Showing posts with label murder. Show all posts
Showing posts with label murder. Show all posts

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Nora Roberts’ “The Liar” Book Review

Nora Roberts "The Liar" Book Cover - Source: Amazon
Nora Roberts “The Liar” Book Cover

I’m a huge fan of Nora Roberts’ writing and have read most of her books (including her “In Death” series under her J.D. Robb nom de plume). I had purchased the audiobook of her 2015 romantic suspense novel “The Liar” as soon as it came out, but somehow it got lost in the shuffle in my Audible library. Coming across it again recently – and finally getting to listen to it with my husband – was a treat!

The things we enjoyed most about this book are that it's:
  • Authentic. One of the things we’ve always loved about Nora Roberts’ writing is her thorough research. This makes her characters and locations very believable, so it’s easy to be transported into the world she creates for each of her stories.
  • Detailed. Roberts’ characters, for the most part, are fully formed. She provides enough detail and history and weaves in enough backstory to make us feel as if we know each character personally. We feel like they have lives beyond just what’s in the story.
  • Well-paced. One of the hallmarks of Roberts’ writing is her excellent pacing. She doesn’t rush through the telling, but she also never lets the story drag. She doesn’t use adjectives for their own sake, like many other authors. Her descriptions are all well thought out and help move the story forward.
  • Dialogue-driven. Roberts is an acknowledged master of dialogue. Like all her books, “The Liar” is told largely through conversations. I’ve always appreciated her very sparing use of speech tags (e.g., “he said,” “she asked,” “they exclaimed”). She gives every character a distinctive, recognizable speech pattern, so readers can easily identify who’s saying what without naming the speakers every time. For example, Viola speaks straightforwardly and with authority, but also with the slightly formal, slightly flowery language of a proper Southern lady when she’s addressing someone outside the family; whereas Forrest, a cop to the core, speaks tersely and uses adjectives sparingly.
There were a couple of things that felt a bit off. Melody’s character seems a bit forced. She’s surprisingly one-dimensional for a Roberts character. She never shows even a hint of remorse and it’s hard to feel any sympathy for her. Also, my husband thinks Griff seems too good to be true. He always has time for Shelby and Callie. He always does the right thing. He doesn’t make even a single misstep. In a true romance, we need to follow the lines of both characters. But although Griff is the romantic foil, this is Shelby’s story, and in some ways he’s a supporting player. We never learn much about his backstory or any of his previous relationships. Fortunately, neither of those issues prevented us from thoroughly enjoying this book.

Although I also own the Kindle version, I much prefer the unabridged audiobook of “The Liar”. Narrator January LaVoy does a fabulous job of giving both the male and female characters distinctive voices. In many audiobooks, it can be hard to tell which character is speaking without speech tags, but that was never a problem with this one. LaVoy also makes the men sound like men and the women like women – a skill narrators often lack. Even more impressive is her totally believable voicing of three-year-old Callie. Her excellent narration brings an added dimension to the storytelling. This audiobook will keep you happily engrossed for 16 hours, 31 minutes.

Main Characters in “The Liar” Include:

Shelby Pomeroy Foxworth – a young wife and mother who grew up in rural Tennessee; former Homecoming Queen

Richard Foxworth – Shelby’s snobby, cold, jet-setting husband

Callie Rose Foxworth – Shelby and Richard’s three-year-old daughter

Viola MacNee Donahue – Shelby’s vivacious, ambitious, straight-shooting and wise grandmother, owner of Viola’s Harmony House Salon and Day Spa

Forrest Jackson Pomeroy – local cop and Shelby’s big brother

Ada Mae Pomeroy – Shelby’s mom

Emma Kate Addison – nurse and Shelby’s best friend

Matt Baker – Emma Kate’s boyfriend and partner in The Fix-It Guys

Griff Lott – Matt’s partner in The Fix-It Guys; originally from Baltimore

Melody Bunker – Shelby’s main nemesis in high school; second runner-up in the Miss Tennessee pageant; manager of the Artful Ridge artisan craft gallery

“The Liar” Synopsis

This novel is broken into three sections: The False, The Roots and The Real.

The False
Pretty redhead Shelby Pomeroy Foxworth learns that her husband, Richard, is missing and presumed dead. Richard Foxworth was everything Shelby wasn’t – urbane, suave, worldly, wealthy, sophisticated and well-traveled. He quickly swept her off her feet and into an unfamiliar world of glamorous jet-setting and an expensive lifestyle. When she met Richard, he had been attentive and flattering, but that didn’t last long. After their daughter Callie was born, he became increasingly insulting to Shelby and had little time and even less affection for their sweet, pretty, vivacious daughter.

