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review 2018-01-16 20:21
Doesn't Really Work as a Collection
Mortal Danger and Other True Cases - Ann Rule

I think that Rule should have kept the first story as it's own standalone cause that with the other stories doesn't really work. 


Mortal Danger (3 stars)-The first story is about Kathy Ann Jewell and her affair with a man that she really didn't know. I think that Rule dragged things out way too much and there were a lot of holes. I imagine cause she didn't have a chance to talk to the man who was the focus of her story here, John Branden. We do read about how mentally and physically abusive Branden is to Kathy Ann over the years finally culminating in an incident that left Kahty Ann raped, beaten, and fearing for her life. When Rule tries to follow what little Branden leaves behind when he moves onto another woman, named Turi Bentley. When the story shifts to Turi, there's not much there. Ultimately a sad story.


Written in Blood (3 stars)-It took me a while to realize that I had heard of this story before while watching Forensic Files. Rule was really repetitive in this story though she did add on some things I had not heard about before. It appears the man who ultimately was responsible for the murder of his neighbors (Daniel Tavares) and possible serial killer. And then we are told that the man in question was molested by his mother's one boyfriend (that still lived with him) and there could be potentially other things that were done to him as well. BTW this is not to excuse the man, it's just we are flung a lot of information our way as readers and it didn't feel as if Rule had done a lot of research or culling to make the story more coherent. We don't get a sense of the murdered married couple, Bev and Brian Mauck. 


If I Can't Have You... (3 stars)-The story of Amelia Jager who ended up marrying the wrong man. After visiting Switzerland she meets a man that she falls head over heels about. Realizing he has a mental disorder, she realizes she needs to move back to America and divorce him when there is nothing more she can do. I felt sad about this story since it appears he never should have been given permission to fly to the U.S. This was a fairly short story in the collection though. I didn't get a sense of Amelia at all.


Thirty Years Later (4 stars)-This was odd. I didn't like the first part of the story at all. But when Rule goes into what at first doesn't seem to be a similar case, things tied up in the end.


Not Safe at Home (3 stars)-Fairly short and just sad. A woman who was attacked, raped, and murdered by someone she thought she knew. Rule ends about women living alone should be doubly cautious and I wanted very badly to add anyone living alone should be cautious. Anyone not living alone should be cautious. Bad things happen in the daylight, night time or even if you have dogs, a burglar alarm, or weapons. 

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review 2018-01-16 19:37
Really Good True Crime Book that Has Been Discussed on Many TV Shows
Bitter Harvest (True Crime Files) - Ann Rule

So it's weird. I have owned this book for a while, but never got around to reading it. I think it's because I watched this on a couple of television shows (Forensic Files and Murderous Affairs). So to read Ann Rule's insight into a couple that ended up in a toxic marriage that resulted in a fire that killed two of their children will have you reading each page while holding your breath.


The incident takes place in 1995, but we go back to see the beginning of the married couple (Doctor Debora Green and her husband Doctor Michael Farrrar). Initially attracted to his skinner and more lively wife (the number of times it's said that Debora is not attractive anymore due to her weight gain, haircut, and clothes is unreal) when he first meets her, Michael realizes pretty quickly he made a bad decision. I don't even know what to say about this, because I know a lot of friends who have married in haste and repented in leisure. In Michael's case he realized it was a mistake on their wedding night. I also get from the story that includes quotes from Debora (Rule did visit with her) I don't think she ever really liked him too. Instead, I think they both stayed with each other due to expectations foisted on them by what society expects of a man/woman. 


I didn't like Debora, but I also didn't like Michael Farrar. I felt for their three kids (Tim, Kelly, and Lissa) and just felt as if the two adults in this situation were acting like children. You are also going to get to read about Farrar having an affair. I like that Rule doesn't pull any punches with her depictions of everyone in this one. I don't think she cared for Farrar that much either. Even so, I did have sympathy for the man when you realize what he and his family (his kids) have been put through. One wonders if there could have been anything he could have done if more people had been willing to call out something that they saw was wrong (a mother who was being emotionally manipulative of her kids and an actual danger to her husband). 

We also get an insight into a woman that Farrar has an affair with (I had some thoughts about her) as well as the law enforcement and prosecution that is involved with this. 

