Jade’s Book Review: No Room For Doubt by Angela Dove


(Guest post by my wife Jade)

Some time in the early morning hours of March 25, 1988, 32-year-old Debi Whitlock was murdered in her own home, while her 3-year-old daughter slept in another room. As is most often in cases like this, the prime suspect was her husband Harold. It would take over nine years of persistence from her mother, Jacque before the case was solved.

“No Room For Doubt” is written by Harold Whitlock’s now adult daughter, Angela Dove. Angela was the last person to see Debi alive. I cannot begin to imagine how painful it was for her to write this book. She manages to tell the story with compassion and without any sensationalism. She chronicles Jacque’s efforts to get Debi’s story in the news in the hopes of finding out who the killer was. With dogged determination on Jacque’s part, the case was finally solved.

Angela also tells the story of the downward spiral her father wound up in after his wife’s murder. Both Debi and Harold were seeing other people at the time of her murder. Unbeknownst to Harold, Debi had let her life insurance policy lapse and had filed divorce papers. There was much speculation about Harold killing his wife, either for the insurance money or because of her affair. Angela tells their story in a way that is impartial to both her father and her step-mother. She also shows unconditional love for Debi and Harold’s daughter Jessica.

If you are a fan of true crime, this book is not to be missed. It is totally void of the sensationalism and tackiness that is so often found in true crime novels these days. It is told from the heart, not just from police files, again a rarity these days. If you’re looking for gory details or gruesome crime scene photos, look elsewhere. You won’t find them here. You will only find a story told as only a family member could tell it.

No Room For Doubt


Last week I received an e-mail from author Angela Dove about her new book. The book is about the murder of Angela’s step-mother Debi Whitlock and how Debi’s family took it upon themselves to bring her killer to justice. The funny thing is when I finally responded to Angela’s e-mail I had just finished watching the episode of Personal Justice on Investigation Discovery about Debi’s murder. Anyway without further me rambling here is the press release about Angela’s book…

When California victim’s advocate and talk show host Jacqueline “Jacque” MacDonald asked Angela Dove to write her story, Dove says she was honored, but also somewhat hesitant. The murder at the heart of the story was that of Debi Whitlock, Jacque MacDonald’s adult daughter and the author’s step-mother. “When Debi was killed, it devastated our family,” Dove explains. “And even though Jacque’s story is very inspirational and empowering, I dreaded reliving that tragedy.” Dove was the last person to see Debi alive.

When Debi Whitlock was fatally stabbed in her Modesto, California home in 1988, her family waited for news of an arrest—but that news never came. Jacque MacDonald quickly channeled her grief over her daughter’s loss into a one-woman crusade to find her daughter’s killer. “I have never known anyone who became so determined to win a losing battle, and then won it,” Dove says. It took MacDonald nine years, but eventually her efforts directly resulted in the capture and conviction of her daughter’s killer. Along the way, MacDonald began reaching out to other survivors through her television and radio show, “The Victim’s Voice.” Today MacDonald’s show is broadcast to millions of homes throughout Central California. Her efforts were recognized at the highest levels when she received the 2007 National Crime Victims’ Service Award, and on July 20, 2009, MacDonald will receive the California Governor’s Award for Advocacy.

“In order to talk about how Jacque had supplemented police efforts, I had to look at Debi’s homicide investigation for the first time,” Dove says. “That was when I discovered all the evidence pointing to my father.” Dove’s father, Harold Whitlock, died in 2001, leaving Dove with many unanswered questions. “I had sensed in him so many things: grief, secrecy, even guilt. Now I understand.” Ultimately, Dove decided to include her father’s story in the book as well.

Dove’s true crime memoir, NO ROOM FOR DOUBT: A True Story of the Reverberations of Murder (Berkley/Penguin, March 2009), portrays how one moment of violence effected her family and the community, and continues to change lives. Mystery writer Sue Grafton calls NO ROOM FOR DOUBT “a compelling account of a ‘real-life’ homicide and its aftermath. Angela Dove writes about her step-mother’s brutal murder, meticulously recreating the course of the investigation and its chilling effect on those whose lives were tainted by this crime.” The book is available at bookstores nationwide and on Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0425225887/sr=1-1/qid=1236204310/ref=olp_product_details?ie=UTF8&me=&qid=1236204310&sr=1-1&seller=

Angela Dove is an award-winning columnist whose humor columns won top marks from the North Carolina Press Association in 2006. She taught university literature and writing courses while pursuing her Master’s in English from Western Carolina University and her Ph.D. at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. Dove lives in Waynesville, North Carolina with her husband, Ira, an attorney and child advocate, and their two young children. For more about the book visit http://www.AngelaDove.com

Hopefully I’ll be getting a copy in for review.