New York Times–bestselling author: “In the art of true-crime reportage, Jerry Bledsoe is the best in the country . . . Before He Wakes has the suspense of a novel” (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution).
Barbara Stager was known as a devoted mother, loving wife, and dedicated church leader in her Durham, North Carolina, community. When she “accidentally” shot her husband, popular high school coach, Russ, the police were inclined to believe her—until they learned that ten years earlier, her first husband had died in a strangely similar way.
Sgt. Rick Buchanan’s relentless investigation into Stager’s life revealed a stunning vortex of compulsive lying, obsessive spending, and sexual promiscuity. With every new discovery, more of Barbara’s impeccable image unraveled. But the greatest shock—a damning piece of evidence Russ Stager left behind—revealed the nightmare truth about Barbara. With “the fine-toothed-comb reporting of [an] ace crime journalist,” this book takes us deep into a spellbinding case of double life, lethal lust, and almost perfect murder (Kirkus Reviews).
“A shocking and well-written portrait of a dangerous woman.” —The New York Times
“Mesmerizing.” —Ann Rule, New York Times–bestselling author of The Stranger Beside Me
“This account of manipulation, compulsive spending, lying, promiscuity, and murder is made even more chilling by the fact that appearances are often deceiving.” —Library Journal
“A profile of evil . . . Fascinating.” —The Baltimore Sun
“Jerry Bledsoe is the master of true crime, the conclusion to what Truman Capote began. . . . Another stunning success.” —Patricia Cornwell, New York Times–bestselling author of Chaos