Book Review: Ingleside: Based on a True Story
Publication Date: Apr 13, 2016
List Price: $19.95
Format: Paperback, 280 pages
Imprint: EJP Publishing
Publisher: EJP Publishing
Parent Company: EJP Publishing
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Book Reviewed by Robert Fleming
As a former veteran newspaper reporter on the crime beat, I can smell a homicide when it’s authentic and this book is bursting at the seams with it. I’ve seen many cases that resemble this one so aptly told by Laura Jackson, a psychiatric nurse-turned-sleuth. Without doing a spoiler alert, she does a very admirable job with the 1988 heinous crime of two tots fatally beaten, wrapped in plastic, and stored in a sealed trunk.
Jackson, a young partner in an investment group in Chicago, was chosen to collect back rents in several properties. She admits she only met the murderous couple, Andre and Shelia Jones, once before the killing. The Joneses had been living in the building for over a year without paying rent. Jackson wondered where were the families of the couple or the neighbors and if they had noticed anything strange in the apartment.
“I was driven to learn more about Andre and Shelia,” writes Jackson. “…what they thought, what they felt, and what motivated them. I wasn’t interested in judging them.”
Like the late African-American politician Adam Clayton Powell once said: “Poverty can twist the soul.” Bringing a collection of case histories, observations, and client interactions, Jackson makes the Jones case more compelling and authentic. She also examines the central issues of lack and psychological dehumanization of poverty in this double murder. “I believe real poverty has nothing to do with money and means,” Jackson explains. “I believe real poverty is the worst condition a human can have because the essence of real poverty is the absence of the human spirit, self-esteem, and caring attachments.”
With her background in all things psychological, Jackson concludes Andre and Shelia were suffering from antisocial personality disorder, “emotional icebergs, cold-blooded but extremely good actors who can play the pretend-to-care game when needed.” The killers, she notes. were also narcissists, “entitled, believing that they were center of their own universe.” Yet, Jackson questions whether the Jones pair suffered “a combination of these pathological personality disorders or pure evil.”
Other highlights are a series of interviews with the husband, Andre, who was serving life at Stateside Prison. Jackson knows Andre is a controlling, manipulative man, touting he has become a paralegal and have a degree in ministry. He talks about meeting Shelia, “a friend of a friend,” but he realizes when she births a baby girl, that the infant’s father is the same man who sired Luther and Jessica, his stepchildren.
The transcripts of the case and trial are jaw-dropping and grisly. Shelia, who took part in the slaying, turned herself into the law, getting a 60-year sentence. However, the old sentence was vacated and replaced with a 20-year term. She was released in 2012.
Using the literary skill of homicide maven Edna Buchanan and Ann Rule, the Queen of crime, Jackson has fashioned a sampler of true larceny fortified with solid psychological know-how. It’s a powerful work full of stunning surprises.