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Publisher's Summary

Fatal Vision is the electrifying true story of Dr. Jeffrey MacDonald, the handsome, Princeton-educated physician convicted of savagely slaying his young pregnant wife and two small children, murders he vehemently denies committing.

Best-selling author Joe McGinniss chronicles every aspect of this horrifying and intricate crime and probes the life and psyche of the magnetic, all-American Jeffrey MacDonald, a golden boy who seemed destined to have it all. The result is a penetration to the heart of darkness that enshrouded one of the most complex criminal cases ever to capture the attention of the American public. It is a haunting, stunningly suspenseful work that no listener will be able to forget. 

©2012 Joe McGinniss (P)2018 Simon & Schuster

What listeners say about Fatal Vision

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Awesome read!

Prior to Fatal Vision, I had not heard of this case. I listened to the book while hiking and was blown away by the volume of material the author had to draw on. Despite knowing where the story was headed the author leaves the best of last and helps the reader make sense of this horrific crime. McGinniss ties up so many of the unanswered questions. Such an interesting read / listen with such access to the murderer, his lawyers, family, friends, colleagues and enemies along the way gave such life to the story. As a voracious consumer of true crime, this is one of the best books I have read.

2 people found this helpful

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makes me sleepy

I couldn’t stand listening to this during the day because the narrator is so monotone. That being said, I listen to it to fall asleep because the story is interesting and the narrators voice makes me sleepy. The story is good, it just depends if you like the narrator I suppose. I would recommend listening to the preview clip first.

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Thornton Mellon
  • 2018-07-12

Forget the Abridged Version of Any Book

I've listened to the version done with Christopher Reeve several times while traveling. it's abridged to almost 3 hours. I then purchased the unabridged version. I can only say that a true crime novel needs never to be abridged. the amount of details within the first two hours of this book was astonishing. It puts a whole new light compared to the abridged version. You will not be disappointed and you will come back with a different perspective. With that being said this is a sad, horrible story of deceit, ego, innocence and the death of the innocent. This version tells the whole story.

17 people found this helpful

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  • Surprised
  • 2018-04-19

Well Written & Great Details!

It's a tragedy that this was a real case but it's a great read. The story is not slow at all. This case was a rollercoaster ride and the author managed to be detailed while getting to the point. I loved it and would totally read it again.

10 people found this helpful

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  • Robert
  • 2018-05-13

Superb

The best True Crime novel outside of Jack Olsen. I will immediately check for anything else by this author.

9 people found this helpful

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  • norma
  • 2018-08-11

Great to the last sentence.

Excellent insight into Jeff's real life. Not just the life and personality he wanted people to see, but the real person. I felt like I lived next door to these people. They weren't just headlines and a tv movie. This book is as close to a real life look into a the true and actual account of what really happened. For 27 hours there was never a dull or uninteresting moment. I had seen the movie, saw interviews on tv and other documentation about the killings. But this book is so powerful and real, you can see and hear the events as they unfold.

5 people found this helpful

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  • andrew
  • 2019-05-15

Boring Narrator

I read this book many moons ago and thought I'd download it to listen while driving. I was at a real risk of falling asleep as the narrator is so dry.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Elaine
  • 2019-11-30

Narcissistic psychopath

I read the book back in the 1980s when the book first came out and was from then on interested in true crime stories. McGinnis does an excellent job of providing both sides of the story but in the end there’s only one person that knows what happened on February 17, 1970 -Jeffrey MacDonald- and he will never admit to murdering his five months pregnant wife and two very young daughters. The psychiatric evaluations, the family and friends who told such wonderful stories about the all American boy, the trials, and Jeffrey MacDonald talking about himself incessantly while never seeming to truly mourn the deaths by murder of his wife and children, all contributed to my conclusion that MacDonald was not what he presented himself to be and that he’s a killer. Read it, or listen to it on audible as I did, you won’t regret it. Ranks up there with Helter Skelter, In Cold Blood, The Onion Field, and The Stranger Beside Me as one of the best true crime books.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 2018-11-11

Intense

The author did a wonderful job. He brought this story to life. I remember parts of the story, but it was nice to know that the husband was caught at the end. He was very cunning and devious, why didn't he just get a divorce? He made sure he could live the single life without any baggage. Hooray for the father in law.

2 people found this helpful

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  • BVerité
  • 2020-12-08

A classic that lives and breathes in 2020

This is my second time listening to Fatal Vision. I don’t remember how I felt first time through, but this book is outstanding. One of the very best True Crime books ever written. Hands down. It’s incredibly well told and fascinating. This writer got to know the defendant extremely well while writing, and he wanted to find the defendant innocent, but the evidence did it’s job and proved he was completely guilty. It tells so much about the defendant that McDonald speaks for himself. He has so many insane thought processes about women, their looks, comparing them to each other, and finally writing a contract to have “two Boys” with his fiancée. In other words, McDonald (defendant) didn’t want the girls in his life. He didn’t know how to behave. He states multiple times that “He’s glad they are gone”. It was a relief to him. Imagine that??! He is a narcissistic psycho with feminine attributes and major issues with his Masculinity. The story about defendant and and young boy going on vacation together with the mother is terrifying. It shows just how weird and creepy he is. And how he would discipline his own boys, if he had them. I pleased with the ending. And very interested in the relationship btw Defendant and author.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Douglas
  • 2019-07-30

Very long and detailed

Despite the length and deep level of details- I found this story compelling. Lot's of opportunities to go from "no way he did it" to "of course it was him". The delivery was mostly factual and balanced. Classic study of a bizarre situation.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Tamika Schubring
  • 2019-01-25

Great book, not great narrator

I first read this book a few years ago when we lived in Corregidor Courts on Ft. Bragg, and am listening to it again now. The book is incredibly well written, giving very detailed information and insight. I am not a fan of the narrator (Fred Sanders), his reading is extremely flat and lacks any type of personality. He's just one step above sounding like a computer generated reading voice. This may have been read way intentionally, but is not my cup of tea.

1 person found this helpful