LIFE: The Man Who Kidnapped Barbara Mackle by Gary Steven Krist

LIFE: The Man Who Kidnapped Barbara Mackle

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KIRKUS REVIEW

As macabre and breathless a chapter from recent crime annals as anything Hitchcock has committed to celluloid -- Gary Krist's own story of how he abducted Barbara Mackle and buried her alive in a ""big, roomy"" coffin/capsule with air hoses to the surface, batteries to pump air and light, ""30,000 calories of food, five blankets, a foam rubber mattress, a pillow, Kotex (who knows). . . a bedpan, toilet paper, a chemical toilet and a three-page set of instructions and reassurances."" Taking considerable pride in his craftsmanship and technical know-how Krist offers his life story as background to ""my brain-child, my perfect and fantastic crime"" in a brisk, unapologetic style. A lifelong observer of his own aberrant mental processes -- he calls it ""my creeping but faulty rationality"" -- he begins with his impoverished, isolated Alaskan childhood (Alaska is a ""mecca of misfits"" and loners), the early random but compulsive thieving, and goes on to hair-raising captures and the dreary incarcerations in various prisons and reform schools. Between criminal episodes there are various sincere attempts to go straight, the certain knowledge that he needs a shrink, a marriage and two children, and an odd variety of jobs -- including a stint at MIT as a cryogenics technician and a happy year as oceanographer at the Institute of Marine Science in Miami. The exceptional intelligence which enabled him to fake it in grad schools as an engineer and scientific whiz finds its fullest expression in the intricate design of the Mackle kidnapping, the later superhuman escape efforts including flight by land and sea, and his wounded animalistic survival in the Florida swamps (where he was finally captured). Suspenseful, sensational and articulate -- and because it's authored by a ""master criminal"" this may ignite on the bestseller lists.

Pub Date: May 22nd, 1972
Publisher: Olympia Press