Most helpful positive review
on November 9, 2000
The words in the title "You Belong to Me" are words a woman may want to hear from the man she loves, but when they come from a violent psychopath, watch out.
True crime is one of my favorite genres, and Ann Rule is one of its outstanding practitioners. I love the genre because nobody could make up this stuff. Truth, at least in human affairs, really is stranger than fiction. I seldom find "mysteries" or crime novels as interesting as a true tale, however incompletely expressed, because I usually sense the contrivances in the work of the novelist. But in the best true crime, there is always a sense of coming face to face with the sordid realities of human nature, regardless of how banal and stupid, and from such an experience there comes the sense of knowing a little more about humanity.
Here we have a Florida state trooper who likes to stop the girlies on the freeway and show them his shiny belt buckle and his well tailored uniform. Problem is he actually hates women and only gets off when he does them violence. His long-suffering wife finally, finally after many beatings and some really scary weird stuff, tells him to get out. He can't cope with that because although he hates women, he needs their approval. I wonder: did mommie love him best or not at all? He hates himself for desiring women, but he needs their love to feel confident. So he stalks his wife in the most pathetic and all-consuming way, sneaking into the house late at night and sleeping in the attic, bugging her phone, etc. Meanwhile he loves to play macho cop on the freeway. One day he pulls over a blond woman who reminds him of his wife and does a psycho-sexual sickie murder on her, calling her by his wife's name as he rapes and kills her.
Rule, whose weakness is a need to wear her support for the law enforcement community on her sleeve, feels a little compromised in this one. She is at pains to assure us that this psycho cop is one rare law enforcement anomaly, and that she sure hates to write this one since it makes all cops look bad, but she has to. She has to because she needs to be of service to her readership, and there is indeed a cautionary tale here we all might recognize. Simply put, never let push come to shove, especially if it's your supposedly loving spouse that's doing the pushing. Get out immediately because it will only get worse. Unfortunately, in this case the long-suffering wife only really gets the message to get away from the sickie when she finds out he is CHEATING on her. I mean, let's react to what's important! The beatings were bad, of course, and the total control wasn't good, but the final straw was THE OTHER WOMAN!
It could be said that if you desire and conceive a psychopath's children, you might, just might, be contributing to the continuance of psychopaths. The poor kids are always so innocent, and nobody, especially not moi, would suggest that we punish the sons for the sins of the fathers, having committed a few sins myself; but ladies, get a clue: if his macho ways turn you on so, maybe you should share some blame. I know it's boring, but try a nerd once in a while. Or at least try a little family planning. Rule keeps saying (here and in some of her other books) "but she loved him," or "she was in love." But any self-indulgence has its limit. If we can excuse her because she was in love, maybe we ought to excuse him because he also couldn't help himself. Personally, I...don't...think...so.
Incidentally, according to the point of view of evolutionary psychology, we create the opposite sex through our sexual choices, just as surely as the practices of agriculture have created the cows and the grains that have been sexually chosen for thousands of years.
Bottom line: this is not only one of Ann Rule's best, it is also one that lingers in the mind because of the vivid portrait she paints of a violent sexual control freak.