By Joe Sharkey
whilst rookie FBI agent Mark Putnam got his first project in 1987, it was once the fruits of a lifelong dream, if no longer the main fascinating position. Pikeville, Kentucky, is excessive in Appalachian coal nation, an outpost rife with lawlessness relationship again to the Hatfields and McCoys. As a emerging superstar within the bureau, however, Putnam soon was cultivating paid informants and busting drug jewelry and financial institution robbers. but if one informant fell in love with him, ardour and responsibility might collide with tragic results.
A coal miner’s daughter, Susan Smith used to be a tender, appealing, suffering unmarried mom. She used to be additionally a drug person occasionally defined as a con artist, thief, liar. eventually, Putnam gave in to Smith’s relentless pursuit. but if he ended the affair, she waged a crusade of vengeance that threatened to damage him. whilst ultimately she faced him with a surprising assertion, a violent scuffle ensued, and Putnam, in a burst of out of control rage, fatally strangled her.
even though he had every little thing essential to escape with murder—a spotless attractiveness, a sufferer with a number of enemies, and the safety of the bureau’s impenetrable shield—his sense of right and wrong wouldn’t let it. suffering from a 12 months of guilt and deception, Putnam eventually led gurus to Smith’s continues to be. this can be the tale of what occurred earlier than, in the course of, and after his startling confession—an account that “should take its position at the darkish shelf of the simplest American precise crime” (Newsday).
Revised and up-to-date, this book additionally comprises images and a brand new epilogue by means of the author.
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Extra info for Above Suspicion
She shrugged. ” “Sounds to me like he’s taking advantage of you. ” That got her attention. She agreed to meet Mark the next time in Pikeville. And before long, they were meeting two and three times a week, in a pattern that would continue for the rest of her short life. Mark knew the basic procedures for working with informants. In sixteen weeks of training at the FBI Academy, new agents received a few lectures on what motivates informants: greed, money, revenge, or occasionally even a sense of duty.
Where are you going? I need to know where you’re going,” he would be told by one of the other agents. “I need to go out and interview this guy. ” “Why don’t you wait till tomorrow? ” “Come on, man. Days are passing! ” Again and again, he heard the same frustrating message. “Relax. You’ve got a big career ahead of you. You’re not supposed to go overboard down here—this is a sleeper office that nobody cares about,” as Sam Smith told him. Yet he wasn’t prepared to accept that. He finally talked Dan Brennan into a compromise arrangement to fit the twelve-hour days he’d already begun to work, every day but Sunday.
In that case, he had gotten away with $300,000 from a bank in Grundy, Virginia, a small town at a crossroads near the corner of the Appalachians where the borders of Virginia, Kentucky, and West Virginia touch. Cat Eyes was a legend in the Tug Valley, mostly for having spent that $300,000—all of it—in a wild three-month spree driving through several Southern states in a white Cadillac El Dorado with a friend. The desperadoes’ odyssey had culminated in a truly epic week of debauchery and gambling in Nashville, where the boys dropped their last $50,000 before turning up, frazzled and broke, back home.
Above Suspicion by Joe Sharkey