Money can’t protect you. This is what Jennifer Dulos should have been telling herself as she loaded her kids—three boys and two girls, all under 14—into her car and drove away from the husband and marriage and house and life she had lived in Farmington, a trip that would have taken her south on I-84 to Route 7, past the Danbury Fair Mall and adjacent airport, its runway lit like the Vegas Strip in the dead of night, through the Wooster Mountain cut that opens like a gateway to the affluent towns along the Connecticut coast.

She was living a scene from every 1970s movie and Helen Reddy song. Fotis had left her long before she had left him. He’d been no more than a ghostlike presence from the earliest days of their marriage. It was no surprise that he’d been cheating; he’d probably been at it for years. And things had only gotten worse. His mood swings, outrages, and flashes of temper had come to seem like a danger. At 50, she knew it was time to start yet another chapter in her life.