I really enjoyed the writing in this one. Probably because Rule managed to keep the story moving along without any huge digressions into other things. I think her having just one story to tell and not an anthology helped things along the way. 


The setting is primarily focused in Kansas and you do get a great sense of the area/neighborhood and how tight knit the community was before and after the events in this book. 


Even when you think you are at an end, Rule comes back and shows you what Debora's side of the story is/was and you just end up shaking your head all over again. 

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review 2018-01-02 15:53
Okay Stories, Nothing Really Floated My Boat
No Regrets: Ann Rule's Crime Files: Volume 11 (Ann Rule's Crime Files) - Ann Rule

Definitely did not care for most of the stories in this volume. 

The Sea Captain (3 stars)-I really didn't like this one at all. It is one of the longer stories that Rule tends to start off all of her books with. This one didn't have an engaging story at all. Woman murders husband. Rule throws in tidbits about how the local celebrities (John Saul lived nearby) felt about the case as well as the locals. I never got the feeling anyone was lying about what occurred. It just seemed shocking the woman in question (Nettie Ruth Myers) got away with things as long as she did. 


It (Ain't) Hard Out There for the Pimps (1 star)-Rule has a bug up her butt because in 2006, the best song went to "It's Hard Out There for the Pimps" she takes a personal affront because pimps are terrible people. I am not arguing with her there. But I think she jumped way too much to the outrage meter over a song. I feel like she's one of those people that would have said that rap music makes black people violent. I hated the two stories she told since she seemed hell bent on proving her point. 


The Runaway and the Solider (2 stars)-Sad story though Rule at times seems to be blaming the young woman and even her family for what became of her.


The Tragic Ending of a Bank Robber's Fantasy (3 stars)-once again Rule seems to blame not only the young man who murdered someone, but the victim who she felt should have had enough sense to not struggle to get a gun away from him. This whole story felt confusing, mostly because Rule refers to the murderer (Sam Jesse) by both his first and last name throughout the story.  

A Very Bad Christmas (3 stars)-What a terrible story. It's a story about a family annihilator who wanted to move on and be "young again and date."

To Save Their Souls (3 stars)-I felt pity for the woman in this story who definitely needed mental help. Rule gets into the M'Naughton rule and how in cases like this one, it can cause people who really should receive mental help to be sent to jail. A young mother is left alone with her two sons who she can't feed or keep warm living in a trailer all by themselves. She eventually becomes transfixed on the fact that she and her husband have done evil and her sons need to be protected. 


...Or We''ll Kill You (3 stars)-A woman is abducted by two men and using the skills she developed as counselor, manages to survive. 

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review 2018-01-02 15:38
First Story Was the Best, Rest of Stories Didn't Do Much
Worth More Dead and Other True Cases - Ann Rule

I really enjoyed the first story and wish Rule had stopped there. I didn't enjoy the other stories as much. 

Worth More Dead (5 stars)-This was the longest story in this collection. I often wondered why Rule didn't make this a stand alone story. The other stories didn't really fit. This story was very long and very good I thought though. We follow Roland Pitrie who first came to law enforcement's attention when he claimed his ex-lover talked him into hiring someone to murder her husband. I am still of two minds about the first case. Pitrie seemed to have some weird hold on women. I wonder if he talked her into it or not. Either way, the woman and his ex friend in question are both found not guilty and Pitrie is sent to jail. When he gets out, he gets back with his ex-wife Cheryl. Of course, it's not long before Pitrie decides to be done with Cheryl as well. When Cheryl goes missing and then is found dead, even though police suspect Pitrie there is nothing they can do. I did love looking at this story since Pitrie fools a lot of people along the way. Eventually he is caught and arrested about something else, but you get to read enough to find out that he was behind his ex's murder as well. 


It's Really Weird Looking at My Own Grave (5 stars)-Rule provides insight into a serial killer. One of the victims gets away and is instrumental in making sure he is eventually captured and locked away. In the end, two women ended up surviving the man's attacks, it still leaves lasting scars on both of them though. 


Old Man's Darling (3 stars)-Didn't really like this one. I don't know if you would call it karma or not. An older man has an affair with a younger woman who refuses to let go. This ends up in a police shoot out. 


