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Love Story

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Knowing that this is sensitive subject matter and that any evidence presented to support the claim that Cobain was murdered would be subjected to intense criticism, the authors researched and presented their evidence meticulously. There are several indisputable facts that support the murder theory. Hours before the body was discovered in the greenhouse of Love and Cobain's Lake Washington home, someone attempted to use his credit card to purchase flowers. However, the medical examiner determined that the body had been dead for about three days. Mysteriously, no legible fingerprints were found on the shotgun, the shells and box of shells, or the pen used to write the "suicide" note (which was stabbed through the note into the dirt of a planter near the body). Also, two of the world's foremost handwriting analysts determined that the last four lines of the note were written by a different person than the body of the note.

Without those last four lines, the note could possibly be read as a retirement letter from rock stardom; as reports at the time verify, Cobain was through with Nirvana.

It's well-known that Cobain was high at the time of his death. A cigar box containing syringes, burnt spoons and pieces of black tar heroin was found next to his body. What's not so well-known is that, according to toxicology reports, he had three times the lethal dose of heroin in his body at the time of death. The authors did extensive research into the pathology of heroin and heroin addicts and concluded that after shooting up such a huge amount of heroin, Cobain would have been unconscious in seconds, leaving no time to roll his sleeve back down and shoot himself. This conclusion was also reached in an extremely detailed and referenced essay entitled "Dead Men Don't Pull Triggers" by Roger Lewis, which can be found on the Internet.

Additionally, the book explores other possibly related occurrences--the death of Hole bassist Kristen Pfaff, who was reportedly leaving the band; the claim by Mentors' lead singer El Duce that Love offered him $50,000 to whack Cobain, and El Duce's mysterious death subsequent to discussing the offer with the media; and the death of Seattle detective Antonio Terry, who was connected to Cobain's missing-persons case before the discovery of the body.

The authors are careful not to directly accuse Courtney Love of arranging the murder of her husband, even stating that they are not completely convinced that she was involved. They do, however, have harsh words for Love ("She's made a career of springboarding off the heads of her critics up the ladder of success and she has no intention of falling down now") and present many facts that implicate her. It's unclear whether Cobain was having an affair toward the end of his life, but it appears that Love believed that he was sleeping with a Seattle heroin dealer named Caitlin Moore. In the book, Grant claims that the Cobains' lawyer, Rosemary Carroll, told him that shortly before Cobain's death he asked her to draw up a will excluding Love because they were divorcing. The Cobains' prenuptial agreement would have kept Love from collecting anything beyond a small settlement, while his death left her a multimillion-dollar estate and interest in all Nirvana profits.

The book additionally points out that, until his death, it was never thought that Cobain's overdose in Rome in March of '94 was anything but an accident. Soon after his death, though, Courtney Love began proclaiming that it was a suicide attempt, and that he had left a suicide note at that time also. The attending doctor at the hospital in Rome maintains that it looked like an accidental overdose and denies Love's claim that more than 50 pills (of the "date rape" drug, Rohypnol) were pumped from his stomach.

The aspect of the book most damaging to its credibility is whom the the authors associated themselves with during the process. They served as consultants on Broomfield's documentary, Kurt and Courtney, which has been panned by critics as uncredible and tabloid; however, the authors describe Broomfield as Britain's Michael Moore, a stretch by any measure.

Also, the two authors went on tour with Hank Harrison, Courtney Love's long-estranged father, a publicity-seeking former hippie who will seemingly do anything possible to cash in on his daughter's fame.

In the book, Harrison repeatedly claims that he believes his daughter was responsible for Cobain's murder. The authors do not endorse Harrison's views, and co-author Wallace admits the tour may have been a mistake.

"Hank's quite invaluable as a source for information about early Courtney, but he never met Kurt, and a lot of the things he says about the death have to be taken with a grain of salt," Wallace says. "Being too closely associated with Hank was one of our biggest fears, and it sort of came true, unfortunately. We labored to distance ourselves from him; originally the promoter wanted us to go on with him and present these things [about the Cobain case] together. We said, 'No, no, no, we'll be the opening act.'

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Brendan Joel Kelley