REVIEW: Lufkin author's book on serial killer shows how much work he put into it

It's been 14 months since a jury convicted Kimberly Saenz in the bleaching deaths of five kidney dialysis patients. Now, a Lufkin author has released what he calls his best work yet, a book about Saenz, the investigation into the deaths and the trial.

For someone who watched the case as a member of the media since it became public in 2008, I've been captivated by this case. Why would a married mother who works as a nurse want to kill the patients she's treating?

John Foxjohn offers an intriguing behind-the-scenes look at any angle he could get ahold of. He goes into detail about the investigation and interviews the detectives who did the investigation, the prosecution team and one member of the defense. He puts all the pieces together for the reader in an organized fashion.

Foxjohn also offers a perspective from the victims and their families, as well as from the jurors who put Saenz in prison for life.

When Foxjohn couldn't get cooperation on an angle, he used open records and quoted from TV and newspaper reports.

The book is a must-read for anyone who followed the Saenz trial, but it's also good for anyone who is interested in the investigation and prosecution of a crime.

Foxjohn makes it clear that lead detective Stephen Abbott and District Attorney Clyde Herrington knew Saenz was a murderer from the beginning, but they played Devil's Advocate from the beginning to prove her guilt.

It's when the trial portion of the book starts that I realized Foxjohn had a clear antagonist. That's Saenz's attorney, Ryan Deaton.

Not only does Foxjohn make Deaton out to be cocky and rude, two characteristics Deaton is probably used to being accused of, but he makes him out to be incompetent. At some points, he makes it appear Deaton isn't knowledgeable about the law or how the court system works.

Foxjohn described Deaton as "that person who was born on third and thought he hit a triple ... He didn't have to scrape or pinch pennies getting there, and the probability of eleven years of night school to obtain his goal likely would've never entered his mind."

However, I've watched Deaton in court for a few years and I know he is competent. An incompetent attorney isn't hired by others to lose cases, and Deaton doesn't lose often. I think I would've found Foxjohn's criticisms of Deaton easier to believe if he also gave credit where it was due.

But that's my only criticism of the book, which is definitely a page-turner and gave me new insight into the crime and court system.

Foxjohn does his best to answer for Saenz's motive, which wasn't presented in court. But he has his own intriguing theory. But I won't spoil it for you.

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