Real life is sometimes stranger than fiction. That could be
said of the lives of Susan and Felix Polk and their
families. Both Susan and Felix were victims of dysfunction
as younger people. After surviving the Holocaust, Felix grew
up to become a misguided psychologist in desperate need of
fixing himself - Susan, his teenage patient. Polk crossed
over the ethical line when he started having a relationship
with Susan while she was under his care. That, in and of
itself, would cause a teen to have issues, but that was just
the tip of the iceberg for this soon to be family.
Married with three sons, the Polks had a rocky marriage at
best. There was evidence of violence and abuse both with
parents and children. It seemed as though everyone was
shouting for help, but no one could hear their cries. It was
like the pleas were just swept under the rug, and the fun
taken right out of their dysfunctional lives until it ended
in Felix's murder.
With no doubt in his mind, Gabriel finding his slain father,
called 9-1-1 to report that his mother murdered his father.
From that point on, the mayhem that was the Polk family life
just kept deteriorating until the trial that ultimately
landed Susan in jail for the murder of her husband. Brother
was pitted against brother, mother against son, and all
involved were brutally wounded in the battle. Unfortunately,
the justice that was served was a generation too late, and a
little too little for the future generation.
Catherine Crier does an excellent job of surmising a very
complex situation with some very disturbed individuals in
her book FINAL ANALSIS. I found myself waxing and waning
between feeling sorry for Susan Polk and wanting to commit
her to solitary confinement. The woman was a walking
contradiction of massive proportion, but there could not
have been a better in-depth profile of the events and the
people as Ms. Crier expertly unravels all of the mess that
led up to that fatal night. I, like one of the jurors,
"felt like I knew Susan Polk" after having read the book.
Well researched and intricately written this account of a
horrific tragedy was spellbinding.
In October 2002, Susan Polk, a California housewife and
mother of three, was arrested for the brutal murder of her
husband, Felix. More than twenty years her senior, Felix was
teenage Susan's psychologist when their unorthodox romantic
entanglement began, eventually leading to a difficult
marriage, disturbing allegations of abuse from both sides,
and Felix's gruesome murder. What followed was an
extraordinary trial that captivated a nation—as police,
attorneys, and the media tried to understand what pushed a
seemingly devoted homemaker over the edge.