Amber Frey, like most people, is not without her contradictions. In Amber Frey: Witness for the Prosecution of Scott Peterson, Frey presents her story in the bizarre Scott Peterson case. At the same time Peterson wooed her, he captured the nation’s attention with the story of his missing pregnant wife, Laci. With so much written about Frey, her relationship with Peterson, and her role in the prosecution, she clearly wanted to have the last word. Frey begins the story with her instant infatuation with Peterson and ends with her transformation into the one person who could somehow bring about justice for Laci and her baby. She had, for many, become “Laci’s voice.” While Frey attempts to portray herself as a heroine, a portrayal she buttresses with quotes from friends, detectives, and even members of Laci’s family, Frey readily admits to having some serious warts and flaws.
If anything, Amber Frey tells a cautionary tale. Here is a woman who, in the beginning, is seemingly very lucky. Her best friend has found the perfect man for Frey. He is charming, witty, handsome, single, and ready to settle down; he is perfect. He is also too good to be true. But her best friend has vouched for the man and Frey accepts a blind date. She lets her guard down and quickly—albeit too quickly—enters into a relationship that is to change her life forever.
While the speed of Frey’s deepening relationship with Peterson is breathtaking, it is the complicated web of lies and deceit by Peterson that is truly staggering. It’s as though he concocted an alternate reality. He spun tales of life in Sacramento, family holidays in Maine, travels abroad and a heart that is unattached and ready for love. Even when Frey learned he lied about his marriage and his “lost” wife, she is still ensnared by his deceit. It’s not until the national media pushes Peterson into the limelight that Frey suddenly finds herself a player in what is to become a bizarre murder case.
To her credit, once she realized her Scott Peterson was the Scott Peterson appearing on TV pleading for the return of his lost pregnant wife, she contacted the police and agreed to help in the investigation. The transcripts of Frey’s phone conversations with Peterson are in the book. Reading their conversations made me wonder why he continued to call and talk to her, particularly after her public announcement about their relationship and her contact with the police.
Frey’s account of her relationship with Peterson is chilling. Here’s a woman who thought she knew everything about this charming, honest, warm, and witty man. She knew nothing. Instead, he proved to be a pathological liar and a sociopath.
While the majority of the book tells of her involvement in the Peterson case, Frey also gives us her life story. Peppered with scripture and her reflections on her life, she also attempts to weave in her spiritual journey. I found these sections to be the weakest and often the most contradictory. She admits to having had a series of bad relationships with men, with one resulting in her first child. She talks of having an abortion and then attending church and becoming repentant. She speaks of her faith and her involvement in church groups, yet she moves into another relationship–after Peterson–where she becomes pregnant again.
Whatever one may think of Amber Frey, it’s clear she had a major impact on the investigation of Scott Peterson and was instrumental in the prosecution of his case. She came forward immediately and worked with the detectives to build a case against Peterson. Despite the many opportunities to tell her story, she refused to do anything that would contaminate the prosecution’s ability to convict Peterson of murder. On the day Peterson was arrested, police searched his car and found a T-handle, a folding saw, duct tape, a shovel, and a map downloaded that day with driving directions to Frey’s office. Luck was once again on her side.
–vikk simmons Down the Writer’s Path