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by Robert Scott
Pinnacle True Crime / Kensington, December 2002
287 pages
ISBN: 0786014954

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

I did not like this book. It's about child molestation and murder, with lots of violence. I have minimal problem with the subject matter; I don't like the way it is presented here.

Thomas Soria Sr and Thomas Soria Jr (T.J.) are arrested for the rape and murder of 9-year-old Krystal Steadman. There is basically no doubt that the two colluded on the crime. There is some doubt as to the actual extent of T.J.'s involvement. This is never resolved, and probably makes no difference in the grand scheme of things.

Thomas Soria Sr will never win an award for "Father of the Year". He starts sexually abusing T.J. as early as 4 or 5 years old, and this abuse continues throughout T.J.'s life. Part of the abuse consists of having T.J. bring him young girls to molest, including girls with whom T.J. is having (or trying to have) a boyfriend-girlfriend relationship. He involves T.J. in a sexual relationship with T.J.'s step-mother. T.J. has been convinced that his father is the only person who really cares for T.J., and T.J. will do just about anything his father asks him to do. Including disposing of Krystal Steadman's body after Thomas Soria Sr is finished with her.

The author attempts to explain Thomas Soria Sr's perversions by showing us the rest of his family, how he grew up, the influences on his psyche. The biggest influence was probably find his mother, Janey (Soria) Mozinga after she was raped, tortured and murdered by his step-brother Ronny Mozinga.

Mr. Scott spends about 25% of the book on Ronny Mozinga, his cousin Douglas Mozinga, and their criminal activities. Douglas Mozinga took a semi-automatic rifle to the Mother Lode Bar after he'd had a minor altercation there, and shot just about everyone in the bar. While it is certainly possible that the publicity associated with the Mozinga's was not good for Thomas Soria's self-esteem, I found it difficult to believe that it was a factor in his sexual proclivities. The author doesn't agree:

"But what form Thomas Soria's mental torment would take went beyond the realm of imagination. It led him down dark and twisted corridors that only a gifted psychologist could unravel. Instead of rejecting everything Ronny Mozingo stood for and had done, Thomas Soria would emulate him. He would take his stepbrother's sick and depraved nature and ratchet it up a notch to such unspeakable deeds that they would defy description. In a horrible and twisted fate, Thomas Soria would become the mirror image of the stepbrother he so despised."

There is also considerable time spent on T.J.'s life with his father, and on the details of the murder of Krystal Steadman. The investigation is covered, and the trials of both T.J. and his father. Fifty pages is spent on an interview between T.J. and FBI agent Jeff Rinek. This interview was "not only to elicit clues to the Krystal Steadman crime but to delve deeply into T.J. Soria's entire life." And it does, in great detail. I found this section to be unpleasant reading, not just because we learn a lot more about the details of T.J.'s sexual life but because of the attitude and tone taken by Mr. Rinek. His is not a pleasant job. Unfortunately, there never is a "gifted psychologist" to explain the "why" of what happened to Tom, or to T.J.

I was also put off by the writing style. At times, I thought I was reading an up-scale tabloid. The word choices, the connotations, the sentence structure, the overall tone seemed designed to sensationalize, not report, as the quoted paragraph above demonstrates. This crime was horrendous enough; there was no need to bludgeon the reader into that realization. I woul not recommend this true crime book; there are so many others available which are written better than this one.

Reviewed by P.J. Coldren, March 2003

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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