Book Review ARC ~ Deer Creek Drive

Deer Creek Drive: A Reckoning of Memory and Murder in the Mississippi Delta

by Beverly Lowry


SYNOPSIS – The stunning true story of a murder that rocked the Mississippi Delta and forever shaped one author’s life and perception of home.

In 1948, in the most stubbornly Dixiefied corner of the Jim Crow south, society matron Idella Thompson was viciously murdered in her own home: stabbed at least 150 times and left facedown in one of the bathrooms. Her daughter, Ruth Dickins, was the only other person in the house. She told authorities a Black man she didn’t recognize had fled the scene, but no evidence of the man’s presence was uncovered. When Dickins herself was convicted and sentenced to life in prison, the community exploded. Petitions pleading for her release were drafted, signed, and circulated, and after only six years, the governor of Mississippi granted Ruth Dickins an indefinite suspension of her sentence and she was set free.
 
In Deer Creek Drive, Beverly Lowry—who was ten at the time of the murder and lived mere miles from the Thompsons’ home—tells a story of white privilege that still has ramifications today, and reflects on the brutal crime, its aftermath, and the ways it clarified her own upbringing in Mississippi.


MY THOUGHTS – The author shares how she was affected by a murder from her childhood when a woman was brutally murdered not far from where she lived. Lowry was 10 when it occurred. It showed how family connections played a role back then, but is more about the unspoken white privilege that affected many. Shades of Susan Smith in 1994, blaming a black man for her crime. But this victim’s daughter was released by the Governor after people protested by way of petitions. Good story but a bit tedious at times. I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.


DEER CREEK DRIVE

PUBLISHER – Knopf – 368 pages

PUBLICATION DATE – Aug 2nd, 2022

MY RATING – 3/5 STARS


ABOUT THE AUTHOR – BEVERLY LOWRY is the author of six novels and four previous works of nonfiction. Her writing has appeared in The New YorkerThe New York TimesThe Boston GlobeVanity FairRolling StoneMississippi ReviewGranta, and many other publications. She has received awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Guggenheim Foundation, the Texas Institute of Letters, and the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters. She lives in Austin, Texas.


Repost: Book Review – Two Shades of Vice: Based on the true story of an interracial couple’s life together in crime

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First posted June 3rd, 2017

MY THOUGHTS – A kind of quirky yet readable true crime book about an interracial couple who seem to work rather well together in early 60’s crime in Kansas City crime together. Alla Mae had been working the streets as an independent hooker when Gordon Reynolds offers her a job managing one of his two bawdy houses. She finds herself falling for him and being suited for the work, dangerous though it is. Liked the book, despite the violence, racism of the times, and too abrupt ending. Thanks to NetGalley, the Publisher and the author for providing me with an ARC for review.

 


TWO SHADES OF VICE


PUBLISHER – Dewey B. Reynolds – 322 pages

PUBLICATION DATE – April 24th, 2017

MY RATING – 3/5 STARS


ABOUT THE AUTHOR – Dewey B. Reynolds is an author, screenwriter, short filmmaker, and computer expert. Dewey…

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Book Review ARC ~ The Decision to Kill

The Decision to Kill: A True Crime Story of a Teenage Killer and the Mother Who Loved Him

by Leslie Ghiglieri


SYNOPSIS -A family tragedy propels this gripping true crime debut as a mother searches for answers in the shocking murder of her husband—and conviction of her son.

In the early morning of October 18, 1986, Cherie Wier’s life collapses when her teenage son takes the life of her beloved husband. For years, Cherie grapples with events preceding and following the crime, struggling to overcome the consuming grief she suffers from her loss and the difficulty she faces as she attempts to forgive her son. The courtroom accounts of gruesome details and the shocking testimonies from experts, only add to Cherie’s yearning to make sense of the crime. She is tormented, wanting to know how and WHY this tragedy happened and if there was anything she could have done to prevent it .


MY THOUGHTS – An amazing true crime book written by the author who was friends with the mother in the story. Ghiglieri committed to writing the book and they got together and worked on it while Cherie Weir was ill and undergoing treatment. Rare insights using letters between mother and son give a side of the story that’s not often seen. Weir looks back asking herself if she could have forseen her adopted son one day murdering her husband. Shows the struggle the couple went through trying to help this difficult son but wouldn’t give up. I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.


