Recounts the tragic events that followed the arrest of Fred Coe, a conservative, clean-cut young man, for a series of rapes committed in the city of Spokane and led to revenge and murder.
©2014 Jack Olsen (P)2015 Evan Olsen, Su Olsen
This was a truly chilling novel. It keeps you engaged throughout. worth a read/listen the narrator has a factual tone which heaps you reiterate factual view in which it has been written.
"Psychopathy Born or Made?"
Son is a work of true crime genius. This is the story of Fred (Kevin) Coe, the infamous south hill rapist in Spokane Washington, who viciously attacked dozens of women over the course of several years back in the mid-late 1970's. The book reveals Coe's psychopathy through meticulously recounted anecdotes of Coe's public behavior in context with the reactions of those who knew him, and his persona while committing crimes, as witnessed by his victims. It is gives a maddening look at law enforcement, and its resistance toward investigating rape, it's discounting of the affects on victims and their families. Also it presents a harrowing account of the emotional and physical affect of rape upon victims, and the lingering trauma and the difficulty of recovering from it.
The book presents a case history of a true psychopath, one of those rare individuals who has no personality--but who adapts his mask to various situations in life, a parasite. Coe uses everyone around him for money, for access to cars and clothes, who shoplifts porterhouse steaks, who has a slick line of BS when he's caught in one lie or another. I've never read a clearer account of a psychopathic mindset, one that is presented through the accumulation of evidence, rather than theorizing, and so you're able to see it, hold it in your hands--it becomes real. Brilliant.
The last section of the book, after Coe's arrest, is one of the most interesting parts, because it switches attention to the psychopathy of Coe's mother, Ruth, which is revealed in her reactions and behaviors during Son's (her name for him) trial. And so the question you're left with is did Ruth cause Fred's sickness or was it the other way around? Or were they BOTH born that way? Fascinating stuff.
Kevin Pierce is one of my favorite readers. His voice is perfect for true crime. He's a born storyteller. His special talent IMO is that he always is able to convey the pain and distress of the victims and their families. He's really great.
Strongly recommend this book for anyone wishing to learn more about psychopathy, or the history of Spokane Washington, or who's interested in true crime and law enforcement.
"Chilling and Addictive! It Will Make You Very Mad"
I have long had a fascination with psychopaths ever since I got my Masters in Psychology. As a result, this book sounded like it would be interesting so I took a chance. At the very start, I though I might have made a mistake, as the author described one rape incident after another--I couldn't imagine listening to that for so many hours.
Fear not. This book is so much more than just crime descriptions. It is an in-depth character study of Fred Coe, his parents, Ruth and Gordon Coe, and his two flames, Jenny and Ginny. (I soon realized I had to listen carefully to know which woman was being discussed.)
It's not a pleasant subject, rape. How could it be? And in some way, listening to a long story about a psychopathic rapist made me want to take more showers than I already do. But at some point, early on, the book captured me to an extent no other book has done before and in different ways. I began looking for ways to put aside time to keep listening, and I felt helpless to stop!
Coe has all the classic behaviors of a psychopath. The author frequently quotes short excerpts from authors/psychologists on the nature on the condition. Not only was Fred Coe fascinating, so were his parents, Ruth and Gordon Coe. Ruth was at times child-like, flamboyant, manic, subdued, but more often, as evil as the devil. Gordon was totally disassociated from his family for the most part, just going off to work and tuning out. He was no match for such a strong personality as Ruth and just let her run the show. Learning about them both brought to me a small amount of sympathy for their son. Maybe not so much sympathy but more of an understanding of why he developed into who he was.
In addition to the character studies, you will be treated to a detailed description of trial time which is also fascinating. Fred Coe is very intelligent and he innately knew in what direction to take his defense. I won't even mention what I think of defense attorneys, despite acknowledging their role as being necessary.
As wonderful and addictive as this book is, be prepared to get MAD. You will get furious at Fred Coe and his mother. You will be mad at the passivity of his father. You will be angry at his girlfriend, Jenny, and even more at Ginny, who married and lived with him during the time he was at his most active in crime. I wanted to scream at her and shake her! You will be mad at the law enforcement of Spokane for their lackadaisical attitude about rape and their refusal to warn the public of the menace for so long. You will be mad at the women of Spokane for continuing to put themselves in harm's way, jogging alone in isolated places and not using their brains to protect themselves. One woman's behavior in particular floored me--wait and see. Continuing along the same line, you will be mad at the defense attorneys and the supposed expert witnesses. I swear, you can get an expert to say anything you want for the right price. And don't be so sure all judges have the brains they were born with either.
So why read a book that makes you so mad? It is extremely well-researched and presented. It was perfectly narrated. There is a certain amount of satisfaction at the end and justice is served, to an large extent. For me, Son is a book that was impossible to put down. It made me feel, it made me think. Sometimes that is just what I need from a book.
