas," "To Save Their Souls," and "...Or We'll Kill You."
A few of these cases reduced me to tears, and, frankly, some frightened me. Even though a number of years have passed since I first heard their details played out in courtrooms, it hasn't been easy to live through them again. My own emotional reactions came tumbling back as I visited them once more, surprising me with their intensity. There are other cases here that I knew of, but had never before researched or written. And one came to me through an email after I had already started writing this book.
In the end, there were myriad motivations that sparked murder: greed, lust, jealousy, naked masochism, fulfillment of fantasy, insanity, and -- strangely -- even love.
Copyright © 2006 by Ann Rule
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