THE DECISION TO KILL


PUBLISHER – WildBlue Press – 340 pages

PUBLICATION DATE – June 21st, 2022

MY RATING – 5/5 STARS


ABOUT THE AUTHOR – A devoted reader of classics and nonfiction, Leslie was initially employed as a 911 dispatcher in California where she was immediately addicted to the unpredictability of police work. After moving to Oregon, she joined the Josephine County sheriff’s department working in the dispatch and warrants division for three years. Subsequently, Leslie accepted a position as a field representative for a criminal justice computer system overseeing the needs of 17 agencies. Now retired, interest in reading, law-enforcement work, and recreational writing has resulted in Leslie fulfilling the wish of a friend who asked her to document the story of her husband’s murder. This book not only tells readers intimate details of the crime, but more importantly, shares a surprising message of encouragement with those whose loved ones suffer from addiction and mental health disorders. Leslie still lives in southern Oregon with her husband and her German Shepherd Dog, Schatzi.

Repost – The Truth about Belle Gunness: The True Story of Notorious Serial Killer Hell’s Belle

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First posted June 2nd, 2017

While it’s a full telling of Belle’s story, it is also this author’s theory of what she felt really happened to Belle in the end. Spends a lot of time on Lamphere and his trial. Looks to be a reprint of her 1955 book. I’ve read several books on Belle including a more recent one putting forth a new theory that she may have taken on the identity of yet another victim after the fire. The new victim being from another state that she killed. She was then later able to assume her identity and live on as her for the remainder of her life. Lots of theories out there. My thanks to NetGalley and Open Road Integrated Media for providing me with an ARC in return for my review.

 


Publisher – Mysterious Press/ Open Road  207 pages

Published:  June 6th, 2017

MY RATING: …

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Book ARC Review ~ Retail Gangster

Retail Gangster: The Insane, Real Life Story of Crazy Eddie

by Gary Weiss


Synopsis – A biography of the spectacular rise and fall of Eddie Antar, better known as “Crazy Eddie,” whose home electronics empire changed the world even as it turned out to be one of the biggest business scams of all time

Back in the fall of 2016 we heard the news about the passing of Eddie Antar, “Crazy Eddie” as he was known to millions of people, the man behind the successful chain of electronic stores and one of the most iconic ad campaigns in history. Few things evoke the New York of a particular era the way “Crazy Eddie! His prices are insaaaaane!” does. The journalist Herb Greenberg called his death the “end of an era” and that couldn’t be more true. What’s insane is that his story has never been told.

Before Enron, before Madoff, before The Wolf of Wall Street, Eddie Antar’s corruption was second to none. The difference was that it was a street franchise, a local place that was in the blood stream of everyone’s daily life in the 1970s and early ’80s. And Eddie pulled it off with a certain style, an in your face blue collar chutzpah. Despite the fact that then U.S. Attorney Michael Chertoff called him “the Darth Vader of capitalism” after the extent of the fraud was revealed, one of the largest SEC frauds in American history after Crazy Eddie’s stores went public in 1984, Eddie was talked about fondly by the people who worked for him. They still do–there are myriads of ex-Crazy Eddie employee web pages that still attract fans, and the Crazy Eddie fraud scheme is now taught in every business school across the United States.  

Many years have passed since the franchise went down in spectacular fashion but Crazy Eddie’s moment has endured the way that iconic brands and characters do–one only need Google the media outpouring that accompanied his death. Maybe it’s because it crystallized everything about 1970s New York almost perfectly, the merchandise and rise of consumer electronics (stereos!), the ads (cheesy!), the money (cash!). In Retail Gangster, investigative journalist Gary Weiss takes readers behind the scenes of one of the most unbelievable business scam stories of all time, a story spanning continents and generations, reaffirming the old adage that the truth is often stranger than fiction.


My thoughts – I was somewhat aware of the Crazy Eddie type advertising back in the day. But I didn’t know about the story of the electronic business and what it really was, namely a scam run by the owners. It reached some amazing highs, but eventually imploded. Wonderfully researched and an interesting read. I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.


RETAIL GANGSTER

Publisher – Hachette Books – 336 pages

Publication date – Aug 23rd, 2022

My rating – 4/5 STARS


About the author – Gary Weiss has been an investigative journalist and author covering corruption of Wall Street for over 40 years. His pieces have been essential reading ever since Warren Buffett cited his Business Week bond trading scandal article before Congress in 1991. Born and raised in the Bronx, Gary remains an essential NYC fixture. 


Book Review ~ All Along the Watchtower

All Along the Watchtower: Murder at Fort Devens

by William J. Craig


Synopsis – A penetrating look into the controversy that enshrouds one of the most complex criminal cases in US history: a former Green Beret’s murder of his wife.

It was a dreary winter afternoon in Ayer, Massachusetts, a quintessential New England town, the type which is romanticized in Robert Frost’s poems. But on January 30, 1979, a woman’s scream was heard piercing the northeast tempest wind.

In an unassuming apartment building on Washington Street, Elaine Tyree, a mother, wife, and US Army soldier, had her life brutally ripped from her. Her husband, William Tyree, a Special Forces soldier, was convicted of this heinous murder, which he has always vehemently denied.

