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On the Farm: Robert William Pickton and the Tragic Story of Vancouver's Missing Women [Hardcover]

Stevie Cameron
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Aug. 20 2010
Now that the publication bans are lifted, you need Stevie Cameron to get the whole story, which includes accounts of Pickton's notoriety that police never uncovered. You need On the Farm.

Covering the case of one of North America's most prolific serial killer gave Stevie Cameron access not only to the story as it unfolded over many years in two British Columbia courthouses, but also to information unknown to the police - and not in the transcripts of their interviews with Pickton - such as from Pickton's long-time best friend, Lisa Yelds, and from several women who survived terrifying encounters with him. You will now learn what was behind law enforcement's refusal to believe that a serial killer was at work.

Stevie Cameron first began following the story of missing women in 1998, when the odd newspaper piece appeared chronicling the disappearances of drug-addicted sex trade workers from Vancouver's notorious Downtown Eastside. It was February 2002 before Robert William Pickton was arrested, and 2008 before he was found guilty, on six counts of second-degree murder. These counts were appealed and in 2010, the Supreme Court of Canada rendered its conclusion. The guilty verdict was upheld, and finally this unprecedented tale of true crime can be told.

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Review

NATIONAL BESTSELLER

“Rich with detail. . . . Should you buy this book and read it? Definitely.”
 — Neil Boyd, The Globe and Mail

"Stevie Cameron, who brought the art of political investigative journalism in Canada to new heights over the last three decades, has distinguished herself and her profession once again… [On the Farm] will surely remain a classic for generations of crime readers to come."
 — Winnipeg Free Press

"On the Farm is the book you were hoping for… A hard-hitting look at the botched police investigations of Pickton."
 — The Vancouver Sun

"No writer knows this story better than Cameron… [On the Farm] will go down as the definitive resource on the Pickton affair."
 — Maclean's

"Stevie Cameron has written yet another great book exposing, as is her wont, the 'comfortable establishment' in our country of indifference to societal ills that might be expensive nuisances to deal with."
 — The Tyee

About the Author

A woman of many talents, Stevie Cameron is a successful author, investigative journalist, commentator and humanitarian. Her investigative reports have been published by the Globe and Mail and Maclean's, among others, and her award-winning books have brought scandals to the public eye. They include the #1 national bestseller On the Take: Crime, Corruption and Greed in the Mulroney Years and The Last Amigo: Karlheinz Schreiber and the Anatomy of a Scandal, winner of the Crime Writers of Canada Arthur Ellis Award. Cameron's passions for writing, uncovering and dissecting stories of the day have earned her acclaim as one of Canada's foremost investigative journalists. She lives in Toronto.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Sad Reminder of Who We Are Oct. 7 2010
By Ian Gordon Malcomson HALL OF FAME TOP 10 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
"I had one more planned, but that was the end of it. That was the last. I was gonna shut it down. I was just sloppy. Just the last one." - Calgary Herald, August 2010

I found this book to be a sad and painful reminder of how strong the forces of evil can be when they are intent on destroying all that is weak and vulnerable in society. Cameron's exhaustive researching of the infamous Robert `Willy' Pickton file, stretching back as far as the nineteen eighties, creates a bizarre and twisted story of one man's fiendish desire to prey on and murder prostitutes living in Vancouver's East End. To get at the truth of the matter as to why Pickton went on this rampage and how he managed to elude police for so long makes for a fascinating and blood-chilling read. While much of the evidence that Cameron uses to answer these questions has since emerged in testimony recently unsealed by the BC Supreme Court, her analytical and compelling account should still be considered the key authority on this horrible train of events. To achieve that distinction, Cameron, author of other investigative efforts, provides credible information that sets the scene of the crime, gets inside the mind and personality of the killer, ties in with the various ongoing forensic investigations, looks at motive and, most importantly, focuses on the lives of Pickton's numerous victims. Cameron's retelling of this tragically macabre affair contains a balance of praise and rebuke for the police, politicians, and the courts with respect to their roles in either assisting or frustrating the investigation.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Uncomfortably good Feb. 5 2012
By Bren9898 TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
An in-depth look at Pickton, his family, his friends and acquaintances, his lifestyle, and ultimately, his victims. It also delves into the struggles faced by advocates of the missing women, trying in vain to get police attention over the many years of unexplained disappearances. It outlines reasons why the police didn't act in the early years of the case - why there was no real "case" at all in the beginning. Reasons which were mostly legitimate (by police standards) but sometimes merely the result of arrogance and in-fighting at the highest levels. Not the VPD's proudest moment, but only thanks to a select few.

I've been waiting for a book of this quality to surface and was glad to find this one. If you're looking for blood and guts, keep looking. This book is less about gory detail and more about background and the challenges faced by everyone involved. It's a thorough, well-written, well-documented account of this tragedy and if you're at all interested in it, I think you'll find it an excellent read. Kudos to Stevie CAMERON.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Love it Jan. 15 2012
Format:Paperback
This book is amazing. It is detailed and gives you insight into the girls' lives who were murdered. I was however disappointed with the lack of detail surrounding the girls' death i.e. how it happened. There was never any specifics so the book left you guessing how he murdered them. A detail that I like to know in these kind of books. Other then that minor detail this book was great, perfect addition to anyone's book collection!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding true crime book Dec 21 2011
Format:Hardcover
I read a lot of true crime books, but this one truly stands out. The author provides a great deal of background information about the Pickton family history, and the area. There has been extensive research into the lives of the missing women and their families. The crimes are terrible, but I am also horrified by the indifference and inaction on the part of the police. There are no excuses good enough to account for their negligence. I couldn't put the book down, it is very well written. I don't love what happened, but I hope we can all learn something from this book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A must-have Sept. 14 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
If you are interested in true crime, this is a must-have. It is a detailed and compelling account of a multiple tragedies at the hands of one Canadian serial killer. Those poor women; that disturbed serial killer ... we, the Canadian taxpayers, should not be paying for his room and board in prison - Willie Picton should be the poster child for "bring back capital punishment"!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic well written book! Oct. 13 2010
Format:Hardcover
This book is a remarkable piece of Non-Fiction. Stevie Cameron is a great investigative journalist as proven through this book and through her past works, most notably "The Pickton File", which was released while the court imposed publication bans were in place. I was expecting a great deal of regurgitation from The Pickton Files within the pages of this book, however was pleasantly surprised that this was not the fact. I highly recommend reading The Pickton File, prior to reading this book. The Pickton File will introduce you to the cast of characters, locations etc. and will give the reader a better understanding of the case when they read On the Farm.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Too much detail, too little analysis Dec 6 2012
Format:Paperback
Here's what's wrong with this book:

When Willy Pickton was first put in a jail cell following his arrest, he went over to the cell's urinal and peed in it. His bladder movement lasted nearly two minutes, according to the policeman who was in the cell pretending to be another prisoner so he could get information from Pickton.

The book is packed full of such petty, useless details - 700 pages of it - but there's not a single page about why Pickon did what he did - no psychological evaluation, no exploration of his personality type - just the odd hint that he was a 'sexual psychopath'.

This is a thoroughly researched book as far as the details of the case go. It's also admirable for the amount of attention it pays to the victims, giving biographies of each of them.

Just prepare yourself for an overwhelming deluge of facts that are, in themselves, largely meaningless (for instance, we don't need to know where the coffee shop in the Vancouver courthouse is, when the building was built, what style the architecture is, what kind of trees grow outside it. We don't need to that on the day of Pickton's arrest, the police who picked him up left twenty minutes later than they meant to, and so on...)

This 700 page doorstop would probably have been far more effective as a 400 page paperback.
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