Books: Serpents in The Garden State


by Joe McGinniss; Putnam

381 pages; $21.95

Toms River, N.J., is fertile ground for what the publishing business calls a "true crime" book. Such a product should feature a victim and killer, preferably related to each other, who share the same demographics and conventions as the middle-class readership. The appeal of this sort of thing is obvious, as Joe McGinniss proved in Fatal Vision (1983), the best seller about U.S. Army Captain Jeffrey MacDonald, a physician convicted in 1979 of murdering his wife and children.

McGinniss now moves from the heinous to the despicable. Blind Faith is a highly...

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