The Historic Murder Trial of George Crawford by David Bradley

Charles H. Houston, the NAACP and the Case That Put All-White Southern Juries on Trial
Format: Trade Paperbak
Pub. Date: 2014
Type: Non-Fiction, True Crime ~ ARC
Pages: 184
Read: 9/16/2014
Rating: Was O.K.

This book was no where near as interesting as the synopsis lead me to believe. I was ready to give up 50 pages in. I was expecting a riveting court room drama, instead I read how Virginia was “outraged” because some northern newspapers said how racist Virginia was. This was countered by the author explaining how a death that was ruled accidental was really a lynching. The title gives away we are dealing with a racist situation. Also, knowing that one of the victims house guests, who left before the murders occurred, was related to two senators was irrelevant.

In conclusion, too much information bogged this story down before it even got started.

A Conspiracy of Decency by Emmy E. Werner

The Rescue Of The Danish Jews During World War II
Conspirancy of decencyFormat: Hardbound
Pub. Date: 2002
Type: Non-Fiction, History ~ Library Book
Pages: 181
Read: 09/18/2014
Rating: Really liked it ♥♡
When Germany occupied Denmark during WWII, the king told his people to “behave like good Danes. A 17-year-old schoolboy asked himself, “How does a good Dane behave in a situation like this, when his country is occupied?” He came up with these ‘Ten Commandments’

“Ten Commandments for the Danes”

  1. You must not take work in Germany or Norway.
  2. You must do worthless work for the Germans.
  3. You must work slowly for the Germans.
  4. You must destroy important machines and gear.
  5. You must destroy everything useful to the Germans.
  6. You must delay all transports.
  7. You must boycott German and Italian newspapers and films.
  8. You must not trade with Nazis.
  9. You must deal with traitors as they deserve.
  10. You must defend everyone persecuted by the Germans.

JOIN IN THE FIGHT FOR DENMARK’S FREEDOM

The Danes resisted the occupation. Some of the resistance was passive, Danes would leave a store if German soldiers came in. They would leave a streetcar if the Germans sat down in one. The Germans were disconcerted by this. They ridiculed the soldiers, making jokes at their expense. Children were instructed to say “I don’t understand” and nothing else to the soldiers.

There was also active resistance and acts of sabotage. Underground newspapers were printed. Through all this the Danish government protected the Danish Jews. This all ended in September 1943 when martial law was proclaimed by the Germans after taking over the government and neutralizing the army and navy. Hitler ordered all Danish Jews be deported.

What happened next is nothing short of amazing, word was gotten to the Jewish people to go into hiding, arrangements were made for them to live in Sweden, and the Danish people cooperated in getting them there under the noses of the Germans. The Danish people when asked simply said, “It was the right thing to do.”

This is a fascinating account. The book is not big but Ms. Werner manages to include all the important details. The was enough historical information about the people involved to understand what happened but not so much that the book was dragged down. She also included a brief lesson about the issue of “Swiss neutrality”, which was something I had often heard about, but never had it explained so clearly.

For the reasons explained above I recommend this book.

Acquisitions

There is a chain of bookstores in NYC called Shakespeare & Co. Booksellers. There used to be 4 stores, now there are 3 and after the end of this month there will only be two left. At first I was sad, then I thought “Discounted books!” So today I went there and got some books for 30% off.

Death Scenes: A Homicide Detective’s Scrapbook text by Katherine Dunn; Edited by Sean Tejaratchi. I have wanted this book from the first time I saw it at a major chain bookstore but it was more than I was willing to pay for. Now I got it for 30% off.

Talking to Rudolph Hess by Desmond Zwar. Rudolph Hess was Adolf Hitler’s deputy Fuhrer, he was captured by the British in 1941 and convicted of war crimes at Nuremberg.

Dillinger’s Wild Ride by Elliott J. Gorn. The year that made America’s Public Enemy Number One.

Mickey Cohen by Tere Tereba. The Life and Crimes of L.A.’s Notorious Mobster

Gotti: Rise and Fall by Jerry Capeci and Gene Mustain

Mafia Dynasty by John H. Davis

Two other books I recently acquired are:

The Historic Murder Trial of George Crawford by David Bradley. An ARC from Librarything, so this book is on my list to read next.

Devil’s Knot by Mara Leveritt. The true story of the West Memphis Three.

Reading habits

If you measure by how many reviews I write, you may think I don’t read that much, after all, three books read August? First off, August isn’t done yet. Plus sometimes I read a book that doesn’t get reviewed, if I didn’t like the book I might not write a review, because I don’t really like negative reviews, or I might not finish the book and so don’t write a review. Here are two examples.

Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers
This book sounded good in the review so I borrowed it from the library. Either the reviewer didn’t mention it, or I just missed it completely when I read the review, this book is in the genre ‘Christian Fiction’, which is a genre I don’t read. At first, I thought, well maybe it’ll be o.k., but after a while I just couldn’t read anymore. I didn’t finish it, so I didn’t write a review.

