BOOK REVIEW ~ Magnetized

Magnetized: Conversations With a Serial Killer


Author Carlos Busqued started looking into the four murders of taxi drivers in Buenos Aires that happened back in 1982, spread out over a week. Then he moves on to the murderer. The man who is in prison for the killings is Ricardo Melogno, who was just 19 at the time it happened over 30 years ago. This is an interesting true crime book about a killer in a foreign country. I enjoy this type of book that has input from the killer in interviews. It tells what his time has been like in various mental institutions versus prison facilities, and the kind of treatments he got at different times and places. Advanced electronic review copy was provided by NetGalley, author Carlos Busqued, and the publisher.


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Publisher: Catapult – 192 pages
Expected publication: Jun 2, 2020
My rating: 4/5 Stars


The Author– Carlos Busqued was born in Presidencia Roque Sáenz Peña, Chaco (Argentina) in 1970 and lives in Buenos Aires. His first novel, Under This Terrible Sun, was a finalist for the 2008 Herralde Prize and later adapted for film (El Otro Hermano, Adrian Caetano, 2017). Magnetized is his second book.

The Translator–  Samuel Rutter is a writer and translator from Melbourne, Australia.


BOOK REVIEW ~ Alice & Gerald

Alice & Gerald: A Homicidal Love Story

 


 

This is a rather creepy case in Wyoming that goes cold, brought to us by author Ron Franscell. I’ve read and really liked his true crime in the past, and decided to buy this 2019 paperback to read at leisure. Some of the main players are really twisted in this one, and the game playing between exes gets nauseating at times, but that’s how it is for some folks in the real world when kids are pawns.  A good true crime story by a very good true crime writer, worth a read.


 

 

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Written by Ron Franscell
Publisher: Prometheus Books – 336 pages
Published: April 9, 2019
My rating: 5/5 Stars


 

The Author- “Alice & Gerald: A Homicidal Love Story” (Prometheus Books) explores a grisly, real-life case of murder and perverse devotion. “Alice & Gerald” features a femme fatale whose manipulative, cold-blooded character rivals Lady Macbeth, this page-turner by bestselling true-crime author Ron Franscell revisits a shocking cold case that was finally solved just when the murderers thought they’d never be caught.

Ron Franscell’s writing has been compared to Truman Capote, Charles Frazier and Robert Olen Butler–diverse, poetic, evocative and muscular. His widely acclaimed 2016 true crime, MORGUE: A LIFE IN DEATH (co-authored with renowned medical examiner Dr. Vincent Di Maio) was nominated for an Edgar in 2017.

This lifelong newspaperman burst onto the literary scene in 1998 with his first novel ANGEL FIRE, a poignant, mythic tale of two brothers wrestling with personal ghosts in the small town where they grew up. ANGEL FIRE was subsequently named among the San Francisco Chronicle’s 100 Best Novels of the 20th Century West.

After his 1999 mystery, THE DEADLINE, Ron became a senior writer for the Denver Post, writing about the entangled past, present and future of the American West. THE DEADLINE and its sequel, THE OBITUARY, have been re-published in print and digital editions by WildBlue Press, one of the most innovative new publishing ventures in America.

In 2008, his first nonfiction, THE DARKEST NIGHT, won rave reviews from true-crime legends Ann Rule, Vincent Bugliosi and Gerry Spence. The book explored a monstrous crime against two of Ron’s childhood friends in the small town where they grew up, and how that crime has echoed across almost four decades. It is now a national bestseller.


 

BOOK REVIEW ~ Beast of New Castle

Beast of New Castle: The Heart-Pounding Battle To Stop A Savage Killer


 

A second book by Larry Sells and Margie Porter, this one deals with a brutal killer named Jerry Thompson. Crimes and death appear to follow in his wake. He seems driven by rage born in his younger years that he can’t ignore or outrun. This book focuses on a couple of specific murders and the follow up investigation, and finally the trials, prosecuted by Larry Sells. This guy is one of the bad guys, and he would have just kept on killing if these guys hadn’t put him away. He is one scary dude as you will see if you read this one. He doesn’t even need a reason to kill, he just needs an occasion, which he can invent if needed.

 


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Written by Larry Sells & Margie Porter
Publisher: WildBlue Press – 258 pages
Publication: Feb 18, 2020
My rating: 5/5 Stars


 

The Authors- Larry Sells prosecutes murderers in Indianapolis, Indiana. He has been interviewed on Investigation Discovery, America’s Most Wanted, Oxygen: Snapped, and Sally Jesse Raphael. In Beast of New Castle, he allows readers to face the most terrifying killer he ever battled in the courtroom- at a safe distance, of course.

Margie Porter co-authored Race to Justice with Larry Sells and has returned to document the horrors of a much more dangerous criminal. Margie resides in Indiana, where she cut her teeth as a newspaper feature writer.

 


 

BOOK REVIEW ~ The Kidnap Years

The Kidnap Years: The Astonishing True History of the Forgotten Kidnapping Epidemic That Shook Depression-Era America

 


This book takes you back to the 1930s and headline making kidnapping cases as it follows them from start to finish. The kidnappings became so common and got so out of hand that something had to be done. It took the death of the Lindbergh baby for a real change in the law to happen. I enjoyed this book, reading about the crime in that decade, though I was familiar with several of the cases already there was information that was new to me. The kidnappers were as different as their selected victims were. I read a book on the kidnapping of one of the Busch beer clan awhile back that was very good.

