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review 2019-03-12 23:23
Bringing Adam Home: The Abduction That Changed America by Les Standiford & Joe Matthews
Bringing Adam Home: The Abduction That Changed America - Joe Matthews,Les Standiford

The abduction and brutal murder of Adam Walsh went unsolved for 27 years. This is the story of the determination of one dedicated detective who would not let the case rest until a monster was brought to justice.

A powerful, well written account that is heartbreaking, infuriating, horrifying and finally inspiring.

Highly recommended.

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review 2019-03-09 00:29
Tracking down a killer
I'll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman's Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer - Michelle McNamara,Patton Oswalt,Gillian Flynn

While perusing the New York Public Library's Winter 2018 Staff Picks  (an excellent recommendations list by the way) I came across I'll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman's Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer by Michelle McNamara. Since I have somewhat of an interest in true crime and especially serial killers (see my archive for the evidence) this seemed a natural choice for me. McNamara (who sadly passed away before completion of the book) covers the history of the Golden State Killer back to his beginning when he was still referred to as the Visalia Ransacker before upping his game to become the East Area Rapist. (Michelle actually gave him the moniker of the Golden State Killer.) He began as a peeping tom before graduating into a burglar, rapist, and then finally a serial murderer. His reign of terror in California where he committed more than 120 burglaries, 50 rapes, and 13 murders spanned about a decade from the late 70s into the mid-80s before abruptly stopping. His crimes crossed jurisdictions and so for many years police did not know that all of these crimes were the work of one single man...a man that at the time of this book's publication was still not identified. 


McNamara talks about her obsession with true crime and specifically with this man who she often referred to as her 'white whale'. She cultivated relationships with other true crime aficionados through online forums (and her blog) but also developed close working friendships with detectives both past and present who had worked on the case. By assembling all of the available evidence (of which there was an abundance) she began to comb through it hoping that she would see something that would help them find the man who many believed had either died or been imprisoned on unrelated charges. Although there was ample evidence including DNA there was no match in any database so detectives routinely fed his DNA markers into genealogy websites hoping for a match...and shortly after McNamara's book was published they found one. 


This book is as much a true crime novel about an unidentified killer as it is the memoir of the woman who devoted so much of her time to investigating his crimes. If you like watching shows like Cold Case or really anything on the I.D. channel you'll feel right at home with I'll Be Gone in the Dark. 8/10


What's Up Next: New Kid by Jerry Craft


What I'm Currently Reading: Once Upon a River by Diane Setterfield

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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text 2019-03-02 20:17
The Hot One: A Memoir of Friendship, Sex, and Murder by Carolyn Murnick
The Hot One: A Memoir of Friendship, Sex, and Murder - Carolyn Murnick

Date Published: August 1, 2017

Format: Print

Source: Library

Date Read: February 24-28, 2019



A gripping memoir of friendship with a tragic twist—two childhood best friends diverge as young adults, one woman is brutally murdered and the other is determined to uncover the truth about her wild and seductive friend.

As girls growing up in rural New Jersey in the late 1980s, Ashley and Carolyn had everything in common: two outsiders who loved spending afternoons exploring the woods. Only when the girls attended different high schools did they begin to grow apart. While Carolyn struggled to fit in, Ashley quickly became a hot girl: popular, extroverted, and sexually precocious.

After high school, Carolyn entered college in New York City and Ashley ended up in Los Angeles, where she quit school to work as a stripper and an escort, dating actors and older men, and experimenting with drugs. The last time Ashley visited New York, Carolyn was shocked by how the two friends had grown apart. One year later, Ashley was stabbed to death at age twenty-two in her Hollywood home.

The man who may have murdered Ashley—an alleged serial killer—now faces trial in Los Angeles. Carolyn Murnick traveled across the country to cover the case and learn more about her magnetic and tragic friend. Part coming-of-age story, part true-crime mystery, The Hot One is a behind-the-scenes look at the drama of a trial and the poignancy of searching for the truth about a friend’s truly horrifying murder.




What the ever-loving fuck did I read? Oh, it's a true crime alright... and it's also about a murder. The real true crime? The level of New York City naval-gazing insecurities combined equally with the New York City level of smugness and intellectual curiorisity made me hate the author. 


Carolyn and Ashley were friends from fourth grade until the end of sixth or seventh grade. They were inseparable; many sleepovers, much playdates. One such memory of a sleepover involved the two girls, at one of the girl's homes alone, deciding to take Playboy-esque pictures of each other in the shower. That was in the introduction...and it went down from there.


Ashley moved away sometime in junior high and Carolyn went to boarding school that she barely passed and graduated from. Ashley moved to California and became more interested in boys and sex and living the glamourous life. As they went into their young adult years, Carolyn sucked at college and sucked worse at relationships and Ashley became a sex worker and party girl. This is all circa 1998-2000, so it sounds about right. Ashley came to visit Carolyn in New York City once for a weekend sometime in 1998 and it went badly, mostly because Ashley wanted to party like New Yorkers do and Carolyn was obscenely jealous of Ashley pulling all the guys attention wherever they went, including Carolyn's regular hook up guy and his roommate that she also lusted after but never made a move on. Ashley ended up sleeping with the roommate and Carolyn just decided to ghost Ashley from then on after Ashley went back to California.


