BOOK REVIEW ~ A Tangled Web

A Tangled Web: A Cyberstalker, a Deadly Obsession and the Twisting Path to Justice


 

I was so excited when I saw that there was a true crime book coming out by Leslie Rule, Ann Rule’s daughter, that I was beside myself! Now I just had to get my hands on an early copy to review. I struck out in the first place I tried, then it turned up in another and I got it then. I was really thrilled to get an advance copy of this book folks, Ann Rule was one of my favorite writers and dear people. I still have some books that she signed for me just for sending them to her. She also took the time to respond to emails from people who thought they might have an interest in writing true crime, and had a newsletter with updates on the cases she wrote about, which was really cool.

So on to the book, A Tangled Web. This is an awesome case for a book, I must say. I do recall the case, whether it was in a book or on TV, I’m not sure, it’s been too long ago. But it’s a whopper, and Ms. Rule does a wonderful job with it from start to finish. She lays it out and explains the details in a manner that keep it from getting too confusing, despite the use of some Internet terms and different methods used online to try and cover your tracks. The story kept me engaged and turning the pages until it was over, and I can’t believe I inhaled it all at one go. It’s really a sick, twisted story that I would have doubted had I not already known of it, and that it was certainly true. Advanced electronic review copy was provided by NetGalley, author Leslie Rule, and the publisher.


 

Tangled


Publisher: Citadel – 304 pages
Publication: Apr 28th, 2020
My rating: 5/5 Stars


 

The Author– Leslie Rule is a Seattle area artist, photographer and bestselling author of two suspense novels, five nonfiction books, and dozens of articles in national magazines, including Reader’s Digest.  At seventeen, she began to work with her mother, author Ann Rule, as research assistant and trial photographer. Many of Leslie’s courtroom photos appear in her mother’s books.  Visit Leslie’s website: authorleslierule.com

 

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BOOK REVIEW ~ Losing Jon

Losing Jon: A Teen’s Tragic Death, a Police Cover-Up, a Community’s Fight for Justice


 

This was a good true crime book by author David Parrish that’s coming out next month (April 2020). It certainly got my attention and kept me involved with the story of twin brothers Mickey and Jon Bowie, who were at a party in a motel room one night when the cops were called over a noise complaint. There were a group of others there that night too, but the twin Bowie brothers ran afoul of the anger and received the brunt of the punishment of the police that night. It was really over the top. The aftermath left ongoing animosity between several of the cops and the underage partiers. The twins, with Jon in particular, was being harassed daily. Tt gets really twisted a few nights later when Jon is found dead, and the mystery is on to figure out how it really happened. Many twists in this true crime book. Advanced electronic review copy was provided by NetGalley, author David Parrish, and the publisher.


 

LosingJon


 

Publisher: Citadel – 256 pages
Publication: Apr 28th, 2020
My rating: 4/ 5 Stars


 

The Author- David Parrish is a semi-retired technical writer and first-time author of the non-fiction book, LOSING JON. He writes about witnessing the unexpected twists and turns of a disturbing and often-frightening journey through the criminal justice system and beyond. It takes place in Columbia, Maryland, a planned community once advertised as New America where he and his wife raised their two sons and still live. He grew up in a blue-collar family near Durham, North Carolina, graduated with a B.A. in English at the University of North Carolina, married his Ohio-raised wife, and followed a public health job to Jackson, Mississippi. He then switched careers and moved with his wife and sons to Maryland, halfway between their Ohio and North Carolina families. Three or more days a week he commutes – usually top-down in his aging green Mustang convertible – the short distance to his network security writing job. The rest of the week he does chores, plays golf, occasionally fishes a local reservoir, and meanders through county backroads on his Mustang-matching-green, retro Triumph Bonneville motorcycle.​

For more information visit http://www.davidkparrish.com
Find David on Instagram and Facebook @DavidParrishAuthor.com


 

MINI BOOK REVIEW ~ The Case of the Vanishing Blonde

The Case of the Vanishing Blonde: And Other True Crime Stories


 

This was an interesting group of true crime stories that was entertaining to read. I think only one of them I had read before. There is a PI that is just astounding at solving tough cold cases that I think most will enjoy. He’s rather like a magician. I’ll be looking for more to read about him, I know, this Mr. Brennan. This was certainly worth the read if you enjoy true crime and are looking for separate stories. Advanced electronic review copy was provided by NetGalley, author Mark Bowden, and the publisher.


 

blonde


Publisher: Atlantic Monthly Press – 400 pages
Publication: July 7th, 2020
My rating: 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 and other magazines. He is also the writer in residence at the University of Delaware.


BOOK REVIEW ~ Nothing Can Hurt You

 

This started out sounding like it was going to be a good story. Maybe I should stick to strictly non-fiction, because I got lost in all of the characters and never quite got back to knowing what was what from that point on. I understood the basic story about the college student who was killed by her boyfriend. Then there’s the newspaper reporter who felt it might have something to do with the serial killer of several women. But the melange of characters rotate so much that I couldn’t keep up, until I’d wasted a lot of time, and then it was time to switch to another character again. I read this mostly in one day, so it’s not like I dragged it out over weeks and lost the thread of the story or the characters. It just felt like too many balls juggling in the air at one time to me. I’m staying away from fiction with my crime. Just the facts, Ma’am, from now on. Advanced electronic review copy was provided by NetGalley, author Nicola Maye Goldberg, and the publisher.


