The Darkest Night by Ron Franscell

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thedarkestnightTwo Sisters, a Brutal Murder, and the Loss of Innocence in a Small Town
Format: eBook
Pub. Date: 2007
Type: Non-Fiction, True Crime ~ Library Book, 3M Cloud Library
Pages: 252
Read: 2015-08-01
Rating: Liked it ♥♡

September 24, 1973 started like any other day in Casper, Wyoming, the events that transpired that evening into the next day changed life for everyone. Eleven-year old Amy Burridge and her half-sister Becky Thomson had been abducted from a local store, Amy was thrown off the Freemont Canyon Bridge, afterwards Becky was raped by the two men that had abducted them and was also thrown off the bridge. Becky survived, Amy did not.

Ron Franscell lived next door to Amy and Becky. Because of that we get a uniquely personal view of the account. Besides learning biographical details of the people involved we also learn how the town was affected by this horrifically violent crime. This book is about more than the murderers, the victims, the crime and trial. It is about a town and how one act can have widespread consequences.

Becky struggled with PTSD, with survivor guilt, she self-medicated with alcohol and drugs. She was quite possible the victim of another sexual assault. She lived in fear of the men who raped and tried to kill her. In 1992 they were seeking a new trail, as unlikely as it was they would be successful, she feared they would one day be free. In July she returned to the bridge where it all started and as the back cover of the book states: “she met her fate . . . at the same bridge where she’d lost her sister.”

This is an extremely detailed account of this tragic event. Some have said it was too long, and took too many side trips into the history of the town and other people, I found it rich in detail and well rounded, never boring and recommend it.

Dead Reckoning by Caitlin Rother

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9717414Format: eBook
Pub. Date: 2011
Type: Non-Fiction, True Crime ~ Library Book
Pages: 474
Read: 2015-07-27
Rating: Liked it ♥♡

Tom and Jackie Hawks were looking forward to the stage of their lives, the role of doting grandparents. With that in mind they wanted to sell their 55-foot yacht “The Well Deserved”, buy a smaller boat and house in San Carlos. Doing this would enable them to watch their grandson grow and and still maintain their cruising lifestyle.

On November 15, 2004 they took Skylar Deleon out on a trial voyage. It was the last time anyone heard from Tom or Jackie Hawks. Skylar Deleon wanted the boat without having to pay for it, he wanted a rich lifestyle without having to work for it.

This is a well-written detailed account of a horrific murder, with much biographical information and how the prosecution managed to convict Skylar and his accomplices, including his wife without recovering the bodies, the way the testimony of one of the defendants was backed up with tangible evidence, i.e. cell phone records was fascinating. I recommend this book.

Fear Strikes Out by Jim Piersall & Al Hirshberg

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FearStrikesOutThe Jim Piersall Story
Format: Trade Paperback
Pub. Date: 1955
Type: Non-Fiction, Autobiography/Memoir
Pages: 224
Read: 2015-07-14
Rating: Liked it ♥♡

In this book Jim relates the story of his life including his breakdown in 1952 and recovery. The back of the book says that the breakdown was ‘so complete that seven months virtually have vanished from his memory’. The actual cause of his memory loss was the electroshock treatments he received in the hospital.

Piersall was born in Waterbury, CT. You could say he was born a Red Sox fan, he grew up loving the team and wanting to play for them. He got his wish and then it all seemingly washed down the drain. However, not only did he come back to play for the Red Sox the year after his breakdown, he played 17 seasons of pro ball and has been healthy since.

The covers his childhood, his relationship with his parents, his father primarily, his mother’s history of mental illness, although he doesn’t share her diagnosis he relates she was in and out of Norwich State Hospital. Most importantly, he reveals the twisted way he was thinking, I don’t mean twisted in a depraved way, I mean in the way his mental illness progressed. For example, he read an article in The Sporting News that quoted Lou Boudreau, manager of the Red Sox saying they were planning on converting him to shortstop. He had never played shortstop, he was an outfielder. Instead of being relieved that the Red Sox wanted him, he convinced himself that they didn’t and were trying to make him quit.

His recovery is also covered, including reading about his behaviour in the field and off the field. Which cause his wife distress, his manager didn’t know how to handle him and most of his teammates hated him.

The book ends with the end of the 1953 season, he was well on his way to a long and productive baseball career. The book I read was published in 1999 and contains an afterward by Jim Piersall where he summarizes his life since then, what he is doing now and how he feels about the movie “Fear Strikes Out”.

A very interesting account, easy to read, detailed but not dragging.

Body Hunter by Patricia Springer

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BodyHunterFormat: eBook
Pub. Date: 2001
Type: Non-Fiction, True Crime ~ Library Book
Pages: 320
Read: 7/6/2015
Rating: Was O.K.

I was bored, well not really bored, just seemed like she was novelizing or fictionalizing parts, almost making the killer a sympathetic person so i was losing interest. Then it seemed to pick up and get rather interesting. Then we got to the trial and zzzzz

By the way, i wonder how any criminals ever get caught in Texas, police have such a case of tunnel vision!

Cannot recommend this.

Marc Lépine by RJ Parker

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MarcLepineThe True Story of the Montreal Massacre (Crimes Canada: True Crimes That Shocked The Nation Book 2)
Format: eBook, Kindle
Pub. Date: 2015
Type: Non-Fiction, True Crime
Pages: 105
Read: 2015-07-03
Rating: Liked it ♥

Another book from the Crimes Canada series. This is book 2. Also short only 105 pages. This is about Marc Lépine who shot 14 female students on the campus of the University École Polytechnique de Montreal. Most of the book was about the issue of feminism and ‘radical feminists’ may have caused Lépine to commit this crime, by their treatment of him, he felt trapped and so on. At times it seemed the author was blaming the feminist for the crime. Not the victims, just that he felt angry and that he couldn’t advance in his life because of the actions of some feminists.

