A Jacket Off the Gorge: True Story of the Biggest Liar


Reality becomes more dangerous than fiction when an author is pulled into the secrets and deceptions of an enigmatic con man who faked his own death and stole a treasure of ancient gold and silver coins that are still missing to this day.

A Jacket Off the Gorge is a page-turning real-life psychological thriller that tells the story of a journalist who crosses paths with a master manipulator—exposing the shortcomings of a criminal justice system that failed them both.

Jon Fontaine’s teenage years are shaped by his motivation to run a lucrative drug-selling enterprise. Despite the many tricks up his sleeve, the law catches up with him time after time. To escape a lengthy prison sentence, Jon bails out of jail and fakes his own death. He throws his jacket off a gorge, the pinnacle of a meticulously staged suicide. Police find the jacket and declare him dead, only to capture him later as a fugitive from justice.

Seven years after the ruse, Jon meets Susan, who is unaware of his criminal past. And he’s keeping a secret: he’s stolen a treasure of ancient gold and silver coins. He will never give away its location. Jon is artful in deception and manipulation, particularly of the women who love him. Susan has the professional connections, resources, and intelligence that could benefit him. Will he take advantage of her trust for personal gain?

Jon sends Susan on a roller-coaster of love and fear, and exploits the weaknesses in the criminal justice system to work his biggest cons yet, ending in a trail of victims—and death.

A Jacket Off the Gorge peels back the layers of the criminal mind, revealing a fascinating look at one man’s struggles within himself and with others. Jon’s story raises questions about incarceration versus rehabilitation, lack of mental health treatment for offenders, and abuses by those we entrust to uphold the law.

“Compelling! Part fascinating true crime story and part soul-baring memoir. Susan Ashline’s A Jacket Off the Gorge is redolent of Norman Mailer’s classic Pulitzer Prize winning book, The Executioner’s Song. I was hooked from beginning to end. Loved it!

—Jim Tracy, author of Sworn to Silence

“Fascinating and brilliantly written, A Jacket Off the Gorge invites readers in for an intimate view of a seductive sociopath’s dangerous mind, and his wicked deceptions that lead to catastrophic events.”

—Leslie Rule, author of A Tangled Web