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review 2018-03-24 01:14
The Beautiful Dead - Belinda Bauer

Started off super good but the ending felt rushed and lack-luster . Thought it was going to have more interactions of the main character with the killer since that was what was advertised on the tin, but sadly no. Glad got it out of the library and didn't buy because seriously  was underwhelmed for the last 100 pages or so.

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review 2018-03-24 00:01
Mind of a Killer by Simon Beaufort
Mind of a Killer: A Victorian Mystery - Simon Beaufort

This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life in Books.

I liked this one a lot. I added this book to my reading list on a complete impulse. I liked the cover and when I took a closer look at the book's description, I thought it sounded like something I would like. That impulse worked out well in this case. I did take me a bit to really get into the story but once I was hooked, I didn't want to stop reading. I am so glad that I made the decision to read this book.

I really liked that the book was set during the Victorian period. I thought that the era was well represented in the story and I really liked seeing how a crime might have been solved with the resources that they had on hand. I found the scenes from the mortuary really interesting and found myself wondering how many crimes were missed. There were a lot of descriptions that really made the period come to life so it was really easy to visualize what was happening.

The mystery in this book is very solid. I usually read a book's description once when deciding if I want to read it and then promptly forget any details. I was shocked when the discovery was made about what was taken from the murder victim. I couldn't figure out what the killer's motive might have been and I had no idea who might have been behind the crimes. This is a book that kept me guessing until the very end.

The characters in the book were very well done. Londale was determined to find out what had happened and I liked the way that he went about finding out. He was smart and resourceful. I found myself liking him more and more as the book progressed. Hulda was such a fun character. She is the only female reporter working at the newspaper and she doesn't seem to worry if she is acting like a proper lady most of the time. When she needs to play a part to get someone to open up, she can quickly fit into just about any role and you never seemed to know what she might say or do. Londale and Hulda made a really good team and I liked the way they interacted with each other.

I would recommend this book to mystery fans. This had so many wonderful elements that came together to tell a rather thought provoking and entertaining story. I do hope to see more books featuring this amazing group of characters very soon..

I received a digital advanced reader edition of this book from Severn House Publishers via NetGalley.

Initial Thoughts
I ended up liking this one a lot. I had a rather hard time getting into the story but I think that had more to do with my life than the book. I thought that the mystery was interesting and complex. I liked the characters quite a bit and thought the period was well represented. This one did keep me guessing until the very end which was a big plus.

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review 2018-03-06 16:57
A book that will enthrall fans of Mary Shelley, Frankenstein, and people interested in XIX century true crime.
The Face of a Monster: America's Frankenstein - Patricia Earnest Suter

I was provided an ARC copy of this book that I freely chose to review.

Most of us have wondered more than once about the nature of fiction and the, sometimes, thin line separating reality from fiction. Although we assume that, on most occasions, fiction imitates reality, sometimes fiction can inspire reality (for better or for worse) and sometimes reality seems to imitate fiction (even if it is just a matter of perception). And although Slavoj Žižek and postmodernism might come to mind, none of those matters are new.

Suter’s non-fiction book combines three topics that are worthy of entire books (and some have been written about at length): Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Mary’s own life, and Anton Probst’s life and the murders he committed. Each chapter of the book alternates between the chronological (up to a point) stories of Shelley and Probst, and comparisons of the developments and events in the “life” (fictional, but nonetheless important) of Frankenstein’s creature. The author uses quotes and close- text-analysis of Frankenstein, and also interprets the text based on the biography of Shelley, to explain how the creature ended up becoming a monster. Although the novel is an early example of science-fiction/horror, many of the subjects it touched belong in literature at large. Nature versus nurture (is the creature bad because of the parts used to make him, or because nobody shows him care and affection?), science versus morality and religion (can knowledge be its own justification, or should there be something of a higher order limiting experiments), prejudice, mob mentality, revenge, loneliness and isolation…

Shelley’s life, marked by tragedy from the very beginning (her mother, Mary Wollstonecraft, died when Mary was only eleven days old) was dominated by men who never returned her affection and who were happy to blame her for any disasters that happened. She was part of a fascinating group, but, being a woman, she was never acknowledged and did not truly belong in the same circle, and it seems an example of poetic justice that her book has survived, and even overtaken in fame, the works of those men that seemed so important at the time (Lord Byron, Percy B. Shelley…).

