Saving Annie: The Fall by Steve Jackson

Thank you to Adam @wildbluepress for the digital copy of Saving Annie I received in exchange for an honest review.

Split into four parts Saving Annie tells the story of the investigation into Rhonda Castro’s death. The first part is The FallThe Fall starts with the 911 call from Stephen who describes his girlfriend Rhonda fell off a cliff and died despite his efforts to save her. Ending with Stephen being arrested for an unrelated case.

Written in a very straightforward manner and straight to the point. The Fall is told in chronological order. Steve Jackson has done an amazing job of presenting the facts. Jackson has compiled initial investigation reports and transcripts immediately after Rhonda’s death.

This is the first part of an intriguing story. The Fall is a very thorough and well-written book that fans of true crime will enjoy. It is amazing the amount of information included and so interesting how an investigation is put together.

The Fall does end abruptly – and if you did not have the others lined up it may be a frustrating point. I will note as well you may be tempted as I was to look up the story online. Because the events are recent there are plenty of articles on the subject. Recommended.


In March 2009, pretty, vivacious Rhonda Casto plunged to her death from a 300-foot cliff in the Oregon woods. The only witness, Stephen Nichols, the father of her nine-month-old baby, Annie, told police investigators she slipped and fell.

Yet, Nichols’ story didn’t mesh with the facts. And some of his other actions raised suspicions as well. Including trying to collect on a million-dollar life insurance policy, he’d taken out on his unemployed, 23-year-old girlfriend. So what had begun with a 911 call to report an accident, quickly turned into a homicide investigation.

However, due to lackluster police work, the case grew cold. In 2011, Dardie Robinson began digging into the circumstances surrounding Rhonda’s death. Rhonda’s mother believed that Nichols, 34, had murdered her daughter. She wanted to prevent him from gaining custody of Annie and the life insurance money.

What Robinson discovered, includes an attempt by Nichols to throw his first wife off a high-rise balcony in China. Previous sexual assault charges convinced her that Rhonda’s death was no accident. So began her six-year battle to ‘save Annie’ from her own father and find justice for Rhonda.

Co-authors Steve Jackson, an award-winning journalist, and private investigator Tom McCallum, posed the same questions. What really happened to Rhonda Casto on that afternoon on the Eagle Creek trail? And what would become of her child?

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