Picks and Pans Review: Raging Heart

updated 02/27/1995 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 02/27/1995 AT 01:00 AM EST

by Sheila Wetter

In an exhaustive tale of romance, obsession, infidelity and violence, author Sheila Weller (Amy Fisher: My Story) delivers the most detailed account so far of the lives of Nicole Brown and O.J. Simpson. Drawn from interviews with approximately 80 people, Raging Heart tells more than any junkie will want to know, though even they may not persevere through a long-winded litany of Nicole's childhood bicycle spills and fussy eating habits.

Still, Weller had the cooperation of the Brown family—half of the book's royalties will go to a fund for the young Simpson children—and the early confidence of such longtime Simpson friends as Ron Shipp, the former LAPD officer whose tortured testimony provided the trial's first sensational turn. Shipp's story gives Raging Heart its most compelling scene, as he vividly reconstructs the grim mood at Simpson's Brentwood estate 24 hours after the murders. Surrounded by family and friends, O.J. sat on the living room couch and wielded the TV clicker across four TV sets, watching the day's reruns. Later, alone with his friend, Simpson expressed concern about DNA-evidence test results and his fear of taking a polygraph test ("I don't want to take it," he told Shipp, " 'cause I have had some dreams about killing her").

There are other disturbing revelations. A neighbor who attended Sydney Simpson's dance recital on June 12 claims that O.J., rebuffed by Nicole, chillingly declared, "I'm not done with her. I'm going to get her, but good."

The author's copious research also turned up some rarely reported information: Simpson's father, who left the family when O.J. was 5, was a homosexual who died of AIDS in 1985 O.J., then 38, was a pallbearer at his funeral.

Make of that what you will, but No. 32 hero worshippers should take note: Raging Heart leaves no reasonable doubt about who committed the crime. (Pocket, $18)

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