The Sex Slave Murders by R. Barri Flowers

The Sex Slave Murders: The Horrifying True Story of America's First Husband-and-Wife Serial Killers - R. Barri Flowers

There must be something twisted in me because I can’t seem to resist reading these true life accounts of couples who go on killing sprees, even though they always leave me feeling drained, depressed and slightly sick to my stomach. I guess it’s my nosiness. I always wonder how someone is able to commit such awful crimes against another human for the simple thrill of it. And when there are two of them working together? It just seems so much worse. How did they meet and how did it get so out of control? These questions plague me even though know there is no sane answer. Some people are just demented and not fit to be roaming around in society. I just hope one never moves next door to me.

This account of the murder spree of Gerald Gallegos and his wife Charlene Williams, though horrible and unfathomable, wasn’t nearly as detailed or atrocious as the Fred and Rose story (thank the goddess because those two were Vile). Author R. Barri Flowers states the facts, adding in some obvious dialogue embellishments to make the story flow but he doesn’t linger on the gruesome details. Gerald was a sick perv of the highest order who could only get off by taking women (some very young women) by force. To make her man happy and avoid a beating; Charlene lured many innocent victims, one as young as thirteen, into the hands of Gerald who raped them, murdered them and tossed them away like so much trash. The murders are told mainly from Charlene’s POV as she drove the van and looked the other way while Gerald was taking care of his “sex slaves”. I am thankful I didn’t have to witness all of this through Gerald’s sickening point of view.

This audiobook is read by Barbara Whitesides who reads the facts of the case with a strong, detached, news reporter voice that worked well but when she is reading Gerald’s parts she drops the detachment and puts on a gruff, extremely off-putting voice that hurt my ears because it felt too forced. I’m not afraid to admit that it scared me at times and made me jump out of my skin more than once. This audio is not for the faint of heart.

Flowers gives some backstory about Gerald, who was seemingly doomed for a prison cell from the start and Charlene who was a pretty, smart young woman with a wild streak and a love of sex, drugs and dysfunctional relationships. She and Gerald together were a toxic mix of co-dependence and twisted loyalty that I will never be able to wrap my head around. The account bounces back and forth between the prosecutor’s case and the murder spree. It can be a little jarring if you’re not listening closely but there’s nothing a quick rewind won’t clear up.

These two are depraved and in the end there is no excuse that I’m buying for Charlene’s participation in the whole thing. She was weak and pathetic and gives all women a bad name. Lots of reviews say this book was dry and boring but I do not agree. It contains a lot of facts and details of the trial but the author did a more than decent job of bringing the people to life. Though I questioned some of the authenticity of Charlene and the victim’s thoughts I can see why the author felt the need to put words in their mouths to better get the story across. It makes sense even though it never feels quite genuine.

This was a disturbing listen that may leave you feeling angry and upset for the victims and their families. I recommend it for true crime fans and the morbid among us.

*I received this audio from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.