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Internal Combustion: The Story of a Marriage and a Murder in the Motor City
by Joyce Maynard

Published: 2006-09-22
Hardcover : 512 pages
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On Mother's Day night, 2004, award-winning fourth grade teacher Nancy Seaman left the Tudor home she shared with her husband of thirty two years in the gated community of Farmington Hills, near Detroit, Michigan, and drove in a driving rain storm to Home Depot, to purchase a hatchet. ...
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Introduction

On Mother's Day night, 2004, award-winning fourth grade teacher Nancy Seaman left the Tudor home she shared with her husband of thirty two years in the gated community of Farmington Hills, near Detroit, Michigan, and drove in a driving rain storm to Home Depot, to purchase a hatchet.

Three days later, police discovered the mutilated body of Bob Seaman - a successful auto industry engineer, softball coach and passionate collector of vintage Mustangs - in the back of the family's Ford Explorer. As the shackles were placed on her wrists, Nancy Seaman asserted that her husband had been beating her, and she'd killed him in self-defense.

At her trial, two radically different stories emerged. One of the couple's sons, Greg, testified that his father had been abusing his mother for years. The other, Jeff, testified for the prosecution, charging his mother as a cold blooded killer.

Joyce Maynard's chilling work delves beyond the events of the crime itself, to explore the lives of an American family who seemed to have everything. Her exploration of the story led to a year's research in suburban Detroit - but the story she found there will take the reader to the Depression-era farm country of Illinois, the working class neighborhoods of the auto industry in its heyday and even, surprisingly, to a Baptist church in burned-out downtown Detroit. Along the way we meet a Transylvanian forensic pathologist, a beautiful young prosecutor, an old-school police chief, a television news crew hungry for ratings, the softball scorekeeper mom accused of carrying on an affair with the murdered man, and her two shell shocked teenagers, still reeling from the death of their beloved coach, and a mother who has to tell her daughter why her favorite teacher won't be in school any more.

As in Joyce Maynard's previous books - including To Die For, based on a true crime, and her best selling memoir, At Home in the World - Joyce Maynard's themes here involve family secrets, the deep fissures that lie below the surface of the glittering exteriors, and the deep, potentially fatal, fissures in the American Dream.

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Excerpt

Internal Combustion - The Introduction

In early December of 2004, Good Morning America aired a short, four minute segment on the case of a woman named Nancy Seaman, accused of murdering her husband with a hatchet, but claiming self defense. Married for thirty two years, Nancy Seaman was a mother of two grown sons and a fourth grade teacher who had been honored-only two years earlier-with an award for excellence, presented to her by the Governor of the state of Michigan. ... view entire excerpt...

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  "Tedious"by ebach (see profile) 09/01/11

Joyce Maynard is the author of TO DIE FOR, a book of fiction based on the Pamela Smart case in New Hampshire in which Smart has her teenaged lover murder her husband. In INTERNAL COMBUSTION,... (read more)

 
  "4th Grade School Teacher hatchets her husband to death"by lovebooks (see profile) 11/17/06

Internal Combustion is a book with a controversal topic which created a lively discussion. We truly enjoyed talking about Joyce Maynard and her personal life experiences, Judge McDonald who overturned... (read more)

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