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 ~ The Third Rainbow Girl

The Third Rainbow Girl: The Long Life of a Double Murder in Appalachia

 

This unusual blend of true crime and memoir is rather quirky and I’m not quite sure how I feel about it. There are places it felt a bit sideswiped to me, then I’d go back to enjoying it once again. The true crime parts were good, as was the history of the state and the research. The two women, Vicki Durian, 26, and Nancy Santomero, 19, were headed to a Rainbow Gathering festival in Pocahontas County, West Virginia, near the Virginia border. They never made it, having been murdered in a clearing that was mostly known just to locals, as it was not that easy to find. So suspicion fell on it being a local person. There was also a third girl traveling with them named Liz who survived but seemed to have disappeared.

Despite investigation and much speculation, the case went cold for a long time. It stayed fresh in many people’s minds though. Tips and breaks do happen at times later though, so some keep hope. Someone must know something. A good true crime book/memoir for those who like them, with some mystery and history. Advance electronic review copy was provided by NetGalley, author Emma Copley Eisenberg, and the publisher.


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Publisher: Hachette Books – 336 pages
Published: Jan 21st, 2020
RATED: 4/5 Stars


The Author- Emma Copley Eisenberg is a writer whose work has appeared in Granta, VQR, McSweeney’s, Tin House, The Paris Review online, The New Republic, Salon, Slate, and elsewhere. Her work has been supported by the Millay Colony for the Arts, the Elizabeth George Foundation, Lambda Literary, and the New Economy Coalition. Her reporting has been recognized by GLAAD, the New York Association of Black Journalists, the Deadline Club and Longreads’ Best Crime Reporting 2017. Eisenberg lives in Philadelphia, where she co-directs Blue Stoop, a community hub for the literary arts.


 

The Last Stone

The Last Stone: A Masterpiece of Criminal Interrogation

This book is a true crime story about the disappearance of two sisters from a Wheaton, Maryland mall way back in March of 1975. Katherine and Sheila Lyons, 10 and 12 were seen with a man and then vanished. It became a cold case that journalist Mark Bowden became interested in and sank his teeth into. It’s a different kind of true crime book, as it pits five bulldog detectives against one of the most determined liars they’ve ever run into, after sifting through other possible leads. It becomes almost a battle of wills as the interrogations play out, the detectives trying to find the bodies of the girls after decades of others failing. I found this a compelling crime read that really held my interest very well, especially the use of different kinds of interrogation techniques, what is allowed and what is not. My thanks for the advance electronic copy that was provided by NetGalley, author Mark Bowden, and the publisher for my fair review.

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Publisher: Atlantic Monthly Press – 304 pages
Publication: April 2nd, 2019
RATED: 4/5 Stars

The Author- Mark Bowden is the author of thirteen books, including the #1 New York Times bestseller Black Hawk Down. He reported at the Philadelphia Inquirer for twenty years and now writes for the Atlantic, Vanity Fair, and other magazines. He is also the writer in residence at the University of Delaware. His most recent book is Hue 1968: A Turning Point of the American War in Vietnam.

THE LAST MAN STANDING: Is Jack Daniel McCullough

The Last Man Standing: Is Jack Daniel McCullogh

This book is ringing bells for me, I’ve read a book about the kidnapping/murder of Maria Ridulph somewhere along the way. It’s my second book by author Alan R. Warren. Parts are familiar about Maria having been out playing in the new falling snow with her friend Kathy, and the strange man showing up wanting to give them piggyback rides. This book is about Jack Daniel McCullogh who was later tried and convicted for the crime, wrongly he claims, and served time in prison for it. This all came about long after the crime with his mother, Eileen Tessier’s purported deathbed confession to his half-sister, Janet Tessier that he, Jack, had kidnapped 7-year-old Maria from their neighborhood back in Sycamore, Illinois back in December 1957 and killed her. After Janet contacts police, the case is reopened, and with some dirty dealing on the part of the prosecution, it leads to Jack’s conviction in 2008.

But there are those who believe in him and are working with him to overturn his conviction. There’s much more to it and it gets a bit crazy and even a bit repetitious at times, but the basic story is good. You get to decide for yourself after reading, did Jack do it, or not? In the end, this case deeply affected several families for over 50+ years, did the real killer get away with the crime? My thanks for the advance electronic copy that was provided by NetGalley, author Alan R. Warren, and the publisher for my fair review.