A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin
An epic story divided into volumes. I got the first five volumes in one download from the library. They are:

(1) A Game of Thrones; (2) A Clash of Kings (3) A Storm of Swords (4) A Feast for Crows (5) A Dance with Dragons

The lending period from the library is 21 days, by the end of that period I was half way through book #3, A Storm of Swords. I borrowed them because all the hype around the TV series “Game of Thrones” had intrigued me. I was interested enough to keep reading until the download had to be returned or renewed, after that I kind of lost interest and haven’t requested them again. I might get them again, but if I do I will have to start over from the beginning, so I doubt it.

So that is my explanation for my low book count. I actually read a lot, I just don’t always report on it. My next book is less than 200 pages so it might make the blog before September. Then again, I might get distracted again.

Sharon Tate and the Manson Murders by Greg King

SharonTateFormat: Hardbound
Pub. Date: 2000
Type: Non-Fiction, True Crime, Biography ~ Library Book
Pages: 320
Read: 8/20/2014
Rating: Liked it ♥♡

On August 9th 1969 Sharon Tate – the actress and wife of Roman Polanski – was brutally murdered in her Los Angeles home, along with her unborn son and four others.

While I have listed this book as True Crime, it is really more a biography, it just happens to be the biography of a person who was horribly murdered.

The synopsis on Goodreads, besides having a typo in it says the book is about “the search for the killers, the sensational trials and the history to their 30 year imprisonment.” It is that and so much more. It is a detailed and comprehensive biography of Sharon Tate’s life. Her childhood, her formative years. One thing emphasized is her drive to become a ‘star’, we also read of her great beauty, her wonderful personality and deep love for Roman Polanski. Also how excited she was to become a mother, something that would never happen.

Greg King’s account is so detailed and expertly covered that by the time we get to August 9, 1969, we feel as if we know Sharon. We can almost feel her pain and fear as she realizes she is about to die. It makes an event that some of us may have only viewed in a historical capacity personal. He also goes into the fear that spread through Hollywood and Los Angeles after the murders. He gives a mini history of Manson and the family, minor coverage of the trial and what has happened with the perpetrators and the victim’s families.

Two things I noticed about the book (physical copy), Charlie’s face is superimposed on Sharon’s bodice, I didn’t notice this before someone mentioned it in another review, it is not that noticeable on my book. Also the author and one reviewer mentioned crime scene photos, these were not in my copy of the book, which I got from the library. This is just a heads up that you might see some disturbing pictures if you get this book. Like I said they were not in my book so I can’t say for sure.

Also, I did some additional research into what has happened to the Manson family:

Susan Atkins has died, 9/24/2009 of brain cancer. She tried to get a compassionate release and was denied. She died in prison.

Patricia Krenwinkel is still in prison, her next parole hearing is in 2018.

Leslie Van Houten is still in prison, she has been denied parole 20 times.

Charles ‘Tex’ Watson is still in prison, he is next eligible for parole in 2016.

Bruce Davis was denied parole 27 times before being granted parole, only to have it denied by Governor Jerry Brown.

Bobby Beausoleil is still in prison. Davis and Beausoleil were convicted in the murders of Gary Hinman and Donald Jerome “Shorty” Shea.

I got some of this information from a website: Charles Manson Family and Sharon Tate-Labianca Murders. It appears to be very accurate and well maintained. Also I searched for an organization that Charlie founded “ATWA”, it stands for “Air Trees Water Animals”, they have a facebook page and a website. On the webpage with their mission statement is a link “Manson” where he is described as a “political prisoner” with a link to his website. You can go there and donate to his defense fund because he was wrongfully convicted, he never killed anyone. I also have some prime real estate in Florida for sale and a bridge that connects Brooklyn to Manhattan. I’ll give you a real good deal on both.

Bad Wolf by Nele Neuhaus

Bodenstein & Kirchhoff #6
badwolfFormat: Hardbound
Pub. Date: 2012
Type: Fiction, Foreign ~ Library Book
Pages: 416
Read: 8/9/2014
Rating: Liked it ♥♡

This story starts slow, with the body of a sixteen-year-old girl being discovered on a river bank. The police are unable to identify her, but when a popular TV reporter is attacked, raped, and locked in the trunk of her own car, what seems to be an unrelated crime turns out to be the link to solving the murder.

This story builds slowly, Nele Neuhaus get all the characters in place so you get to know them. She also builds on the personal relationships and back story of the main characters. Since not all the books are available this gets confusing at times. I tended to skim over them. The actual mystery was pretty straightforward. It was one of those where you knew what was going on but the interesting thing is who was actually doing it, and all these little side threads, how do they fit in? The ending was not really a surprise, but getting to the end was an interesting ride.

Snow White Must Die by Nele Neuhaus

Bodenstein & Kirchhoff #4
SnowWhiteMustDieFormat: Hardbound
Pub. Date: 2010
Type: Fiction ~ Library Book, Translated from German
Pages: 384
Read: 08/07/2014
Rating: Liked it ♥♡

Nele Neuhaus is a best selling author in Germany, only two of her books have been translated into English so far. I hope that all are, but not too soon as I have many books to read. These books distract me from my scheduled reading list.

