Review: Body Count by Burl Barer #bookreview #bookblog

Blurb

He Seemed So Normal . . .

By day, Robert Lee Yates, Jr., was a respected father of five, a skilled helicopter pilot who served in Desert Storm and the National Guard, and a man no one suspected of a deadly hidden life. By night he prowled the streets where prostitutes gathered, gaining their trust before betraying them with a bullet to the head.

On August 26, 1997, the decomposed bodies of two young women were discovered in Spokane, Washington. Within months four more women were added to the mounting death toll.

In 2000, Yates pleaded guilty to thirteen murders to avoid the death penalty. But in 2001 he was convicted of two more murders and is now on death row in Washington State, waiting for the day when he will die by lethal injection.

Updated with the latest disturbing developments, award winning author Burl Barer’s real life thriller is a shocking portrait of one man’s depravity.

My Thoughts

True crime is one of my favourite genre’s to read. Maybe even my 1st preference.  I’ve always been fascinated by crimes and criminals, and I guess that’s what lead me to my career/profession.  For me, the main point I like to get from a true crime book is that the victims were people. Human beings. Capable and worthy of love, and who had people in their lives who made and impact and feel their loss. And from this book I got that. Which was respectful and oh so sad.  It’s awful that women with addiction and who prostitute are treated or are thought of an throwaways. That breaks my heart.  Everyone has a story, some aren’t as ‘rosy’ as others, but at the end of the day, we’ve all got beating hearts, we all deserve love, respect, and compassion. Yet these, poor women, 11 in total, were unlikely to get any of that because of what they did to survive.

This was the first book about Robert Lee Yates Jnr, that I’ve read. Although, I loved and appreciated the way the author treated the victims, that was almost all I liked about this book.  It was pretty wordy throughout, which interrupted the flow.  I did, at times, have trouble getting through each chapter especially when quotes from forensic or behavioural science professionals were added to the book. I can appreciate that the author perhaps wanted to show his research, but it really made the book drag and felt quite out of place.

But again, I really appreciate that this telling of Yates crimes was focused on showing us that the victims were people telling us about their lives and interviewing those who loved of knew them.  The reporting of their horrible murders were done so respectfully, and I didn’t feel like the murderer was given the spotlight, which was excellent.

So although it was a bit of a struggle for me, there was the respect and compassion for the victims that I really admired.

I rated Body Count: 3/5 stars

Happy Reading

Nat

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Review: Love Always, Mum xxoo by Mae West and Neil McKay #bookreview #bookblog @SevenDialBooks

Blurb

The true story of an abused childhood, of shocking brutality and life as the daughter of notorious serial killer, and master manipulator, Rose West.
You’re 21-years-old. Police arrive on the doorstep of your house, 25 Cromwell Street, with a warrant to search the garden for the remains of your older sister you didn’t know was dead. Bones are found and they are from more than one body. And so the nightmare begins. You are the daughter of Fred and Rose West.
‘Mae, I mean this … I’m not a good person and I let all you children down …’ Rose West, HM PRISON DURHAM
It has taken over 20 years for Mae West to find the perspective and strength to tell her remarkable story: one of an abusive, violent childhood, of her serial killer parents and how she has rebuilt her life in the shadow of their terrible crimes.
Through her own memories, research and the letters her mother wrote to her from prison, Mae shares her emotionally powerful account of her life as a West. From a toddler locked in the deathly basement to a teen fighting off the sexual advances of her father, Mae’s story is one of survival. It also answers the questions: how do you come to terms with knowing your childhood bedroom was a graveyard? How do you accept the fact your parents sexually tortured, murdered and dismembered young women? How do you become a mother yourself when you’re haunted by the knowledge that your own mother was a monster? Why were you spared and how do you escape the nightmare?

My Thoughts

You know, I find true crime that’s do do with serial killers intriguing and I ‘enjoy’ (for lack of a better word) reading them. Have since I was 13.  This is the second biography of a serial killers child that I’ve read in the past month, and it’s been a fantastic read. Yes, we all know who Fred and Rose West are and what they were accussed and convicted of, but I find knowing about their family just as intriguing.  This story was just as heartbreaking as Kerrie Rawson’s, although where Kerri had a relatively ‘normal’ childhood, Mae (formerly May June West, I know how could a mother do that to her daughter) was far different. Subjected to horrific physical, sexual, and mental abuse; although it was heartbreaking to read, I found it fascinating to learn just how wicked Fred and Rose were.

But you also learned about Fred and Rose’s childhood, and it was an equally horrific.  How do you expect to severely traumatised children to grow up and not repeat what they grew up in? I loath what those two grew up and did, but I can understand how that may of come to place given their awful upbringing.

