Alice + Freda Forever by Alexis Coe

AliceFredaMy rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book got three stars, for me, three stars is a decent rating, it means I liked it, I just don’t know if I can recommend it.

There is virtually no investigation, the murder was witnessed and the perp arrested that same day. There is also almost no trial covered.

(view spoiler)

The ending of this whole case is tragic. There are no easy answers.

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Times Square Torso Ripper by Peter Vronsky

timessauareMy rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book starts out slow with Dr. Vronsky stating how on a cold, grey, overcast Sunday morning in NYC he bumps into a man coming out of the elevator in a seedy hotel in Times Square. The man was carrying a bag with hard round objects in them that felt like bowling balls. He later learns the man is Richard Cottingham and the hard round objects were his victims heads.

He then goes on to discuss the term ‘serial killer’ for another chapter, then Richard Cottingham’s conviction, like I said the book starts out slow, but as long as he takes to get to the “point” so to say, his prolonged introduction is not boring. He writes a lot about how Times Square was in those years, making the city a character in the book, but then it is New York City.

There is a lot of information in this book, what I like is the information is not repetitive, the trial is covered briefly.

Vronsky spends a lot of time on the psychology of killer using the phrase “reptilian brain”, not as an excuse, but as an explanation.

Overall I found this to be a very readable book and I recommend it to True Crime Fans.

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Kentucky Bloodbath by Kevin Sullivan

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Ten Bizarre Tales of Murder from the Bluegrass State

KentuckyBloodbath

Format: eBook, Kindle
Pub. Date: 2015
Type: Non-Fiction, True Crime
Pages: 109
Read: Jul 05, 2016
Rating: Liked it ♥♡

DEATH BY SWORD ~ museum worker murdered ~ Carol Frances Mudd

BLOOD IN THE MOONLIGHT ~ Albert & Mabel Bauer ~ him beaten and strangled, her stabbed multiple times

RAMPAGE ~ Escapee from jail with life sentences

THE BOXHILL MURDERS ~ Kirk Ellington Tiff

JEALOUSY IS FOREVER ~ Mary F Byron killed by ex on her 21st birthday

THE ICE MAN ~ Todd Ice ~ 15 years old murdered Donna Knox 7 years old

A WORM IN THE NOSE ~ James Becker ~ Thomas A Rankin (step-father) shot with an arrow

CLOSING TIME ~ Barbel Poore ~ raped and murdered

THE BEST OF FRIENDS ~ Scott Nelson & Richard David Stephenson by George Ellis Wade & Victor DeWayne Taylor

A VOICE FROM ABOVE ~ Monica Berger killed her two year old son Joey ‘because God told her to’

These are the cases in this compilation, I have to agree with another reviewer that these weren’t all that bizarre. A few were, stabbed with a sword and shot with an arrow. Basically these are crimes that you would find committed anywhere. The fact that they were all committed in Kentucky could be considered bizarre if you think Kentucky is all horse farms and mint juleps. Those of us who read true crime can tell you, crime happens everywhere, and mentally ill people are everywhere. That being said this is what I thought of the book.

Some don’t like the ‘short story’ aspect of true crime. I like them if they are well done. I found all these to be well done. The author made a point to research the crimes, not relying on newspaper accounts but digging into the original case files to tell us what really happened.

These crimes were all new to me and I found this author’s relating of them to be compelling. At 109 pages it is a rather quick read but very informative and fascinating.

The Lost Girls by John Glatt

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The True Story of the Cleveland Abductions and the Incredible Rescue of Michelle Knight, Amanda Berry, and Gina DeJesus
TheLostGirlsFormat: eBook
Pub. Date: April 14, 2015
Type: Non-Fiction, True Crime ~ Library Book, 3M Cloud Library
Pages: 352
Read: 6/19/2016
Rating: Liked it ♥♡

New York Times bestselling crime writer John Glatt tells the true story behind the kidnappings and long-overdue rescue of three women found in a Cleveland basement.

On May 6, 2013 the neighbors of Ariel Castro were surprised to see a woman trying to get out of his house, their disbelief deepened when the woman revealed she was Amanda Berry who had been missing for 10 years. When she revealed that Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight were also in the house, they realized that Castro was not the man they thought he was.

