All the positive reviews for my book are amazing and humbling. I just noticed today that several total strangers have written positive reviews on GoodReads.
My favorite GoodReads comment so far is from a lady named Cynthia Fischer, who wrote: The book was well-written and well-researched. The author had observed all three trials and started “digging” after the last trial. This is a true journalist.
I thank everyone who took the time to write a review. But the one that meant the most to me was posted on Amazon, and it comes from someone who worked alongside me for years. Someone who kept me calm on deadline at The Cincinnati Enquirer. Someone I revere for her wordsmithing talents, her intellect and her humanity. Her name is Sue Vonderhaar, and she edited copy for many years at the Enquirer. She’ll be embarrassed at this, but I consider her a genius. So when she wrote this review for me, it left me speechless–well, almost. (I am a bit of a talker, as y’all might know.)
As a Cincinnatian, I was captivated 10 years ago by the Ryan Widmer bathtub-drowning indictment and all three of his subsequent trials.
Like many observers, I was conflicted throughout, vacillating between innocence and guilt, never being convinced of either. But, like most observers, I hungered for the truth – or at least more details about the how and why of this fascinating case.
So when I heard that Janice Hisle had written this book, I couldn’t wait to read it. Not just because of the subject matter. But because I knew that no one could write a more thorough and objective analysis of the Sarah Widmer bathtub drowning case than Hisle, a former Cincinnati Enquirer reporter who covered every day of the three trials and countless appeals since.
As a disclaimer, I should note that I once worked as one of Hisle’s editors at the Enquirer. But as such, I can vouch for her objectivity, accuracy, and sheer professionalism in this case and every case she wrote about as a news reporter.
I knew this book would be outstanding, and I wasn’t disappointed.
Once I’d started, I could not stop reading until I’d devoured it. This book reads about as fast and as gripping as any murder mystery or true-crime book I’ve ever read.
Hisle has taken an extremely complex case, with more twists and turns than any fiction writer could conjure, and turned thousands of pages of documents, trial testimony and interview notes into a real-life thriller.
But while I was excited to read her take on the case, I still feared it would leave me with that same sense of ambiguity and frustration that the trials had left, since no one but Ryan Widmer really knows what happened that night in the Widmer bathroom, and he wasn’t talking.
Hisle has incorporated hours upon hours of interviews with Ryan in her book, in addition to information she unearthed that has never been revealed before, interviews with jurors, and a wealth of details the jurors were not allowed to hear at trial.
Whatever you think about Ryan Widmer’s guilt or innocence, you need to read this book.
And be sure to read to the end, because Hisle’s final disclosures will clarify – for the first time – the hows and whys of what happened that fateful night in that tiny bathroom.
That review was so well-written, I encouraged Sue to write her own book someday. We’ll all be blessed if she does. 🙂