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The Berman Murders

Unraveling the Mojave Desert's Most Mysterious Unsolved Crime
  • ISBN-13: 9781538186381
  • By Doug Kari
  • Price: AUD $62.99
  • Stock: 3 in stock
  • Availability: Order will be despatched as soon as possible.
  • Local release date: 05/03/2024
  • Format: Hardback (229.00mm X 152.00mm) 246 pages Weight: 500g
  • Categories: True crime [BTC]
Table of

For true crime readers obsessed with learning the full story, get the book that Publishers Weekly calls a "stirring account," and says, "Dogged reporting and expert pacing make this a good bet for true crime fans."

At daybreak on January 6, 1986, a couple on a camping trip in the Mojave Desert set out for a stroll and never returned. The local sheriff eventually discovered that Barry and Louise Berman had been murdered. As years passed and the double homicide remained unsolved, the Berman case spawned speculation and conjecture. To date there’s never been an arrest in the case—let alone a conviction. This is the first book to tell the full story of the Berman murders and uncover a likely suspect.

Doug Kari is an attorney and journalist who focuses on true crime. Besides the Berman case, his stories range from the cartels slaughter of Mormon moms and children in Mexico, to the baffling disappearance of a Vietnam veteran in Death Valley. Dougs articles have run in Las Vegas Review-Journal, LA Weekly, LA Times, and many other outlets.



Chapter One: A Search for Two Lovers Leads to Silence

Chapter Two: Desperate and Heartbreaking Mission

Chapter Three: All-Seeing Eyes Looked Deep within Him

Chapter Four: All but Broke, in Jail, and about to Turn Forty

Chapter Five: Blissfully Unaware of What Lay Ahead

Chapter Six: Clues Too Few and the Desert Too Vast

Chapter Seven: “Michael Was Weird with Sexual Stuff”

Chapter Eight: Liars Tend to be Vague

Chapter Nine: Peered beneath the Gaps and Saw Bones

Chapter Ten: Violating a Near-Universal Taboo

Chapter Eleven: Fighting Spirit of a Brave Little Girl

Chapter Twelve: Marshals Led Him in to Hear the Verdict Read

Chapter Thirteen: Pulling Back the Veil on the Murder Case

Chapter Fourteen: “Suspect in Unsolved Murders Set to be Freed”

Chapter Fifteen: Driven to Dominate and Inflict Pain

Chapter Sixteen: Pepe Began Sputtering Questions





About the Author

Attorney and journalist Kari debuts with a stirring account of his nine-year quest to crack an unsolved double murder in California’s Mojave Desert. In 1986, Barry Berman, heir to the Kahlua liqueur fortune, and his much older wife, Louise, went missing from their campground during a romantic getaway at the Mojave hot springs. Although police suspected foul play, and the Bermans’ remains were discovered in a makeshift grave three years after their disappearance, the case never led to any arrests. Kari, who learned about the murders as a young conservationist studying the desert, became interested again as a journalist decades later. His investigation put him on the trail of Marine Corps captain Mike Pepe, who encountered the Bermans at the campground the same day they disappeared. Years later, Pepe moved to Cambodia and engaged in underage sex trafficking, for which he was eventually expelled from the country, tried in the U.S., and sentenced to 210 years in prison. Through deep research, including interviews with Pepe’s close contacts and the discovery that he was a key suspect early in the investigation, Kari mounts a convincing case that Pepe may have murdered the Bermans, possibly after soliciting them for sex. Dogged reporting and expert pacing make this a good bet for true crime fans.
— Publishers Weekly

The twists and turns in The Berman Murders will have you on the edge of your seat. The story begins in a Mojave Desert valley, where a hippie couple on a camping trip vanishes from a hot springs oasis after bathing with naked strangers. By delving into the backgrounds of the people at the scene, the author presents a theory about how deviant sexual dynamics may have led to the double murder. The story follows the path of the chief suspect across the world to Cambodia, where behind the walls of an upscale villa he rapes and tortures underage girls – never guessing that someday they’ll confront him in open court.
— Freida Lee Mock, Academy Award-winning filmmaker, director, screenwriter, and producer

It’s hard to believe this story is actually real – it’s fascinating, creepy, and ultimately inspiring. The BermanMurders starts with a counterculture couple (one being a reluctant heir) who mysteriously disappear in a remote desert valley and ends with girls who were sex trafficked in Asia. The author ties these two worlds together in such a compelling way that its hard to put the book down. I love that the book features so many strong women: the federal court judge; the two lead prosecutors; and brave young women who cross the ocean from Cambodia to confront the alleged perpetrator.
— Starr Parodi, Grammy-winning producer, artist & composer, and former president of The Alliance For Women Film Composers

The Berman murders tells the story of a heinous cold case that became hot again and was finally solved, thanks to a dogged sheriff and attorney/author, Doug Kari. The reader is taken on a roller coaster ride that begins in a remote California desert valley, then takes you to a villa of repeated child sex abuse in Cambodia, a conviction, an overturned conviction and then finally justice. Captivating and extremely well-written. Kudos to the author for his persistence and for putting this gripping saga on paper for all to read.
— Gerry Renert, TV series creator/executive producer, 3x EMMY nominee, President of SupperTime Entertainment

The Berman Murders is a gripping story about an unsolved double homicide. The depth of Doug’s nine-year investigation into the perplexing case is impressive. The result is a book that takes you from a hot springs oasis in Death Valley, where two campers mysteriously vanished, to the slums of Phnom Penh, where underage children are trafficked for sex. The book follows the case’s path to wherever it leads.
— John Hueston, called “the best lawyer of his generation,” former federal prosecutor and co-founder of the litigation powerhouse Hueston Hennigan

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