By Joe Sharkey
while rookie FBI agent Mark Putnam got his first project in 1987, it used to be the fruits of a lifelong dream, if now not the main fascinating place. Pikeville, Kentucky, is excessive in Appalachian coal state, an outpost rife with lawlessness courting again to the Hatfields and McCoys. As a emerging megastar within the bureau, however, Putnam soon was cultivating paid informants and busting drug earrings and financial institution robbers. but if one informant fell in love with him, ardour and responsibility might collide with tragic results.
A coal miner’s daughter, Susan Smith used to be a tender, beautiful, suffering unmarried mom. She used to be additionally a drug person occasionally defined as a con artist, thief, liar. finally, Putnam gave in to Smith’s relentless pursuit. but if he ended the affair, she waged a crusade of vengeance that threatened to break him. whilst ultimately she faced him with a stunning assertion, a violent scuffle ensued, and Putnam, in a burst of out of control rage, fatally strangled her.
although he had every thing essential to escape with murder—a spotless acceptance, a sufferer with a number of enemies, and the safety of the bureau’s impenetrable shield—his moral sense wouldn’t enable it. affected by a yr of guilt and deception, Putnam ultimately led professionals to Smith’s continues to be. this can be the tale of what occurred sooner than, in the course of, and after his startling confession—an account that “should take its position at the darkish shelf of the simplest American actual crime” (Newsday).
Revised and up to date, this e-book additionally contains photographs and a brand new epilogue by way of the author.
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Thanks largely to her skills at managing money, they had had enough saved up to make the down payment on an $89,000 two-story colonial on Honeysuckle Lane, the sole street in a small development called Cedar Creek that had been built within a narrow valley between two mountains at the northern edge of town, accessible across a sway bridge over the Levisa Fork. The house, which had been on the market for over a year, was of “modular” construction; that is, large sections had been trucked in and assembled on site.
When he didn’t, word got around. Money talks, as cops know, but its voice carried particular resonance in eastern Kentucky, where information has long been a commodity. All law enforcement agencies, including the county sheriff’s office that Bert worked for, paid for information, but the FBI had especially deep pockets. Money was readily available for most criminal investigations. All an agent had to do was recruit a potential informant and, once that recruit provided information that proved to be valuable, make a request to the central office to designate that person as a working informant.
We keep going up,” he said disconsolately from the front seat, where he was wedged uncomfortably between the door and a stack of pillows on top of a picnic cooler and some cardboard boxes that claimed the passenger. “Gotta go down eventually,” she replied cheerfully. In a while, they were relieved to see a road sign, CONGESTED AREA, but it only marked the truck pull-off for a coal-mine operation below the blasted rocks and stepped contours of a strip-mined mountain. Heaps of coal chunks clattered noisily on conveyor tracks that crisscrossed down from outcrops high up the ridge.