The Girl in Alfred Hitchcock’s Shower by Robert Graysmith

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GirlinShowerFormat: Hardbound
Pub. Date: 2010
Type: Non-Fiction, True Crime, Biography ~ Library Book
Pages: 320
Read: May 23, 2016
Rating: Really liked it ♥♡

In 1988, Marli Renfro – Janet Leigh’s body double in ‘Psycho’ – was raped and murdered by a serial killer with a fetish for the classic Hitchcock shocker. But as Robert Graysmith investigated Marli’s story, a nagging doubt entered his mind. What if Marli was still alive?

If you ever saw ‘Psycho’ you will remember the shower scene. If you never saw it, you likely have heard of it. Robert Graysmith refers to it as ‘the most harrowing forty-five seconds of footage in cinema history’. He may be right, and the movie was a defining moment in Janet Leigh’s and Tony Perkins’ careers. Except it wasn’t Janet Leigh in the shower, it was Marli Renfro, a nude body double. When Graysmith started to do research to write a book about her, the information he found on her was that she was dead, murdered by a serial killer, like the character she played in Psycho.

This book is much more that the little blurb above, taken from Goodreads. It covers the filming of the shower scene exhaustively, the camera angles, the retakes, the amount of film and time. It also covers Marli’s incredible year after Psycho, she was a Playboy Bunny, she starred in some “Nudie Cuties”, one directed by Francis Ford Coppola (not that he ever admitted it), cavorted with movie stars and nudists, posed for numerous men’s magazines. It also tells us about Henry Adolph Busch Jr aka “Sonny”, a serial killer in L.A. around the time of the filming of Psycho, and another killer “The Bouncing Ball Strangler”. Sonny was arrested and confessed to killing three women, police suspected he might also be the other killer but he denied this and police were never able to link him to the killings. He was executed. After Marli’s incredible year she dropped out of site, but was she dead?

This book was a fascinating read from start to finish, with many interviews of people connected to the film and film industry. Filled with wonderful facts and quotes. I quite enjoyed it and recommend it.

The Knowledge of Good & Evil by Glenn Kleier

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GoodEvilFormat: eBook, Kindle
Pub. Date: 2011
Type: Fiction ~ Free from Author
Pages: 416
Read: 4/25/2016
Rating: Was O.K.♥♡

On December 4, 1968, theologian Father Louis Merton visited the ancient Dead City of Polonnaruwa, Ceylon, entered the Cave of the Spirits of Knowledge, and experienced a vision. It’s claimed he found a backdoor to the afterlife. That he looked into the Mind of God and escaped with a secret so powerful it could change all humanity. Bring wars to a standstill. End forever the age-old hatreds between races, creeds and cultures.

Six days later as Merton prepared to announce his discovery, he suffered a horrific death under mysterious circumstances. But the secret did not die with him. He left behind a journal.

The above is from Goodreads. I started reading this book with no description. It was sent to me by the author and I agreed to read it, sight unseen. An agreement I came to regret.

This is the first book of this genre I have read, religious paranormal? Or just religious ….. dogma? I didn’t like it. I only read about 3/4 quarters of it. Yes I finished it, but I skipped some chapters. The problem is if I tell you what I skipped, that would be a spoiler, and I promise spoiler free reviews.

This book follows Ian Baringer, a fallen priest (or rather a disillusioned priest, for reasons that are < spoiler >) and Angela Weber an atheist/agnostic/scientist. She loves him, but hates his religiousness, his need to reconcile his belief in God with all the bad things that have happened to him. He finds a way.

The church (Catholic church) doesn’t want him to succeed. Not being Catholic, I have no love for their dogma and this is why I skimmed some parts of the book. I really didn’t like this book.

Why the 3 stars? (Goodreads rating) I thought the book was well written, it had good character development and the plot was good. I would say if this type of book was your ‘cuppa’, you would probably enjoy it. As for me, I’ll take a pass on any future books in this genre.