The book opens with the dramatic escape and rescue of the three kidnap victims. We go on to learn about their lives and the life of their abductor who, before imprisoning these three women had terrorized his wife and children. He beat his wife so badly her health was permanently damaged. His good neighbor image was just that, an image, a façade. What he wanted people to believe so he could keep his little captives.

It has been so long since I read this book that I can’t remember many details, except that I gave it 4 stars on Goodreads which means I recommend it.

The Blood on My Hands: An Autobiography by Shannon O’Leary

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bloodonmyhandsFormat: eBook
Pub. Date: Feb 2016
Type: Non-Fiction, True Crime, Autobiography ~ Free from author for honest review.
Pages: 258
Read: 6/10/2016
Rating: Was O.K.

This book was sent to me free in exchange for an honest review. I struggled to finish it, I wrestled with writing a review, I gave this book 2 stars on Goodreads and made the comment I was so bored with this book.

There are a few reasons it has taken me so long to write this review. 1) I didn’t really want to write it. I got the book free and so I wanted to like the book and write a nice review. Unfortunately I didn’t like the book. 2) Shannon O’Leary suffered a horrific childhood and from things I have read online still suffers from the abuse she experienced as a child. I worry that a bad review will add to her pain. 3) Shannon’s father was possibly mentally ill in addition to being a serial murderer, serial rapist, serial child abuser, and wife beater. However he was never taken to account for his crimes and the families of his victims will never know what happened to their loved ones. I am not blaming Shannon or her mother for this, they were all victims also. This fact just irks me. 4) There are things written in first person view that Shannon could not have possible remembered, obviously she relied on accounts from others. The fact that she does not acknowledge this irks me a little. 5) I read that Shannon write this from “the viewpoint of a child”, and I wonder why? This is certainly not a book one would encourage a child to read. I also believe that Shannon writes children’s books and poetry, maybe this format is comfortable to use.

Autobiography best sums up this book, there is great detail on what is was like growing up in New South Wales, how her parents met, the poor conditions they lived under, their life in general. She talks about the different ‘men’ her father would become, his abuse of her and the efforts her mother made to get away from him. Much of the abuse is written with how it felt to her, “attempted to fend off the sticky stuff that covered my face” … “Then sticky stuff, all over my nightdress.” …

While I didn’t like this book, as you can see from the reviews on Goodreads and Amazon many did. I am not going to recommend for or against reading it, I am leaving it at this. I hope my review gives you an idea of whether or not you will like it.

First an apology

For breaking two promises, one to myself to write reviews quickly and not let them pile up, and the second to the person who sent me a free book in return for an honest review. It’s actually that review that has held up all the others, since I like to write my reviews in order but more on that in a minute.

There are about eight reviews I need to write. I know, FOR SHAME! It all started with The Blood on My Hands: An Autobiography by Shannon O’Leary , which was sent to me free for an honest review. I finished the book on June 10, 2016. I struggled to finish it, I wrestled with writing a review, to summarize, I gave this book 2 stars on Goodreads. Then I looked at the other reviews and everybody LOVED this book. This of course compounded my dilemma, since I didn’t like the book and couldn’t write a glowing complementary review. I could say more, I believe I will save it for the review I am about to write.

All past due reviews will be written today. That is my promise and determination. Some will probably be very brief since it has been a long time since I read the books and I don’t take notes. I will also be relying of the provided synopsis of most of the books. So here goes.

Murder Next Door by Edward Baumann

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murdernextdoorHow Police Tracked Down Eighteen Brutal Killers

Format:Paperback
Pub. Date: 1993
Type:Non-Fiction, True Crime
Pages: 288
Read: 7/21/2016
Rating: Liked it ♥♡

Concise accounts of 18 killers, not extremely well known and a wide variety of types for lack of a better word.

My Top 6 Books about Mental Illness

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Source: My Top 6 Books about Mental Illness

Son by Jack Olsen

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A Psychopath and his Victims
SonFormat: eBook, Kindle
Pub. Date: 1983
Type: Non-Fiction, True Crime ~ my eBook
Pages: 569
Read: May 25, 2016
Rating: Really liked it ♥♡

Spokane had a reputation as a old-fashioned town, “the All-American City”. The newspapers downplayed violent crimes like rape. This thinking was described as inward and backward and such comments where shushed, after all Spokane was “a safe and pure place in an unsafe, impure world.” That was before Fred and Ruth Coe, Spokane would never be the same.

