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Book Review: Convenient Suspect

Convenient Suspect by Tammy Mal
This book is subtitled: a double murder, a flawed investigation and the railroading of an innocent woman. Alarmist indignation ahoy! This true crime book tries very hard to say Patricia Rorrer is innocent of the 1994 murders of Joann Katrinak and her newborn son. It doesn’t succeed. Rorrer obviously murdered Katrinak and left her newborn son to die of exposure.

Mal disparages Joann, ignores Alex, hints that Joann’s husband did it, brushes aside Rorrer’s sketchy life and doesn’t even address how she dyed her hair and lied about it to investigators. Mal also gets into wild conspiracy theories about the DNA evidence that damned Rorrer.

Mal also broadly suggests that Alex was not fathered by Joann’s husband. An allegation repeated throughout the book to portray Joann as an unreliable slut. One throwaway sentence reveals that a paternity test showed that Alex was indeed fathered by Joann’s husband.
Mal has a fixed false belief in Rorrer’s innocence. The FBI and police’s every move is invested with sinister meaning. The paternity claim was made only by Rorrer’s rough arsed mother and is completely disrespectful to the victims. This book is full of illogical conclusions, slights against Joann and her family and her widower and allegations are made of an organised campaign of opposition to Rorrer.

This book is not a jolt to the conscience. Rorrer will die in jail as she was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole. An ending of her own creation. If she laments her captivity - then maybe she shouldn’t have murdered a mother and her newborn for petty petty reasons. The more Mal affirms Rorrer’s alleged blameless character - the more Rorrer’s fondness for skeevy guys, drinking, dive bars, bar fights, getting arrested, mysterious death of her first child, loss of custody of her second, living a dodgy lifestyle and rampant lying become obvious. Rorrer deserves all the wrath and punishment levied on her. She is not moral in every way as Mal bleats - she committed an act of sheer viciousness and is taunting about it to this day.

Remember Joann Katrinak and her son Alex who Patricia Rorrer murdered. This is a good read though not in the way Mal intended. Mal’s belief in Rorrer’s innocence does not show any rational basis whatsoever. Mal bleats about circumstantial evidence and the word circumstantial is often thrown around as a pejorative to imply evidence in the case is weak. In fact, the opposite is true. When taken together, the circumstantial evidence paints a compelling picture that left a jury (and the reader) in no doubt about the guilt of Rorrer.
Her lies and evasiveness and the circumstantial evidence implied facts rather than stating them outright. Rorrer is a serial liar and an amoral opportunist driven solely by impulse and rage.

Best Lines:
“Few friends and no plans for the future.”

“A suspected barn burner.”

“Why isn’t he jumping over the railing to strangle you?”

“Worthy of belief.”

“Isn’t worthy of belief.”
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