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Publisher's Summary

Until 1971, life was good for mild-mannered accountant John List. He was vice president of a Jersey City bank and had moved his mother, wife, and three teenage children into a 19-room home in Westfield, New Jersey. But all that changed when he lost his job. Raised by his Lutheran father to believe success meant being a good provider, List saw himself as an utter failure. Straining under financial burdens, the stress of hiding his unemployment, as well as the fear that the free-spirited 1970s would corrupt the souls of his children, List came to a shattering conclusion.   

"It was my belief that if you kill yourself, you won't go to heaven," List told Connie Chung in a television interview. "So eventually I got to the point where I felt that I could kill them. Hopefully they would go to heaven, and then maybe I would have a chance to later confess my sins to God and get forgiveness."   

List methodically shot his entire family in their home, managing to conceal the deaths for weeks with a carefully orchestrated plan of deception. Then he vanished and started over as Robert P. Clark. Chronicling List's life before and after the grisly crime, Death Sentence exposes the truth about the accountant-turned-killer, including the details of his high-profile trial.

©1990 Joe Sharkey (P)2019 Tantor

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  • Julia
  • 09-03-2019

A Real Page Turner

Joe Sharkey did a brilliant job with his research for a case that coursed over two decades. It is apparent from his writing style that he has been a journalist reporting the facts as he saw them. I have always taken an interest in this case as I saw it featured on America's Most Wanted many years ago. I, like many people followed the case especially when John List, a mere pathetic version of a human being was unearthed from his new life. Today we hear of people murdering their families more often than we would like but back in the '70s the news was more protective of the viewer and of course there was no social media. However, I had heard so much about the case that was printed in various magazines and weekly trash sheets that I think that I was picking up on much of this devastating sad tale and also listening to the rumors that are now a part of folk law. This book is jam packed with facts as opposed to rumor. Which I personally feel far exceeded all the ramped up 'grapevine chat' that was being pushed out by the media. A really interesting listen narrated by the superb Shawn Compton

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  • Lindsay Jacks
  • 21-04-2019

Incredible storytelling

This audiobook is narrated perfectly and the writing by Sharkey is thoughtful storytelling. It’s perfection. To me the best part is where Sharkey doesn’t hide his disdain for John List’s book Collateral Damage, which is an attempt of self loathing and victimizing himself. Thank you Joe!

2 people found this helpful

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  • night owl
  • 02-04-2019

Arrogant Evil

Much better than a lot of true crime.Written in the 90s but still very good. Shawn Compton does a good job narrating. If you're into this genre, I highly recommend.

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  • MA Reviewer
  • 08-11-2020

Put This JOHN LIST Murder Story on Your LIST!

Yes, truth is definitely stranger than fiction. This book was a very well researched and riveting "OMG!" story about John List, a University of Michigan MBA/CPA who murdered his wife and three children and got away with this horrific crime for 17.5 years. Kudos to the television show "America's Most Wanted" and the show's tipster for helping the FBI locate and capture John List. Author Joe Sharkey did a superb job of researching EVERYTHING we should know (but would be afraid to ask!) about the complex character of John List, his family, the murders, his escape, and how he was able to avoid detection for 17.5 years. The book was well organized and really moved. I listened to the book's audio version and the narration was superb. I had never heard of John List's crime before and perhaps that is why I found his story to be particularly fascinating. When John List murdered his family in 1971 it took authorities one month to discover four dead bodies in John List's home. With today's technology, John List never would have had that one month lead time to escape and reinvent himself. If you're a true crime story fan, put this John List book on your reading list. It's a great read!

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  • Anonymous User
  • 01-09-2020

Well done

This book gives the chronology of a disturbed father with peculiar quirks who murdered his family in 1971 in NJ. The book is well written and gives the reader the insight into John List and how he perceives life that is falling down on him. I particularly liked that the author was able to get accounts of the people that John met in his life. A must read.

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  • Melba B. Murphy
  • 03-03-2020

Well Done

These books are usually a hit or a major miss. This was a sound true-crime story: interesting case, enigmatic killer, methodical telling of background, precipitating factors, execution, and aftermath. True Crime aficionados will be satisfies with this telling

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  • My UK audible
  • 21-11-2019

The robotic voice of the narrator was distracting

I kept imagining I was on hold on the phone, unfortunately. The story was reduced to just a tale rather than creating a fully immersive experience.

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  • GCS18
  • 01-06-2019

Now this is a true crime masterpiece

Everything was clear, well researched, well narrated and engaging. Up there with the very best of the genre.

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  • D. Bateman
  • 28-06-2019

Interesting

I knew of the List story but this goes into real depth. I found it to be an enjoyable listen but occasionally it dragged a little. Overall though, well worth the time.

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