Veteran crime writer Ann Rule provides a fast-read take on the disappearance of Utah mom Susan Cox Powell in her newest book, "Fatal Friends, Deadly Neighbors and Other True Cases."
For those who have closely followed the Powell story, there is little new information beyond some titillating tidbits about Josh Powell and his father Steven. Among them: Josh Powell crashed his future wife's bridal shower dressed as a woman - skirt, makeup, etc. Guests didn't think it was funny. Judy Cox, Susan's mother, said the incident added to their early concern about their daughter's fiance. But the marriage went ahead as planned.
Another: Steven Powell apparently followed his son and daughter-in-law to a Costco in December 2003, as they prepared to leave for Utah, and surreptitiously filmed Susan, an escapade he later described in detail in his personal journal.
Susan Powell was last seen at her home in West Valley City on Dec. 6, 2009. A day care provider was the first to raise the alarm that something was amiss after the couple's two young sons weren't dropped off as scheduled early the next morning. Initially, the entire family was missing but Josh Powell returned home late the next day and claimed he had taken the boys on an overnight camping trip in Utah's West Desert and said he assumed his wife had gone to work.
Rule, who lives in Washington, devotes 156 pages to the Powell story in the book, which appeared in bookstores Tuesday and also chronicles eight other stories.
In an interview Wednesday, Cox said he was able to retrieve four or five grocery bags of photos that had been stored in a bedroom at the destroyed home. Some were singed and some were water damaged, but many were in remarkably good shape, he said.
He has not yet read Rule's book, but said he expects it will be "a good book for somebody who hasn't heard a lot of the detail. Somebody that has been following it, not so much."
One new disclosure involves Chuck and Judy Cox. Rule writes that in the early evening of Dec. 7, 2009, Jennifer Graves, Josh's sister, was on the phone with the Coxes giving them the latest details in the search for the missing family. Josh happened to finally return Jennifer's call and Jennifer put him on a speaker phone so the Coxes could hear what he had to say.
"From his responses, he was hiding something, he had done something," Cox told The Salt Lake Tribune on Wednesday.