In Plain Sight
The Kaufman County Prosecutor Murders
William Morrow, March 27, 2018
Mass Market Paperback
From the publisher: On a cold January morning, the killer executed Assistant District Attorney Mark Hasse in broad daylight. Eight shots fired a block from the Kaufman County Courthouse. Two months later, a massacre. The day before Easter, the couple slept. Bunnies, eggs, a flower centerpiece gracing the table. Death rang their doorbell and filled the air with the rat-a-tat-tat of an assault weapon discharging round after round into their bodies. Eric Williams and his wife, Kim, celebrated the murders with grilled steaks. Their crimes covered front pages around the world, many saying the killer placed a target square on the back of law enforcement. It seemed that Williams’ plan was to exact revenge on all who had wronged him, one at a time. Throughout the Spring of 2013, Williams sowed terror through a small Texas town, and a quest for vengeance turned to deadly obsession. His intention? To keep killing, until someone found a way to stop him.
The book’s Prologue references the murder of an assistant DA, Mark Hasse, in the small city of Kaufman, Texas. The identity of the killer is unknown, although there is speculation that it was the work of the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas, a powerful prison group, as well as a Mexican cartel. Mike McLelland, Mark’s boss and Kaufman County’s DA, believes that the killer is local, and is “somebody bent on revenge.” Meanwhile, one Eric Williams believes that “he has pulled off the perfect murder.” The Prologue ends with these words: “The killing wasn’t over.”
The ensuing tale reads like a fine work of fiction, although it is immediately apparent that that is not the case: This is a true crime story, proven on nearly every page by the quotes from conversations by the author with each of the parties involved, from the killer and his wife [and collaborator], Kim, as well as from the aforementioned Mike McLelland, about whom nothing more will be said for fear of giving anything away. Suffice it to say that a man thought of as a small-town good citizen turns into a vengeful killer. The publisher has called the book an “expertly researched account” of the killings, and truer words were never said. Frequently, while reading this wonderful book, I felt as though I were reading an interesting novel, then almost immediately coming across a photo, or a fascinating quote from one of the main, or even subsidiary, characters, making it plain that this was a fascinating true account of the proceedings. Eric Williams had had his life ruined, his livelihood taken away for $600 worth of computers, especially when one sat on his county desk, “did seem excessive.” But “Eric never admitted the murders.”
A riveting book, and one which is recommended.
Reviewed by Gloria Feit, May 2018.