What Did I Read In 2018? #bookblog #2018reads #goodreads #booknerd #books

So last year I was super busy writing a textbook, writing a thesis, and the rest. But I did manage to exceed my Goodreads challenge or 10 books.  I ended up reading 39.

Two of my favourite books was by Stephen King and Diane Chamberlain. Two books that I didn’t think I’d continue reading simply because I got the first plot twist and thought uh oh, this isn’t really something I’d read… However, I pushed on and was pretty much BLOWN AWAY.

The Outsider has had mixed reviews by others, and really that’s no surprise because we’ve all got our own likes and dislikes. If we didn’t the world would be a pretty boring place.  My opinion of it was that I loved how it started. Smack bang into some action, and I have to admit given my areas of research and interest academically, I wasn’t at all turned off by the brutality of the first few chapter.  I love when a story starts off with 36124936action, it’s a great way to draw readers and keep them interested.  Other authors have lost me sometimes because after that great action, they enter too much info on the characters and the settings and it drags things down. Obviously King is a master at the written word, and achieved this effortly.  I got lost in the world of this story, I didn’t want to put it down and go back to real life, LOL.  I found myself really enjoying each and every character, and they were all so different from one another.  I really had no idea, how King was planning to explain Terry’s supposed part in the crime, because it was really looking like it was him for a while, but he was pretty convincing that it wasn’t. The amount of times I said “WFT” out aloud was quite funny. My husband would be sitting mext to me and say, “What?” He’d listened to it on Audible and agreed that is was a pretty compelling read.

My other book of the year for 2018 was Diane Chamberlain’s The Dream Daughter.  I ugly cried in this one.  I was pretty invested in it thanks to the author’s use of an unborn baby 37638145with a series health issue in the womb, I mean who can flag a book when that’s at the heart of it? But when I got to Hunter’s plot twist, I was saying “WTF” but not in a good way.  I put the book down and had a serious think.  Normally, I would NEVER read a book with this in it, I know that some people have a real hard time accepting a story when it’s too unbelievable or strays too far away from fact which I’ve always found quite humorous considering that they’re reading fiction, however when I got to Hunter’s plot twist I thought I’d stop reading because it was too unbelievable. BUT I kept going and boy am I glad I did. It was a truly wonderful read.  I don’t want to give anything away, but at two points I slammed the book shut in disbelief, gasping “OMG, no way”, plenty of tears, and I laughed once.  Like King’s book, I found my self lost in the words of this book. I was reading this while away on a campy holiday with the family, so was able to finish it pretty quick, and I was truly devastated that it had to end. Although to my husband, who had to listen to me recap almost every chapter after I’d finished them, it couldn’t end soon enough!

Other books I read in 2018

2018 books

The Misbegotten Son by Jack Olsen was fantastic, probably my true crime pick of 2018. I absolutely loved Salem Falls by Jodi Picoult, the very last page, had be gasping “WTH” and then i was thinking about it, trying to go through everything I’d read whist I was trying to go to sleep trying to figure out how I should have picked that ending! Talk about plot twist. I wanted to really love A Spark of Light by Jodi Picoult because I’d waited so long for it’s release, but the format just ruined it for me, and I wasn’t a fan of the constant heading hoping throughout chapters. It made it hard to get to know characters because you couldn’t sit with them long enough and it felt like you were ripped from them to get into another characters head.

But, it was a great selection of books. A whilst I didn’t mark them all 5 stars, it certainly didn’t mean I didn’t appreciate the hard work that every single one of those authors put into them.  They way I rate books is that they all start out with 5 stars, and then as I’m reading I subtract for various reasons i.e. too slow, information dump, cliche’, predictable etc. They can get those stars back though if I’m made to feel an emotion physically (say if I laugh or cry), surprising plot twist, awesome character development etc.  And obviously like I’ve mentioned we all score differently and have different opinions.  I’ll always look forward to trying another book by that author because it could always me the next “One”.

Did you read any of these books? What did you think of them and which was your favourite?

