Cover image for Cape May Court House
Cape May Court House
Schiller, Lawrence.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
[New York, N.Y.] : Harper Audio, [2002]

Physical Description:
5 audio discs (6 hrs.) : digital 4 3/4 in.
General Note:
Compact discs.
Format :
Sound Cassette

Sound Recording


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Grand Island Library HV6534.C283 S352 2002C Adult Audiobook on CD Audiobooks
Central Library HV6534.C283 S352 2002C Adult Audiobook on CD Audiobooks
Williamsville Library HV6534.C283 S352 2002C Adult Audiobook on CD Audiobooks
Riverside Branch Library HV6534.C283 S352 2002C Adult Audiobook on CD Audiobooks
Orchard Park Library HV6534.C283 S352 2002C Adult Audiobook on CD Audiobooks

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nvestigative journalist and New York Times bestselling author Schiller, takes the reader deep inside the twists and turns of one of the most surprising civil cases in history and delivers a fast-paced, riveting page-turner.Abridged. 5 CDs.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Late at night in February 1997 in the town of Cape May Court House, New Jersey, a Good Samaritan comes upon a car accident. The pregnant woman driver appears dead, her male passenger unconscious, and the young child in the safety seat in the back seems fine. Everyone considers this a tragic accident, with the death of driver Tracy Thomas attributed to a malfunctioning air bag. But the strange behavior of Tracy's husband, Eric, and his quick remarriage leave Tracy's family in doubt. Then, when Eric sues the Ford Motor Company for his wife's wrongful death, Ford counters with the charge that Eric murdered his wife. In a true-crime book that rivals fiction for its outrageousness, Schiller follows the story as the events unfold and evidence is gathered. Is it a case of corporate greed and cover-up, or a cold-blooded crime? As each phase of this compelling tale is revealed, readers will feel as if they are part of the process, and they'll be haunted by all the still unanswered questions. --Danise Hoover

Publisher's Weekly Review

In his latest, Schiller, who has previously written bestsellers on the JonBenet Ramsey and O.J. Simpson cases (American Tragedy, etc.), offers a no-frills narrative: no character development, no background and no resolution. It's a just-the-facts account that, nevertheless, keeps the pages turning. The question of whether or not a crime has actually been committed drives the narrative. Late one winter night in 1997, Eric Thomas, a dentist, and his wife, Tracy, were found in a car crash on a New Jersey highway; Tracy, pregnant, was dead in the driver's seat. The medical examiner determined that the airbag in the Ford Explorer caused her death, and Thomas brought a suit against Ford. But there are some disturbing questions: Why, before going on a vacation with her husband, had Tracy told her mother, "if anything happens to me," her mother should take Tracy's daughter, Alix, to her home? Why did Thomas go on several unexplained trips after his wife's death? And there were no prior cases on record of air-bag asphyxiation. Based on the report of its own forensic expert, Dr. Michael Bader, and their discovery that Thomas had been having an affair just before the accident, Ford accused Thomas of strangling his wife to death. Was this, as Thomas's lawyers claimed, a case of a huge corporation throwing its weight against a bereaved individual? Or was it, as Ford's lawyers said, a case of murder disguised as an accident? Much of the narrative consists of legal battles over discovery and pretrial motions and extracts from Thomas's and others' depositions, and it is compelling, though Thomas (who did not grant Schiller interviews) remains a frustrating cipher. (Sept.) Forecast: Lacking the front-page immediacy of Schiller's bestsellers, this will be a test of whether his name alone can sell his work. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

A journalist, award-winning filmmaker, and best-selling author, Schiller would seem to have the imagination to take on this case. When Dr. Eric Thomas sues Ford after his wife dies in an auto accident, apparently because of a faulty airbag, the company countersues claiming that Thomas actually murdered her. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.