"A Powerful Psychological Analysis.."
of the schizoid-type psychopath who terrorized an untold number of victims in the South Hill region of Spokane Washington back in the 1970's. The two negative reviews here on this book complain that it is "dry" or "lacking in detail." To begin, I don't know what book these reviewers read, because SON is actually quite riveting and rich in detail, but if one is looking for a story dripping in gore and body fluids, well, okay, one might look elsewhere; if one is looking for a true crime story that is penetrating, psychological, intelligent, and always seeking the truth of the situation, this is the one to get.
The narration was great. Told from the view of the psychopath and the view of his victims. could not put it down. Very detailed. Will read other books by this author
"A long story that you will want to finish in 1 set"
The story pulled me in from the very first! I never had any doubt about who the bad guy was, but I almost wanted him to be okay. Maybe change. I was absolutely amazed at how many rapes he got away with, but the times were just before it became known that the girl is not to blame. This man was cruel, angry, unforgiving, but never killed anyone. That doesn't make it any better, but his abuse was so horrific he might as well have murdered the women. I found I wanted to blame someone for his actions and his mother could have been guilty, but even she could not have made her son this bad! He is from a good, well to do home. with a well respected father and a bit of an eccentric mother and a sister. The two relationships in the story had similar names and that tripped me up just a bit, but it really wasn't significant. I loved the story, loved the narration, and hated for it to end. I am very glad I read the book. I could even read it again and not be bored!
Fred "Kevin" Coe, a sleazy, manipulative rapist with a mother almost as fruit-loops as he is, causes terror in the South Hills of Spokane. It's an amazing, terrifying story, and I cannot express too strongly how grateful I am that it's now available through Audible. I have pretty much all of Jack Olsen's books, many of them autographed -- he was the finest true crime writer ever, bar none -- and it's a joy to find his books brought to life again! (Now, let's see "Salt of the Earth" and "Misbegotten Son." please?)
The story is compelling, turning a compassionate but unflinching eye at the long-term effects that rape can have on a woman's life and relationships. Nobody takes more time analyzing the effects that a brutal crime has on a community than Olson.
It took me a while to get used to Kevin Pierce's pace -- he reads many of the Olson re-releases, and he reads slowly, deliberately, sort of like a beloved grandfather reading you a majorly twisted bedtime story -- but after a while I really appreciated his dry, steady narration. This story, like the others, is so horrendous that an overly dramatic reading would push the story over the cliff. It's worth it. The tone is right.
I can hardly wait until the rest of Jack's oeuvre is available here!
"Amazing detail... and creepy"
it's amazing that a true story can contain as much detail as this does. a true sick family. a good engaging read!!
Written by Jack Olsen, a long audiobook at close to twenty-three hours of listening, and narrated by Kevin Pierce. Son, originally published in 1983, is an accounting of a serial rapist in Spokane, WA in the late 1970s, early 1980s.
An update to the true crime of this story, information not included in the book. The saga of Fred Coe continued for a few years after the release of the book with appeals, convictions overturned, etc., but fortunately, enough stuck to this predator to keep him locked up. Fred Coe is behind bars as of this writing. Coe has consistently, to this day, been adamant in professing innocence. However, forensic tools now available, such as DNA testing, have confirmed his guilt. A 2011 plea for release was denied.
Silly to enjoy grizzly fiction and get queasy when confronted with the real thing, but there it is. True crime is a genre I’ve avoided - it is so disturbing. Easy to follow, Son is a well written reveal of Fred Coe’s psychopathic mind, in addition to the enabling sickness of his mother, Ruth Coe. The book is about rape, the effect of rape on victims, the victims' families. It is also the dissection and analysis of a psychopath - not just a rapist. Each chapter is preceded by a quotation from a noted physician/psychologist with sage words of understanding or comprehension or explanation.
Narration by Kevin Pierce is excellent. No attempts to sway opinion, by narrator or author. The facts are presented in a listenable manner.
I can’t say I enjoyed this book, but I’m very glad I listened. Not for everyone, but a highly recommended true crime book.
"Wow. Villain of Villains"
In this case, Truth is more evil than fiction. Olsen is able to delineate as such to cast the main character as the most hated man alive. Great storytelling. If i have a gripe, its the prologue disclosing too many details. I cannot recall this as a news story, so going in with a blank canvas would have had greater impact. But don't let that dissuade you from downloading. It's a great listen. Easily worth the credit.
Yes, if the friend was interested in true crime stories.
