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review 2019-02-21 07:30
DNF The Wicked Vampire
The Wicked Vampire (Last True Vampire series) - Kate Baxter

It’s bern nearly two months since I last picked this book up and current have no desire to finish it. While there are some deliciously steamy sex scenes the plot seems repetitive in the I love you but I hate you theme. It’s not badly written or anything it’s just not doing anything for me personally right now.

Thank you Netgalley and St Martin’s Press for the review copy.

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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 2019-02-10 17:12
The Cadaver King and the Country Dentist: A True Story of Injustice in the American South - Radley Balko,Tucker Carrington

You will never look at science the same way after reading this book. Even if you know that the shows like C.S.I. are science fairy tales what Balko and Carrington chronicle isn't so much a miscarriage of justice but a deliberate hoodwinking by a group of men (the two in the title are the most important but hardly the only ones) who didn't give a damn about the truth because those accused were poor, or black or the forgotten or all three.

The book focuses on Mississippi and two men who were supposedly "science experts" were anything but. Because of a variety of factors - from judges and the public who don't know or are misinformed, too science groups that slap on wrists, to racism - lives were badly effected and harmed by these two men.

You will, as the book itself notes, want to throw it across the room. But it is an important read because it disabuses (with footnotes) several myths and images readers have about science and crime.

And makes a case for getting rid of elected coroners.

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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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text 2019-02-05 14:51
Reading progress update: I've read 169 out of 352 pages.
I'll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman's Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer - Michelle McNamara,Patton Oswalt,Gillian Flynn

 

OMG, this book is absolutely addictive!  I am so saddened to learn that the author died so young, and we won't get any more of these meditations on true crime.

 

Gillian Flynn wrote the introduction, and reminds us that we are consuming the tragedies of other real people.  She advises that we stick with the best and Michelle McNamara is definitely one of those.

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