Lisa Michelle Lambert & David W. Brown,
Love, Murder, & Corruption in Lancaster County: My Story
(Camino Books, 2016)

On Dec. 20, 1991, 16-year-old Laurie Show was brutally murdered in her Lancaster, Pennsylvania, home. That night, 19-year-old Lisa Michelle Lambert was arrested, along with friend Tabitha Buck and boyfriend Lawrence Yunkin. She was convicted of first-degree murder, for which she received a mandatory life sentence without possibility of parole. Buck, convicted of second-degree murder -- she reportedly held Show's legs down while Lambert slit the girl's throat -- also is serving life in prison, while Yunkin, whose involvement in the killing was never made clear but who convinced prosecutors he was just the driver, pleaded out for a 12-year sentence and is now free and working on his bowling score.

Lambert has been portrayed as a vicious, jealous young woman who killed Show because the younger girl had briefly dated Yunkin. In a series of appeals -- one of which briefly earned Lambert her freedom before it was reversed by a panel of federal judges -- she argued she was a victim, led by an abusive boyfriend and a spiteful friend who, she says, masterminded the murder.

Unable to persuade the courts of her innocence, Lambert has turned to the people -- hoping, no doubt, to drum up popular support, a la Making a Murderer -- by writing a lurid "tell-all" book about her version of events.

In her prelude, Lambert explains in florid prose that she decided to write the book in 2010, after a TV movie about her life re-aired. "My memories stirred again," she writes, "whispering softly like the swirling leaves carried on the brisk fall wind. I decided it was necessary at last for me to stop, catch my breath, and turn around to face the deadly truth of the coldest winter -- when my fatal silence about December 20 and the motives of others cost me my life."

So, if you would like
to line the pockets of a
lawyer hoping to cash
in on a teenager's brutal
death, feel free to buy a

More fiction than true crime, the book is interesting mostly because it's the first time since her brief flirtation with freedom in 1997 that Lambert has spoken publicly about the murder. Of course, her story contradicts much of the evidence against her.

Lambert paints a picture of a dangerous childhood, with venomous copperheads slithering through her yard, beaten off by her loyal kitten Bubbles (the Lancaster area doesn't have a lot of copperheads) and suffering the stillborn death of a baby brother, killed by radiation leaked from the 1979 nuclear accident at Three Mile Island (there's no evidence TMI caused the "staggering, unprecedented number of stillbirths, miscarriages, and other complications" Lambert describes).

She says police framed her for Show's killing to cover up the fact that three officers gang-raped her the year before. She says her altercations, physical and verbal, with Laurie Show and her mother in the months prior to the murder were all accidents and misunderstandings.

The murder, she says, was a prank gone wrong -- a plan to cut Show's hair to stop her from accusing Yunkin of rape. The group lured Show's mother away with a phone call by pretending to be a school official. They brought a rope to tie Show up, and a butcher knife, rather than scissors, to cut her hair.

Evidence at Lambert's trial showed that she and Buck entered the apartment and killed the terrified girl while Yunkin waited outside. Lambert says in the book that Buck attacked Show with her fists, then the knife, while Lambert tried to save her. Then Yunkin arrived and finished the job while Lambert sobbed outside.

Once arrested, Lambert says she lied to police about Yunkin's involvement to protect him. She says her prosecutors, judges and the media were all biased or corrupt. She says she was raped by prison guards and, fearing she was pregnant, prepared to give birth in secret and smuggle the baby to her mother during a prison visit.

She still hopes she'll be freed.

I cannot see this book as anything more than a piece of fiction, penned by a murderer passing her time in prison by doodling on blank pages and hoping someone would publish them. It comes across as nearly 400 pages of self-serving whining, and the prose is tedious to slog through.

By the way, David Brown -- a worker's compensation lawyer who has written four books about sports -- co-authored this book and will pocket the profits. I would almost recommend this book if the money was going to Laurie Show's family as long-overdue restitution, but they won't see a dime from it. So, if you would like to line the pockets of a lawyer hoping to cash in on a teenager's brutal death, feel free to buy a copy.

book review by
Tom Knapp

13 February 2016

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