THE VICTIMS by Bernard & Kenneth G. Gross Lefkowitz


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Two New York Post reporters, along with some anonymous but acknowledged ""high ranking police officers who opened to (them) the secret files"" have collaborated in writing up the Janice Wylie-Emily Hoffert case of 1963. It took three years and takes up close to 600 pages with only a few footnotes. It also leaves some doubts not only as to the real culpability of Ricky Robles, now convicted (an appeal is pending), but also concerning the final canonization of the victims. When first introduced Janice Wylie is certainly presented as volatile, i.e. unstable, and attractive but also exhibitionistic. When last seen bracketed with Martin Luther King dreaming ""of exciting adventures, of involvement and fulfillment, and of peace"" the authors must have been carried away. There is certainly enough excitable if not sensational material to make it unnecessary from the time when the medical examiner commented: ""This is not the way humans should die... This is the way chickens are executed."" Then too there are the many other horrifying aspects of the case: the question of color which contributed to George Whitmore's arrest and trial (cf. Fred C. Shapiro's New Yorker pieces into book--Whitmore--earlier this year) along with the boy's overly cooperative confession: ""I told them what they wanted."" And the general misconduct of the processes of law and order even where, on the other hand, the police department worked tirelessly on tracing down hundreds of leads, including the possibly revealing projection of a psychic on her deathbed. Extensive use is made throughout of the tapes and transcripts made available to the authors by their unnamed beneficiaries and, doubts aside as well as questions of taste (the tabloid aspects of the case are overwhelming), the book is unavoidably readable. It will have a Look magazine partial appearance, and it is an alternate selection of the Book-of-the-Month Club. It has all the elements and more to give it a Boston Strangler hold on the popular jugular.

Pub Date: June 23rd, 1969
Publisher: Putnam