Rickey Bray rated “Fighting the Devil ***** 5 Stars
After reading the first chapter of this book, you are drawn into this emotional story and come to understand that Jerry Sternadel was not a very nice person. He treated his ex-wife, his wife, his children, his stepchildren, employees, and business associates very badly. But did he deserve to be poisoned with arsenic like a rat? Definitely, not!
Fighting the Devil by Jeannie Walker is about the arsenic murder of her ex-husband Jerry Sternadel, a Texas millionaire. With meticulous detail, the author chronicles the events of a murder that happened about 20 years ago. Her recollection of the details are amazing, to the point that you are almost overwhelmed with information about this case.
I really don’t like to give out spoilers in reviews, but several things in the book will surprise you. One was the actions of the hospital after it was determined that Mr. Sternadel was suffering from acute arsenic poisoning. Wouldn’t they launch an immediate investigation to find the source of the poisoning? As you read the book, the results of the criminal investigation, and, especially, the sentencing phase of the trial will come as a shocker. Do you know what the range of punishment in Texas for first-degree murder is? Another surprise will be who was brought up on criminal charges and who wasn’t, and who did not even attend the murder trial! Some of the interviews after the trial with some of the jurors was also very enlightening – the pressure they were put under to come up with a unanimous verdict, even one they disagreed with in their hearts, so the trial could be over and they could go home.
Although Fighting the Devil is a disturbing story of evil caused by greed, it is also a story of forgiveness. Although treated very badly by her volatile ex-husband, it seems that Jeannie Walker had truly forgiven him of his meanness and made it her personal goal to see that the murder or murders of her children’s father be brought to justice - even after years had passed! Separating this book from ordinary true crime novels, Jeannie Walker, in a stroke of writing genius, also includes omens she senses during these trying times and her battles with demons in her nightmares. Evil demons truly strike us first in our minds, and then the evilness in our minds allows our bodies to do evil things; hence the human quest for some form of spirituality to keep our minds healthy.
I think the author is still determined to bring others involved in the murder of her ex-husband to justice. She seems to be a very focused woman, a driving force in the criminal investigation and the cohesive factor holding her family together during these trying times. With not all suspects brought to justice, from the determination I sense in this book, I’m sure that Jeannie Walker will not stop now in her quest for justice.