The absolute horror of psychopathy and codependency that lay at the core of the Coe family. It's shocking how easily, and how long, a sick and twisted family can pass as "normal." For serial rapist Fred (Kevin) Coe and his smothering mother, Ruth, there was no such thing as guilt or personal responsibility. They were expert manipulators, employing a facade of normalcy, charm and intelligence, though both were clearly deranged to a dangerous degree. Gordon Coe, Fred's father, was the ultimate codependent. At first I felt a bit of sympathy for him. Then it became clear that Gordon backed the misdeeds of his wife and son 100%, to the point of telling one falsehood after another in their defense. No more sympathy from me. Fred had a sister, Kathleen, who did not feature highly in the story, though she attended the various trials in support of her brother and mother, completely denying that either could have committed crimes.
Excellent tone and pacing, and respectful representations of the people mentioned in the story. His narration was perfect.
I like the subtitle already in place.
SPOILERS: Where to start? 1) According to the author, the Tacoma police department in the late 1970's through early 1980's was chronically understaffed due to budgetary constraints imposed by the city council. Any case not easily or promptly solved was soon labeled "inactive," the equivalent of mail winding up in the dead letter box. Subsequently most of Fred Coe's victims who reported their rapes received a cursory investigation, if any, before their cases were set aside. But that wasn't the worst part of the police treatment these women had to endure. There was the prevalent attitude that rape wasn't much of a crime, that women were "...asking for it," an actual comment made by some of the detectives who interviewed the victims. Worst of all was the personal attitude of the Chief of Police in Tacoma, that rape victims might as well "...lie back and enjoy it." It wasn't until after three years of multiple unsolved rapes that some Tacoma police detectives pushed for the creation of a task fource which eventually identified Fred Coe as the South Hill Rapist. I can only hope that conditions within the Tacoma PD have improved over the 35 years since the rapes took place. 2) The author, I think, went overboard in describing the gruesome details of most of the rapes. The book begins with one such description. I almost threw up while reading it. When I read further and realized this excess of detail was going to recur again and again in the book, I started skipping ahead. Once a rape started, I didn't resume listening until it was clear the event was over. These overly detailed revelations were not only disgusting and tragic, they made a long story too long. I think an edited version of each incident would have sufficed and would also have preserved greater dignity and privacy for the victims. 3) It's hard to believe that Fred Coe--and his mother, in her own way--fooled so many people into believing their facades of normalcy. Fred's ex-wife Jenny, his fiancé Ginny, his best friend Jay all had feelings, to some degree, of sympathy for Fred even after his rapist career had been exposed. Apparently Fred was successful in populating his life with codependents who still were not quite free of him years later, though Ginny seems to have made the cleanest break. Why couldn't these people accept the fact that they were conned by an evil predator who did not deserve their sympathy? How could any of them, for one second, feel guilty or responsible in any way for Fred's crimes and conviction? That man damaged more lives than those of his rape victims, that much is clear. 4) After Ruth Coe was convicted of attempting to hire assassins to kill the judge and prosecutor of her son's trial, her mental state was successfully used as an excuse to reduce her sentence to a mere wrist slap: a very short time in prison, and work release for the rest of her measly one year sentence. I have to admit to some personal satisfaction that Ruth Coe lived only a decade or so after the events covered by the book. She died in 1996 at age 75. Gordon Coe, aged 82, died three years later, in 1999. Fred Coe would have been released by now. But a Washington state law was enacted in 1990, a civil act that allows the state to indefinitely retain dangerous sexual predators. Fred's civil hearing on this basis was held in 2008. A jury decided that the prosecution had proven that Fred was a violent sexual predator, and he was kept in prison. His 2011 appeal was denied. I am including these last facts as they do not appear in the book Son, written decades earlier. I thought readers might want to know that we are still safe from Fred Coe.
"Great Story Wonderful Narrator Brilliant"
I really enjoyed this book, the narrator Mr Pierce really brought the characters to life, their quirky & strange personalities were put across so well by him.
The story was absorbing, the twisted mind of a psychopath,his family & friends was truly horrifying, it made one realise it is nearly impossible to interact in a meaningful & honest way with such people. Their level of denial & justification at times filled me with disbelief. I HIGHLY recommend this book.
"Shocking Story - but a bit long winded"
Shocking, Lengthy, Interesting
The scrapbooky nature in which the story was told - I really liked that
His narration is really excellent, his accent and telling really draws you in and puts you right in Spokane.
It was hard to turn it off, but it was really long and couldn't possibly be listened all the way through in one sitting!
its a great book, a shocking story, great narration
"ok, but could have been shorter!"
No, its was long and drawn out, not as interesting as i thought!
yes, was also slow and dull!
"Extensive telling of almost incredible true tale"
Beyond belief and fascinating. People like this really do exist. Just hope I never meet one !
"Thought provoking, so much detail."
Thought provoking and incredibly written with both grit and sensitivity. Really interesting and factual.
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