I swear Carolyn and Lena Dunham went to the same writing MFA program. This is a silly and gross rip off of Girls.


Then Ashley was murdered in her home, sometime after having sex with her landlord and before her date with the actor Ashton Kutcher. No you read that right. They, Ashley and Kutcher, were supposed to go to a Grammy viewing party. When she didn't answer the door, Kutcher left. Carolyn, who hadn't had contact with Ashley since July 1998, was grief stricken by the announcement...and also wildly obsessive about all the damn details and players involved. 


Did I mention that Carolyn was an online editor for New York magazine and seemed to have a shit ton of time on her hands to do all her creepy "investigating"? Did I mention that Ashley's murder from here on out is all in relation to Carolyn - her growing into adulthood, her sexual activities, her very being -  and not about Ashley or the murderer. Also, did I mention that Carolyn has vivid and bizarre fantasies/day dreams about the random people and throws her thoughts and intentions onto them in her head without any clue that this person was thinking or feeling that way?


No it is nothing but naval gazing and reading the autopsy - and lots of trips to California for different pre-trial court dates with the guy arrested for a series of killings, including Ashley's. By the way, the actual trial hasn't even happened yet in the real world. This book is just Carolyn stalking Ashley after her death. The book ends with Carolyn, after visiting the dog park that is directly across the street from the house Ashley was renting and was killed in. And in another bizarre fantasy scenario in her head, Carolyn can picture the murder watching Ashley shower from his perch in the dog park. 


Honestly, What the ever-loving fuck did I read?

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review 2019-02-17 04:48
In Cold Blood
In cold blood: a true account of a multiple murder and its consequences - Truman Capote

It is done! It's taken me a while but I have finally finished Truman Capote's true crime novel. 


I wanted to read this one after watching Capote a few years ago. I also learned that it's considered one of the first true crime novels/the grandfather of the genre, so it felt only right to give it a go. Overall, I'm really glad. I was surprised by the depth of exploration into both Smith and Hickock's lives the book went into and just how much Capote was able to discover. I was also surprised by the explorations of criminal psychology the book presented. Considering when this book was written, I didn't think people would be considering that sort of topic. Having read the book, though, it makes sense that it was explored and that so much was dug up on the killers since the shocking element of the crime is no one understood why it had happened at all. The randomness of it was something new and kudos to Capote for really exploring the nature of the randomness. He also gave lovely exploration of the Clutter family and I feel appropriate coverage to the lives that were lost. 


Part of why it took me so long to finish the book is related to having seen Capote. I think I expected the book to be like that movie and it wasn't. I'm actually surprised with how sympathetic the movie portrays Perry Smith, since the book really portrays him as a cold and remorseless person, even with all the exploration they gave into his backstory. You feel for what he went through, but the Perry in Capote is very different than the Perry of In Cold Blood. The book also dragged a bit, especially in the beginning. Every detail makes sense and is well written, it just is sort of didn't have a quick flow to it, if that makes sense. 


Final rating: 4 out of 5 stars. A little slow but a great read for those who enjoy true crime. 


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review 2019-02-07 16:06
I'll Be Gone in the Dark / Michelle McNamara
I'll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman's Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer - Michelle McNamara,Patton Oswalt,Gillian Flynn

For more than ten years, a mysterious and violent predator committed fifty sexual assaults in Northern California before moving south, where he perpetrated ten sadistic murders. Then he disappeared, eluding capture by multiple police forces and some of the best detectives in the area.

Three decades later, Michelle McNamara, a true crime journalist who created the popular website TrueCrimeDiary.com, was determined to find the violent psychopath she called "the Golden State Killer." Michelle pored over police reports, interviewed victims, and embedded herself in the online communities that were as obsessed with the case as she was.


I love reading true crime, but I’ve always been aware of the fact that, as a reader, I am actively choosing to be a consumer of someone else’s tragedy. So like any responsible consumer, I try to be careful in the choices I make. I read only the best: writers who are dogged, insightful, and humane. It was inevitable that I would find Michelle.

So says Gillian Flynn in her introduction to this fascinating book. She is so right about author Michelle McNamara. Her writing is top notch—right up there with Truman Capote in his classic In Cold Blood. So many true crime writers get bogged down in details, so intent on giving the reader every tiny fact that they neglect to tell a story. McNamara goes down the rabbit hole of details regularly, but she doesn’t make the reader accompany her—she sorts things out, investigates tirelessly, then reports her results.

This is as much a memoir of McNamara’s obsession and search for this killer as it is a history of the crimes and investigation. I felt like I got to know her and I liked what I saw. She would have been a fascinating coffee date and I got the feeling that she missed her calling, that she should definitely have been a professional investigator of some kind.

The saddest thing for me about the book was that Michelle died two years too soon to know the identity of the man she was searching for. From her descriptions in the narrative, I was unsurprised that it was Paul Holes who made the DNA discovery. He seems to possess the same investigative drive that Michelle embodied. As for justice, I guess this is a “better late than never” scenario.

The title of the book makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up, coming as it does from a line from the criminal himself: “Make one move and you’ll be silent forever and I’ll be gone in the dark.”

If you, like me, tore through this book and wished it was a bit longer, try James Renner’s True Crime Addict: How I Lost Myself in the Mysterious Disappearance of Maura Murray, which provides a very similar reading experience.

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