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Tacoma Confidential: A True Story of Murder, Suicide, and a Police Chief's Secret Life

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Gig Harbor, Washington, a quiet Tacoma suburb, knew little of tragedy and scandal-until April 26, 2003. On that day, David Brame, distraught over his impending divorce, shot his wife to death in a busy public parking lot. Then, with the couple's two children only feet away, he turned the gun on himself. It was a horrific event, but Tacoma residents had special reason to be Gig Harbor, Washington, a quiet Tacoma suburb, knew little of tragedy and scandal-until April 26, 2003. On that day, David Brame, distraught over his impending divorce, shot his wife to death in a busy public parking lot. Then, with the couple's two children only feet away, he turned the gun on himself. It was a horrific event, but Tacoma residents had special reason to be shocked. Brame was, after all, the chief of police. But as the investigation unfolded, a bizarre and depraved side of Brame and his marriage came to light. Here, in chilling detail, is the full story of one of Gig Harbor's most violent and disturbing crimes.


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Gig Harbor, Washington, a quiet Tacoma suburb, knew little of tragedy and scandal-until April 26, 2003. On that day, David Brame, distraught over his impending divorce, shot his wife to death in a busy public parking lot. Then, with the couple's two children only feet away, he turned the gun on himself. It was a horrific event, but Tacoma residents had special reason to be Gig Harbor, Washington, a quiet Tacoma suburb, knew little of tragedy and scandal-until April 26, 2003. On that day, David Brame, distraught over his impending divorce, shot his wife to death in a busy public parking lot. Then, with the couple's two children only feet away, he turned the gun on himself. It was a horrific event, but Tacoma residents had special reason to be shocked. Brame was, after all, the chief of police. But as the investigation unfolded, a bizarre and depraved side of Brame and his marriage came to light. Here, in chilling detail, is the full story of one of Gig Harbor's most violent and disturbing crimes.

30 review for Tacoma Confidential: A True Story of Murder, Suicide, and a Police Chief's Secret Life

  1. 4 out of 5

    Trixie Fontaine

    Readable, eye-opening, balanced account of the case with lots of local juice that satisfied me as a one-time resident of Tacoma and long-time devotee/lover of The City of Destiny. One negative criticism I have is that the author seemed unable to consistently recognize verbal abuse AS abuse, which is probably part of what makes this a complicated case (the witness testimonies he gave make it sound as though the victim herself was also guilty of verbal abusing not only her husband, but the children Readable, eye-opening, balanced account of the case with lots of local juice that satisfied me as a one-time resident of Tacoma and long-time devotee/lover of The City of Destiny. One negative criticism I have is that the author seemed unable to consistently recognize verbal abuse AS abuse, which is probably part of what makes this a complicated case (the witness testimonies he gave make it sound as though the victim herself was also guilty of verbal abusing not only her husband, but the children repeatedly); I'd have liked the author to acknowledge it as such (abuse) and explored the double standard most people have regarding female vs. male abusers and the types of abuse they most often perpetrate. I don't know if he's oblivious to these issues or if it was too risky to be that critical of the female victim to call a spade a spade. It's possible readers (myself included) would have thought he had a blame-the-victim mentality if he'd have done so and wouldn't have been open to the doubts raised at the end of the book regarding the story told by the crime scene.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Nick

    I didn't expect a murder suicide story about domestic abuse to have so many twists and turns in it. I mean you already know who the killer is right? But then I guess most domestic violence murders aren't committed by a city's police chief. The story was so bizarre I thought I was reading a David Baldacci novel. By the way if any of you are wondering why I update my books so frequently, it's because I currently have an hour and a half train commute to work.

  3. 5 out of 5

    A

    This book is written in a style that will totally pull you in. Maybe never knowing the full truth of what David and Crystal Brame were REALLY like, or what their marriage was really like, is why this is so fascinating. Even though this book is very thorough, because the Brames are no longer with us, by circumstance all we have left are a few still shots of what their dynamic really was. And mysteries always keep us hooked. David Brame was a very dysfunctional man in his personal and professional This book is written in a style that will totally pull you in. Maybe never knowing the full truth of what David and Crystal Brame were REALLY like, or what their marriage was really like, is why this is so fascinating. Even though this book is very thorough, because the Brames are no longer with us, by circumstance all we have left are a few still shots of what their dynamic really was. And mysteries always keep us hooked. David Brame was a very dysfunctional man in his personal and professional life, and even though the author does a really good job trying to be balanced and fair, the truth still peeks through. The story itself is an outrage...the things that were allowed to happen in the TPD and those who were supposed to oversee the department allowing these things to happen. Great book, Mr. LaRosa, I was thoroughly engrossed. A tragic story, well told.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Joanna