Many of the gangsters were into bootlegging, and with the end of Prohibition coming, they were worried about that loss of very good income. So they began branching out into kidnapping to create a new revenue stream. One of the aspects of kidnappings that I loathe is the ones who kidnap the victim and kill them right away and dump the body because they are too lazy to even bother with taking care of a hostage. What a nuisance, they figure. So, without even waiting to see if the family is going to pay or not, one side’s treated like they have done something wrong and assassinated an innocent party for no reason. Which, of course is not discovered until after the ransom money is paid and the kidnappers believe that they are safely away, and at times are. Advance electronic review copy was provided by NetGalley, author David Stout, and the publisher.

 


 

 

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Publisher: Sourcebooks – 464 pages
Publication: April 7th, 2020
My rating: 4/5 Stars


 

The Author- DAVID STOUT, an Edgar Award winner, is a reporter for the New York Times and has written frequently on criminal justice issues. He is the author of several books, including two of which were adapted for network-television movies.

 


 

BOOK REVIEW ~ Boots in the Ashes

Boots in the Ashes: Busting Bombers, Arsonists and Outlaws as a Trailblazing Female ATF Agent


An interesting biography of a woman who tackles a career as an ATF agent when women agents were still fairly rare. I love stories about groundbreakers like these. Despite some pushback from some Neanderthal type men, most of them carry on and continue, going on to have excellent careers. Caroline Beebe was doing well in her job, quickly learning as she worked on cases of arson, guns, bombs, drugs and conspiracy. There were also times that they worked guarding different government officials, including the Vice President and President and the presidential candidates during election years, working with the secret service.

She recounts some fascinating cases she worked on, like a mentally ill bomber who lived in a shack. He was suspected of having planted bombs that blew up the homes of two judges, one while the family was home. She went out to interview him and he did his best to convince her that he was God, among other things. She also questioned him about the many ranting, threatening letters he sent to people all the time.

I really enjoyed this book, reading about her different cases as she investigated and built them towards prosecution. Bombings and arson cases. Really fascinating to me, if you’re into this kind of stuff, check it out and see what you think. Advanced electronic review copy was provided by NetGalley, author Cynthia Beebe, and the publisher.


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The publisher:  Center Street – 304 pages
Publication:  Feb 25, 2020
My rating:  4/5 Stars


The Author- Cynthia Beebe is a retired Senior Special Agent with the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). She spent 27 years investigating bombings, arson, murder, illegal firearms, gangs and other crimes. Her cases were chronicled in the New York Times, Chicago Tribune and Ladies Home Journal, and were covered on ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, and 48 Hours. She was the first woman to earn the coveted “Top Gun” award at the ATF Academy, where she later worked as an instructor. Beebe is a member of the International Association of Bomb Technicians and Investigators, the International Association of Arson Investigators and Women in Federal Law Enforcement. She has a B.A. in English Literature and a Master’s Degree in Journalism, both from Northwestern University, which she attended on an athletic scholarship. Since her retirement she has appeared as an expert commentator on law enforcement issues for WGN radio and television. She lives with her son in a suburb of Chicago.


MINI BOOK REVIEW ~ The Black Widow

The Black Widow: The Life and Crimes of Linda Calvey

 

This is the latest of my British True Crime reads, this one is written by one of Ronnie Kray’s exwives about a woman who later became an armed robber herself. She also became Ronnie Krays’ common-law wife later. Linda Calvey is quite something and makes for an interesting read, for sure. It’s not only from a different country, it’s from a different crime era. If you want a very different type of true crime read, this would be it. It took me a while to find a nice used hardcover copy like I wanted, but I found one at a decent price, I just had to wait for it to ship from Great Britain. I’m very satisfied with the book and the story.


 

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Written by Kate Kray
Published by: Headline Book Publications – 256 pages
Published: Jul 1, 2002
My rating: 4/5 Stars


 

KATE KRAY, is the widow of paranoid schizophrenic gangland twin Ronnie. She now researches and writes books on the British gangland underworld. Her latest effort, Hard Bastards, is a profile of 24 of Britain’s toughest men.


 

 

 

 

 

BOOK REVIEW ~ The Hostage Rescuer

The Hostage Rescuer:  The Return of a Child into a Mother’s Arms


 

I found this to be an excellent story with lots of tension along the way about a hostage kidnap situation that builds during surveillance. The author travels from Australia to the staging site in Greece early with the kidnap victim’s mother Diane, to scope things out and see if things will be possible at all or not. They become friends from the extra time spent together, and it’s difficult not to like her and feel for her difficult position It’s kind of bizarre that there are businesses like these available, but they have been made necessary unfortunately, and do have a decent rate of success, at least the good ones do.

