THE ONLY LIVING WITNESS by Stephen G. & Hugh Aynesworth Michaud
Kirkus Star

THE ONLY LIVING WITNESS

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Another book on convicted killer Theodore Robert Bundy, thought by authorities to be responsible for murdering more than 20 young women in five states, but with a new and unusual hook: Bundy's own interview ""speculations"" on the crimes move-by-move, and on the mind of the person who committed them. Not a confession, then (Bundy has never admitted any of the killings), but as close as we are likely to get. A college grad, former law student, and Young Republican functionary, Bandy drew publicity because he didn't fit the stereotype of the mass murderer. Michaud and Aynesworth stress, however, that the real Ted Bandy was not the media's all-American boy, but a ""faintly wormy psychopath"" who cunningly hid behind a mask of sanity--""an emotionally twisted preadolescent contained in the body of a man."" In his ""speculations,"" Bundy says the killer had an ""entity"" inside him incapable of control: ""He received no pleasure from harming or causing pain to the person attacked. . . what really fascinated him was the hunt."" That hunt, carefully charted by Michaud and Aynesworth, began in Washington in early 1974, continued through Utah and Colorado the following year, and then (after a kidnapping conviction and two prison escapes) reached its conclusion in Florida in 1978 with a series of attacks including the well-publicized Chi Omega sorority house bludgeonings at Florida State University. It's hard to keep up a normal-American-boy front when the key physical evidence against you is your bite marks on the victim's corpse, and Bundy drew a death sentence for his night at Chi O. Bandy now claims to have transcended all of it: "". . . the pressures on me have actually permitted me to enter a period of growth. . . . I'm in the enviable position of not having to deal with guilt."" One troubling fact highlighted here is that policework never really ""solved"" most of the crimes attributed to Bundy; several times he wound up in custody simply because he had virtually engineered his own arrest. Creepiest is Bundy's continuing appeal to trial groupies, including a woman he'd known years before who wrote him letters in prison (""Darling Bunnykins""), ultimately married him, and now insists there is no ""irrefutable physical evidence"" of his guilt. She feels proof of his innocence exists, if only it can be found. Bundy's ""speculations"" suggest otherwise. All in all: very solid reporting--and easily the most persuasive of the Bundy books.

Pub Date: Feb. 18th, 1982
Publisher: Linden/Simon & Schuster