LOVE ME TO DEATH by Linda Wolfe


A Journalist's Memoir of the Hunt for Her Friend's Killer
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 Wolfe, who has written about men's hostile and violent acts against women in Double Life (1994) and Wasted (1989), now investigates the death of an acquaintance of hers. Jacqui Bernard was a kind-hearted older woman who met a young man one night in 1983 at a Manhattan bar. She befriended him, loaning him cash and her car, until she became suspicious of his motives. Soon, Jacqui was found strangled in her apartment. Police investigators connected her death to Richard Caputo, a good-looking Latino who had a gift for seducing wealthy women and had already confessed to killing one girlfriend in 1971. Caputo--who by his wife's accounts was gentle--seems to have responded to rejection with violence and was extremely jealous. He also seemed to fear female sexuality: Both of the women he had long-term relationships with were virgins when he met them, while the lovers he killed were more sexually active. After confessing to the 1971 murder, Caputo was committed to a hospital for the criminally insane and there he seduced his psychologist, Judith Becker. Caputo told Becker his crime was the result of early abuse and Becker believed him, eventually taking him home with her. When Becker tried to end the relationship, he killed her too and stole her wallet and car keys. He fled and killed several other young women, and in 1983 met up with Bernard. In 1994 he finally turned himself in for the Becker murder. Wolfe does a capable job of tracing Caputo's murders and makes a compelling case that he did kill Bernard (he denies it). But she does not dig much deeper than a short dissection of Caputo's m.o., and meaningful psychological insight is absent. A thin book, short on analysis and detail, and, as the subtitle indicates, more about Wolfe's investigation itself than Caputo's crimes. (8 pages b&w photos, not seen)

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 1998
ISBN: 0-671-51720-1
Page count: 272pp
Publisher: Pocket
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1st, 1997


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