Bring on 2019 reads,

Nat

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Review: The Nightmare by Lars Kepler #bookreview #thenightmare #bookstagram #booknerd #bookworm #bookgeek

From Goodreads:

A drowned young woman is discovered on an abandoned pleasure boat drifting by the Stockholm archipelago—strangely, her clothes are dry. The next day in Stockholm, a man turns up dead, hanging from a lamp hook inside his completely bare apartment—but how could he have hung himself with no furniture to climb upon? As Detective Inspector Joona Linna begins to piece together the two mysteries, he discovers that they are a mere prelude to a dizzying and dangerous course of events. From the internationally bestselling author of The Hypnotist comes The Nightmare, another spellbinding tale of Nordic crime.

 

My Review

Well… Unfortunately I didn’t enjoy this second book in the Joona Linna Series as much as I did the first.  Again, the writing felt disjointed and hard to immerse myself in.  It felt as though there was a lot of unnecessary wordage, such as a paragraph about chocolate that felt out of place.  It was a long book, but could have been cut down by at least 200pages which would have fastened up the pace some.  I personally found it hard to like any of the characters because we don’t get to really meet them, in that they sort of feel very 2 dimensional.  However, apart from that, I did find I enjoyed to story line. Admittedly it’s not something that I would normally find myself reading as I find i enjoy the psychopathic killer more than the hired killer type plots.   And I do really like Joona’s personality, he reminds me a bit of myself.  That alone makes me want to keep on reading in the series, because I do really enjoy his thinking and behaviour.

I’m looking forward to the next in this series, and hope that my review doesn’t dissuade you from trying the book out yourself, because it may just be up your alley!

Keep on reading,

Nat

1st Review of 2019 – The Innocent Man by John Grisham #theinnocentman #johngrisham #bookblogger #truecrime #booknerd

So, if you have Netflix then you know about the new docoseries – The Innocent Man which is actually based on the book of the same title by the one and only John Grisham.  Now I’ve actually never read anything of Mr Grisham’s although I know that he’s a big seller, and that a number of his books have been made into movies. However, this book of his is particularly special because it is the one and only non-fiction story that he has published to date.

The Innocent Man centers around two murders of two young women in the early 1980’s

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Victim Debra Carter

in the small town of Ada, Oklahoma.  The first murder was horrific, with the rape and murder of Debra Carter in 1982.  The two men charged with her murder were Ron Williamson, who was once a big time baseball player, and Dennis Fritz.  Despite the railroading that both men received, the polygraph tests the took didn’t help them (but let’s face it,

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Ron Williamson

they’re junk science really and give out so many false positives that they’re inadmissible in court), Williamson had serious mental health conditions, and the police had pressure to find a culprit (or two) as well as tunnel vision. Which ultimately ended up in the life sentence of Fritz, and a cell on death row for Williamson.

 

The second case in the book was that of Denice Haraway who was found shot once in the

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Victim Denice Haraway

head on April 28, 1984.  The police believed that Tommy Ward and Karl Fontenot walked into the convenience store that Miss Haraway worked at, abducted her and shot her.

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Karl Fontenot and Tommy Ward

Despite the fact that they both denied doing so multiple times, however like the first case the police had tunnel vision and no doubt added extra pressure of another murder in their small town.  They used the polygraph tests again, and Ward is a skittish/anxious person so it was no surprise when Wards came back as failed a number of times.  The police also frustrated that Ward wasn’t admitting to a crime that they suspected he had committed, and instead used a dream that he had about the crime as a confession.  Unfortunately Ward and Fontenot are still incarcerated. However that did receive a retrial. In the first sentencing they both had received death. In the retrial, Fontenot was again sentenced to death and Ward is currently serving a life sentence.

In the case of Debra, they arrested, charged, and sentenced Glen Gore with her murder after DNA evidence cleared Williamson and Fritz.  What for this, Gore was questioned after Debra’s murder however no DNA evidence was collected from him, and he testified against Williamson and Fritz. Further, DNA evidence connected Gore to the crime scene, along with witness accounts of him being with Debra the night of her murder.  Unbelievable, I know.

