BOOK REVIEW ~ The Perfect Father

The Perfect Father:  The True Story of Chris Watts, His All-American Family, And a Shocking Murder


This seems to be a well researched and written book about family tragedy that took us all by surprise and shock at the time it happened. It seemed like we watched Shannan’s Facebook videos over and over on an endless loop for days on end with all of the news and news shows. I’m not sure what was so fascinating about the horrific situation, but it was impossible to turn away when it was on, for me anyway. Hoping at first that Shannan and the girls would be found alive, of course. And then the complete horror when they were found. I’ve read many of Glatt’s works which have gotten markedly better over the years, as seen in this book, where he lets the story do the talking. Worth a read even though we know how it comes out. Advanced electronic review copy was provided by NetGalley, author John Glatt, and the publisher.


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Publisher: St. Martin’s Press – 304 pages
Publication: July 21st, 2020
My rating: 4/5 Stars


 

The Author- English-born JOHN GLATT is the author of more than twenty books, and has over thirty years of experience as an investigative journalist in England and America. He has appeared on television and radio programs all over the world, including Dateline NBC, Fox News, A Current Affair, BBC World News, and A&E Biography.


 

BOOK REVIEW ~ TOMBSTONE

Tombstone: The Earp Brothers, Doc Holliday, and the Vendetta Ride from Hell

 


It seems I’ve read some of Clavin’s work previously, but I’m not sure when. I do enjoy his writing though, especially here on this subject which is one of my favorites. He does a really good job of covering it and it brings you right to the thick of things. You are there in the heat of 1881 Tombstone, with the noise and commotion of the day, with all of the people there to do business or trying to hustle a stake in a mine somehow. Or simply to blow the dust off and drink some whiskey and gamble a bit in one of the saloons.

There are tensions afoot between the different factions setting off the problems, the Cowboys who are crooked and run around doing and taking what they like, while they work for different area ranchers like the Clantons and McLaurys and others. Then there are the Earps, one of whom has been threatened to back off and let the Cowboys be, but they aren’t the type and since more Earps may getting into law enforcement, that’s not about to happen. There are other people around too, but you can’t always tell where they stand. Most folks just want to make good money and not get killed by various Indians roaming the territory. If you like Western US history you will likely enjoy this book, it’s a good long read. I learned quite a lot more about the different people involved, which was a big plus. Advance electronic review copy was provided by NetGalley, author Tom Clavin, and the publisher.


 

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Publisher:  St. Martin’s Press – 400 pages

Publication:  April 21st, 2020
My rating:  4/5 Stars


 

The Author- TOM CLAVIN is a #1 New York Times bestselling author and has worked as a newspaper and web site editor, magazine writer, TV and radio commentator, and a reporter for The New York Times. He has received awards from the Society of Professional Journalists, Marine Corps Heritage Foundation, and National Newspaper Association. His books include The Heart of Everything That Is, Halsey’s Typhoon, and Reckless. He lives in Sag Harbor, NY.


 

BOOK REVIEW ~ Chanel’s Riviera

Chanel’s Riviera: Glamour, Decadence, and Survival in Peace and War, 1930-1944

 

I’ve always wanted to know more about Coco Chanel the fashion and perfume maven, and this was a good overall look at her life, at least during an important part of it that tells of her and how she did business and lived her life. I enjoyed learning about the various artists and writers that she was friends with and socialized with. It shows the extreme opulence of the party lifestyle along the Riviera of the rich and famous against the backdrop of the rumblings of Germany and Hitler arming up for WWII.

Coco built her main home on the Riviera, La Pausa, and spent most of her summer there with her latest lover. She didn’t care to be tied down or controlled by a husband. It’s also filled with information on lots of other public people like the Duke of Windsor and Wallis Simpson, Winston Churchill, Salvador Dali, and many others of the time. I found it fairly enjoyable. Advance electronic review copy was provided by NetGalley, author Anne de Courcy, and the publisher.