Cape May Court House A Death in the Night Chapter One Hand Avenue Earlier in the evening a light snow had fallen in the small town of Cape May Court House, New Jersey. Some nights, even in the coldest winters, the sea air from the Atlantic Ocean and Delaware Bay warms the barrier islands and the entire cape, so that slush seldom freezes. Tonight, Saturday, February 8, 1997, slush had not frozen. Dr. Robert Fitzpatrick, a local veterinarian, was just returning home from a party in Wildwood. At forty-five, Fitzpatrick was a strong man with rough hands capable of subduing a rottweiler. On that night, alone in his Chevy Astro, he stopped at the local Wawa convenience store, where he bought a bottle of Gatorade. The time was 1:45 a.m. As he drove away, he noticed that all the other local businesses were closed. Even the volunteer ambulance service building was dark and deserted. Dr. Fitzpatrick then turned west from North Main Street onto Hand Avenue, the route he usually took to his house. A few seconds later he stopped at a traffic light on the corner of Dias Creek Road and Hand. The night was unusually dark. He noticed that he had the road to himself. After passing a few houses set in the woods, Fitzpatrick saw some white and red lights up ahead. He thought an SUV had pulled over onto the berm on the other side of the road. As he came closer, however, the odd angle of the vehicle made him take a second look. That was when he noticed some sagging electric wires. Just then a battered white pickup truck approached from the opposite direction and stopped. While Fitzpatrick pulled his own car to a stop, a man got out of the pickup, walked to the SUV, and tried unsuccessfully to open the driver's door. As Fitzpatrick rolled down his window, the man yelled back to him, "There's people in there." Instantly, Fitzpatrick reached for his cell phone, punched in 911, and got out of his car. As he reported his location he saw that part of a utility pole was hanging from its wires. That's when he realized the SUV, a Ford Explorer, was in a ditch. "An officer will be there in minutes," the 911 dispatcher told him as he ran across the road toward the accident. When he reached the rear of the car, the driver of the pickup asked if he had called the police. Fitzpatrick nodded. Before he could say another word, the driver said, "Then I'm getting out of here." And within seconds was gone. The Explorer's left headlight was broken, but the fog lights were still on. Fitzpatrick tried the driver's door. It wouldn't budge, but the rear passenger door on that side opened easily, and the dome light came on. There, staring at him from the backseat, were the wide eyes of a baby, still strapped in its padded car seat. Almost immediately, the baby started to cry. Fitzpatrick then saw a driver and a passenger in the front seats. Neither was moving. The driver's head slumped toward the window, and the passenger's head hung down to the side. Fitzpatrick saw no blood. Brushing his hand against the baby's face, Fitzpatrick took hold of one of the child's hands. The baby's cheek and fingers were cold. Then he noticed that the air inside the truck was not as cold as the outside air. As he leaned forward between the front seats, he saw that the driver and passenger were, like the baby, African American. "Hello? Hello?" Fitzpatrick said. He repeated it a third time, and even louder. Neither person moved. He could tell that the air bags were now deflated and the seat belts were still drawn tightly around the passengers. The man in the passenger seat appeared to be unconscious. His skin was cool when Fitzpatrick reached for his neck to find a pulse and determined that the man had a sluggish, rhythmic heartbeat. Next, Fitzpatrick turned to the woman in the driver's seat. Her leather jacket was open, her neck was exposed, and her skin was cold to the touch. Fitzpatrick probed for a pulse. Nothing. Again, he pushed hard on the carotid artery. Zero. He stepped out of the car and redialed 911. "I think she's dead," Fitzpatrick said to the dispatcher. "The police had better hurry -- " Then he went back to the Explorer and reached between the front bucket seats to the dashboard. Though the engine was no longer running, he turned off the ignition, fearing the car might catch fire. He took the child's hands again, and managed to quiet it almost immediately. He continued to murmur to the baby as he stepped back outside the car. As he waited for the police, Fitzgerald fought the urge to remove the baby, who he now realized was a girl. He knew better than to try to remove either of the adults in the front. As he stood there, no cars passed on the deserted road. At 2:01 A.M., just nine minutes after Fitzpatrick's first 911 call, Medic 9 arrived. As the first paramedics, Lisa Schulthies and James Cline, climbed out of their vehicle, a white police cruiser pulled up, its lights flashing. An officer got out and quickly surveyed the inside of the Explorer through its closed windows and called for another ambulance. Then he removed the baby from the backseat. Fitzpatrick wanted to help, but the officer told him not to touch anything. Just then a second police car arrived. Schulthies had difficulty getting to the passenger side of the SUV through the bushes and a gully, which was full of water. The ground was swampy. The male passenger, who was leaning against the window, appeared to be unconscious, and Schulthies decided to enter the vehicle through the same rear door from which the baby had been removed. The baby was checked for injuries by a second set of medics, who had just arrived, and then placed in the ambulance... Cape May Court House A Death in the Night . Copyright © by Lawrence Schiller. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold. Excerpted from Cape May Court House: A Death in the Night by Lawrence Schiller All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

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