An affluent community of high-achievers, the Houston suburb of Clear Lake, Texas, is home to oil company execs and NASA employees. But in the summer of 2003, a life of good fortune came to a violent end for some of its most promising residents. In this gripping true story of betrayal and murder, national bestselling author M. William Phelps, star of the hit TV series Dark Minds, delves into the heart of a baffling mystery to get to the truth of an act so brutal it could not be understood—until now.
The heat was oppressive on July 18, 2003, with the threat of a torrential downpour. Mild gusts were whipping around the yellow police tape that surrounded a well-tended contemporary home. Something so horrific had taken place inside that house, no one, it seemed, could come to terms with just how bad the scene truly was.
What lay beyond the front-door threshold was a shocking sight—the bodies of four young people, viciously slain: eighteen-year-olds Rachael Koloroutis and Tiffany Rowell, along with Marcus Precella and his cousin, Adelbert Sanchez. The social bar at Clear Lake High School was set high, and Rachael and Tiffany had stood at the top, beautiful, intelligent, and beloved. But tragically, their kindness ultimately made them targets—because when a killer came knocking that lazy afternoon, it turned out to be someone they knew all too well...
Seventeen-year-old Christine Paolilla was a shy, awkward girl who endured cruel taunts throughout her youth—until Rachael and Tiffany befriended her. With their guidance, Christine blossomed. It was no wonder it took police three interminable years to discover she was behind the cruel murder of the girls she called her best friends. What had gone so terribly wrong? And how had a teenager managed to elude police for so long?
Drawing on nearly 100 hours of interviews he conducted with scores of sources, and thousands of pages of documentation, Phelps unravels the mystery of this unlikely killer's troubled mind. And as only he can, Phelps delivers a heart-pounding narrative and brilliantly insightful account of parents crazed with grief, puzzled law enforcement, and the soul of a shattered community.