The Profession of Violence by John Pearson

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KrayTwinsThe Rise and Fall of the Kray Twins
Format: Trade Paperback
Pub. Date: 2015 (this edition) 1972, 1973, 1984, 1995
Type: Non-Fiction, True Crime, Biography ~ Library Book
Pages: 336
Read: 3/31/2015
Rating: Liked it ♥♡

This book is a biography. It tells the life story of the Kray Twins (hereafter know as Twins). It is also true crime because the Twins were criminals.

Reggie and Ronnie Kray ruled London’s 1960s gangland with a ruthlessness and viciousness that shocks, even today.

In the Introduction, John Pearson writes about meeting the Twins. They wanted him to write the true story of the Kray Twins.

‘So much rubbish gets written about our sort of people that me an’ Ron both think it’s time the truth was told for once.’

Before Pearson was done doing his research it was obvious that the book the Twins wanted written, with their version of the truth, was not possible. Things actually got dangerous for Pearson before the Twins were arrested. Then the wall came down. People, friends and acquaintances of the Twins, who previously told what they were supposed to say now began to open up with the truth, the real truth.

The result is a compelling account of two men who “ruled London” in the 60’s. And how famous were the Kray Twins? I live in NYC, it’s now 2016, every bartender (from the across the pond) that saw me reading this book knew who they were. In fact, I had to rush to finish it before one of them filled my head with ‘stories’ about the Krays.

Part biography and part true crime, this book satisfies on both points. It is well researched, factual and interesting. I recommend this book.

Stars Above by Marissa Meyer

Stars AboveStars Above by Marissa Meyer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a collection of ‘short stories’. They fill in the gaps between the full length novels and they are wonderful. I blazed through them in a day.

Some are before stories, telling us how some characters got to where they were when the series started, one is a ‘stand-alone’, and one is MMMMPH , an after story.

I loved this as much as I loved the original series. Also included in this book was a preview from:
“Heartless”, Long before she was the terror of Wonderland– the infamous Queen of Hearts–she was just a girl who wanted to fall in love.

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Milwaukee Mahem by Matthew J. Prigge

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Murder and Mystery in the Cream City’s First Century
MilwaukeeMayhemFormat: Trade Paperback
Pub. Date: 2015
Type: Non-Fiction, History ~ LibraryThing Early Reviewer
Pages: 179
Read: 2/24/2016
Rating: Liked it ♥♡

This is the history of a city’s one-hundred-year struggle to leave its past behind, to understand, itself, and to make sense of the everyday mayhem of life in a metropolis being born.

Jeffrey Dahmer was called “The Milwaukee Cannibal”, but he wasn’t the only bad boy in the city, although most of the criminals written about in this book are most likely unknown or forgotten. Sorted into categories such as “Murder”, “Accidents”, “Vice”, and “Secrets” this is a compilation of true accounts from Milwaukee during its ‘growing pains’.

These are very brief accounts. Not extremely detailed but factual. Mr. Prigge records what is know and leaves the speculating to our imaginations. Well written and concise, I would recommend this book.

Blood Bath by Susan D. Mustafa

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Previously published as I’ve Been Watching You: The South Louisiana Serial Killer
BloodBathFormat: eBook
Pub. Date: 2005
Type: Non-Fiction, True Crime ~ Library Book
Pages: 346
Read: 02/20/2016
Rating: Liked it ♥♡

In my review of Dismembered I wrote that there were three serial killers in Baton Rouge at one time. One was Sean Vincent Gillis, another one was Derrick Todd Lee; A.K.A.: “The Baton Rouge Serial Killer”; A.K.A.: “The South Louisiana Serial Killer”, the third was nicknamed the “Prostitute Killer”. I don’t think he was ever caught.

Sean Vincent Gillis mainly preyed on women that he thought would be missed, women that ‘were already dead’, at least to him. Lee targeted the woman he believed he could never get. Attractive, intelligent, accomplished, successful. He also was a black serial killer killing white women, he just went after women he could only get by force. Then he killed them.

I wrote, rather tongue in cheek, that this book could also be titled, “How Not to Catch a Serial Killer”. The task force had no experience in serial killers, and rejected suggestion from 3 people ‘you should really look a this guy’. Not flighty people, two of them were experienced investigators. In the end, these investigators were not even mentioned in the press conference authorities gave after Lee was caught.