Shelby discovers that everything she thought she knew about Richard was false. The man she had married, the father of her darling Callie, had been not only a liar but also a successful con man. Shelby had never suspected that Richard hadn’t purchased the fancy house in Philadelphia, elegant clothes and all the other trappings of their wealthy lifestyle outright. And he had racked up $3 million in debts that now fell squarely on Shelby’s slender shoulders. 

The Roots
Shelby sells all of Richard’s belongings and most of her own, as well as the huge, fancy house he had purchased (without consulting her) and the expensive custom furnishings she had always hated. Then she takes Callie back to Rendezvous Ridge, Tennessee, Shelby’s beloved hometown, determined to raise her daughter surrounded by three generations of Shelby’s close-knit, loving and supportive family.

Shelby moves back into her parents’ home and starts to build a new life for herself and Callie. She makes up with her best friend, Emma Kate, who has been angry at Shelby ever since she had taken off with Richard and seemingly ignored her family and friends back home. Emma Kate’s boyfriend and his business partner, Griffin Lott, have a fledgling construction and remodeling business. Griff falls hard for Shelby and Callie. He quickly wins Callie’s heart, but Shelby is reluctant to put her own on the line again or risk Callie’s getting hurt. 

As this section progresses, Shelby, Callie and Griff find themselves increasingly in danger. Shelby’s policeman brother Forrest tries to protect them while he figures out and tracks down who is responsible for murder, both attempted and successful. Things comes to a frightening head.

The Real
The last section consists of the final chapter and an epilogue. Telling you anything about them would be a major spoiler, so you’ll just have to read “The Liar” to find out what happens. It’s a worthwhile ride!



“The Liar” book reviewed by:
Margaret Schindel




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Monday, February 19, 2018

The Guilty Book Review

In The Guilty, David Baldacci takes you on a non-stop, action packed adventure in Cantrell, Mississippi.

When a top ranked government assassin is unable to perform his job, he heads home to deal with unresolved issues from his past and winds up embroiled in his father's murder investigation.

Making matters more difficult is the fact that he has been estranged from his father for 20 years. Talking to his father is no easier now than it was when he was a lad and his father's life being on the line does not seem to make a difference. His father wants no help from his son and is resigned to his own personal situation.

Robie, however, refuses to let his father take the murder charge without fighting back. His efforts, combined with those of an equally skilled coworker, to save his dad eventually help him start a proper relationship with his father. Better late than never, as they say. It turns out that his book is about murder and about family.

I was amazed at the action that took place in the first half of the book, which meant that there was lots more still to come. It was fast paced and hard to put down.

Yes, The Guilty is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED by me. Read more about it or order your copy from Amazon by clicking right here.

As it turns out, The Guilty is number four in a series called Will Robie and David Baldacci has written many other books, which I look forward to checking out. It is always great to find a new author that you enjoy and if all of Baldacci's books are as good as this one, I will have some more sleep deprived nights ahead.

See you
At the bookstore!
Brenda
Treasures By Brenda

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See David Baldacci's author biography on Amazon.




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Friday, August 26, 2016

Windigo Fire Book Review

Murder. Mayhem. Fire. When I proposed Windigo Fire by M.H. Callway to my book club a year ago, they were instantly taken by the action-packed storyline, which goes as follows:

Native Canadian Danny Bluestone, takes a job for some easy money at a kid's retreat in Red Dog Lake in Northern Ontario. A local offers him the chance to be a scout for wealthy tourists and hunters.  Danny realizes that this business is a cover-up for a grow-op but he takes the job anyway and it turns out that he has been recruited for a bear hunt that is illegal. However, he awakens and finds all of the tourists except one dead. The two survivors have to join together to escape even though the other might be the murderer. He uses his shaman knowledge to survive in the bush and from the Windigo, an evil spirit.

Little did I know that when I read this book I would be vacationing on a remote and isolated lake in Northern Ontario not far from Timmins where this story is set.  I was lucky though that I did not experience any murder, mayhem or fire. I did, however, encounter the beautiful wilderness outdoors that is part of Canada's north.  There were other cottages on the lake but we could not see a single one of them from my sister's cottage. We spent many hours swimming, canoeing and yes, reading Windigo Fire.

It is rare to have a consensus at my book club, especially one that is positive. This time everyone, bar none, enjoyed the book. It is an action packed book that was hard to put down. Perfect for an entertaining summertime read and for time spent in the wilderness.

Do not get me wrong though. This book was not perfect. Members of my group found a few inconsistencies or missing points in the book, and decided that it seemed almost like little bits had been removed, perhaps to make this story "book size."