    A very detailed and interesting account of some major events in a city near where I live. Gave good background on the city to set the stage for the story. The author did a LOT of investigating and interviewing to give many different views of the events. I did find it kind of anti-climactic when they finally got to the murder though--the build-up was a bit overdone and the foreshadowing poorly done.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Skyler

    this book is so weird, because it is so close to home!and events that happen i am aware of and have been to these places. i remember when this happend because i was there, i arrived like right after this happpend. i actually recognize david brame and has seen him in a few places before, its so weird how you can be fooled by the looks of some people, because this family is creepy and they had alot of hidden facts about them. but this book is really good, i cant put it down :]

  6. 4 out of 5

    Elyssa

    I read this on my last vacation (when I indulge in all my true crime and other guilty pleasure reading). This book is set in Gig Harbor, WA and tells the story of David Brame, the Chief of Police who murdered his wife and then killed himself. The author does a great job of going behind the facade of this supposed "upstanding citizen" and behind the scenes of his highly dysfunctional marriage to show what led to his act of murder/suicide.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Laurie

    I try to stay away from reading true crime because even though it fascinates me, I have a tendency to let my imagination get the better of me and it can interfere with my ability to sleep at night if it's too creepy. But this book wasn't too scary for me, I really liked the writing style and the story keeps you hooked through the end of the book.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Katie Ann

    I really enjoyed this book and read it from start to finish in an afternoon. There were several surprising details about both Crystal and David mentioned in the book and then of course the entire unveiling of the corruption within the police department. Nicely detailed.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Jane

    This is a well written book. The author does an excellent job of making the characters & situation very real; at some times, even eery. The fact that the husband is the chief of police makes the book all that more interesting.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Perri

    True life crime set near my neck of the woods-I learned a little about the city of Tacoma. What I appreciated about this writer was his even handed approach in telling the story. He showed the character's flaws, even the victim-which made her seem more human.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Mom Rainey

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I enjoyed this as it was a familiar story due to the close proximity and news coverage. As I read the news I am always wondering what is the rest of the story so I found this to be an interesting read. Thought provocingly inconclusive in the end though.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Lu

    Terrific book! This was my introduction to Paul Larosa. I have been an avid fan ever since!

  13. 4 out of 5

    Scott

    A fast read. Sometimes a true story is more unbelievable than fiction...this is one of thise stories. Very sad but a story I could not put down.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Exactingnemesis

    Interesting book....I think both of them had severe personality disorders. A good quick rainy day read.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Marilyn

    "Gig Harbor, Washington, a quet Tacoma suburb, knew little of tragedy and scandal - until April 26, 2003. On that day, David Brame, distraught over his impending divorce, shot his wife to death in a busy public parking lot. Then, with the couple's two children only feet away, he turned the gun on himself. It was a horrific event on its own, but Tacoma residents had special reason to be shocked. Many would have considered Brame their city's least likely murderer. He was, after all, the chief of "Gig Harbor, Washington, a quet Tacoma suburb, knew little of tragedy and scandal - until April 26, 2003. On that day, David Brame, distraught over his impending divorce, shot his wife to death in a busy public parking lot. Then, with the couple's two children only feet away, he turned the gun on himself. It was a horrific event on its own, but Tacoma residents had special reason to be shocked. Many would have considered Brame their city's least likely murderer. He was, after all, the chief of police. As the investigation unfolded, another side of Brame and his marriage came to light, exposing bizarre behavior, years of abuse - and constant death threats. Here in chilling detail is the full story of Gig Harbor's most violent and disturbing crime, meticulously pieced together by an award-winning newsman. Every secret is revealed - even the most confidential.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Marsmannix

    THIS BOOK STUNK LIKE A TEENAGER'S SNEAKERS. I have read hundreds of true crime books, and LaRosa is no master of language. I characterize his writing as falling under the "jock lit" category. He goes into no depth as far as the criminal's psychology or personality. I made the mistake of reading 2 by this author. Both reeked. AVOID. Read a good crime writer like Philip Carlo (RIP) or Ann Rule

  17. 4 out of 5

    Adelemarie

    Well, I didn't find the chief's secret life all that strange compared with what goes on these days. I could understand how upset he was with his soon to be ex destroying his career. He probably just wanted to wring her neck, unfortunatly he had his glock with him. That's a good reason to leave mine at home!

  18. 4 out of 5

    Jackie

    Domestic abuse, threesomes, and nudist colonies! Oh my!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Beth Gordon

    Local true crime. I felt like the construction of the story was a bit odd - very slow build-up, the climax was anti-climactic.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Tom Nolan

    paperback

  21. 5 out of 5

    Mike

    Decent read

  22. 4 out of 5

    Wanda Williford

    Tacoma Confidential This is a great book. I could not put it down. Just the kind of book I like to read.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Joy

    I remember this case quite well since we live in WA...

  24. 5 out of 5

    Rosario

    Interesting story. Awful writing. Reads like hastily transcribed interviews.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Candida

    Amazing I knew chrystal as a kid,I am horrified at what she went through. The corruption and history of Tacoma was fascinating.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Gloria Clifford

  27. 5 out of 5

    Patty

  28. 5 out of 5

    R.anton

  29. 5 out of 5

    Paula

  30. 4 out of 5

    Cindy

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