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BLIND FAITH by Joe McGinniss Kirkus Star

BLIND FAITH

By Joe McGinniss

Pub Date: Jan. 17th, 1988
ISBN: 0517061643
Publisher: Putnam

A con brio account of a real-life Double Indemnity murder: a philandering, debtdriven insurance man has his beautiful wife executed for the promise of a cool million and a half in insurance money. On September 7, 1984, Rob and Maria Marshall, an attractive, seemingly happy couple from the shopping-mall-bland "urb" of Toms River, N.J., were driving home from a visit to Atlantic City when Rob swerved the car into a dark picnic area--allegedly to check a soft tire. Minutes later, beautiful Maria was shot dead on the front seat. Rob told local cops that he heard a car pull in behind them, and that he was knocked unconscious and robbed as he knelt by the rear tire. The cops didn't buy it; and even Chris, oldest of Rob's three teen-age sons, instantly suspected his dad. Rob considered himself a pillar of Toms River society, but that cold, consumption-mad society soon spurned him. After all, it turned out that Rob had been planning to dump his wonderfill wife for local sex-bomb Felice; that he was massively in debt; and that he had insured his wife's life for one-and-a-half million. Detectives tracked down New Orleans lowlife Ferlin L'Heureux, who testified that Rob paid him to kill his wife--a task actually accomplished by another mean old southern boy. Kevin Kelly, the tough, idealistic prosecutor, concentrated on nailing Rob. During the trial, as one self-serving lie followed another, Rob stopped being a real human being even to his sons--he became just a bagful of brand-names, soulless and brittle. Found guilty, he now spends his time on New Jersey's Death Row. In a switch from the assiduous, morally ambivalent Fatal Vision (1987), McGinniss here offers a streamlined cautionary tale--airing out his contempt for Toms River's slavish materialism and portraying Rob Marshall not as a monstrous exception but merely as an extreme manifestation of that avarice. A lively true-crimer, then, with a touch of moral fire--and another likely hit for McGinniss.