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A Tangled Web: A Cyberstalker, a Deadly Obsession, and the Twisting Path to Justice

Leslie Rule

ISBN 9780806539973
Publish Date 4/28/2020
Format Hardcover
Categories True Crime, Citadel
List Price: $26.00

Other Editions

Upcoming April 28, 2020

In the tradition of her acclaimed mother, Ann Rule, author of The Stranger Beside Me, bestselling author Leslie Rule delivers a riveting true story for our time—as she exposes the years-long trail of a sadistic sociopath, identity thief, and killer at the dark heart of a real-life fatal attraction . . .

It was a bleak November in 2012 when Cari Lea Farver vanished from Omaha, Nebraska. Cari, thirty-seven, was a devoted mother, reliable employee, and loyal friend—not the type to shirk responsibilities, abandon her son, and run off on an adventure while her dying father took his last breaths. Yet, the many texts from her phone indicated she had done just that.

It appeared that Cari had dumped her new boyfriend, quit her job, and relinquished custody of her son to her mother—all by text. While Cari’s boyfriend, Dave Kroupa, and her supervisor were bewildered by her abrupt disappearance, they accepted the texts at face value. Her mother, Nancy Raney, however, was alarmed and reported Cari missing. Police were skeptical of her claims that a cyber impostor had commandeered her daughter’s phone and online identity.

While Nancy was afraid for Cari, Dave Kroupa was growing afraid of her, for he believed Cari was stalking him. Never seen or heard, the stalker was aware of his every move and seemed obsessed by his casual girlfriend, Shanna “Liz” Golyar, often calling her “a fat whore” in the twelve thousand emails and texts he received in a disturbing three-year deluge.

How did the stalker know Dave’s phone numbers immediately after he changed them, the names of his lady friends, even what he wore as he watched TV? He and Liz reported death threats, vandalism, and burglaries, but the stalker remained at large. The threats were vicious, vile and often obscene, sent mostly via text and always in Cari’s name. There was some truth in the messages, but all of them contained one big lie. The culprit was not Cari -- but had killed and planned to kill again.

With mesmerizing detail and compelling narrative skill, Leslie Rule tracks every step of the heart-pounding path to long-awaited justice—from a sociopath’s twisted past to the deadly deception and the high-tech forensics that condemned the killer to prison, where the tangled web of manipulations still draws trusting souls into danger.

Praise for A Tangled Web

"We expect a tangled tale to have an exquisite twist, and Leslie Rule brings it home. In the tradition of her mother, true crime author Ann Rule, she presents a gripping case of fatal obsession and stolen identity so bizarre it's hard to believe it's true. Rule's first true crime book hits the mark." —Katherine Ramsland, author of Confession of a Serial Killer: The Untold Story of Dennis Rader the BTK Killer

"The murder was straightforward, but the cover-up was as intricate as the impressive artistry of a garden spider.  In A Tangled Web, Leslie Rule artfully weaves the strands of a monstrous net that ultimately ensnared its evil perpetrator.  A fascinating, incredible read." —Diane Fanning, Edgar finalist and author of 15 true crime books

"Following in her famous mother’s footsteps, Leslie Rule deftly explores the strange case of a bizarre love triangle, a cyberstalking imposter, and a terrifying fatal attraction that leads to a deadly obsession."  —Kathryn Casey, bestselling author of In Plain Sight

An Excerpt from A Tangled Web

I quit my job. I’m moving to Kansas.

Nancy Raney stared at the text message and blinked. It sounded so unlike her daughter. Cari Farver, 37, was devoted to her son, Maxwell, and so close to her mother that they rarely went a day without talking to each other. Now, suddenly, in the middle of Omaha’s freezing November in 2012, the always-thoughtful Cari was refusing to answer her phone, instead sending text messages—which were uncharacteristically cold and riddled with grammar and spelling errors.

Nancy was not the only person baffled by text messages. Cari had been a dependable employee at the West Corporation, where she worked as a computer programmer. Her supervisor was taken aback when Cari abruptly quit by text. While it was odd that Cari gave no notice, it was more peculiar that she named a replacement, advising the manager to expect the new employee soon.

A third person was also confused by Cari Farver’s texts. Auto mechanic Dave Kroupa, 44, had been dating her for a couple of weeks. Cari had spent the night at Dave’s apartment on November 12th. She seemed to be in a good mood the next morning when he left for work, and he was looking forward to seeing her again. He was caught off guard when she texted him at work midmorning. We need to move in together.

I’m not interested, Dave texted back. We’ve known each other two weeks. It’s not gonna happen.

The next text shook him: Fine. I don’t want to ever see you again. I hate you.

It was the first of over twelve thousand outrageous texts and emails that would overwhelm him over the next four years. He would never again see or speak to Cari, but she became ever-present in his life. Only a woman scorned could have written the venomous words directed at him . . .

About Leslie Rule:

Leslie Rule is a Seattle area artist, photographer and bestselling author of two suspense novels, five nonfiction books, and dozens of articles in national magazines, including Reader’s Digest. At seventeen, she began to assist her mother, author Ann Rule, as research assistant and trial photographer. Many of Leslie’s courtroom photos appear in her mother’s books. Visit Leslie’s website:

Photo Credit: Glenn Scott

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