• To Kill or Be Killed

  • A True Crime Memoir from Prison
  • By: Joni Ankerson
  • Narrated by: Tanya Eby
  • Length: 6 hrs and 1 min
  • 4.2 out of 5 stars (149 ratings)

Access a growing selection of included Audible Originals, audiobooks, and podcasts.
You will get an email reminder before your trial ends.
Your Plus plan is $7.95 a month after 30 day trial. Upgrade or cancel anytime.
To Kill or Be Killed  By  cover art

To Kill or Be Killed

By: Joni Ankerson
Narrated by: Tanya Eby
Try for $0.00

$7.95 a month after 30 days. Cancel anytime.

Buy for $20.97

Buy for $20.97

Pay using card ending in
By confirming your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and Amazon's Privacy Notice. Taxes where applicable.

Publisher's Summary

The day we met in October of 1997, I was working at the District Court in Traverse City, Michigan as a Deputy Clerk. It was like most other days with arraignments, sentencings, civil case hearings, and the like. People shuffling in and out, everyone taking care of their important business with court appearances, document filings, paying tickets, fines, and bonding loved ones out of jail.

I loved my job. It was extremely satisfying and interesting with constant interaction with all walks of life, including people on either end of the judicial spectrum and many in between. Suddenly, there he was. Tall, handsome, and looking so impressive and important in his Michigan State Police uniform with his hat, gun belt, and badge. A powerful man who had chosen a profession to serve and protect. He was extremely friendly and upbeat, smiling profusely. Best of all, he, too, was unattached.

What could go wrong? He was like a dream man. We clicked, immediately, and began dating exclusively. But he was not a dream man. He was a nightmare...as I learned over the next 12 years.

Twelve years of enduring domestic violence at its absolute worse. Constant abuse, control, manipulation, and threats. Sadistic sexual deviance and sexual violence. It was only going to end one way: someone would die in our bed and someone would go to prison for murder.

This is my story about domestic violence, resilience, reckoning, and survival. 

©2020 by Joni Ankerson (P)2020 by Blackstone Publishing

What listeners say about To Kill or Be Killed

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    84
  • 4 Stars
    33
  • 3 Stars
    15
  • 2 Stars
    8
  • 1 Stars
    9
Performance
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    77
  • 4 Stars
    28
  • 3 Stars
    15
  • 2 Stars
    6
  • 1 Stars
    9
Story
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    84
  • 4 Stars
    22
  • 3 Stars
    13
  • 2 Stars
    5
  • 1 Stars
    9

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

An eye-opening portrayal of domestic violence and the battered women’s defense (or lack thereof).

For anyone who has experienced abuse, or does not understand why women stay, etc., a book like this is essential. The author does a better job than anyone I’ve read, at explaining the process of breaking a person down. The gory examples she uses may seem unnecessary, but I like that she doesn’t shy away from the sexual abuse that dehumanizes victims, Most authors do, which is why it’s still hard to understand some of the outcomes of domestic violence situations. Many victims are living in a hell that far exceeds bruises and emotional abuse (which is devastating enough, but not the limit). The most we often hear about this horrific sexual torture is true crime shows that proclaim, “They were in a kinky S&M relationship.” This is fine if it’s accurate, terribly wrong if non-consensual. I’m not sure why the protagonist was portrayed as being on her third marriage, with children, when entering the relationship. There are people who judge mothers for this today, and it might have been more effective to make her a more sympathetic character. I think the point was to show she had experience to compare this man to, and it was an extreme departure from previous relationships. If you listen, you see that he misrepresented his intentions, for some time, at the beginning. I feel no judgment toward the main character…just hope it will be well-received by readers. I wouldn’t be revealing so much if there was any mystery at all, to the story. At the beginning, it’s announced that she has killed her husband, and is in prison. Then, immediately, she launches into a highly authentic narrative of (fictional) abuse. As a former county victim advocate, activist, and DV shelter worker, this reads like an excellent manual. It would have, perhaps, appealed more to people who are familiar with the issue if the ending was not revealed. For others, it may help them challenge assumptions about criminality. The narrator doesn’t help much with this, however. She uses a cold, detached tone. The author’s intent was to teach about dissociation as a trauma response (as discussed in the book). The coldness of the delivery is overdone, and a bit creepy. This potentially detracts from credibility, and relatability. That minor criticism aside, the author’s portrayal of abuse is excellent. It delves, to great depths, into the dynamics of domestic violence. It explains tactics and actions of a primarily emotional and sexual abuse perpetrator. It’s important to recognize that sexual violence and threats of harm are also physical abuse, not just beatings. The author does an amazing job of putting the reader in her shoes, as the story unfolds. Very beneficial to me, as a survivor of this type of abuse, despite having worked with, and studied, domestic violence for years. I recommend it for understanding the effects of sexual violence on victims, but caution that it may be triggering to people in early recovery from abuse. Particularly those who have dissociated from feelings, or repressed memories of abuse. It’s discussion of the use of prescribed drugs to cope with the physical and emotional pain makes this a good choice for my work with clients with substance use disorders. Trauma, abuse, and the criminal justice system are common themes in their histories. I plan to order a paper copy (or multiple) for lending and reference.

