Review: Hunting Charles Manson: The Quest for Justice in the Days of Helter Skelter by Lis Wiehl & Caitlin Rother

Print Length: 336 pages
Publisher: Thomas Nelson (June 5, 2018)

From In the late summer of 1969, the nation was transfixed by a series of gruesome murders in the hills of Los Angeles. Newspapers and television programs detailed the brutal slayings of a beautiful actress--twenty six years old and eight months pregnant with her first child--as well as a hair stylist, an heiress, a businessman, and other victims. The City of Angels was plunged into a nightmare of fear and dread. In the weeks and months that followed, law enforcement faced intense pressure to solve crimes that seemed to have no connection.

Finally, after months of dead-ends, false leads, and near-misses, Charles Manson and members of his "family" were arrested. The bewildering trials that followed once again captured the nation and forever secured Manson as a byword for the evil that men do.

Drawing upon deep archival research and exclusive personal interviews--including unique access to Manson Family parole hearings--former federal prosecutor and Fox News legal analyst Lis Wiehl has written a propulsive, page-turning historical thriller of the crimes and manhunt that mesmerized the nation. And in the process, she reveals how the social and political context that gave rise to Manson is eerily similar to our own.


My Rating: 4 stars out of 5

I have been fascinated by the Manson family since in first read Helter Skelter over fifteen years ago. It is a classic study in how if just one thing had gone differently, the entire thing could have been blown open long before it did. It is also nothing short of incredible how this one man was able to warp the minds of so many young people to the point they would murder for him. 

When it comes to this version of events, I found the timeline to be laid out in a way that may be a bit confusing to anyone who is reading about these crimes for the first time. For example, the authors detailed the crimes before they detailed Manson's early years. I would have thought it would be more helpful to discuss the man himself before delving into all that he was accused of. 

I also found it enlightening how close law enforcement came to actually capturing them, had they only been a bit more forthcoming with one another. The intriguing counter arguments explored in this book were also something that I had not known about before, and therefore had not considered (for example, I did not know that two of the people murdered alongside Sharon Tate had been well known to the drug scene). 

Overall, I believe this story presents a well-rounded, and deeply research account of events (not only including the murder and trial, but also the subsequent parole hearings as well). This is a great read for anyone who is interested in not only the Manson murders, but also in true crime novels. 

DISCLAIMER: I received a complimentary copy of this novel in exchange for my honest review. This has not affected my review in any way. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are 100% my own.


                         Hunting Charles Manson is available from

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