Fatal Vows
Joseph Hosey
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Buy *Fatal Vows: The Tragic Wives of Sergeant Drew Peterson* by Joseph Hosey online

Fatal Vows: The Tragic Wives of Sergeant Drew Peterson
Joseph Hosey
Phoenix Books
320 pages
September 2008
rated 4 of 5 possible stars

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Joe Hosey is a reporter for the Chicago Herald News and was in place to be the first to announce the disappearance of Stacy Peterson - and, subsequently, to gather the facts in the autopsy of Drew Peterson's third wife, Kathleen Savio. An autopsy revealed the probability that the disappearance of one wife and the homicide of a previous one were something more than mere coincidence. Drew Peterson, a hardboiled cop and known brutalizer of the women in his life, is the central character in this book.

Hosey was on the scene throughout the daily breaking events surrounding the missing Stacy, who vanished without a trace in October 2007. Her husband's story is that she was seeing another man, and/or that she was depressed over the death of her sister, and/or that she was taking mega-doses of mood-altering meds, and/or that she was doing what her mother did and walking out on her family. Drew told her two children that she was on vacation. Drew is still considered the prime suspect in Stacy's mysterious walkout and now has the specter of a bathtub homicide hanging over his head.

Hosey shares with us the story of Tom Morphey, Peterson's confused and cowed stepbrother, a man with much to lose in encounters with the law. Morphey has a memory of helping Peterson carry a heavy blue container out of his home the night Stacey allegedly disappeared, and of Peterson shoving a lot of money into his hands after the work was done. He's afraid he's complicit in having gotten rid of her body. But Morphey is a drug abuser, and Peterson's phalanx of defense attorneys won't let him take a lie detector test to answer questions about the blue container.

One of the central chapters in Hosey's book is a neatly researched piece of journalism concerning other missing women, moving outward from women who have gone missing in Peterson's home base of Illinois. Hosey postulates that these stories, which were not only in the news but would have been well known to a law enforcement officer like Peterson, were like a how-to guide to getting rid of unwanted females. In fact, one of Peterson's earlier wives was told by Peterson that "he knew he could kill her and make it look like an accident." The women in Drew's life could be sure of one thing - the law would not be on their side. He could threaten and batter with impunity.

Stacy Peterson was a flirtatious teen when the then-married Drew began to court her. He was thirty years her senior. During the course of their rocky relationship she cajoled him into letting her sculpt and enhance her body with lasic surgery, hair removal, and plastic surgeries - breast enhancements and a dangerous tummy tuck, to make her look like a top-heavy, wasp-waisted parody of womanhood. Drew "indulged her." His adolescent fourth wife had two children with Drew and took on the fulltime care of two of his kids by his previous marriage - a huge burden for a teen bride. Reports of their fights were rife, and that she would have walked out of the mutually destructive relationship with a domineering older man is certainly plausible. Less so is that she would have abandoned her children. Her friends and her sister said she was planning to move out and take her children; they told Hosey that Stacy was carefully planning a separation, not plotting a disappearance.

The truth may never be known. But just maybe Stacy will magically reappear, or maybe the blue container will be found. Whatever happened to Stacy, Hosey makes it clear that Drew Peterson is not a very appropriate marriage prospect. While he has never been charged in the homicide death of Kathleen or the disappearance of Stacy, it seems that the lingering shadow of suspicion will follow him like a dark cloud, despite the broad wall of defense he has built up.

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at www.curledup.com. Barbara Bamberger Scott, 2008

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