When police detectives Pia Kirchhoff and Oliver von Bodenstein begin investigating an attempted murder of a woman pushed from a pedestrian bridge onto a car driving underneath, they discover her son has just been released from prison for the murder of two seventeen-year-old girls. Could there be a connection to the current attack? They travel to the small village where the victim lives to find out and encounter a wall of silence. Getting nowhere in the village, other than finding out Tobias Sartorius is hated by virtually everyone in the village, Kirchhoff begins reading the old case file for leads.

In a small village, everyone knows everything about everyone, but many are determined to keep it to themselves. Then another young girl disappears. The police are in a bind now because the villagers are ready to take matters into their own hands.

There is a lot going on in this book, the investigations, problems between investigators, personal problems. Ms. Neuhaus does a good job of weaving all those factors together while not losing sight of the main storyline, the disappearance of the young women.

Dark Places by Gillian Flynn

darkplacesFormat: eBook
Pub. Date: 2009
Type: Fiction ~ Library Book
Pages: 349
Read: 7/19/2014
Rating: Was O.K.

This book was included in the download with Sharp Objects, that is why I read it even though I swore I wouldn’t read any more Gillian Flynn.

The murder in this book happened 24 years before the story starts and the murderer is behind bars. The Day family was massacred and seven-year old Libby testified against her brother, Ben, resulting in his conviction. Since then Libby has been living from relative to relative, paying her expenses with money raised through charity and a book deal. Now the money is running out and Libby is not qualified – or doesn’t want to – work. These circumstances lead to her contacting a group willing to pay for her to appear at a “Murder Convention”, what she is not told, this group believes Ben is innocent. They want Libby to help them get him released from prison. Libby doesn’t like thinking about that day, she calls the memories “Dark Places”, but she needs – wants money, so she agrees to contact, her brother, her father and others to find out the truth.

The story is told from two different points of view, Libby’s in the present, first person narrative, and in the past, the day of the murder third person narrative, told from differing points of view. So you know you’re going to find out what really happened. There is a twist at the end though.

Libby is not a sympathetic character, she is also not ‘strong woman protagonist’, she is whiny and manipulative, she doesn’t see any reason to be a responsible adult, I don’t remember if she got therapy after the murder of her family, but she is definitely a damaged person. Much like Camille is in “Sharp Objects”, Libby however, makes no attempt to get better, just spends time blaming everyone else for her problems. Another offering that didn’t thrill me.

Living as A Writer: A Note to my Friends

Beleza:

Reblogging this because this is advice I need to follow. Some good points I SHOULD remember.

Originally posted on Noir? Me?:

A week ago, I mentioned to my friend Annie that my latest novel would be out soon. She asked if I meant to give her a copy. Now, it’s not the first time I’ve been asked that question. Not hardly. But this time, my patience faltered.

I said, “Come on, I have to spend a couple years writing the book, deal with the publisher and all, and spend countless hours marketing, and then I’m supposed to give the book away?”

She said, “Well . . . ”

Had I felt slightly ornerier, I would’ve asked, “Should I read it for you too?”

After she left, I wondered, if I were rich, would I give copies to all my friends? Maybe not. I mean, when author friends of mine have new books, I prefer to buy them, in honor of their accomplishment.

Then, yesterday, an email arrived: “Congratulations on your new…

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Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn

STRONG LANGUAGE IN THIS REVIEW

SHarpObjectsFormat: eBook
Pub. Date: 2006
Type: Fiction ~ Library Book
Pages: 272
Read: 7/18/2014
Rating: Was O.K.

After I read Gone Girl, which left me kind of cold, I don’t think I even wrote a review about it here, I said, “NO MORE GILLIAN FLYNN”. As you can see I didn’t stick to that. I got a sample, it intrigued me, and so I got the book. From the library, because if I had actually paid money for this drivel I would be fucking pissed. Some spoilers in review

The story is told from the viewpoint of Camille Preaker, who is a reporter and mentally ill, totally messed up by mommie dearest who never liked much less loved her. Camille is a cutter, except she doesn’t just cut, she carves words into herself. So fresh from this environment and just out of a mental hospital, Camille is sent back to her whack job of a mother by her boss. Of course at this point in the book, he doesn’t know how deranged Camille’s family is. And Camille is not ready to let the world know she has words written all over her body. She even convinced a guy to have sex with her clothes on.

Camille is just there to cover the story, but in the way these things happen in books, she ends up working to solve the crime, not just report on the family and the victims relations with their family and others. And she figures it out, except she’s wrong. I was wrong too.

In Gone Girl, the main female character is a MEAN GIRL, in this book, Camille is not a MEAN GIRL, but we get the idea that she was one in high school. Her mother and half-sister are devious and manipulative and spiteful and venomous. I raced through this book, mainly because I had to find out the ending, but I can’t say I enjoyed it.