My Review

I didn’t really expect anything less than a brilliant read, and that’s what I got.  I was a tad worried that Mr Grisham may embellish or right the story as a fiction piece, however it read smoothly and matter-of-factly.  The depth of information was excellent, and being someone who hadn’t heard of these two cases before, I felt as though I got just the right amount of information without feeling as though there was an overload.  Generally, when too much information is given, it reads sluggish and boring. Not for me.  It’s outrageous quite frankly, that four innocent men (five when you add Greg Wilhoit who is also added in the story and shared the same death row as the men) in the same county are sentenced for horrific crimes they didn’t commit. You can only imagine what that would be like. Especially for Williamson who was already suffering from mental health issues that were magnified being in a place where prisoner welfare is at the bottom of the list of importance.  It’s truly heartbreaking, and even though two of those men were released, it’s forever changed their lives and the lives of their loved ones. Not to mention the anguish for the victims families.

If you enjoy true crime, and stories of innocence then I highly recommend this one for you.  I think I also recommend myself to try some of Grisham’s fiction work, because if it’s as half as good as his non-fiction I’m in for awesomeness!

 

Have you read it? What did you think? Let me know.

Review: A Mother’s Reckoning – Living in the Aftermath of the Columbine Tragedy By Sue Klebold

Goodreads Blurb

On April 20, 1999, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold walked into Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado. Over the course of minutes, they would kill twelve students and a teacher and wound twenty-four others before taking their own lives.

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Dylan Klebold

For the last sixteen years, Sue Klebold, Dylan’s mother, has lived with the indescribable grief and shame of that day. How could her child, the promising young man she had loved and raised, be responsible for such horror? And how, as his mother, had she not known something was wrong? Were there subtle signs she had missed? What, if anything, could she have done differently?

These are questions that Klebold has grappled with every day

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Author Sue Klebold – Dylan’s mother

since the Columbine tragedy. In A Mother’s Reckoning, she chronicles with unflinching honesty her journey as a mother trying to come to terms with the incomprehensible. In the hope that the insights and understanding she has gained may help other families recognize when a child is in distress, she tells her story in full, drawing upon her personal journals, the videos and writings that Dylan left behind, and on countless interviews with mental health experts.

Filled with hard-won wisdom and compassion, A Mother’s Reckoning is a powerful and

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Eric Harris

haunting book that sheds light on one of the most pressing issues of our time. And with fresh wounds from the recent Newtown and Charleston shootings, never has the need for understanding been more urgent.

All author profits from the book will be donated to research and to charitable organizations focusing on mental health issues.

My Review

There aren’t a lot of people who don’t know about the terrible tragedy that was Columbine school shootings which happened in April 1999. If you’re wondering if you are empathetic, all you need to do is pick up this book and read it, I guarantee you that by the end of it, you’ll have gone through at least 6 boxes of tissues! It’s truly and heart wrenching read.

Sue, is Dylan Klebold’s mother, and he is one of the shooters that killed 12 students and one teacher, and wounded as many as 25 others.  She thought she knew her son, thought that all he needed was love and everything that ‘good parenting’ entails. However, she finds out in the worst way possible that there was a lot more going on with him than what she saw on the surface. How do you deal with something so horrific? Your son’s suicide, and the fact that he was partly responsible for the murder and injuring of others? Sue really does a magnificent job of baring her soul, her thoughts, her failures, and her ignorance for the world to see.

It was really eye opening to read what she had to go through, including the awful things from strangers that came from all around the world. People tend to forget that she, and her family, were victims as well.  She paints us a picture of the son she thought she knew, and the painful path she walked when it was revealed who he really was. You just can’t imagine.

She does do a great job in sharing various information that she has learned about mental health (or brain health as she likes to call it), violence, and school shootings by interviewing various experts over the last 16 years. Things that sometimes people don’t think about, or know about, or have been told a skewed or wrong information. However, there were times when it was very much biased information that she was sharing.   I suppose that’s only to be expected, and she does do a good job to try and avoid it. She shares a lot of information that is helpful for parents to know, and just people in general. I think the message to ‘think before you speak/type/rant’ is poignant in this book; not just about this tragedy, but to other like it. It’s pretty easy to throw blame when you live in a black and white world. Some of us know that the world isn’t black and white though, there’s a lot of grey. And essentially, mental health can be grey at times, because of our individuality.

