In the early morning hours of May 2, 1990, my stepfather, Rich Duncan, checked out of the Motel 6 in Moses Lake, Washington, and traveled over the North Cascades Highway en route to his home in Duvall, Washington. He was supposed to be home by four o'clock that afternoon. Two days later, police discovered his abandoned car in the small town of Darrington, Washington. As my mother desperately struggled to get law enforcement to help find her husband, his killer set out to cover up his crime and evade detection. Once he was eventually captured, the shocking truth about the killer's violent past and early release from prison deepened my mother's resolve on her relentless quest to ensure that, despite a favorable plea deal that would have released him on January 27, 2014, that he would never walk free again.
©2014 Jonathan R. Keehner (P)2014 Jonathan R. Keehner
"Jon Keehner Loves His Mom..."
This wonderful son (and author), Jon Keehner, went to the ends of the earth to piece together the story of the tragedy that took his mother's beloved husband from all of them... and for that alone, I commend him. What a tremendous gift this is, not only for his mom Karen, but for the public, who need to know these stories: the senseless murders of Rich Duncan, Newton Thomas and horrifying attack on James Kiltie.
The author prefaces his story by identifying that he did not interview (scumbag/enabler) Philip and Sharon Hillman in order to write this account, so that was perched in the back of my mind. When Keehner wrote about very detailed conversations, as the first person, I kept reminding myself that these were essentially fictional recounts. Still, I know why he did it and it greatly lends to the completeness of this work.
Phil Hillman is a poor excuse for a human. He murders people for zero reason. Then he uses his experiences in Vietnam (it is questionable how involved, even if involved, he was in combat) his alcoholism and his less-than-warm parents as excuses as to why he cannot control himself. He went through the system and got off with a pittance of a sentence for his first murder and assault charge, so he was barely concerned when he came across Rich Duncan.
As for Sharon Hillman’s part and (Hillman’s sister) Jody’s part… they should have been held culpable as well. They stood by and watched someone who had zero control continue to drink excessively, exhibit irrational behavior and all they did was placate him. Let him have guns, gave him alcohol and they were the idiots put in place by Hillman’s probation officer to ‘keep him in check’. Brilliant. Hope they’re having fun living with that reality.
Keehner did a fine job. I hope he and his family are thriving and keeping Rich’s spirit alive. Here is a cautionary tale that simply being helpful to others can cost you your life. Very tragic.
I could not stop listening from the moment I started listening! The reader kept you engaged and the plot kept you wanting to know what was going to happen next!
"Best true crime book I've ever heard!"
I've read lots of true crime books and this one is one of the best I've read! This book made me so sad for the victims and so mad at the justice system! The narrator was awesome! I wish he narrated all the books!
If I knew anyone who liked true crime books I would definitely recommend this book.
Why? I really have always liked books written in the first person. This is rare in true crime books. There are a few, "My Story" by Elizabeth Smart, and "Waiting to Be Heard" by Amanda Knox are a couple examples, but they are almost always written by a third party. This book is written by the step son of one of the two murder victims. He tells the story from the point of view of the family rather than as an impartial bystander. At the same time Keehner is very thorough in his research of the entire story and not just the part that his family was involved in.
I don't think there is another book that would be a fair comparison.
Ahl does a great job portraying the voices in the book. He does a great job in pace, pauses, and breathing. His tone is appropriate and comfortable.
The murderer, Phil Hillman appeared to have beaten the system for the third time and the judge made sure that he would never be a danger to society again by giving him a sentence appropriate to his crimes. I was moved by the relief of the family who feared he may be able to get out and kill again.
There are many reviews of this book praising the writing and style of the author. There are many more that praise the book. I can only say I whole-heartedly agree with them all.
I'm not sure it would make much of a difference.
The surreal and nightmarish quality of the night of Rich's murder from Sharon's perspective. The car getting stuck a second time and Sharon desperately trying to get them home while Phil is passed out in the front seat. I could really imagine how Sharon was feeling at that moment.
The crimes described in the book are not that exceptional compared to many true crime stories. I felt the choice of narrator was odd, and though Charles Ahl is talented and professional, I didn't think his voice really fit in with the story. The characters were a little flat and one dimensional, and the prose seemed stiff and a little forced. However, I could not put the book down. Jon Keehner, if he continues to write, will undoubtably grow as an author - and the things I have mentioned will improve. His greatest asset - his ability to tell a spellbinding story - more than makes up for any deficiencies. His ability to seamlessly splice clear facts with, what I must assume to be, imagined conversations and thoughts provide the reader with a very visceral experience. I'm looking forward to more from Mr. Keehner.
This is a well written book. Keeps you listening and not wanting to stop. A must read
"I really enjoyed this one"
This is the 1st book I've read/listened to by Keehner. I was very happy with it. The narration lacked a bit for my taste but overall great story.
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