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Monday, August 24, 2020

Tortured With Love by JT Hunter (VBT: Book Review / Contest Giveaway)

In association with Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours, Jersey Girl Book Reviews is pleased to host the virtual book tour event for Tortured With Love by author JT Hunter!

Book Review

Tortured With Love by JT Hunter
Publisher: JT Hunter
Publication Date: May 15, 2020
Format: Paperback - 238 pages
               Kindle - 968 KB
               Audio Book - 5 Hours 56 Minutes
               Nook - 671 KB
ISBN: 978-0578720289
ASIN (eBook): B088P5N59D
ASIN (AudioBook): B08G81L5BP
BNID: 978-0578720272
Genre: True Crime

Buy The Book:
Amazon (Free On Kindle Unlimited)

Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book from the author in exchange for my honest review and participation in a virtual book tour event hosted by Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours.

Book Description:

What is the price of passion? What is the power of love?

Meet Martha Beck, a young nurse dedicated to healing others, until her own hurting heart lured her down a darker path. Loneliness led her to Raymond Fernandez, but love led her all the way to the electric chair.

This is the tragic story of the Lonely Heart Killers.

Raymond Fernandez and Martha Beck, the Lonely Heart Killers

Book Excerpt:


On an otherwise mundane March day, a peculiar piece of paper arrived in Martha Beck’s office mailbox. It came with the usual medical correspondence and junk mail, giving no indication of its importance. Yet, this one particular envelope would change Martha’s life forever.

The envelope arrived on a cool afternoon, the temperature hovering just below 60, the highest it had climbed all day in the Pensacola area of the Florida Panhandle. But Martha was not in the mood to enjoy the weather. She was still down in the dumps about her recently finalized divorce from Alfred Beck, a Pensacola bus driver who had married her when she was six months pregnant with another man’s child. Although she had been separated from Alfred since May 1945, nearly two years earlier, the formal entry of their divorce had the nearly 27-year-old Martha feeling like an old maid doomed to live out the rest of her life alone.

Martha was not unique in that respect in post-World War II America. With well over a million more women than men, the United States population of the mid and late 1940’s left many lonely women in its wake.
A visit from Elizabeth Swanson, one of the nurses she supervised at the Crippled Children’s Home, temporarily distracted Martha from feeling sorry for herself. She considered Elizabeth her closest friend. When Elizabeth knocked on her office door, Martha had just started going through the mail. As the two engaged in the latest gossip and friendly chit-chat, Martha resumed sorting through the assortment of envelopes. The first was an advertisement from a Jacksonville company selling medical equipment. She quickly flipped past it as well as a few other pieces of junk mail until a mysterious envelope caught her eye. It was made of thin, pale-brown paper with the name, Mrs. Martha Jule Beck, typed prominently on the front.

“What’s this?” she asked, the question directed more to herself than her friend.

“What is what?” Elizabeth replied, sipping from a mug of coffee.

“This . . . this odd envelope,” Martha said, holding it up to show her.

“Beat’s me,” Elizabeth remarked coyly. “I wonder who sent you that.”

“I’m sure I don’t know,” Martha remarked, her curiosity now piqued. She turned the envelope over to inspect it further, and seeing nothing hinting at its contents, opened it to find a thin, paper pamphlet inside. It was a promotional mailing and application for the Standard Correspondence Club, one of many “lonely hearts clubs” operating across the country. The return address gave Standard’s location as Grave Lake, Illinois.

LONELY?, the pamphlet asked in large, bold letters, Let us help you find that certain someone. Join old reliable Club, 50 years of dependable, confidential service. Correspondents most everywhere seeking congenial mates, proven results. Interesting photos, descriptions FREE. There were several pictures of women spaced throughout the page, each next to a testimonial about a happy marriage brought about by contacts made through the club.

“Now why on earth would they send this to me?” Martha wondered aloud, taking a little offense that such a “lovelorn club” would be contacting her.

Elizabeth’s coyness now morphed into a broad grin that spread across her face.

“Now why on earth would they send this to me?” Martha wondered aloud, “I have a confession to make,” Elizabeth said as she started giggling. “I wrote the club and asked them to send you information and an application.”

Martha studied her friend’s face, deciding whether she was serious.

“Whatever for?” she asked in a tone matching the astonishment in her eyes.

Still giggling, Elizabeth moved to a chair closer to Martha and sat down beside her.

“I originally did it as a joke,” she explained, “but the more I thought about it, the more I decided that you should give it a try. Three of my daughters are writing to me that they have met men through this correspondence club, and this is the very same club that I met my husband through thirty years ago. And after all, what do you have to lose?”

Martha rolled her eyes.

“I may be a little lonely,” she acknowledged, “but I’m not THAT desperate.”

She glared with some annoyance at Elizabeth. “I swear, sometimes I really wonder what’s going on in that head of yours.”

Martha tossed the pamphlet onto a pile of papers stacked on the side of her desk and made no more mention of it for the rest of their time together. But the seeds of intrigue had already been planted in her mind.