All For Nothing (4 stars)-A really sad story about a woman who doesn't want to continue a relationship, but is murdered when the jealous man figures she has moved on. The man, Bill Pawlyk ended up going to prison, and asked for clemency cause of the "good works" he did while in jail. I don't know how long one has or should go to jail for taking a life, but I don't think that one should try to get out after 15 years (Pawlyk did) and not be held accountable for longer than than. Pawlyk ended up not just killing his ex-lover but another man who arrived at the home before he did. I think the laying in wait part is what gets me. That is premeditated to me and he definitely should not be seen any mercy. 


A Desperate Housewife (4 stars)-Looks at the life of Carolyn and Robert Durall. A sad story showing that a controlling man who though he didn't particularly want to be married to his wife, wasn't about to let her go either. 

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review 2018-01-02 14:46
True Crime Binge
But I Trusted You: Ann Rule's Crime Files #14 - Ann Rule

So I went on a True Crime and romance read binge starting on Friday. I honestly didn't feel like posting updates (I embraced my laziness) so here goes some huge review posts. 


I have been reading Ann Rule for the past couple of years, and decided to start reading her other books I haven't gotten around to yet. I honestly enjoyed the stories in this one even though there are a lot of questions left for some of the stories and I hate things to not have a tidy little ending. I thought Rule's writing was tight in this one. For once she didn't get overly invested in the detectives in these stories. I have never liked it when she goes into the past/history of the police and the prosecutors. It tends to ruin the flow of the story. All of these stories except for one take place in Washington state. "Death in Paradise" story takes place in an ocean. 


But I Trusted You (5 stars)-What a sad story. A couple that should not have married (in hindsight) where the husband and wife eventually separate, it seems the wife was going to do whatever she could to get what she wanted out of life (a new husband and her ex dead). The wife in this story is Teresa Gaethe and the dead ex is Chuck Leonard. I do wonder though at people that were taken in by this woman (she had an affair with a married man who was bankrolling her lifestyle and apparently wanted nothing to do with her daughter). This story actually goes from Seattle, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico as Teresa tries to escape justice. I did like the fact that Rule provided an update about Teresa and Chuck's daughter Morgan who was raised by her paternal aunt. I always want to know what happens to the kids and other relatives after they lose a loved one through murder. 


Death in Paradise (3 stars)-This one was very confusing. Ann Rule promised to lay out what happened and hypothesize about what she think occurs. But for me I found it all confusing. I don't know what happened to the Edwardses (the two parents who perished at sea) but to me it would be a stretch to think that three people would cover up someone murdering them. I felt like this was a low budget "And The Sea Will Tell."


Sharper Than A Serpent's Tooth (5 stars)-What a sad story. A mother, Lorraine Milroy is trying her best to deal with her son Dusty who has become addicted to drugs. It also appears that he may have a mental illness as well. When Lorraine finally tells him he is going to have to move, Lorraine ends up missing shortly afterwards. Rule tends to discuss a lot of murders where the victim's body goes missing. This story of course doesn't have a happy ending. 


Monohan's Last Date (5 stars)-Wow. So this one deals with the swinger culture and how dangerous it really is. it is a pretty convoluted tale, but I found it very fascinating reading about how people were putting out ads in the 70s discussing orgies/threesomes/etc. one man used these ads to steal and eventually murder men. 


Run as Fast As You Can (5 stars)-What a sad story. I felt sad for the victim and for the murderer's family. There seemed to be no rhyme or reason for what happened to the woman in this story who went for a run and didn't come home. I sear Ann Rule's books make me paranoid to even go outside and be around other people. 


The Deadly Voyeur (4 stars)-What a sad story. A teen boy and girl walking along the road get abducted with one of them left for dead while the other escapes. I honestly don't know what if anything I was supposed to get from this story. The man in the story, who Rule calls The Enumclaw killer wasn't a serial killer. Her equating him at the first with the Green River killer seems a stretch to me. I do think the underlying story is sad, that a young teen is killed and how it devastated the community. 


Dark Forest: Deep Danger (3 stars)-my least favorite story. I think that once again Rule tries to fit pieces together that don't really fit. The Cowden family goes missing and is found dead in a cave. Then we jump to Dwain Lee who killed and raped a teen named Orla Fay. Rule goes into Lee's life and jump forward to when he abucts a young woman. Everything feels jumbled together and there is no real resolution to the Cowden case in the end. 

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