Overall, this was a fantastic read. A real eye opener in that you get to experience some of what it’s like for families who are involved in tragedies like this. Hopefully, you feel a little more empathy and compassion at the end of it, if you didn’t already.

I rate this book: 4.5/5

You can purchase the ebook here

Happy buying and reading!

Nat

Review: Adnan’s Story: The Truth by Rabia Chaundry

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Goodreads Blurb

In early 2000, Adnan Syed was convicted and sentenced to life plus thirty years for the murder of his ex-girlfriend Hae Min Lee, a high school senior in Baltimore, Maryland. Syed has maintained his innocence, and Rabia Chaudry, a family friend, has always believed him. By 2013, after almost all appeals had been exhausted, Rabia contacted Sarah Koenig, a producer at This American Life, in hopes of finding a journalist who could shed light on Adnan’s story. In 2014, Koenig’s investigation turned into Serial, a Peabody Award-winning podcast with more than 500 million international listeners

But Serial did not tell the whole story. In this compelling narrative, Rabia Chaudry presents new key evidence that she maintains dismantles the State’s case: a potential new suspect, forensics indicating Hae was killed and kept somewhere for almost half a day, and documentation withheld by the State that destroys the cell phone evidence — among many other points — and she shows how fans of Serial joined a crowd-sourced investigation into a case riddled with errors and strange twists. Adnan’s Story also shares Adnan’s life in prison, and weaves in his personal reflections, including never-before-seen letters. Chaudry, who is committed to exonerating Adnan, makes it clear that justice is yet to be achieved in this much examined case.

My Review

Wow. Just wow. I remember first listening to the “Serial” podcast early 2015. I listened to each of the episodes on the series while I was at the gym, on my iphone. I didn’t know anything about the case it was based on, that of Adnan Syed and his ex-girlfriend, for whom he is currently serving a life sentence plus 30 years for her murder.  Of course, after listening to the podcast, I did a little research but due to my own studies, that was limited.  I then picked up this book, and have to admit it’s been one of the best true crime books that I’ve read in a while.

If you’ve listened to Serial, you’ll know that it was 12 episodes, so you would think that that is A LOT of information. It’s not. It’s only a very small portion of Adnan’s case, and that is what Rabia herself has said.  This book is soooooo rich in information. Information on Adnan, on his case, on the prosecutions case, on the defense case, on the detectives and police, Adnan’s family, and of course, Adnan’s ethnicity and religion which has played a very important role in his trial. Not only does Rabia talk about the issues in Adnan’s case, but also addresses the issues of the ‘broken’ system that we rely so heavily on.  I’m in awe of the amazing job that Rabia has done in the case, and the book, and how enthralling it is to read. I go to 60% through and couldn’t tear myself away from it, having to finish it over an hour and a half, whilst holding onto a full bladder!

The flow and style of writing was definitely an absolute pleasure. The release of information was plentiful but manageable, and the way theories and evidence was revealed was fascinating. I really learned a lot about the case, but also about Muslims, which admittedly, I really didn’t know a lot about. So I loved all this information and education. Really, I can’t speak more highly enough about this book. I believe that there could be no better person to be advocating for Adnan, and Rabia has certainly done a spectacular job throwing her time and effort into this. Adnan would be very proud and thankful for it.

Do yourself a favour and GRAB THIS BOOK. You can do that here for the ebook, and here for the paperback.

You can also visit Rabia Chaundry’s website here

I rated this book: 5/5

Happy purchasing and reading

Nat

Review: The Hillside Stranglers by Darcy O’Brien

It’s taken me a while to finish this one, seeing as I started it at the beginning of my final semester. But I’ve finished it!.

Goodreads Blurb

Based on the bestselling book, Darcy O’Brien–author of Murder in Little Egypt–tells of the savage spree of rape and killing in Los Angeles and Buono’s and Bianchi’s resulting trial.