I was familiar with Frankenstein and with the life of Mary Shelley and her mother (although I am not an expert) but had not heard about Probst. The author has done extensive research on the subject and provides detailed information about the life of the murderer, and, perhaps more interesting still, his trial and what happened after. That part of the book is invaluable to anybody interested in the development of crime detection in late XIX century America (his crimes took place in Philadelphia, although he was born in Germany), the nature of trials at the time, the history of the prison service, executions, the role of the press and the nature of true crime publications, and also in the state of medical science in that era and the popular experiments and demonstrations that abounded (anatomical dissections, phrenology, galvanism were all the rage, and using the bodies of those who had been punished with the death penalty for experiments was quite common). Human curiosity has always been spurred by the macabre, and then, as much as now, the spectacle of a being that seemed to have gone beyond the bounds of normal behaviour enthralled the public. People stole mementos from the scene of the crime, queued to see the bodies of the victims, and later to see parts of the murderer that were being exhibited. Some things seem to change little.

Each part of the book is well researched and well written (some of the events are mentioned more than once to elaborate a point but justifiably so) and its overall argument is a compelling one, although perhaps not one that will attract all readers. There are indeed parallels and curious similarities in the cases, although for some this might be due to the skill of the writer and might not be evident to somebody looking at Probst’s case in isolation. Even then, this does not diminish from the expertise of the author or from the engrossing topics she has chosen. This is a book that makes its readers think about fame, literature, creativity, family, imaginary and true monsters, crime, victims, and the way we talk and write about crime and criminals. Then and now.

I’d recommend this book to readers interested in Frankenstein and Mary Shelley’s work and life, also to people interested in true crime, in particular, XIX century crime in the US. As a writer, I thought this book would be of great interest to writers researching crime enforcement and serial killers in XIX century America, emigration, and also the social history of the time. And if we feel complacent when we read about the behaviour of the experts and the common people when confronted with Probst and his murders, remember to look around you and you’ll see things haven’t changed that much.

The author also provides extensive notes at the end of the book, where she cites all her sources.


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review 2018-03-06 02:08
Do Not Read in Public
Killer Characters - Ellery Adams

This is set Oyster Bay, NC, and Olivia helping her friend Laurel deal with all that is expected of her while her mil dies from cancer. As she is at Laurel's in-law's house, she overhears something suspicious between Laurel's husband and the nurse, Stacy. She goes to Laurel's house and tells her what she heard and then stands by Laurel when they go to find Laurel's husband with Stacy and then when Stacy is murdered and Laurel is the prime suspect. 


As they begin the search for the truth they find out that Stacy has been stealing from the people she is caring for in the hospice. As they continue to work they discuss the issues that made them who they are and how they trust or not trust. 


I had moments where I didn't like how the writing went and there were moments where my heart broke for Laurel. I had read something written by another that said the author said this was not going to be a Disney ending and I was uncertain about what that meant. Then as I read the ending I started crying and realized that I should have only been at home when I reached this point and I really wanted to hold my husband tight. 


Also, this is another book that is the middle or end of the series. It wasn't a problem with reading this book first as I didn't wonder about the earlier books. I may read the earlier books, knowing my luck, out of order and I do plan on finding more by this author. 

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text 2018-03-02 00:10
KYD Green Round: Cause of Death Guess - Team MbD / Lillelara / TA
Killer Dolphin - Ngaio Marsh




Guess: Mauled by a demon hound.


Book read: Ngaio Marsh - Death at the Dolphin (aka Killer Dolphin): Dolphin on the cover of the paperback edition.

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