Review

Heart Full of Lies: A True Story of Desire and Death

by Ann Rule



Throughout the years since Ann Rule's first blockbuster, THE
STRANGER BESIDE ME, I have been pleased to note that she has not
stooped to cheap sensationalism to sell books. On the contrary,
driven by the desire to tell the stories of some of humankind's
most heartless criminals, she doggedly researches her subject and,
in the end, presents a fair portrait of a killer.

In this particular case, Ms. Rule dances around the subject of
domestic abuse without judging whether it existed here. Liysa
DeWitt Northon claimed she was a victim of constant abuse from her
husband, Chris. His friends and neighbors vehemently declaimed the
idea as absurd. Since he is dead --- at Liysa's hand --- and she
refused interviews with the author, the truth remains Liysa's
secret.

HEART FULL OF LIES chronicles Liysa Northon's marriages, divorces,
and ultimate slaying of her third husband. She always came out of a
marriage financially better than she went into it. Her first and
second husbands quietly acceded to her bullying demands, a tactic
that she found worked well to her advantage. But she ran into a
wall when it came time to get rid of her third husband. Chris could
not face losing contact with Bjorn, the child Liysa cajoled him
into creating with her. His deep love for his son surprised even
him in its ferocity, and his apparent intractability may have been
what cost him his life. Had he given Liysa an easy out, would she
have let him live? We will never know now.

Instead, it seems that this highly intelligent and very capable
woman embarked on a campaign to impugn her husband's reputation
almost from the very start. Claiming that he choked her in a
drunken rage, hit her in a drug-induced haze, and terrorized her at
every turn, she convinced many of her friends that Chris was a
monster and that her once ideal marriage was now a nightmare. In
addition, her insatiable appetite for real estate --- and Chris's
refusal to feed it --- drove her to look for someone else who
would. While she squeezed everything out of Chris that she could,
she was methodically engaged in a plan to get him out of her life.
But she hit a snag. As his ex-wife, she would lose the perks that
came with being a pilot's wife. And she knew, as his widow, that
she would lose nothing. She wanted it all. What she got, in the
end, was prison.

Having been on the fringes firsthand of a murder case that Ann Rule
wrote about, I can attest to her accurate reporting, coupled with a
kindhearted compassion for the victims and the families whose lives
are forever disrupted. HEART FULL OF LIES proves that Ms. Rule is
still capable of writing blockbusters.

Reviewed by Kate Ayers on January 22, 2011

Heart Full of Lies: A True Story of Desire and Death
by Ann Rule

  • Publication Date: September 28, 2004
  • Genres: Nonfiction, True Crime
  • Mass Market Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Pocket
  • ISBN-10: 0743410130
  • ISBN-13: 9780743410137