The Hillside Stranglers – Kenneth Bianci and Angelo Buono

The Hillside Strangler, later the Hillside Stranglers, is the media epithet for a serial killer who terrorized Los Angeles between October 1977 and February 1978, with the nickname originating from the fact that many of the victims’ bodies were discovered on the sides of the Hollywood Hills. The police, however, knew because of the presence of multiple distinct DNA traces and the positions of the bodies that two individuals were killing together, but withheld this information from the press. These two individuals were discovered to be cousins Kenneth Bianchi and Angelo Buono, who were later convicted of kidnapping, raping, torturing, and murdering ten females, ranging in age from twelve to twenty-eight years old.[1][2]

The Hillside Strangler murders began with the deaths of three prostitutes who were found strangled and dumped naked on hillsides northeast of the city between October and early November 1977, but it was not until the deaths of five young women who were not prostitutes, but girls who had been abducted from middle-class neighborhoods, that the media attention and subsequent “Hillside Strangler” moniker came to be.[3] There were two more murders in December and February before the Hillside Strangler murders abruptly stopped, an extensive investigation proved fruitless until the arrest of Bianchi in January, 1979 for the murder of two more young women in Washington and the subsequent linking of his past to the Hillside Strangler murders. The most expensive trial in the history of the California legal system at that time followed, with both Bianchi and Buono eventually being found guilty of these crimes and sentenced to life imprisonment.

Info provided from Wiki

My Review

I think firstly, I’ll get what I didn’t enjoy about this book, out of the way.  I wasn’t a fan of the ‘fictional’ feeling I got from the writing. There were times when it felt more like a fictional story, than a non-fiction book.  I’m quite picky when it comes to authors reading transcripts and interviews, and the likes, and then constructing a reenactment of sorts.  I feel like there’s a little too much room for dramatisation in that respect and it has me wondering if that really happened the way the author described it.  Secondly, the court scenes (which are generally my favourite parts) was slightly hard to get through at times because it was dry, in my opinion.  In unnecessary parts, too much time devoted to, and the book could have done without. Although, I have to admit, I loved the way the author wrote about the judge, giving us a little look about him as a person. I really liked the Judge and the way he handled the case.

While I had an issue with the interpretation of the author at times, I did enjoy the information he provided us by his thorough investigation into the case.  Although it happened some years ago, it’s still one that many remember and refer to often.  I’m fairly familiar with this case, although there were times when the author made some information seem brand new.  I think it was the fact that he had a more personal view, being privy to specific information and talking to those who worked on the case, that did give his writing at times a special spark.  I enjoyed the respect he paid to those who worked on the case, especially to the victims and their families. This is an important part to get right, in my opinion, when you’re writing on a topic such as this.  I appreciated the fact that the author also managed to stay mostly neutral throughout.

So overall, I enjoyed it. Did it bring anything new to the table for me? No. But it might for you.  If you don’t know anything about these two offenders, then do a little google search, or even watch a documentary on youtube there’s tonnes of information out there.

I give this book: *** stars / 5

You can purchase the ebook version via amazon

Happy buying and reading!

Nat

Review: Butcher, Baker – By Walter Gilmore & Leland E Hale

Blurb (via Goodreads)- The true account of Alaska’s serial killer, Robert Hansen, the asker who hunted the streets of Anchorage and Seward in the 70’s and 80’s, butchering up to 20 young women. This book details the extraordinary work and dedication of a handful of Alaska State Troopers who brought him to justice.


True crime is my absolute favourite genre to read and this book was one of the excellent reads.  The writers took a different past to some of the other true crime books out there, in that this book started in the thick of things. There wasn’t the usual boring introduction to the offender and his past. Instead, it started with the discovery of the one of the victims and then gradually we were introduced to Hansen and given his background in bite-sized chunks. You didn’t feel overwhelmed or bored which is, in my opinion, excellent writing.  For those who detest courtroom writing because of the ‘boredom’ of it (I actually enjoy the courtroom part of true crime novels) there is actually very little in this, and the little that is in it is actually pivotal to understanding this horrifying case.

Did I have any issues with the book? Yes. Not really from the authors though, more from the individuals who were part of this case.  Given the era this case took place, not really a surprise that those involved apparently can’t differentiate the difference between mass murder and serial murder.  They’re both very different from each other, however like I mentioned it was a common mistake made during the late 70’s and early 80’s (although people still get it wrong today!).  I also felt the last two chapters were a tad rushed and maybe could have been given a little more TLC. 

