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text 2017-09-23 00:48
Reading progress update: I've read 38 out of 498 pages.
The Alienist - Caleb Carr

I'm reading this one for the serial/spree killer square, which will get me a BINGO once it's filled and called! 


I read this book years ago, right around publication in 1994. At that time, I read a lot of crime/mystery fiction, but very little historical mystery. This was one of the books that really changed that, along with Anne Perry's Thomas and Charlotte Pitt series, which I also picked up at around this time.


My memory is that I really liked the book, and really enjoyed the atmospheric turn of the century New York setting, but that it was quite graphic. Memory says this is a four to four and a half star read - it will be interesting to see how it holds up to my current reading preferences!

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review 2017-09-21 22:35
Go Down Together by Jeff Guinn, narrated by Jonathan Hogan
Go Down Together: The True, Untold Story of Bonnie and Clyde - Recorded Books LLC,Jeff Guinn,Jonathan Hogan


Turns out that a lot of things I thought I knew about Bonnie and Clyde were not true. They were not a tall and handsome couple like Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway. They were also not very smart-both of them spent some in jail and for Clyde that was some hard time. I guess that old adage is right: crime does not pay.




I started to list here all the things I learned from this book, but then I realized that would be spoiling things for everyone else. I decided I'm just going to stick to the main points:


As I said above, they were not smart criminals. They were repeatedly jailed, chased, shot at, etc... They were often injured in these gunfights with police and when I say injured, I mean badly hurt. They were great at stealing cars though, and Clyde liked the Ford V-8's so much he wrote Henry Ford a fan letter about them.


They loved their families and made arrangements to see them often: which just illustrates how clueless and unprepared the law was for fugitives like these. They didn't stake out the houses of Clyde or Bonnie's mothers or their other relatives, until near the very end. If only they had done that, many lives could have been saved.


Clyde and Bonnie loved lavishing their relatives with money and gifts, (when they could), and they both liked to dress nicely. That was about the only luxury they could enjoy, because they were almost always on the run, never able to relax or enjoy themselves. Most of their robberies netted them so little in the way of booty, they were hardly worth the trouble.



Lastly, they truly did love each other. When Bonnie's leg was badly injured, (due to a car chase and subsequent wreck where battery acid leaked all over her), Clyde forever after carried her wherever she needed to go. Bonnie's poetry and writing all showed that she knew they would both come to a bad end, but she loved him and wanted to be with him, even in death. So, I guess that one part of the Hollywood myth is true.


I listened to the audio version of this book. It was detailed, but not too much, and the narrator even added a little humor when the time was right. I learned a lot.




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text 2017-08-31 15:48
Reading progress update: I've read 80%.
The Bride Wore Black - Cornell Woolrich

I started this last night as my head start book for Halloween bingo and now I've totally screwed myself!


I can't finish it if I want it to count! But I want to knoooowwwww what the hell is going on this book. It's brilliant.


There are five sections. Each section has three chapters. The first is called Woman, and describes the murder for that section. The second is the name of the victim. And the third discusses the investigation.


The woman is killing men, and making it look like an accident. What is the connection between the men? Why is she murdering them? What the hell is happening here?


The plot is simple. The prose is stripped down noir, with all of the urban, nocturnal elements that I expect from this kind of a mystery. 


Can Cornell Woolrich sustain this to the end? I don't know, and I can't find out until TOMORROW.

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review 2017-07-25 00:00
The Spree of 83
The Spree of 83 - Freddy Powers,Catherin... The Spree of 83 - Freddy Powers,Catherine Powers,Jake Brown Book Reviewed: The Spree of 83
Author: Freddy Powers, Catherine Powers, Jake Brown
Publication Date: 7/1/2017
Reviewed by: Tammy Payne- Book Nook Nuts
My Rating: 5 Stars


This was a really well written book. I grew up listening to country music and truly enjoyed this. It is funny, and intense yes, but downright straight forward which I love in a book. So if you are a classic country music fan this is a must read. Relive some of the memories.
I read the paperback of this book provided to me by the publisher.
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review 2017-05-25 16:27
You Say you Want a Revolution
Ballad of the Anarchist Bandits: The Crime Spree that Gripped Belle Epoque Paris - John Merriman

Disclaimer: ARC via Netgalley.



I live in a neighborhood that has anarchists.  Granted, my philosophy is different, and I don’t quite understand why an anarchist would always have the most up to date computer, but hey, they seem pretty nice even if they smell of pot much of the time.


                That’s my view of anarchists, who are usually squatters in my neck of the woods.


                Needless to say, those types of Anarchists are not the ones that Merriman is writing about.  Merriman’s history is about the bandits that committed crimes during pre-WWI France, but it is also about the anarchist movement in France at the time.


                Merriman opens his book with the holdup of the Société Générale.  This is the Bonnot Gang.  Of course, like most criminal’s people who were not involved with the crime spree where caught in the net.  It is two of these – Victor Kibaltchiche and Riette Maitrejean.


                Merriman takes him time in laying the foundation for the action.  He provides more detail of the Belle Époque period, showing the trends and political movements that gave rise to the Anarchist movement as well as the various threads of that movement – illegal activity vs philosophy.


                For that is what sometimes gets lost in a discussion of anarchists, at least in the media.  They become simply bomb throwing, gun shooting radicals who populate the media.  Merriman’s book illustrates that in some cases it was a life style, including vegetarianism and foregoing of items such alcohol and salt.


                Maitrejean and Kibaltchiche are at the heart of the story, for they seemed to have known everyone, and part of the drama of the story is the dragnet that captures are in its wake, regardless of involvement or not.  It is their fate and the fate of their family that moves the story forward.  Merriman’s prose is invigorating enough to carry the reader along.  There are also little details, such as the horror of balsamic vinegar that actually illustrate the dedication to the cause. Honesty, you must strongly believe in something if you are willing to give up such a wonderful thing.   Such small details actually make the history more interesting and in some ways more real.


                Considering the current political climate, the book might be timelier than intended.  It is also to Merriman’s credit that he does not romanticize the Illegalistes.  Despite the title the book isn’t one of the romantic retellings of an outlaw life.  In many ways, while the reader does end up feeing some sympathy for the bandits, or at least a few of them, the cost to others not involved in the Illegalistes is not ignored.  This is done by the not only the use of outsiders but also by showcasing the debates within the movement itself.


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