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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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review 2018-02-26 20:44
Interview & Review – Hunger Moon by Alexandra Sokoloff @AlexSokoloff
Hunger Moon - Alexandra Sokoloff


Alexandra Sokoloff is in a class of her own. Her MOON series reads as if it is taken from the pages of reality and leaves me so fired up I have to remind myself it is a novel. She is on my MUST READ list and if you love nitty gritty suspense thrillers you will want her on your list too.


Alexandra includes, in the back of the book, why she included the political issues in her novel. She also shares that the series has been bought for TV. MAN ON MAN, where do I sign up? Criminal Minds, I would like you to meet Cara Lindstrom and Special Agent Matthew Roarke along with his elite team of investigators.




I also have a fabulous interview to share. Be sure and scroll through the post so you don’t miss anything!


Cover:  Ray Lundgren


Hunger Moon (The Huntress/FBI Thrillers, #5)

Amazon  /  Audible  /  Goodreads




Hunger Moon is raw, powerful, blood pumping, and in your face.


I will start this review for Hunger Moon by Alexandra Sokoloff by saying that I took way to many notes and would spoil the book if I shared them all. I loved it so much, and I got so carried away because my emotions were running riot, that I feel like ranting and railing.


I love that we have action from the opening pages and I would recommend passing by the girl with the dark hair and backpack, if your intentions are evil.


Cara Lindstrom is the only survivor of her family’s brutal massacre. That is when she met IT, EVIL. Her stints in foster homes and group homes, brought her to where she is today, a vigilante serial killer, defender of women and children unable to defend themselves.


She is a force to be reckoned with. She is deadly. But right now, she is quiet, listening, waiting to be told what to do next. She will need to lay low, but where. Her face is everywhere and it is not just the law that is after her. Every pervert within internet range will have heard of the reward by now. Indian reservations have been a haven to her before and a belief there is more out there than meets the eye is a big part in her life.


It is February, the month of the Hunger Moon, and Special Agent Matthew Roarke is still haunted by Cara. They have a special connection, and whether he admits it or not, he is in love with this vigilante serial killer. Since the Bitter Moon, he has found his mission, combating the sexual abuse and trafficking of women and children. One of Roarke’s agents, Epps is black, so he can relate when it comes to being a target of hatred. Another agent, Singh, handles their internet searches and she will find a target on her back too. She is a citizen of the US, but will that make a difference now that she has been brought to IT’s attention?


Alexandra Sokoloff’s MOON series is not for the faint of heart. I love vigilantes and serial killers, especially female ones, with a righteous cause. She makes me eat up the pages, hoping that Cara doesn’t get caught or hurt, but I am afraid of what the future holds in store for her. How can there be a happy ending?


All over the country, universities are being targeted for Title IX violations. The people are fed up with the lily white one percenters protecting their own and covering up the brutal gang rapes of innocent young women. Who will stand up and speak for those who can’t?


Alexandra Sokoloff has incorporated today’s political climate of hate. In Hunger Moon, she shows how easily it is for those protecting their own to proclaim protesters as domestic terrorists. The book is so frightening, because I, too, feel a change in the United States that I never thought would happen. How can we possibly ignore it, even in a novel?


I rarely talk politics and I know most authors avoid it, but Alexandra Sokoloff makes her books so real because she does not avoid the ugliness and I revel in it. I love when my blood boils and I want to punch someone. So much of her writing strikes home for me and I feel the characters anger, frustration, fear and terror, making it impossible for them to move on. Damaged…oh yeah! I rage for revenge for them and we all know what happens when people are backed into a corner with nothing left to lose.


Alexandra brings the internet and Dark net up front and center. I don’t think there is one of us out there who hasn’t heard how dangerous it can be in the cyber world and care must be taken.


As everything comes together for the finale, the forces of good and evil and those walk the line, I feel like puking at the depravity of these ?men? and how far they will go for their own pleasure.


I was shocked that I was able to pick up Hunger Moon by Alexandra Sokoloff as an Amazon freebie. I never would have thought that was possible because her books are off the charts. Five stars is not nearly enough, but that’s all I have! And the TV series, I am on pins and needles just thinking about it. Criminal Minds you will have some competition. She is currently working on Book 6, which she has planned to be the end of the series, but with the TV show in the works, I am hoping we have more.




I recommend beginning at the start of the series with Huntress Moon.

Animated Animals. Pictures, Images and Photos  5+++++ Stars






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review 2018-02-21 04:39
Scone Cold Killer - Lena Gregory Scone Cold Killer - Lena Gregory

Author Lena Gregory has served up a wonderful first course in her All-Day Breakfast Café Mystery series.


I was hungry for this series the moment I heard about it! I mean, an All-Day Breakfast Café? That’s my kind of place to eat! So, I had very high hopes going into SCONE COLD KILLER. I wasn’t disappointed.


I enjoyed the setting, and could vividly picture the café in my mind. The eclectic cast of characters made for an interesting read. I enjoyed most of them. There is one character that I’m still unsure about, but am withholding judgment until the next book in the series. I look forward to seeing how all the characters grow, and how author Gregory fleshes them out.


An easy, flowing read, I flew through this tale quickly in one setting. The mystery was tight, and well done. I thought I had it figured out, only to find I had missed an important clue, and guessed wrong. So, that made for a surprising ending for me.


SCONE COLD KILLER is story cozy fans are sure to love. And the All-Day Breakfast Café Mysteries will certainly be on your must read list!

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