Alaskan Serial Killer Robert C. Hansen

Opinions on the case itself? Serial murder is always a topic that fascinates people. Myself, I’m pretty much over it. However, there’s no denying that it was a horrific case and the dedication and effort that the officers/investigators and the many others that worked to arrest and detain Hansen, is nothing short of admirable and amazing.  It never gets any less sadder that these poor victims, prostitutes and exotic dancers, are often targets of crime. My heart breaks whenever I read about their deaths at the hands of another human.  There was a line in the book that stuck with me, which I’ll paraphrase excuse I can’t remember it exactly, but the gist of it was that one of the victims was warned that it’s a hard line of work being a protestitute and that she should basically expect ‘bad’ things to happen. It angered me that someone would think like that. Irrelevant of what a person does, they should never have to fear for their lives and be disrespected and treated anything less than human. But it happens, and there’s no other word for it than unfair. Really unfair. 

So, if you’re a true crime lover, and love your serial killers then this one is a must for you. I can’t guarantee that you’ll enjoy it as much as I did, but that’s the beauty of individualality!! You can purchase the hard copy via Amazon below:

Purchase Butcher, Baker here

I rated this book: 
   X 5 / 5 
Happy reading and buying

Nat

Review – The Innocent Killer by Michael Griesbach

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If you haven’t heard of Steven Avery, and the NetFlix hit The Marking of a Murderer, then you must being living in a library! LOL. This case has been everywhere on the internet and social media, and not without it’s controversy.

In brief Steven was wrongly convicted of a violent sexual assault when he was 23 and spent 12years in jail for it when the real killer was on the loose and went on to assault at least one more women before he was jailed.  When he was released in 2003, after DNA cleared him, a short while after he was charged with the murder of Theresa Holbach and sentenced to life in prison.

This book by prosecutor for the state Michael Griesbach, was very well written, I thought. I’ve seen some review that have been quite scathing, mentioning his bias and lack of writers flair towards the end of the novel, as well as a personal opinion on the facts of the case.  But this review isn’t concerned with the rights and wrongs of Stevens case.  Personally, I’m on the fence with whether or not he murdered the victim. But the book was very pleasant to read. I thought the author had a particularly nice way with words. Was descriptive without being overly, and wrote about the case with attention to detail but not too much. I know there are true crime readers out there that don’t care for boring, technical legal jargon, which I think this author avoided.

I enjoyed the back story that was provided about Steven, as well as a personal side that the author shared about himself. Was there some bias? Quite possibly. But that’s down to interpretation, which most of life is.  To me, he wrote about the case as neutrally as I think he could and for me, that was very well because I thoroughly enjoyed it.  Yes, he believes that the right person is in jail, and that there wasn’t a a police conspiracy. He’s entitled to that opinion, because afterall, he knows a hell of a lot more than us readers do. I won’t comment on that with my opinion, I respect his right to it, I’m not going to argue it.

While it took me a while to finish this, if you’ve been following me on good reads, please don’t think it was because I didn’t enjoy it. That couldn’t be further from the truth! I’ve just got to find time to read for pleasure while I’m in the middle of semester and usually that’s a few minutes before I jump into bed in the wee hours of the morning. If you enjoy true crime, then I think you’ll enjoy this one!

I gave this ebook: large_cute-bookworm 1large_cute-bookworm 1large_cute-bookworm 1large_cute-bookworm 1large_cute-bookworm 1/5

Purchase the ebook here

Happy reading!

 

Review: Sins of the Brother by Mark Whittaker and Les Kennedy

Strangely enough, I’ve never been a fan of Australian crime, despite being Australian myself. Then four years ago I started studying and realised that’s it’s probably best I start getting to know it. So, I may be one of the few Aussies that didn’t really know anything about one our of most infamous serial killers, Ivan Milat, AKA the backpack murderer.

I can announce that I’m happy to have read this book because it is truly a fascinating and complex case!

