THE UNMASKING by Kevin Flynn

THE UNMASKING

Married to a Rapist

KIRKUS REVIEW

 Sluggish, standard-model true-crime account of a multiple rapist who concealed his crimes for seven years while married and involved in a fundamentalist church. When Eddie Wyatt was five, in 1956, his drinking and gambling father walked out the door for good. At age 11, Wyatt first entered Gatesville Reform School and began to live among the killings, dope dealings, and guard beatings that plagued the Texas prison system. In and out of jail for the next 12 years, he suddenly ``found Jesus'' while perusing a religious tract in his cell. Given his freedom at age 23, Wyatt was taken in by the Assembly of God Church, an insular Pentecostal sect that tithed and prohibited dancing, movies, alcohol, etc. Wyatt was considered a great prospect and took eagerly to religious counseling. Within the year, he married Rhonda Jean Hunter, a girl raised in the church and so sheltered that, at 16, she visited a farm and begged for an explanation when she saw a rooster mount a hen. Not long after the wedding, Wyatt joined the Navy and eventually drew permanent shore duty. Rocky Mountain News reporter Flynn (coauthor, The Silent Brotherhood, 1989) devotes the bulk of his narrative to detailing his subject's activities during this period, precisely depicting Wyatt's many assaults on women. Interestingly, the rapist, convinced he had no control over his impulses, took no relief from his rapes but, rather, was constantly depressed. When finally caught, Wyatt had committed numerous assaults, but he was tried only on the most airtight case. ``The devil made me do it'' was his defense, but he soon plea-bargained and, in 1982, was sentenced to 30 years in prison. Flynn leaves undeveloped an interesting angle by giving short shrift to Judy Hayes--the first-ever woman detective in Kingsville, Texas--who contributed essential insights toward nailing Wyatt. Moreover, he leaves us to wonder whether the rapist ever got treatment or achieved self-insight. Overall, then, a torpid chronicle.

Pub Date: March 29th, 1993
ISBN: 0-02-910315-0
Page count: 280pp
Publisher: Free Press
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1st, 1993