I liked the way this book was set out, with little snippets from Rose, who seemed to be in extreme denial. At times I almost believed that she was innocent, just like Mae did.  I have to admit I’m surprised at the support that she gave her mother after finding out what she did. But then I’m not surprised. She’s suffered years of trauma at the hands of her own parents.  It’s not as simple as just not loving them, when you’ve grown up praying or wishing that they were different. Everyday you think it will be different, but everyday it’s the same. But that just doesn’t go away when you’re a child. Sadly enough, it lasts into adulthood as well. Although you may come to the realisation that you won’t ever get the love and affection that you’ve craved for your entire life, that yearning doesn’t every truly go away, you just learn to deal with it. So to the lay person, you might find you’re annoyed at Mae for half of the book. But just bare in mind, we could never possibly understand what it’s like to be in her situation. It’s uncomprehendable. Despite my work as a psychologist, stories like this never get old.  It’s always like reading something for the first time, because every experience is different. No human and their feelings/emotions/behaviours are the same. I guess that’s why I love what I do.

This story doesn’t focus on the murdered victims. It’s a focus on a personal experience of a living victim, who’s life has forever changed. Someone who had no part in any of what happened to her, but lives with the guilt and shame for as long as she lives. Often, family members of serial killers are forgotten, or equally blamed. When really, they’re just another victim.  Much strength and love to Mae and her siblings. I hope that they’re seeking the proper psychological help, and have the supports that they need and deserve. May they live the life they’ve deserved all along.

I rated Love alway, Mum: 5/5 stars

Happy reading

Nat

Review: The Lost Girls: An Unsolved American Mystery by Robert Kolker #bookreview #blogger #bookblog

Goodreads Blurb

Award-winning investigative reporter Robert Kolker delivers a humanizing account of the true-life search for a serial killer still at large on Long Island and presents the first detailed look at the shadow world of online escorts, where making a living is easier than ever, and the dangers remain all too real. A triumph of reporting, a riveting narrative, and “a lashing critique of how society and the police let five young women down” (Dwight Garner, The New York Times), Lost Girls is a portrait of unsolved murders in an idyllic part of America, of the underside of the Internet, and of the secrets we keep without admitting to ourselves that we keep them.

My Review

First things first, I think it’s important to congratulate the author on making this book about the victims. It’s a horrific, tragic, undignified, and heartbreaking way to have died not only for the victims, but for their friends and family who are left behind.  This non-fiction true crime book is different to others I’ve read. The first section is dedicated solely to four of the 10 victims.  Getting to know them for the human beings that they were, how they lived, who they loved, and who loved them.  There’s not a lot more important than remembering them.

It’s certainly an interesting case, that will have most of use wondering if the murderer will ever be caught. I’d like to think that it’ll happen in my lifetime, especially seeing as 35 year old murders are being solved these days thanks to DNA.  I enjoyed the authors writing style; it was thoughtful, read smoothly,  was respectful.

I rated Lost Girls: 4/5 stars.

Happy reading

Nat

Review: Parkland by Dave Cullen @hachetteAus @davecullen #bookreview #bookblog #nonfictionbook

Amazon Blurb

On the first anniversary of the events at Parkland, the acclaimed, New York Times bestselling author of Columbine offers an intimate, deeply moving account of the extraordinary teenage survivors who became activists and pushed back against the NRA and feckless Congressional leaders—inspiring millions of Americans to join their grassroots #neveragain movement.

My Review

It was one of those events that shocked and moved us when multiple news broadcasts showed us the horrors that hundreds of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Parkland, FL endured, with 17 losing their lives on Valentine’s Day in 2018.  I know I’ve heard people say things like “It’s just another shooting in a gun crazy country, nothing will change.”, fortunately for me I don’t live in the US (I’m Australian), and I also still feel absolutely devastated every time I hear of one of these gun-related mass murders.  The author of this book, Dave Cullen, takes a different approach with this book compared to his other, Columbine (which I absolutely loved), and I believe it most certainly paid off.  The reader is not only given information about the terrible shooting, but we get to know some of those young victims who’ve fortunately escaped with their lives, to fight for the right to be heard given that they – the school kids – are the ones who so often find themselves the victims of this type of crime.

I found getting to know these victims incredibly inspiring.  It warms my heart to read the words of these young teens who seem to have more insight, compassion, and gumpsion than many so-called adults I know.  It’s difficult not to get emotionally sucked into this book, to shed tears for the victims who died and their family’s, for your heart and sould not to ache for those incredibly brave souls who lived and are shouting their rights to feel safe in their learning environments.  I think this book has been one that forces you to question your stance on gun-laws, on your morals and empathy, and makes you figuratively sit down, shut up, and listen.

I’d also like to thank the author for volunteering to divulge his struggle with PTSD over the last decade almost, since investigating and writing about Columbine.  I understand that in a world where mental health and associated labels are still so sadly stigmatised, volunteering your struggle has the potential to show others that it shouldn’t be a taboo topic.  We should be able to feel comfortable disclosing our thoughts and feelings without fear.  The only way to do that is to model that ourselves.  Nobody is immune to mental health, no one should be made to feel at fault.  Thank you Dave for sharing your struggle, I know that you’ll have helped at least one reader.

A special thank you to Hachette Aus for my copy, eternally grateful.

I rated Parkland: 5/5 stars

Happy Reading

Nat

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

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

debra-carter-4

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,

ron

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

denice haraway

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.

tommy ward and karl fontenot

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.

dylan_klebold_by_eric_david_harris-d5kly2h

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

sueklebold-creditj-kphotography

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