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Book details
  • Genre:BIOGRAPHY & AUTOBIOGRAPHY
  • SubGenre:Criminals & Outlaws
  • Language:English
  • Pages:264
  • Format:Paperback
  • eBook ISBN:9781667826592
  • Paperback ISBN:9781667826585

The Red-Headed Cook of the Desert

Meth, Murder and Motherhood

by Judy Muller and Cheri Mathews

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Overview

When journalist Judy Muller first met Cheri Mathews, a woman serving "lifetime parole" for murder, she knew immediately that Cheri had a story worth sharing. But she could not have foreseen how their year-long collaboration would have such a profound impact on both of their lives. Despite their disparate pasts, they learned that they shared the common bond of alcoholism and addiction, a bond that would be both enriched and strained during Cheri's deep dive into a brutal past. "The Red-Headed Cook of the Desert" follows Cheri from an abusive childhood, where her alcoholic father taught her to live by a brutal "code," to an outlaw lifestyle in the California desert. When Muller first sat down with Mathews at a diner in their rural Colorado community, she said, "Why don't you just begin by telling me about the murder?" Mathews replied, "Which one?" And Muller was hooked. Get ready to experience this roller-coaster tale of a talented, smart woman who gets hooked on the outlaw world of meth and hits one bottom after another. This is the story of a woman who says her life was saved by prison, where she became a drug and alcohol counselor, and a person determined to make amends to her children. If only it were that simple.


Description
When journalist Judy Muller first met Cheri Mathews, a woman serving "lifetime parole" for murder, she knew immediately that Cheri had a story worth sharing. But she could not have foreseen how their year-long collaboration would have such a profound impact on both of their lives. Despite their disparate pasts, they learned that they shared the common bond of alcoholism and addiction, a bond that would be both enriched and strained during Cheri's deep dive into a brutal past. "The Red-Headed Cook of the Desert" follows Cheri from an abusive childhood, where her alcoholic father taught her to live by a brutal "code," to an outlaw lifestyle in the California desert. When Muller first sat down with Mathews at a diner in their rural Colorado community, she said, "Why don't you just begin by telling me about the murder?" Mathews replied, "Which one?" And Muller was hooked. Get ready to experience this roller-coaster tale of a talented, smart woman who gets hooked on the outlaw world of meth and hits one bottom after another. This is the story of a woman who says her life was saved by prison, where she became a drug and alcohol counselor, and a person determined to make amends to her children. If only it were that simple. Cheri's life is a study in paradox: she is convicted of murder, yet voted Humanitarian of the Year by fellow inmates, she is a young Army soldier who goes AWOL not once, but twice, only to earn many commendations before earning an honorable discharge, she admits to killing two men, but she has a reputation for standing up to bullies and saving lives. The book takes readers on a journey into Cheri's complicated life, through her ill-fated attempts at marriage and motherhood to her love affair with meth to the murder that landed her in prison. And, finally, to her life now as a free woman, where she learns, with Muller, that there is no "happily ever after" for addicts and alcoholics. Unless, that is, you know how to live 24 hours at a time. Muller is an Emmy and Peabody award winning journalist, and professor emerita at USC's Annenberg School of Journalism. She lives in Norwood, Colorado. Mathews is the woman whose story brought Muller out of retirement and into a deep, abiding friendship.
About the author
Judy Muller is an award-winning broadcast journalist, author, and professor emerita of broadcast journalism at USC's Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism. Before coming to USC, Muller was a correspondent for ABC Network News, reporting for such broadcasts as Nightline, World News Tonight with Peter Jennings, Good Morning America, 20/20 and This Week. During her 15 years at ABC, she covered such stories as the Rodney King beating trial and subsequent riots, the Presidential campaigns of Paul Tsongas and Bob Kerrey, the L.A. earthquake in 1994, the O.J. Simpson case and numerous environmental stories throughout the West. Prior to joining ABC News, Muller spent nine years as a correspondent for CBS News, where she was a contributor to CBS Sunday Morning and CBS Weekend News on the TV side and as a commentator and reporter on the radio side. She covered the space shuttle program, both national political conventions in 1988 and the 1988 George Bush presidential campaign. Muller was previously an anchor/reporter for KHOW in Denver and WHWH in Princeton. During her career, she has won numerous Emmy awards for her reporting, two Edward R. Murrow awards, two Columbia-DuPont awards, and a Peabody Award in 2010 for an investigative series on marijuana dispensaries in Los Angeles (for public television). She has been a contributing commentator for NPR, and a contributing correspondent for Al Jazeera America and PBS' News Hour. She is the author of two books: "Now This: Radio, Television and the Real World," (Putnam, 2000) and "Emus Loose in Egnar: Big Stories from Small Towns," (University of Nebraska Press, 2006). She makes her home in Norwood, Colorado.

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