In his latest release, “California’s Deadliest Women,” author David Kulczyk presents a collection of 28 strange and shocking murder cases in California.
From well-known murder cases that even I had heard of, to more obscure ones that I couldn’t believe actually happened, “California’s Deadliest Women” kept me reading with its detailed account of the murderer’s background, the crime and what drove her to it and the aftermath.
Kulczyk covers a wide array of murder cases and the reasons these women murdered their husbands, lovers or children.
Larissa Schuster of Clovis, who I had only ever heard of in passing, is extensively covered in what Kulczyk calls “The Acid Queen.”
Schuster and her husband Tim were in the midst of a divorce and things weren’t going well. Feigning injury outside Tim’s home, Schuster called him outside where her accomplice rendered him unconscious. They tied him up, drove him to Schuster’s house, and dissolved his body in a barrel of acid in her garage.
The messiness of Schuster and her husband’s marriage, events leading up to the murder and what became of Schuster and her accomplice are detailed along with the murder and make for an edge-of-your-seat read.
Other murders detailed include the murder of famous comedian Phil Hartman by his wife Brynn Hartman, Dana Sue Gray who killed the elderly to feed her shopping addiction, and Omaima Aree Nelson who cut up her husband, cooked him and ate him.
Gruesome murders a sane person would never think of are committed by women from all walks of life who are facing inner demons, trying to escape abuse, or simply making a cold, calculated move.
Appearing alongside most of the stories are illustrations of the murderers done by artist Olaf Jens. These “quirky, disturbing caricatures of the killers” only add to the overall chilling vibe of the book.
Though I found a lot of “California’s Deadliest Women” disturbing to read, the thing is, I couldn’t stop reading. I found it fascinating (in an obviously unsettling way) to see just what people are capable of and how far some of these women were willing to go.
Kulczyk succeeds with “California’s Deadliest Women” and it’s definitely landed a spot in my top true crime books of 2016.