Nightmare In Napa: Author's Note

Producer Paul LaRosa Pens True-Crime Book Based On Napa Murder Mystery

"Nightmare in Napa," published by Simon & Schuster's Pocket Books division, is the first in a series of true-crime books that are based on the broadcasts of the CBS News reality drama 48 Hours Mystery. It is the chilling story of what happened to two women in a house in Napa, Calif. on Halloween night 2004.

48 Hours Mystery already had produced an hour on the story when Executive Producer Susan Zirinsky and Executive Editor Al Briganti hatched the idea to do a series of true crime books. They asked me to get involved and write the first book because I had then recently published a true crime book of my own called "Tacoma Confidential."

I began reviewing all the tapes from the Napa broadcast and, as always, there were a lot. That's something most viewers do not realize. In producing any hour for 48 Hours Mystery, producers typically will supervise the videotaping of more than 100 hours of interviews and other material. All of those hours are edited down to make a compelling, fast-moving, one-hour broadcast for prime-time television. This should give you an idea of the wealth and breadth of material we compile for each broadcast. Because of time restrictions, a lot of material never makes it onto the air. So much is left out that, well, you could write a book, and that's just what we're going to do in this series.

Just under 150 hours of tapes existed for the first hour. I went through a good portion of them but decided I had to go to Napa and meet the principals and get a feel for the town and the Napa Valley. So that's what I did. I got to meet, have lunch with or e-mail many of those involved with the story. In some cases, I did original reporting. The original hour ended with the arrest of the murderer but now the case had to wind its way through the courts. I followed it every step of the way, culminating with the dramatic sentencing of the defendant in January, 2007.

Along the way, I got a real sense for the lives of the two murder victims: Adriane Insogna and Leslie Mazzara and I hope that I've been true to their memories in the book. They were both special young women whose families are heartbroken by their loss. In many ways, the most surprising aspect of the story is not the murder itself but the identity of the murderer and his reasons for doing what he did.

I can't wait until you read it and please send along your comments. My email is Also, check out my Web site, The book will hit bookstores on April 24 and an excerpt will be posted on this Web site shortly.


The second book in the series is co-written by Emmy Award-winning 48 Hours Mystery correspondent Peter Van Sant and producer Jenna Jackson. "Perfectly Executed," the story of two boys who wrote a screenplay involving murder that was either fiction or a clue to a real crime, is scheduled to be published in late August.
Written By Paul LaRosa