After reading this book, all I can say is WOW. The Coe’s redefine dysfunctional family. Jack Olsen covers everything in this book. Background of the perpetrator, his relationship with his mother, with the other women in his life. He also gives us a look at this victims, treating them compassionately while telling their story, of the attack and the lasting effect it had on their lives and relationships. The women involved with Fred (or Kevin as he prefers to be called) are treated as victims, after all, what else would you call someone who one day wakes up to the news that the person they love is psychopathic criminal?

As much as I like this book I would have to say it is not for everyone, it might trigger flashbacks in sexual assault victims. While not sensational, the rape accounts are detailed and given in the victims own words. That being said, I do recommend it for true crime fans.

On a side note, I googled: “where is Kevin Coe” and found on a website titled, “Justice Denied” an letter from Kevin Coe it says in part:

The setup of Ruth Coe attracted the attention of a crackpot and little known novelist who announced he would write a book on the Coe cases. In late 1983, his idiotic and libelous book on the suppositious cases was published. The work was made into an even more idiotic and libelous TV movie, aired by CBS in 1991. The book flopped nationally but sold well in Washington State. This ruined my chance for a fair re-trial as jurors brought with them a cemented parti pris (prejudice) of my ‘guilt’.

At the bottom was a statement from the editor of the page that they believed his account. I have to wonder if they even checked the statements he made since the crackpot and little known novelist was Jack Olsen and the book was this book, which 7th edition was just published in 2015. His bio is below. I guess if your bio begins, “convicted rapist and psychopath”, that might make you a little bitter huh?

Jack Olsen is the award-winning author of thirty-three books published in fifteen countries and eleven languages. A former Time bureau chief, Olsen wrote for Vanity Fair, People, Paris Match, Readers Digest, Playboy, Life, Sports Illustrated, Fortune, New York Times Book Review and others. His magazine journalism appeared in thirteen anthologies. His books included The Misbegotten Son, The Bridge at Chappaquiddick,, the eco-thriller Night of the Grizzlies, and his monumental study of a Nazi massacre in Italy, Silence on Monte Sole. Three of his works were adapted for the screen, including Have You Seen My Son? on ABC.

Invisible Chains by Kristina Sauerwein

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Shawn Hornbeck and the Kidnapping Case that Shook the Nation

INVISIBLE CHAINS_v2.inddFormat: Trade Paperback
Pub. Date: 2008
Type: Non-Fiction, True Crime ~ Library Book
Pages: 336
Read: May 24, 2016
Rating: Really liked it ♥♡

On October 6, 2002, in Richwoods, Missouri, 11 year-old Shawn Hornbeck was enjoying a day of freedom. Riding his lime-green bike around town doing typical pre-teen things, until he was abducted by ‘the monster man’, Michael J. Devlin. Devlin kept Shawn captive for the next 4 years and 3 months, until he kidnapped a second boy, Ben Ownby on January 8, 2007. On January 12, 2007 both boys were rescued by police. Then the questions began, why didn’t Shawn try to escape? This book answers those questions.

Shawn had freedom, he wasn’t tied up 24/7, he had a bike, a cell phone, access to the internet, and friends in the community. He spent holidays at his friends homes. He even had a girlfriend. Why did he never try to leave? The title of this book says it all Invisible Chains.

First you need to ignore Bill O’Reilly’s fucking idiotic comment:

The situation here, for this kid, looks to me to be a lot more fun than what he had under his old parents. He didn’t have to go to school, he could run around and do whatever he wanted…. And I think, when it all comes down, what’s gonna happen is, there was an element here that this kid liked about his circumstances.”
Bill O’Reilly, The O’Reilly Factor

Shawn didn’t like his circumstances, he was doing what he had to do to survive. This is explained in the book.

While most of the information about the boys, the abductions, and their families is taken from news reports and interviews with family friends, Ms. Sauerwein was able to personally interview child psychologists and others with experience in this field. She took this information and somehow made it readable for the layperson. The result is an informative book about the why’s of a crime as opposed to just, this happened, the police followed these leads, and this person went to prison.

There is not much information about the boys recovery. I imagine the author is respecting their privacy. Which gives her another boost in my book. Curiosity takes second place to compassion.