Chapter 1: "A Psychological 'Perfect Storm' "
Before reading this book, you may have believed that the story of the murders of Laci Peterson and her unborn son, Conner, began on Christmas Eve, 2002. That was, after all, the evening Scott Peterson asserted that he had returned home to find Laci's Land Rover in the driveway of their Modesto, California, home, and the couple's golden retriever, McKenzie, in the backyard, alone, with his leash on. At 5:17 PM he telephoned his mother-in-law, Sharon Rocha, and told her, "Laci is missing."
If not that fateful Christmas Even, you might believe the story began a month earlier, on November 29, 2002. That was the night Scott Peterson first met Amber Frey, the pretty, blond, single mother who worked as a massage therapist. The couple shared a drink at the Elephant Bar in Fresno, then dinner at an intimate Japanese restaurant, then a bottle of gin, then had sex in Peterson's room at the Radisson Hotel. Within two weeks Peterson was picking up Frey's daughter, Ayiana, at school and cooking dinner for what looked like an instant family—one he may have preferred to Laci and Connor.
Or you might open the curtain on the murder mystery earlier still. Paying homage to the theory that the pressures of impending fatherhood began to unravel Peterson's psyche, you might begin the day Laci Peterson conceived Connor, about seven months before her husband killed her, weighted down her body, and dumped it in the San Francisco Bay.
There are those, in fact, who see the roots of Scott Peterson's vicious act reaching back years to his discomfort with marriage itself, evidenced by repeated acts of infidelity, including a 1998 affair with Janet Ilse, who once walked in on Peterson and his wife in bed.