WildBlue Press
Pub: Nov 13th, 2018

RATING: 4/5 Stars

The Author– Alan R. Warren is the Host of the Popular True Crime History Radio show ‘House of Mystery’ Heard in Seattle KKNW 1150 A.M. Alternative Talk Radio and Syndicated throughout the U.S. & Canada including KCAA Los Angeles/Palm Springs/ Riverside and KYAH Salt Lake City. It can be Heard online many Different places from iTunes, YouTube, Tune-in, Stitcher Radio, IHeart Media/Speaker, Podbay, Podomatic and at http://www.somethingweirdmedia.com/house-of-mystery/

Al Warren has his Doctorate in Religious Studies (DD), Masters Degree (MM) in Music from University of Washington in Seattle, Bachelor of Arts (BA) Criminology from the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, B.C. Canada and Recording & Sound Engineering Diploma from the Juno Award Winning Bullfrog Studios in Vancouver B.C. Canada.  He got his start on Digital Radio for the Z Talk Radio Network and still produces several shows for them. 


Al Started Writing for Articles in True Case Files Magazine and is still a Contributor. That has led him to finish his first Novel in True Crime for RJ Parker Publishing to be released later this Year!


Now He Owns Something Weird Media in Canada where he Produces Several Talk Radio Shows including Dark Shadows (Conspiracy, Cover-ups and Alternative History) Lost in Space (Everything UFO’s) Julie Sav Show (U.K. Paranormal Show) Land of the Giants (Cryptozoology) and House of Mystery (True Crime, Serial Killers and Unsolved Crimes) and Coming Soon Murder House !

Accused: The Unsolved Murder of Elizabeth Andes

I found this to be a fascinating true crime book based on a podcast about the cold case murder of Elizabeth Andes that was being reinvestigated by journalists Amber Hunt and Amanda Rossman. Andes was 23 and just days after graduating from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio when she was found murdered in her apartment on December 28th, 1978. Her boyfriend, Bob Young, had come home and found her in the darkened apartment under an overturned dresser. She was bloody and had no pulse. The phone had been disconnected in anticipation of moving, so he ran to other apartments trying to find someone home. With it being a holiday break most students were away, and he had to run to another building before he found someone to use a phone to call police.

The police were quickly suspicious of boyfriend Bob, and after taking him in for questioning, despite his cooperation, allowing police to take hair samples, prints, etc. and repeated statements without asking for a lawyer, and even consenting to going to another town to take two polygraphs, they started coming down on him with suspicions and accusing him. After 15 hours of questioning, they got him to break and “confess”. Once he had some time to think alone quietly, he realized what a mistake he’d made, and he quickly recanted the confession and stuck to his claim of innocence thereafter. Once he was finally allowed to speak with his parents again, they got him a lawyer.

The police never looked at anyone else, despite there being several very good suspects, even after Bob Young was acquitted in a criminal trial, and again later in a civil trial brought by the parents of Beth Andes on the advice of their lawyer.

The case just lay dormant for nearly 40 years until these two journalists took a look into it after the family of Beth Andes kept trying to get the police interested repeatedly with no result. Why they pursued this story:

There are a lot of investigations out there – some with podcasts even – examining whether people were wrongly convicted of terrible crimes. This isn’t one of those. This is an investigation of the aftermath of an innocent verdict. How law enforcement — so sure that they had the right man despite two juries saying they didn’t –  gave up looking for the person who strangled and stabbed Elizabeth Andes, a young woman in a college town. It wasn’t that there weren’t other people to look at. There were plenty. But no one bothered.

Thirty-seven years later, we did. If you have information you’d like to share with the Oxford Police Department about the death of Elizabeth Andes, call the department’s tip line at 513-524-5268 or email crimetips@cityofoxford.org.
To reach out to The Enquirer about this project, email accused@enquirer.com.

My thanks for the advance electronic copy that was provided by NetGalley, authors Amber Hunt & Amanda Rossman for my fair review.

Diversion Books
Pub: Sept. 18th, 2018

RATING: 5/5 Stars

A MURDER IN MY HOMETOWN

This is a good book by true crime writer Rebecca Morris about a murder that happened in her hometown of a young man, Dick Kitchel 17, who disappeared after a party in the fall of 1967 in Corvallis, Oregon. Eventually, a body was spotted ten days later floating in the Willamette River by two children and was pulled to shore and taken to be autopsied.

The case dragged on for many years with lots of suspicions and turned into quite a big cold case with multiple suspects. Many thought it was the guy who dropped him off in town. Many others thought he made it home and was subjected to one last fatal beating by his own father. But what turned out to be the real story after nearly 50 years of investigating and checking into the story?

You’ll have to read it to learn how it turned out, as I did. An advance digital copy was provided by Netgalley, author Rebecca Morris, and the publisher for my unbiased review.
Wildblue Press                 Publication: May 22, 2018

I also enjoyed another book Morris wrote titled “Ted and Ann” about serial killer Ted Bundy and a young victim suspected of being an early kill of his that went undetected for a long, long time.

RATING: 4/5 stars