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Maybe I'm just cynical..............

I hated this book for several reasons.
Following the timeline it appears that she was on her third marriage while still having children young enough to raise.
Nothing makes my blood boil more than a woman or man putting a love interest ahead of their kids. Ever. She seldom mentioned her kids and it seems that they weren't living with her when she met up with this monster.
The next thing was the graphic details she chose to include. Ugh! I was ready to lose my lunch. Did she want said children to read all about it along with everyone else?
The third thing was how she kept saying her family of origin was so amazing. I got a picture in my mind of Leave it to Beaver. It's hard to believe that someone from such a nurturing environment could repeatedly make so many poor choices.
I've never been abused so I can't comment on what she did and the outcome. She does take some blame for poor choices. I'll give her that.
SMH at this one. It if hadn't been free I would have demanded a refund.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Loved the way the story was presented

Love the way the story was presented. I can also sympathize with main character.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

So many of these unfair stories.

No woman, abused like this, should be in jail. I'm so sorry. I pray you are free and happy now.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

An Excruciating Story that Defies Understanding

"To Kill or Be Killed" by Joni Ankerson is very difficult to listen to, hard to understand, and even harder to continue listening to. This is sufferance beyond understanding; the question we often ask of people in abusive relationships..... why don't they just leave?

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Worth listening to for sure.

Great story of brave woman. However , very robotic narrator sounded like Alexa was reading it.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Sad story of abuse and manipulation

I wonder if the attacks on the author by some reviewers are the dead psychos family or friends 🤔
Definitely a How To Spot An Abuser Manual.
Glad she's out of prison

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Pity story. Bad decisions over and over.

Poorly written pity party. The author blamed her circumstances on anything but her own decisions. Poor life choices lead her to exactly where she deserves to be.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Needs Different Narratior

I’m sorry but this is the second audio book that I’ve heard by the narrator, Tanya something, that ruined the book or story for me, I’m truly sorry but this performer is just not cut out for true crime. She should stick with a different genre or subject like cooking or something happy because her reading style isn’t appropriate. Sometimes, she confuses dark narratives as bright and it’s just not right, I’m sorry, I don’t mean to be harsh, but this genre isn’t for her reading style.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

With a different narrator this would have been 5*

The story was very well written but the performance detracted from the overall in that she spoke in a monotone, clearly enunciating each word with equal weight and separation between words almost like it was being read by a computer, which was both distracting and made it difficult at times to hear the context in which the author had written those same words. In spite of that I felt the author did an amazing job of verbalizing how an intelligent woman can find herself slowly yet increasingly under the control of an abuser and how trapped that can make her feel.