The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil,
but because of those who look on and do nothing.

~~~ Albert Einstein



Monday, February 18, 2008

If Looks Could Kill...

Press Release from author M. William Phelps:

February 15, 2007; New York, New York: The case has been profiled on Dateline and truTV’s “Murder By the Book,” Oxygen’s “Snapped” series, and other cable crime programs. Now comes the entire story for the first time, IF LOOKS COULD KILL (March 4, 2008; Kensington/Pinnacle Books and Brilliance Audio), veteran journalist M. William Phelps’s seventh book, detailing the sordid, salacious, fatal tale of the life and death of Akron, Ohio resident Jeff Zack and his long-time lover, Cynthia George’s possible role in that murder.



Acclaimed attorney Vincent Bugliosi, author of Helter Skelter and Reclaiming History, calls M. William Phelps “one of America’s finest true-crime writers.” Regarding IF LOOKS COULD KILL, Bugliosi says, “Phelps has written a compelling and gripping book about an intriguing … murder mystery ultimately resolved by circumstantial evidence. Readers will thoroughly enjoy this book.”



Jeff Zack was shot in the face at an Akron BJ’s Wholesale Club fuel station in broad daylight on a Saturday afternoon. He was having an affair with wealthy Akron socialite Cynthia George, wife of millionaire restaurateur Ed George. Cynthia was beautiful and luxurious, a mother of seven, a former Mrs. Ohio runner-up, who was later arrested, tried, convicted, and finally released from prison after winning her appeal.



In his new book, investigative journalist Phelps digs deep into a case that has been only glossed over in newspapers and on television, relying on over 100 interviews and exclusive access to the entire case file. Phelps tells Cynthia George’s complete story—and why her other lover, John Zaffino, the shooter, never fingered Cynthia for the crime. Furthermore, Cynthia claims Jeff Zack raped and beat her. Phelps exposes the truth behind the lies and other accusations made by Cynthia George.



If Looks Could Kill“This is a book about money and power,” Phelps says. “How a woman was able to manipulate two lovers and fool her husband and seven kids into thinking she was some sort of prudish, devout Catholic. But more than that, as the Akron PD was accused of putting blinders on and focusing on only Cynthia and Ed George, I lay out the vast and detailed investigation that led them to Cynthia’s doorstep. In my opinion, the evidence against Cynthia is stunning: but you be the judge. Read the book and tell me if a guilty woman walked.”



The new book, IF LOOKS COULD KILL, explores the controversial relationship between Cynthia George and John Zaffino, shedding light on exactly how Cynthia sought out Zaffino and molded him into what she needed, how John Zaffino was caught, and what role his first wife played in his arrest? Go behind the scenes with Zaffino’s second wife, Christine Todaro, and find out how and why she decided to wear a wire and go undercover for the Akron PD, thus putting her life in jeopardy to catch a killer.



Zaffino family members sent Phelps e-mails after Phelps began corresponding with Zaffino. One said, “I don't believe that Cindy or John got a fair trial. [Jurors] took the word of a less than reliable … that is, a crack addict, [someone who] would give sex for drugs … I think there is a story here, but I think that it involves political people and some very wealthy people.”



“John Zaffino’s friends and family told me I didn’t know the ‘real’ John Zaffino,” Phelps says, “that he was set up by the Georges. Yet they offered me no evidence to prove any of those claims.”



In his exclusive interviews with the detectives who solved the case and Christine Todaro, along with those who knew Jeff Zack and Cynthia George best, Phelps was able to get to the bottom of this multi-layered crime story and, with access to thousand of pages of documents, interviews and telephone recordings, he closes the case.


For more about M. William Phelps, please see his website or visit Crime Rant, his crime blog.