Some elements of this case seem to be chilling echoes of the Jeffrey MacDonald case, made famous in the book and film Fatal Vision. A military doctor and US Army Captain, MacDonald was convicted of murdering his pregnant wife and two daughters but always maintained his innocence. As in the MacDonald case, the case against William Tyree raises questions as to whether the government and military suppressed evidence that could prove his innocence.

The Tyree case sent a shockwave through the idyllic community of Ayer, the United States Army, and the judicial system of Massachusetts. This case provoked suspicions of judicial misconduct, government cover-up, clandestine Black Ops by the military, and various conspiracy theories ultimately implicating “Deep State” involvement.

The events that took place that fateful day, the subsequent courtroom showdown, and the ongoing legal battles raise provocative questions that continue to revolve around this case to this day.


My thoughts – A detailed look at such a crazy case in the death of Elaine Tyree, a soldier who was murdered in her off base apartment. A lot of research went into this story of cover ups, poor investigations, and railroading that left her husband Bill convicted. There’s a lot of explanations of military procedures, etc. I received a review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.


All Along the Watchtower

Publisher – WildBlue Press – 275 pages

Publication date – June 7th, 2022

My rating – 4/5 STARS


About the author – I am a full time author. I learned the craft of writing as an apprentice under my cousin William Craig, who wrote The Fall Of Japan, Enemy at the Gates and the Tashkent Crisis. I am always working on one project or another. I am also available for speaking engagements and research. I served twelve years in the military. My first enlistment was in the U.S. Army where I served in Operation Dessert Storm with the 82nd Airborne, then I served with the 10th Special Forces Group at Fort Devens until I was deployed and assigned to 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment – Delta in Mogadishu. My next enlistment was with the United States Air Force as a crew chief for the next eight years. After being discharged I attended Gordon College in Wenham, Massachusetts where I majored in History and graduated in 2005. I currently reside in North Kansas City, Missouri with my wife and two daughters Meadow and Danica. In my off time I enjoy traveling, hiking, camping, boating and playing golf.


Practical Strangers: The Courtship Correspondence of Nathaniel Dawson and Elodie Todd, Sister of Mary Todd Lincoln

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First posted May 30th, 2017

 

A wonderful mix of romantic memoir and history pulled from the saved letters of this couple who courted by way of letters during the war of the North and South. She was the sister of the wife of Abraham Lincoln and he was a twice-widowed man who was going off to fight for the South. He stopped by and asked her to marry him and she accepted, and then off he went. They got better acquainted through writing while waiting for the war to be over. I love the old fashioned way they spoke and wrote back then, it made reading their letters to one another very enjoyable for me. The letters were edited for the book to mostly cover just the courtship, but there is also a link to a website where the letters are posted in full for those interested in…

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Reblog: Book Review ~ The Currency of Love

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Originally posted May 24, 2017

The Currency of Love: A Courageous Journey to Finding the Love Within

My thoughts-

Once I got into this book about Jill Dodd’s early days on her career path, I got so involved I didn’t want to stop for sleep. But I forced myself when I couldn’t hold my eyes open any longer. I just enjoyed her retelling of the crazy things that kept happening in Paris, and how it eventually grew on her so much that it felt like home. I love the determination and inspiration of her story and feel it’s one that many of today’s young women could benefit from reading. I believe that many people given the same choices would have taken (what appeared to be) the easy way and chosen the rich man and his money. I think she left plenty to tell for another book yet too and would…

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Reblog: Book Review ~ The Prisoner in His Palace

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First posted May 23rd, 2017

The Prisoner in his Palace: Saddam Hussein, His American Guards, and What History Leaves Unsaid

This book tells the story of twelve young American soldiers in Iraq who are suddenly assigned to guard Saddam Hussein during his trial, and then in months leading up to his execution. Spending so much time in close proximity with him, they eventually would listen as he talked to pass the time. Sometimes just asking simple questions about them, or reading a poem he’d written. The soldiers always kept their duty in mind, to keep their prisoner alive and reasonably happy. Then as time went on, some developed a genuine respect for him and began to like the old man as a person. They kept in mind the things they’d been told or knew that he had done, but just going by the respectful way he was with them…

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Repost: Book Review ~ Unsolved No More

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Unsolved No More: A Cold Case Detective’s Fight For Justice

First posted May 22nd, 2017

 

This is a different sort of true crime book by a man who found his niche in life. He always knew he wanted to be a police detective. He got discipline from the Marine Corp, and he put himself through college. Then he got into law enforcement, working in several different areas of it, but eventually found his calling as a detective who specializes in cold cases, after realizing he had a special talent in that area and devoting himself to it as the best use of his talents.  His name is Kenneth Mains and this book is his story of how he got there and what he does. I really do recommend it, as he and his book are one of a kind.  My thanks to NetGalley, WildBlue Press and the author for…

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