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Publisher: St Martin’s Press – 304 pages
Publication: Feb 11th, 2020
My rating: 4/5 Stars


The Author- Anne de Courcy is the author of many widely acclaimed works of social history and biography, including 1939: THE LAST SEASON, MARGOT AT WAR, THE FISHING FLEET, THE VICEROY’S DAUGHTERS and DEBS AT WAR. Her books DIANA MOSLEY and SNOWDON; THE BIOGRAPHY were turned into television documentaries, while THE HUSBAND HUNTERS has been optioned for a feature film. She lives in London and Gloucestershire.


 

BOOK REVIEW ~ Man-hunters

Man-hunters: How We Took Down Pablo Escobar

This book recounts the careers of DEA agents Steve Murphy and Javier Pena as they learn the job by just being put to work after their training. Eventually they work their way up to the more serious targets, until one day they are going after the big one, Pablo Escobar, when they get assigned to work in Columbia. They find the country in a state of turmoil with the drug lords and cartels killing people to try to prevent themselves from being extradited to the United States and put on trial for all of the crimes that they can be held accountable for there. Their answer is just to kill everyone with any power, thinking that will keep them safe. But it won’t prevent anything, it just adds more charges. The agents are working hand in hand with the Columbian National Police (CNP) and come to trust them to have their backs and vice versa when they follow the CNP into hidey holes going after Escobar. There is a price on the DEA agents’ heads of several hundred thousand dollars each, so they are especially prime targets. A good story for anyone with an interest in this subject. Advance electronic review copy was provided by NetGalley, authors Steve Murphy & Javier F. Pena, and the publisher.


 

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The publisher: St. Martin’s Press – 352 pages
Publication: Nov 12th, 2019
RATED: 4/5 Stars


The Authors- STEVE MURPHY worked undercover sting operations in Miami, and was eventually dispatched to Colombia where he worked with partner Javier Pena to track Escobar.

JAVIER F. PEÑA was hired by the DEA in 1984 as a special agent, and spent four years tracking Pablo Escobar with partner Steve Murphy.


 

BOOK REVIEW ~ Jet Girl by Caroline Johnson

Jet Girl: My Life in War, Peace, and the Cockpit of the Navy’s Most Lethal Aircraft, the F/A-18 Super Hornet


 

I found this to be fully engrossing and entertaining. It delivered Caroline Johnson’s story in wonderful style that was fun to read. Her story made me forget about everything else and I loved that it was so informative about the world of the Navy and the steps it took to become a pilot on the F/A-18 Super Hornet. I enjoyed reading all the details about the jets, procedures for flying, and everything to do with it, and the way this book was written it never got boring. I just kept wanting to read it long past my bedtime. Anyone with an interest in the Navy and/ or flying memoirs should check this out, it’s so good. One of my favorites this year. Advance electronic review copy was provided by NetGalley, author Caroline Johnson, and the publisher.

 

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Publisher: St. Martin’s Press – 336 pages
Publication: Nov 5th, 2019
RATING: 5/5 Stars


The Author- CAROLINE JOHNSON was an F/A-18 Weapons Systems Officer (WSO) in the US Navy. During her deployment aboard the USS George H.W. Bush aircraft carrier, she flew missions in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria and was one of the first women to neutralize ISIS. Later during her Navy career, Caroline became a Senior Leadership instructor at the United States Naval Academy. She is now a professional speaker in the private sector.


 

Secrets of a Marine’s Wife

Secrets of a Marine’s Wife: A True Story of Marriage, Obsession, and Murder

This book by Shanna Hogan was good for keeping my interest, but I kept thinking the story seemed familiar, a missing marine’s wife in the desert, very young, pregnant. But it seems like an older story somehow. Like I read a book like this, but before these events even happened. Erin Corwin followed her marine husband Jon to Twenty-nine Palms, California after he was stationed there. They build their new married life together there, make friends, and get used to the desert. Erin has bouts of homesickness and loneliness, and there are eventually distancing arguments about finances. I didn’t remember how the story ended, at least, so it was still new to me. There was a twist before she went missing. There are some surprises before the end for sure, this turned out to be quite a story. I know I’ve read this author, but it’s been quite a long time. I would read her work again. My thanks for the advance electronic copy that was provided by NetGalley, author Shanna Hogan, and the publisher for my fair review.