Later, after Elizabeth had left, Martha retrieved the discarded pamphlet and read it more closely. Part of the pamphlet contained a form asking her to fill out information about herself and write a letter detailing what kind of men she would like to meet. Sitting down at her desk, she carefully completed the form and took her time crafting the letter, being sure to mention how people often commented that she was witty, vivacious, and oozed personality. She also emphasized that she was a trained nurse with her own pleasant apartment. When she was satisfied with what she had written, Martha carefully folded the papers, enclosed $5.00 for the required membership fee, and licked the envelope to seal it. That evening, she dropped it in a mailbox on her way home from work.


Years later, when asked whether she had experienced any misgivings about joining a lonely hearts club, Martha candidly replied, “Yes, as soon as I’d put the letter in the mailbox, I began thinking I’d made a mistake.”

Questioned about what kind of man she hoped to meet through the club, Martha took a little more time before answering.

“Well, I don’t know,” she confessed. “I guess I hadn’t thought about it much.

But I sure didn’t think I’d ever meet anyone like Ray.”

Excerpt from Tortured With Love by J.T. Hunter. Copyright 2020 by J.T. Hunter. Reproduced with permission from J.T. Hunter. All rights reserved.

My Book Review:

In Tortured With Love, author JT Hunter takes the reader behind the scenes of a riveting true crime thriller for an in depth look at the tragic story of the serial killers called the Lonely Heart Killers.

Martha Beck met Raymond Fernandez through a correspondence club called the "Lonely Hearts Club." Raymond used the club to meet and scam lonely women like Martha of their savings. Martha falls in love with Raymond, who has a powerful influence over her, and she pledges her loyalty and devotion, and will do anything for him.

From 1947-1949, their spree of scamming lonely women takes a sadistic turn towards murder, until they are caught and put on trial for first degree murder, and ultimately given the death sentence, and electrocuted on March 8, 1951 in Sing Sing Prison in New York.

The media dubbed this infamous serial killer couple the Lonely Hearts Killers, and they made Time Magazine's list of Top Ten Crime Duos In US History, coming in number 4 behind (1) Bonnie and Clyde, (2) Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, and (3) Frank and Jesse James.

Tortured With Love is a riveting story that easily draws the reader in from the start, keeping them captivated as the author weaves a thoroughly intriguing and intricate recounting of serial killers Martha Beck and Raymond Fernandez's horrific scam and murder spree, and highly publicized murder case.

The author provides the reader with a fascinating and richly detailed and in depth look into the back stories and lives of the serial killers and their victims. The author utilized his extensive experience as a criminal attorney and college professor to provide a thorough recounting of this heinous case with a critical eye towards the research of the serial killers' backgrounds, and the investigative and legal processes of the case; including a very detailed timeline of their crime spree throughout the book.

You can't help but get drawn into this complicated, fascinating, and multi-layered story, it is a gripping dark account of a truly horrific serial killing spree, and the mind boggling investigative and legal path that the justice system took to render justice for the unsuspecting victims.

Tortured With Love is a gripping and chilling true crime account of the Lonely Heart Killers that is a must read for all true crime fans.


About The Author

JT Hunter is a true crime writer with over fifteen years of experience as a lawyer, including criminal law and appeals. He also has significant training in criminal investigation techniques. He enjoys being a college professor teaching fiction and nonfiction to his creative writing students.

Contest Giveaway

Win A $20 Amazon Gift Card

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for JT Hunter. There will be 2 winners of one (1) Amazon GC each. The giveaway begins on August 1, 2020 and runs through October 2, 2020. Open to U.S. addresses only. Void where prohibited.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Virtual Book Tour

Tour Participants:

08/02 Showcase @ EienCafe

08/03 Review @ Book Reviews From an Avid Reader

08/05 Showcase @ Im Into Books

08/06 Review @ BooksChatter

08/10 Showcase @ Airing My Dirty Laundry

08/12 Showcase @ The Pulp and Mystery Shelf

08/13 Interview/showcase @ CMash Reads

08/24 Review @ Jersey Girl Book Reviews

08/29 Review @ noorthebookworm

09/01 Review @ Momfluenster

09/02 Showcase @ Our Town Book Reviews

09/08 Interview @ Quiet Fury Books

09/12 Review @ Cheryls Book Nook

09/15 Review/showcase @ Avonna Loves Genres

09/16 Review @ Niks Nook

09/20 Review @ The World As I See It

09/21 Review @ Nesies Place

09/22 Showcase @ Sylv. net

09/24 Review @ Archaeolibrarian - I Dig Good Books!

09/24 Review/showcase @ The Bookwyrm

09/25 Review @ Celticladys Reviews

09/29 Review @ A Room Without Books is Empty


  1. I have this book in my queue, but after reading your review, I am moving it up in my pile.

    1. Hi Cheryl! This story is fascinating especially given the time period.