The story is well written and stays suspenseful as you wait with Darren, the mother Diane, and the two others who show up to help try to get her son Theo back too. It’s right down to the wire as to whether they will have a chance to get him back, or will they be caught by the father’s family, who are all over the place, looking for anything out of the ordinary, to alert everyone to close ranks and get the boy safely inside until the danger passes. A very interesting look at the inside of a hostage rescue case, and many of stresses and concerns on both sides of it that you may not have realized before. Especially in the case of a split family, where the parents have divorced and even possibly remarried others, and one former spouse has failed to return the child after a visit of several weeks in his home country with him. Advanced electronic review copy was provided by NetGalley, authors Darren Franklin, and the publisher.


 

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Publisher: Pen & Sword True Crime – 224 pages
Publication: Feb 28th, 2020
My rating: 4/ 5 Stars


 

The Author – With a career in the military, police and private security, Darren has adventure coursing through his veins, which is perhaps not surprising. He is descended from a British explorer whose heroic death was the talk of Victorian society and whose name is commemorated not just in Westminster Abbey but in the Oval Office of the White House.

Contributor-   Martin Phillips is a British Press Awards-nominated former national newspaper journalist  with 33 years experience in Fleet Street and a string of extraordinary adventures of his own behind him.


 

MINI BOOK REVIEW ~ The Phantom Prince

The Phantom Prince: My Life With Ted Bundy by Elizabeth Kendall



 

This updated book I felt was very well done, given the wisdom of several decades to reflect, and to help improve Liz’s harsh feelings about herself at the time. I was shocked at how much I’d forgotten of the original story. I’m still absorbing it, I suppose. The part written by the daughter, Molly, was enlightening and heartbreaking all at once. But she seems to have made peace with the past fairly well.

I would recommend for any true crime fan, especially for any that are interested in Ted Bundy, one of the better known serial killers with many books written about him, even long after his execution. There are also many never seen before pictures in the book of Bundy and the author and others.



 

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Purchased:   Jan 15th, 2020
Published:   Jan 7th, 2020
Publisher:   Henry N. Abrams Updated, Expanded Edition, 224 pages
My Rating:   5/5 Stars



 

The Author-  Elizabeth Kendall’s memoir, The Phantom Prince, was originally published in 1981.

Molly Kendall, her daughter, considered Bundy a father figure between the ages of three and ten.



 

BOOK REVIEW ~ The Encyclopedia of the Ted Bundy Murders

The Encyclopedia of the Ted Bundy Murders



 

This 5th book by Kevin Sullivan on the subject of Ted Bundy really is the icing on the cake, as far as I’m concerned. It has everything a serious Bundyphile could want, to look things up on him, with names, dates, and places, all having to do with him and his cases. What a wonderful reference guide on Bundy that will be useful for years to come. I’ve never seen anything quite like it, and it has become one of my favorite Ted books already for checking things. I think of it as my “Bundy Bible” of all things Bundy. I’d recommend it for any serious true crime student or anyone doing research about Ted Bundy, it’s just so comprehensive. Review copy provided by WildBlue Press and author Kevin Sullivan in exchange for a fair review.



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Publisher: WildBlue Press – 235 pages
Publication: Jan 7th, 2020
My Rating: 5/5 Stars



 

The Author- A writer of history and true crime, Kevin M. Sullivan is the author of 15 books, including what has now become with the publication of this book, a 5-volume set covering the life and murders of Ted Bundy. Indeed, because of his almost 14-year immersion into this many-faceted case, Sullivan has been a guest on documentaries pertaining to the killer on REELZ, HLN (CNN’s Headline News), the Oxygen Network, and ABC’s 20/20 program, as well as many radio shows and podcasts.


 

BOOK REVIEW ~ Investigating the Almost Perfect Murders

Investigating the Almost Perfect Murders, The Case of Russell Causley and Other Crimes


 

This is a group of interesting British crime stories recounting Anthony Nott’s time fighting crime with the Metropolitan Police back in the 1970s. I enjoy reading British crime and Australian when I get the chance, and this book was a Wish that was granted on NetGalley, so I was happy to get it. If you like this kind of true crime, you should check it out as well as the writing is good and the stories kept my interest. It covers a violent episode at a football game at Bournemouth against Leeds United in a very important game for both. Things got very out of hand even before the game started and kept on the day after. The case he calls The Almost Perfect Murders is there also, and the very strange story of Russell Causley whose wife disappeared, supposedly reappeared, then wasn’t seen again. He then took on the last name of his girlfriend, oddly enough. Plenty to attract the true crime reader here. Advance electronic review copy was provided by NetGalley, author Anthony Nott, and the publisher.


 

 

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The publisher: Pen & Sword True Crime – 200 pages
Publication: Feb 28th, May 19th, June 2nd, 2020
My rating: 4/5 Stars


The Author- Anthony Nott MBE joined the Metropolitan Police in 1971, before transferring to the Dorset Police in 1976. He has been involved in the investigation of numerous homicides and was the senior investigating officer in the case of Russell Causley in 1996. The case was the subject of a four-part documentary series called ‘The Investigator A British Crime Story’ to which he contributed and was screened on ITV in July 2016. He has also written about his experiences in police reform in the Balkans and Middle East, while working on contracts with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. He retired at the rank of detective superintendent.