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Book Review: Bone Deep

By Robert McCool

In Charles Bosworth Jr. and Joel J. Schwartz's  brand new true crime book, Bone Deep, Untangling the Betsy Faria Murder Case (Kensington Publishing, ISBN 978-0-8065-4197-6), the characters and story are real. The circumstances happened as portrayed.

The writing is crisp and compelling, driving the reader to keep reading without stopping, in this true tale about Russ Faria supposedly killing his wife Betsy two days after Christmas in 2011. This book is all about the truth being stranger than fiction, and as it unfolds the truth gets abused by law enforcers and the prosecuting attorney in order to rush a guilty conviction.

Russ comes home to find Betsy lying dead on the floor with a knife stuck in her throat and defense wounds on her arms. To preserve the crime scene Russ stays out of the blood issued by his wife. He assumes that she has committed suicide because she had mentioned it many times before and during her fight against terminal cancer.

The first officer to arrive knows that this is not a suicide. There are some clues to tell a story about the crime, but they could have been planted by someone other than Russ. He is taken to an interview room and grilled for thirty-three hours until he finally calls for a lawyer to attend to him. The police “know” that he is guilty, and bend the facts to prove it.

Then the first trial begins and the prosecuting attorney bends the outcome even more with her dirty tricks and communicating with witnesses to make her case. Russ's lawyer, Joel J. Schwartz (the book’s co-author), is denied the right to ask certain questions from the witness/suspect who is more likely the killer.

Schwartz is certain that the killer is Pam Hupp, who had cheated Betsy out of a life insurance policy worth $150,000. Pam has made false and incriminating statements that supposedly prove Russ guilty. Pam piles lie upon lie but is never called on them. That is until the second trial. At the second trial Russ is declared not guilty and Pam ends up incriminating herself.

The scenes in the courtroom are taken from the real court proceedings, and they are written with a directness and a talent for finding the sensational truth. I admire the authors’ ability to stay on Russ’s case and Schwartz fighting for Russ when all seemed lost. He’s good at what he does, and Charles Bosworth really writes the whole story with feeling and power. Russ goes to prison for four years. The situation blazes from the first page, burning itself into your head with false information and deceptions. You won’t soon forget this book because it shows the corruption of a small town judicial system, and the power of ignorance and lies.

This story is being made into a 2022 television mini-series and has been covered on NBC’s Dateline, which had followed the Betsy Faria case from the beginning of the first trial. More revealing details about the case will be presented during the mini-series, so hang onto the crazy train that this case is.