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Publisher: St. Martin’s Press – 320 pages
Published: Feb 26th, 2019
RATED: 3.75/5 Stars

The Author SHANNA HOGAN is an award-winning journalist and New York Times bestselling author of several true-crime books including Picture Perfect: The Jodi Arias Story. She has written for numerous publications and has received more than twenty awards for her feature writing and investigative reporting. Shanna was named Journalist of the Year by the Arizona Press Club in 2010 and again in 2011 by the Arizona Newspaper Association. She has appeared on The ViewDateline20/20, CNN, HLN, Fox News, Oprah Winfrey’s Oxygen, and Investigation Discovery. In addition, she teaches journalism at her alma mater, Arizona State University. Shanna lives in Phoenix, Arizona, with her husband, Matt LaRussa, and their two dogs.

Wild Bill

Wild Bill: The True Story of the American Frontier’s First Gunfighter

I enjoyed this book on Wild Bill Hickok very much as an updated biography. Tom Clavin does a great job of sorting between hype and facts to get to what is more likely in the real story of James Butler Hickok and his exploits. Apparently, there had been a sibling named Bill that hadn’t survived, and James and his brother Lorenzo both were fond of calling themselves ‘Bill’ at times. When James went out on his own away from the family, the name stuck, along with various descriptors like Wild Bill or Shanghai Bill.

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The book does a good job of telling about his short but exciting and event-filled life as a farmer, gunslinger, and lawman. After serving in the Civil War, Hickok made his way to Springfield, Missouri and was enjoying a spell of gambling. He’d met and become friends for a time with Davis Tutt another gambler, but the friendship soured. .Hickok was in a duel where he shot and killed Tutt in July 1865, displaying his lightning-fast quick-draw set his reputation. Unfortunately, it also made him a target for every wannabe gunslinger in the West who thought he was faster and wanted to prove it My thanks for the advance electronic copy that was provided by NetGalley, author Tom Clavin, and the publisher for my fair review.

Publisher: St Martin’s Press – 336 pages
Publication: Feb 5th, 2019

RATED: 4/5 Stars

The AuthorTOM CLAVIN is a #1 New York Times bestselling author and has worked as a newspaper and web site editor, magazine writer, TV and radio commentator, and a reporter for The New York Times. He has received awards from the Society of Professional Journalists, Marine Corps Heritage Foundation, and National Newspaper Association. His books include The Heart of Everything That Is, Halsey’s Typhoon, and Reckless. He lives in Sag Harbor, NY.

REPOST- Book Review ~ A Need to Kill: Confessions of a Teen Murderer by Michael W. Cuneo

First posted July 2nd, 2017

 

This is surely not a “who done it” as the book description gives it away in the first sentence. The book reads like your typical true crime book though, with the killer named in time if you didn’t read that part and just dived in like I did. Alec Kreider is a strange sort of serial killer for sure, killing people he is friends with, and I don’t doubt for a second that he had plans to kill lots more, including his own family and people around him he knew. He claimed he just couldn’t seem to tolerate people who were too “happy”. The author seemed surprised that Kreider pled guilty and took such a big sentence. He ended up with three life sentences served consecutively (in a row). But I felt the killer had already planned to commit suicide anyway. They kind of said that he was good for not putting the family of the victims through a trial and for not putting his own family through any more . Making him look magnanimous. But he really didn’t have a chance in hell of getting off in a trial with all the evidence plus his confession anyway. After I finished the book I did a little searching and was amazed to find that he did kill himself just this past January 23rd, 2017. So he waited 8 years and did it. It kind of surprised me to see confirmation in print about my feeling that he was going to kill himself after taking that plea. Creepy. 

 


A NEED TO KILL

PUBLISHER – St. Martin’s True Crime – 291 pages

PUBLICATION DATE – March 1st, 2011

MY RATING – 4/5 STARS