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Blurb: Like the Beaumont children and the Azaria Chamberlain cases before it, the backpacker murder case in the Belanglo State Forest has entered Australian criminal folklore. Seven young people, most of the foreigners backpacking around Australia, brutally murdered, their remains uncovered in 1992 and 1993. It would take scores of police over three years, countless hours of forensic investigation, thousands of false leads and a few precious clues to charge and convict Ivan Milat for their horrific deaths…

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Serial Killer: Ivan Milat

The book itself is 526 pages long, so you can expect that there is a lot of information. The authors go into great detail introducing us to the Milat family starting with Ivan’s mother and father and all his brothers and sisters (he had quite a few), their lives growing up, the trouble that they all got into and the court appearances that a number of them made. WARNING: there is A LOT of background information. So if that is not the sort of true crime that you like to read, then this may not be the right Ivan Milat book for you.

However, in saying that you may appreciate the great amount of detail the authors make in also giving up much information on the victims and their families. I found I appreciated knowing more about the victims and who they were and how much they were loved and still loved, and not just how their bodies were discovered and the forensic information that entails.

I very much enjoyed reading about the police task force and those who were involved in investigating the case and also those who helped such as the forensic investigators, news reporters, judges etc. There wasn’t a great deal of court/trial, so if that’s not a favourite part of true crime for you, I think you’ll be satisfied with the few chapters that pertain to that part of the story.

The authors did a fantastic investigative job with this book. The detail that went into this which would have been spent analyzing document upon document, court transcripts, police reports and interviews would have been daunting. They most likely could have written more! I think the amount was perfect for this book. It didn’t bore me, in fact I’m very much intrigued by the case and have googled the heck out of it! I don’t doubt that you won’t too 😉

In relation to Ivan, here are some links to visit if you haven’t heard of him or would like to know more.

Wikipedia

Newreport on a two part miniseries that aired in Australia last year

And if you haven’t seen the Australian movie Wolf Creek (trailer), then you may want to as it’s based on Ivan.

So, this book I give small_cute-bookwormsmall_cute-bookwormsmall_cute-bookwormsmall_cute-bookwormsmall_cute-bookworm/5

I recommend you get your hands on a copy in the very near future!

Happy reading!

Nat

Review: Karla; A Pact With the Devil By Stephen Williams

UnknownPaul Bernardo and Karla Holmolka were husband and wife Canadians who were responsible for the rapes and murder of at least three young women, and Bernardo also responsible for at least 19 other rapes.  More infamously, the couple are responsible for the rape and murder of Homolka’s 16 year old sister, Tammy.

The book Karla, is the second by the author on the “Barbie and Ken Killers”, although mainly focuses on Karla and the inside ‘scoop’ of the deal she cut with the prosecution of her husband and her reasonably short prison sentence.

This book isn’t for you, if you’re not a fan of the criminal justice side of true crime stories. I see and read a lot of comment about being “too much court room” and not about the crime, per se. This story is very much more about the political and court room goings on, that the actual crimes themselves. Even more so, it’s about Karla and her letters to both the author and those who defended her and treated her.

Needless to say, I personally found it fascinating and frustrating. The justice system and professionals don’t always get it right, this would be one of those times. Hearing about her interrogations and interviews with police and psychologists and psychiatrists really struck a cord with me, seeing as I’m in the field. Goes to show, how interpretation doesn’t necessarily equal fact. Nor does it always prove correct. This along with the mistakes and incompetence from the police, lead me to feel a bit of anger at the whole situation, in that Karla may have very well gotten a longer sentence than what she served had the job been done properly, and the experts performing in their proper capacity.

There’s also a movie based of this book with an almost similar title, Karla. movie karlaLaura Prepon, from Orange is the New Black, stars as Karla. If you’re a true crime based movie buff, or just like watching movies then add this one to your list. It wasn’t too bad.

So, in conclusion, this books was very informative but more on the personal side of Karla and the events in the criminal justice system that lead to her deal with the prosecution and prison sentence. If you want a book more on the crimes themselves, then I suggest you go with the authors first book on this couple.

I give this book: small_cute-bookwormsmall_cute-bookwormsmall_cute-bookwormsmall_cute-bookworm/5

Purchase on Kindle here

Until next time, happy reading!

Nat