This book does not flinch in it’s writing, the good, the bad and the ugly. The trial coverage is extensive and detailed. But it wasn’t just a rehash of what you had already read. It really conveyed all that is involved in the prosecution of a murdered.

Derrick Todd Lee was tried and convicted of two murders, but he has been linked to at least seven more. There are more murders that authorities think he was involved in. He never confessed nor offered to reveal where he disposed of bodies. There are families out there in pain, on January 21, 2016 Lee died in prison, taking his secrets to the grave.

I recommend this book to true crime fans.

Dismembered by Susan D. Mustafa

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Dismembered

Format: eBook
Pub. Date: 2011
Type: Non-Fiction, True Crime ~ Library Book, Overdrive
Pages: 352
Read: 2/13/2016
Rating: Liked it ♥♡

For ten years in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, the killings went on. Women of slight stature were hunted down, bludgeoned and strangled. And what the killer did with their bodies in the privacy of his car, his home, his kitchen, and his shower-was beyond anything police could imagine.

In 1992 Hurricane Andrew devastated southern Florida and the Gulf Coast area of Louisiana. About the same time, women in Baton Rouge and the surrounding area were being stalked by a killer as vicious as Andrew. What many didn’t know at the time was there were actually 3 serial killers, each acting independently of each other. This book is about one of them.

When Sean Vincent Gillis was arrested for multiple murders his live-in girlfriend couldn’t believe it. Sean was never violent, of course, there were those websites of naked dead women bookmarked on his computer, that he showed her. One would think, that after his arrest she would think back on that and go “Hmmm, well maybe …..” While Terri was saying he was a nice guy and would never hurt anyone, the officers who listened to his confession came away with a completely different opinion.

This book is well researched and contains excerpts from his confession which could be considered, explicit, not for the faint of heart. Trail coverage is extensive. After reading this book you will know all you ever wanted to know (and some things you might have preferred not knowing) about Sean Vincent Gillis.

A fascinating, well-researched and written account. I recommend this book.

Mileaukee Mayhem

Excerpt from the section “Vice” subtitle “Kill the Kiss”

“The kiss is a malady, like the whooping cough or the measles, it is a blot on our civilization and should be dealt with drastically. I know of no better remedy than to have the proposed law passed and the policemen enforce it with a good hickory club if necessary.” Physician opponent of the practice [kissing].

Kiss your sweetie, get knocked in the head. Wow.

“In a few centuries, our grandchildren will look back and wonder how such a phase of insanity ever took hold of their progenitors.” Dr. L. A. Kleise

**Snort** Sounds like the sports writer who said baseball was a “passing fad”.

Currently reading

MilwaukeeMayhemMilwaukee Mayhem: Murder and Mystery in the Cream City’s
First Century by Matthew J. Prigge

Dismembered

Dismembered Susan D. Mustafa, Sue Israel

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Vampire: The Richard Chase Murders by Kevin M. Sullivan

She Devils of Austria & Germany by Sylvia Perrini

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SheDevilsFemale Serial Killers

Format: eBook, Kindle
Pub. Date: 2013
Type: Non-Fiction, True Crime
Pages: 74
Read: 1/28/2016
Rating: Liked it ♥♡

This is a compilation of cases of Female killers that were born and or lived in Austria and Germany. Most of them are serial killers. The oldest case the first murder occurred in 1797, the most recent was 2010.

It seems that way back then, many a woman thought the only way to get out of a bad marriage was to kill her husband. Also, the non-availably of employment opportunities for women lead some to marry rich husbands, then kill them for their estate. Then of course, there were the women who genuinely didn’t want to work.

Some killed parents they didn’t want to care for, some killed children their new partners didn’t want, some killed anyone who got in their way.

Method of murder for most was poison.

Most of the information in these accounts comes from previously published sources. And the chapters are short. Making this a quick but fascinating read.

Recommended to those who like just the basics of true crime accounts.