There isn’t much to say about Lépine’s life or the crime, there was no trial since he committed suicide, thus the intense speculation as to motive or what drove him to commit this shooting. Another interesting if brief read about a major crime that happened in Canada.

Robert Pickton by Chris L. Swinney

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RobertPicktonThe True Story of the Pig Farmer Killer
Format: eBook
Pub. Date: 2015
Type: True Crime ~ Kindle Unlimited
Pages: 100
Read: 2015-07-02
Rating: Liked it ♥

This was a book I got through Kindle Unlimited, which is a borrowing service, kind of like Netflix for books. This was a short book in the Crimes Canada: True Crimes That Shocked The Nation series. This is book 1.

This is a very concise account informative and well written, but very sketchy. I was left feeling rather disappointed that there was not more information. It felt to me more like a short story than a book, but at 100 pages I guess that is what this is. I would still recommend it if you want to know what happened but don’t want a lot of graphic details.

Crime Buff’s Guide to Outlaw New Mexico by Ron Franscell

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OurlawNewMexicoFormat: eBook
Pub. Date: 2014
Type: Non-Fiction, True Crime ~ Kindle Unlimited
Pages: 120
Read: 6/30/2015
Rating: Really liked it ♥♡

Have you ever wanted to find the burial site of your favorite Wild West outlaw? I did until I saw that picture of how big centipedes get in the Southwest, now, not so much. All kidding aside, this short book contains accounts of crimes that were committed in New Mexico, some recent and some a long time ago, along with pictures and GPS locations for either the crime site or burial sites. The author cautions anyone wanted to go to these sites that some are on private property, considering that 11 out of 9 people in the Southwest carry guns, you don’t want to trespass.

~~~ Musical interlude ~~~

Billy the Kid
I’ll sing you a true song of Billy the Kid
I’ll sing of some desperate deeds that he did
Way out in New Mexico long long ago
When a man’s only chance was his own forty-four

When Billy the Kid was a very young lad
In old Silver City he went to the bad
Way out in the West with a gun in his hand
At the age of twelve years he did kill his first man

There’s Mexican maidens play guitars and sing
Songs about Billy their boy bandit king
Ere his young manhood has reached his sad end
With a notch an his pistol for twenty one men

Was on a sad night when poor Billy died
He said to his friend I’m not satisfied
There’s twenty one men I have put bullets through
Sheriff Pat Garrett must make twenty two

I’ll sing you how Billy the Kid met his fate
The bright moon was shining the hour was late
Shot down by Pat Garrett who once was his friend
The young outlaw’s life is now come to an end

There’s many a man with a face fine and fair
Who start out in life with a chance to be square
Just like poor Billy they wander astray
They’ll lose their lives in the very same way

Song Author Marty Robbins – used without permission (shh don’t tell!)

When I was a girl I learned this song, don’t ask me why, but I am ¼ Mexican, the second half of this book is about Billy the Kid, I was finally able to find out if the song was true! I kind of suspected it wasn’t. The author takes us through Billy’s childhood, including his real name, the aliases he took, family members, his life of crime and death. He was shot by Pat Garrett, that is if he was really shot, if you want to know what I mean, read the book.

A quick read, informative and interesting. Loads of pictures, just what us TC readers LOVE.

Protected: The Zoastra Affair by Victoria Pinder

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Library of Souls

Library of Souls (Miss Peregrine's Peculiar Children, #3)Library of Souls by Ransom Riggs
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Hardcover, 400 pages
Expected publication: September 22nd 2015 by Quirk Books

400 glorious pages but I have to wait until September? OK I can do that. . . . NO I CAN’T!!!

Need this book NOW.

OK I’ll wait.

Patiently.

**chews the linoleum**

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My Life, Deleted by Scott Bolzan

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MyLifeFormat: Hardbound
Pub. Date: 2011
Type: Non-Fiction, Memoir ~ Library Book
Pages: 304
Read: 6/7/2015
Rating: Really liked it ♥♡

December 17, 2008 started like an other day for Scott Bolzan, he went to the men’s room in his office building, something he had done thousands if not a million times, slipped and hit his head on the floor. It changed his life, he woke in an emergency room of a hospital with no memory. He didn’t know his name, he didn’t know the woman there with him was his wife, he didn’t even know what a wife was. His life was deleted. The hit to his head had caused total and permanent amnesia.

What followed was Scott had to rebuild his life, it was hard on him, his family and his friends. It was interesting to see he retained muscle memory, he was able to drive a car, and what he called ‘heart’ memory, he ‘felt’ who he could trust and not trust, that he was close to his daughter but relations with his son were strained. That he could trust his wife. Beyond that, everything was a blank slate.

This was a thoroughly enjoyable memoir, Scott is very candid in his retelling, he doesn’t sugar-coat things, he doesn’t make himself to be a hero. He is unstinting in his admiration of his wife, her strength and patience, with no memory, Scott ‘forgot’ he was in love with her and had to fall in love with her again. He tells about non-stop TV watching to ‘learn about life’. His frustration with doctors who kept saying there was a ‘psychological’ reason for the amnesia, since they couldn’t find a physical one, when his family and friends told him there was no trauma he had suffered, just the seemingly minor injury when he fell.

An account that could have been heart-breaking but with his persistence and the love and support of his family, along with searching for the right doctors for answers makes this an uplifting tale.

On a personal note, several years ago my father fell running across a wet parking lot an broke his wrist and tore a tendon in his knee. Every since then I have been very careful on wet surfaces, especially when I am wearing ‘slippy’ shoes. Now I am even more paranoid about slippery conditions.