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Bloomsbury Publishing – 240 pages
Published date: June 23rd, 2020
My rating: 2/5


 

The Author- Nicole Maye Goldberg is a graduate of Bard College and Columbia University. She is the author of the novella Other Women (Sad Spell Press, 2016) and the poetry collection The Doll Factory (Dancing Girl Press, 2017). Her work has appeared in CrimeReads, The Quietus, Queen Mob’s Tea House, Winter Tangerine, and elsewhere. She lives in New York City.


 

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 ~ More Than Love

More Than Love:  An Intimate Portrait of My Mother, Natalie Wood


A beautifully told story of what it was like to grow up as the daughter of Hollywood royalty, with the twist of losing her mom, Natalie Wood, when she was only 11 and her mom 41. Natasha Gregson Wagner shares what it was like having her beautiful mom until she was 11, and then trying to cope ever after. How she managed with two dads, her bio dad, and her daddy Wagner, who she lived with and grew up with.

This book is a love letter to Natalie and an excellent memoir at the same time. Well done and recommend. Advanced electronic review copy was provided by NetGalley, author Natasha Gregson Wagner, and the publisher.


 

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Publisher: Scribner – 304 pages
Publication: May 5th, 2020
My rating: 5/5 Stars


 

The Author- Natasha Gregson Wagner is an American actress. She is the daughter of British film producer Richard Gregson and American actress Natalie Wood. She is married to actor Barry Watson. They have a daughter, Clover Clementyne Watson.


 

The Author- Natasha Gregson Wagner has acted in such films as Another Day in Paradise, High Fidelity, Two Girls and a Guy, and David Lynch’s Lost Highway, and she has received acclaim for her stage work and television appearances in Ally McBeal, House MD, and Chicago Hope. In 2016, she coauthored a coffee table book titled Natalie Wood: Reflections of a Legendary Life. She is one of the producers of the upcoming HBO documentary of her mother’s life: What Remains Behind. Wagner lives in Los Angeles with her family.


 

BOOK REVIEW ~ The Silver Swan

The Silver Swan:  In Search of Doris Duke


 

Such a mysterious person, this Doris Duke. It’s almost like she didn’t want anything much of herself left behind for posterity, as she was going to live as she pleased. And she certainly had the money and will to do so. The author was granted free rein to go through Duke’s papers for this book, but she just didn’t write letters much, and shunned publicity, as she was hyper-private. Doris was a very tall, athletic woman, at least six foot in her prime, and she enjoyed physical activities like swimming in the ocean and tennis. I’ve read a previous book about her years ago, but I don’t recall much from it. Much seems to be made of her being expunged from the Social Register, but it seems to have meant nothing to Doris herself, who probably made light of the fact.

I enjoyed reading about her life, her marriages, her parents and brother, along with the power company and university and offshoots that the family left as their legacy. I’ve always enjoyed reading about philanthropists and imagined being able to do that and how it must feel so wonderful to help others and leave behind something that will live on and do good things for people long after you are gone. It’s just too bad Doris Duke didn’t leave more of herself behind for us to get to know her better. It doesn’t really feel like there’s much of her in the book, despite all of the paperwork that was used to research her, she still seems quite ephemeral and out of reach.  Advanced electronic review copy was provided by NetGalley, author Sallie Bingham, and the publisher.


 

DORISDUKE


 

Publisher:  Farrar, Straus, and Giroux – 338 pages
Publication:  Apr 7, 2020
My review:  3.5/5 Stars


 

The Author- Sallie Bingham is the author of several memoirs, short-story collections, novels, plays, and poetry collections. Her work has been widely anthologized and has appeared in the Atlantic, New Letters, Southwest Review, and other publications. Sallie’s books include Passion & Prejudice and The Silver Swan.


 

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.


BOOTS

 


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.


BOOK REVIEW ~ The Louvre

The Louvre: The Many Lives of the World’s Most Famous Museum


This is an amazingly detailed book relating the history behind the place known as the Louvre, and the evolution of its buildings and land. There is also discussion of the different rulers during each period and what changes they made, if any on the property. Very well written, but at times so scholarly that it could be difficult to maintain my level of alertness. If there is anything you ever need to know about the building of, and/or changes made to the Louvre, the is the book for you.

While I enjoyed the book, it’s top notch, I think I was hoping for more of a virtual visit type book, which I’m sure are out there if I make the effort to look. You see, I went on a trip to London, Belgium, and Paris when I was about 12 years old with a group of other students, and while in Paris. I foolishly opted out of a chance to go to the Louvre, not understanding the significance of it.

Of course later on, I realized what I had passed up. Granted, a short visit would not have done it justice at all, but would have been better than nothing. I really had hoped to one day be able to return now that I’m aware of more of the history behind the treasures I would be looking at. I was just getting into that type of history when I went. So I’m enjoying this book a lot, but I also hope to find the other kind, until I hopefully get a chance to return and explore it for myself. Advanced electronic review copy was provided by NetGalley, author James Gardner, and the publisher.


 

Louvre


 

Publisher: Atlantic Monthly Press  –  416 pages
Expected Publication:  May 15th, 2020
My rating:  4/5 Stars


 

The Author-  James Gardner is an American art critic and literary critic based in New York and Buenos Aires and the author, most recently, of Buenos Aires: The Biography of a City. His writings have appeared in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the New Republic, and the British Spectator. He was the art critic at the New York Post and wrote architecture criticism for the New York Observer, before serving as the architecture critic at the New York Sun. He is now a contributing editor at The Magazine Antiques. This is his sixth book.