printed copy

Beautifully Cruel

M. William Phelps

ISBN 9780786037285
Publish Date 11/28/2017
Format Paperback
Categories True Crime, Pinnacle

A week or so after their meeting, Trent emailed Ben. He included an attachment with the email. It was a photo. Ben was getting ready to head home for the night. It was Friday. After reading the brief email, Ben opened the attachment.

Disturbing couldn’t really describe what Ben was staring at. The back of a man’s head, bloodied, obviously riddled with bullet wounds. It shocked Ben. The graphic nature of the photos was jarring to a guy who had just stepped into office. Ben had never seen anything like it.

“She claims she did this under [stressful] circumstances—think about that this weekend,” Trent wrote. She—Tracey Roberts—was the shooter. The victim (alleged intruder) was Dustin Wehde, a twenty-year-old so-called “special needs” kid, who had been shot nine times by a woman who lived on the other side of town from where Dustin lived with his mother and father and siblings. So much had happened since Dustin was killed. If this case had been a murder, why hadn’t it been prosecuted as such inside the past decade?

Ben sat back in his chair. Took a deep breath.

What is Trent not telling me?

He stared at the photos.

What am I missing here?


“Phelps is a true-crime veteran.” —New York Post

“Phelps is the Harlan Coben of real-life thrillers.” —Allison Brennan

Iowa housewife Tracey Pittman Roberts seemed to have it all: natural beauty, three loving children, and a fairy tale second marriage to a wealthy businessman. But beneath the happy façade was a woman who used lies, manipulation, sex, ugly allegations, blackmail—and even murder—to serve her own selfish ends.

On December 13, 2001, police rushed to Tracey’s home after a shooting left her vulnerable young neighbor dead. Tracey claimed it was an act of self-defense. Nine gunshot wounds—and a decades-long trail of extortion, fabrication, fraud, and intimidation—said otherwise. Ten years after the crime, Tracey’s case finally went to trial in an explosive courtroom showdown. In a searing exploration of the criminal mind, bestselling investigative journalist M. William Phelps traces the saga of a psychopath who hid in plain sight—until her wicked ways caught up with her.

“Phelps dares to tread where few others will: into the mind of a killer.” —TV Rage

“Phelps is the king of true crime.” --Lynda Hirsch, Creators Syndicate columnist

“One of our most engaging crime journalists.” —Dr. Katherine Ramsland

“Phelps treads dangerous ground like an Amazon jungle guide—fearless, compassionate, insightful.” —Geoff Fitzpatrick, Executive Producer of Dark Minds

“Anything by Phelps is an eye-opening experience.” —Suspense Magazine

About M. William Phelps:

Serial killer expert, lecturer and acclaimed investigative journalist M. William Phelps is the New York Times bestselling and award-winning author of 26 nonfiction books and a serial killer thriller, The Dead Soul.

Winner of 2008 New England Book Festival Award for I’ll Be Watching You, and the Excellence in Journalism award from the Society of Professional Journalists for his Connecticut Magazine article “Blonde, Blue-eyed & Gone,” Phelps has appeared on CBS’s “Early Show,” The Discovery Channel, ABC’s “Good Morning America,” NBC’s “Today Show,” “The View,” TLC, BIO, History Channel, Geraldo At Large, Oxygen’s “Snapped,” “Killer Couples,” and “Captured,” USA Radio Network, Catholic Radio, ABC News Radio and Radio America, which calls him “the nation’s leading authority on the mind of the female murderer.”

He’s written for the Providence Journal, Hartford Courant, Connecticut Magazine, and the New London Day. Profiled in such noted publications as Writer's Digest, NY Daily News, Newsday, Albany Times-Union, Hartford Courant, and NY Post, Phelps has also consulted for the Showtime cable television series Dexter. He lives in a small Connecticut farming community and can be reached at his author Website, www.mwilliamphelps.com.

Look for Phelps’s television series on Investigation Discovery, “Dark Minds,” focusing on his travels investigating unsolved serial killer cases—with one remarkable twist: Phelps uses a killer on the inside (in the fashion of Silence of the Lambs) to help him along the way! Check local listings. Also see Phelps on the smash hit Investigation Discovery long-running series “Deadly Women.”


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