Pain and Gain
The Untold True Story
Book authored by Marc Schiller
I sat down to start this book and I didn’t put it down until I was at the end. I read the whole book in one day. It was truly gripping and I could not help but finish it. It was an incredible story to read. Not because it was unbelievable. Oh no. Far from it in fact. Unfortunately, when this author first tried to tell his story to law enforcement and even doctors, they assumed he was not being truthful. The truth can sometimes be stranger than fiction. Indeed, that is the situation in this case. And while some of what this author tells about his experience may seem outrageous or like something you just can’t believe, I assure you, this story is possible. In my experience as a true crime researcher, the one thing that is constant in crime is that there are no limits to human depravity. There are no limits to how dark or demented a person can be, no limits to the arrays of pain, degradation, humiliation, and suffering that some people are willing to inflict upon others. There’s no real limit to the lengths some people go to and no real limit to whatever their reason is for such abhorrent behavior. Crime happens on all levels, in all areas, and it’s committed by people from all backgrounds and situations.
In this particular case, we have one victim and multiple perpetrators. And it’s not just the four people that kept this man prisoner but also people outside of the kidnapping and torture that helped victimize this gentleman further by helping strip him and his family of everything they had in the world. All their property, all their money, their business, their home. These monsters even took the kids' toys. They cleaned him out. The greed was endless and they had no qualms about how they got their hands on what they wanted.
Now, I’m sure many people think this kind of thing could never happen to them. That they would never be coerced into signing over everything they owned. However, you can’t say what you would do unless you’ve been in his position. And his position was very grave. He was chained to a wall. He was tortured physically, emotionally, and psychologically. He was degraded and humiliated. His family was in danger. At a certain point, one has to reach the conclusion that material possessions can be replaced but human lives cannot be. It got down to the most basic of factors---survival. Everything beyond survival could be addressed once he was free.
This story was not just about a kidnapping either. It was about betrayal and loss. It was about fear and pain. And it was largely about the concept of pure faith in general (not religion) and perseverance. No person or animal should have to endure the things this man endured. The trauma and torture inflicted on this man were nothing but sadistic. The leader of this whole vicious circus was violently mentally ill, in my opinion. I saw signs of a severe malignant narcissistic personality. Plus, a horrific anti-social personality coupled with what seemed to possibly be a kind of bipolar disorder. Please know, with confidence, that not everybody that has any kind of mental illness is dangerous. Nobody is dangerous automatically just because they have a mental illness. There are a few that do end up dangerous and their mental illness may exacerbate that. But just being bipolar or just being even a malignant narcissist doesn't automatically mean that you want to hurt people. Still, in this case, this perpetrator's mental illness was not a positive factor in this experience on the whole. I can’t and won’t say that his mental illness caused him to do what he did, because I do not believe that to be the case and because I am not a licensed professional in the field to make such a determination. I will say that an already violent and unpredictable personality was made worse at times by varying factors of his illnesses. All of this becomes crystal clear as you read about what actually happened, how it all came about and transpired, and the explanation of the people involved.
But the main takeaway from this case is hope, perseverance, self-respect in all circumstances, and the importance of family. Marc Schiller is an absolute example of a good human being. He is an example of fortitude and stability. His harrowing account takes you deep into his experience as a prisoner of these demented tormentors. He tells about things he could have easily left out because they were embarrassing. He wants people to understand, as close as they can, exactly what he went through. And the only way to do that is by being completely open and honest about the entire experience. And I can imagine it took quite a bit of emotional and psychological strength and resolve to put all of this down on paper into a book. This must have been painful to write and yet, at the same time, somewhat cathartic.
This was just an average man. A family man that worked a typical accounting job, provided for his wife and kids and tried to be a good person and help others when he could. He lived in a normal house and had a normal, fairly uneventful life as an adult. His childhood was rough but it didn’t hold him back from anything. If anything the struggles he endured growing up would mold him into the man that was able to survive this ordeal. This written account takes you through every event of this case, almost day by day. The detail expressed in this book creates a very clear, very vivid, and very horrifying picture. And it is one survivor’s story you can’t ignore. Marc is very relatable and he tells his story with emotion and transparency.
This was an excellent book. As a frequent reader and researcher of true crime, I had heard about this case before and knew the general story. But I did not know all the details, big or small. Also as a frequent true crime reader, I can say that this is one of the more horrifying kidnapping cases I have read about. It was not only an incredible story but it was an inspirational one as well. Learning about something like this makes you think about things like priorities and how spoiled we can get with all the advances in life now. It makes you think about the difference between what you want to endure and what you can endure. The two are very different. While he didn’t want to go through any of this, Marc endured his captivity day in and day out, vowing not to be broken. And he wasn’t.
Any true crime reader should like this book. It was well worth the read.