TITLE : A Tangled Web

AUTHOR : Leslie Rule

GENRE : Non-fiction, True-Crime

FR RATING : 5 Stars



In the tradition of her acclaimed mother, Ann Rule, author of The Stranger Beside Me, bestselling author Leslie Rule delivers a riveting true story for our time–as she exposes the years-long trail of a sadistic sociopath, identity thief, and killer at the dark heart of a real-life fatal attraction . . .

It was a bleak November in 2012 when Cari Lea Farver vanished from Omaha, Nebraska. Cari, thirty-seven, was a devoted mother, reliable employee, and loyal friend–not the type to shirk responsibilities, abandon her son, and run off on an adventure while her dying father took his last breaths. Yet, the many texts from her phone indicated she had done just that.

It appeared that Cari had dumped her new boyfriend, quit her job, and relinquished custody of her son to her mother–all by text. While Cari’s boyfriend, Dave Kroupa, and her supervisor were bewildered by her abrupt disappearance, they accepted the texts at face value. Her mother, Nancy Raney, however, was alarmed and reported Cari missing. Police were skeptical of her claims that a cyber impostor had commandeered her daughter’s phone and online identity.

While Nancy was afraid for Cari, Dave Kroupa was growing afraid of her, for he believed Cari was stalking him. Never seen or heard, the stalker was aware of his every move and seemed obsessed by his casual girlfriend, Shanna “Liz” Golyar, often calling her “a fat whore” in the twelve thousand emails and texts he received in a disturbing three-year deluge.

How did the stalker know Dave’s phone numbers immediately after he changed them, the names of his lady friends, even what he wore as he watched TV? He and Liz reported death threats, vandalism, and burglaries, but the stalker remained at large. The threats were vicious, vile and often obscene, sent mostly via text and always in Cari’s name. There was some truth in the messages, but all of them contained one big lie. The culprit was not Cari — but had killed and planned to kill again.

With mesmerizing detail and compelling narrative skill, Leslie Rule tracks every step of the heart-pounding path to long-awaited justice–from a sociopath’s twisted past to the deadly deception and the high-tech forensics that condemned the killer to prison, where the tangled web of manipulations still draws trusting souls into danger.


DISCLAIMER : Thank you, Netgalley and Kensington Books for proving me with an ARC of this book. I am leaving this review voluntarily.

I saw this book on Netgalley and requested it as it sounded fascinating. case. The moment I started reading it, I was pulled into this well-researched real-life account of the crime that happened several years ago. I have always been fascinated by true-crime and wanted to understand what makes people commit the most heinous crimes. This book gives us the full account of events happening in the life of Dave Kroupa while simultaneously bringing us the accounts of horrific stalking experiences from people connected to him. This book is well researched and does a fantastic job of bringing the truth to light and does it in a compelling way keeping the readers captivated from the get-go.

Dave started online dating after his separation from long-time girlfriend and mother of his children Amy. He met someone on the dating site and had a relationship with her and continued the relationship on his terms. Prior to the beginning of the relationships, Dave always made sure his dates knew he was not going to be exclusive with them and to never expect commitment from him. His dates also agreed to the arrangement normally. While he was multi-dating one of his dates was starting to get attached and he broke it off with the person. The only problem was the woman didn’t like being cast aside and continued to pursue him by emotionally manipulating him. He met another woman Cari on the same website and found himself leaning towards that relationship as it was stress-free and drama-free. One day he gets a break-up text that was out of character from Cari. This event will play as the starting point to the several threatening and harassing texts from the person who claims to be Cari. Everything that happened from then on is of a mentally unstable person who is obsessed with Dave. The stalker and tormentor is never seen or heard, but continues to harass the family and plays mind-games with people close to Dave, Cari, and others. Police were not convinced there was foul-play and kept ignoring the red flags that popped up from the beginning despite Cari’s family’s insistence. What follows is a series of online theft, threatening messages slowly escalating to physical harm.

The writing and pacing was really god. I loved how the author pulls the reader in and then continues to keep the reader riveted to the story. The book read like a thriller and was packed with all the information, emails, and other messages the stalker has sent to the different people. I really enjoyed the story and never in my wildest imagination did I think that I would be led into one of the craziest of stalker cases to have happened. It’s unbelievable and simply disturbing.

The murderer and the stalker are so engulfed by the jealousy that the person took all the means necessary to achieve the goal of being with the guy forever. The murderer, in my opinion, had deep-seated psychological issues that never were treated and came out in forms one would never believe to be possible from a human being. The dedication and work the stalker put into building the most convoluted web of lies and deceit are astonishing. The book left me chilled to my bone and frightened. To know that someone who lived with us and had interactions with us is capable of the level of crime this stalker committed is scary to even fathom. The very simple fact of every female who came into contact with the sociopath felt the woman was not a good person and they warned the men as well. I wonder why men were never aware of the person’s strange behavior or why they never took the concerns of the women in their lives. It’s shocking to see how the murderer manages to fool everyone around her and how she plays them as a puppeteer would constantly manipulating them. It’s unbelievable how a damsel in distress image was enough to let the men be fooled into thinking she was innocent and possibly a victim. The cruelty and insensitivity the murderer is capable of leaves us with no doubt as to the mental state of the person. It is hard to read about the pain Cari’s family had to go through and not being able to find closure regarding her disappearance and death. The book helps us readers understand the unapologetic, entitled and cocky way the murderer and master manipulator dealt with people. The woman is unhinged and should never be released from prison.

I gave the book 5 stars and I highly recommend it. If you love true-crime and love cases that spanned several years with the intricate details tripping everyone involved, this book will be for you. The book also talks about the safety of online communications and the dangers that lurk in the shadows of the internet. The case happened in a small town with the stalker playing ghost until getting ensnared by the same trap the murder set up to bring in victims. It’s a crazy story and the entire case feels like it’s not something real, that it is something that only happens in fiction, yet everything this book talks about happened, and the pain the family had to go through is simply devastating to read about. I would highly recommend checking it out to educate oneself about the potential dangers of online communications and also learn about a group of wonderful individuals’ hard work in bringing justice to the victim. True-crime lovers should definitely check it out.

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