In terms of what to be aware of, know that this book has drugs, alcohol, sex, a strip club, language, fighting, murder and fire. However, I have certainly read many books that are worse. It definitely has an interesting variety of characters that range from vulnerable to flawed to incorrigible and leaves you with a few puzzles to decipher at the end.

Is Windigo Fire recommended? Yes, it is by me and by the other members of my book club.  I will be passing it around to all of my family members some of who live in the north, others who love camping in the wilderness or at least the campgrounds of northern Ontario.

Happy Reading!
Brenda

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Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Review of Novels that Take You Behind the Scenes in Book Publishing Houses

Two Novels Let You Peek into the World Of Book Publishing


Have you ever wondered how the authors of best selling books get to the top? I just discovered two authors new to me whose novels provide a peek into the offices of publishers and their agents, as well as insight into book marketing and the publishing industry. I will review these novels here.  


Spider Web with Scott Quote, photo from Pixabay


Marsha Grimes offers a humorous look at the competition between publishers, editors, and agents for popular authors . Just to make it interesting, a few hired killers with scruples are added to the mix.

 Writer Steve Martini's thriller, The List, shows another aspect of the publishing industry that focuses on the marketing of an author persona. In this book, an author's idea for promoting her new book involves a bit of deception that almost gets her killed in the end.


Martha Grimes Novels about Publishing


Buy Foul Matter at Amazon
The two books I read by Martha Grimes are Foul Matter, my favorite, and The Way of All Fish, which bored me. Many of the same characters populate both books. We meet the first of those characters, Paul Giverney, in Foul Matter. He is trying to choose a new publisher who will meet his conditions – a publisher who would do whatever it takes to get whatever he wants. He decides that Bobby Mackenzie of Mackenzie-Haack is his man. 

Mackenzie wants Paul badly because Paul writes best-selling books that would carry the costs of marketing them and make money for Bobby, but Paul will only come on board if he can have Tom Kidd, who doesn't like to edit the kind of commercial fiction Paul writes, as his editor. Tom Kidd only likes to edit literary fiction, especially that of Ned Isaly.

Paul is now a free agent and the big publishers are competing to sign him. Mackenzie wants Paul's book, but Paul has one condition that is blocking the deal. Paul insists Mackenzie drop Isaly. Paul wants Kidd to edit his books, but almost everyone knows that if Ned Isaly is dropped, Kidd will also go and he would take Mackenzie's best literary authors with him, including Isaly, who has won a lot of awards for his fiction. Besides that, Isaly is still under contract for one more book. Breaking the contract isn't legal. Paul insists the legal team could find a way if they really wanted to. 

Clive Esterhaus is second in command to Mackenzie, and handles acquisitions along with some editing. His job is to get Paul Giverney under contract. He just doesn't see how he can get rid of Isaly without breaking the contract and also losing Kidd and his literary authors. 

Mackenzie puts a book written by Danny Zito, an ex-mob contract killer who is now in the Witness Protection Program, on Clive's desk, and hints that maybe Danny would like to write another book. Clive knows the real hint is that Danny still knows people who might be able to solve their Isaly problem for them. Danny refers Clive to hit men Candy and Karl, and Clive contacts them. Bobby Mackenzie hires them to get rid of Isaly.

Candy and Karl are unlike any hit men you've ever seen and have their own conditions. They don't want to “do” anyone they don't think deserves it. They take the advance money and study the potential “project” for a couple of weeks until they decide whether they want to take the job. If they decide they don't, they return the advance. Candy and Karl ask Bobby and Clive why they want Isaly eliminated and they can't believe the answer  they get. Karl would actually like to write a book himself, and is fascinated by what he's learning about book publishers. 

As the book progresses, we often see Ned and his friends Saul, Jamie, and Sally, at Swill's bar, where many literary folks hang out. The friends also run into each other in the park, another place they frequent.  Saul, like Ned, is a literary author. Sally is a wannabe writer who is an assistant to Tom Kidd. Jamie is a romance writer. Saul sometimes takes them for dinner at the Old Hotel, which is known for including and excluding dinner guests, and even some who only want a drink at its lobby bar. No one knows what criteria determines who gets in and who doesn't. Clive is one of the anointed but neither Bobby nor Paul can get in on their own. No matter where they get together, Saul, Ned, Sally, and Jamie often discuss their books and the writing process. There's a lot of shop talk.  


Novels that Take You Behind the Scenes in Book Publishing Houses
Photo Courtesy of Pixabay


Ned is at the very end of the process of completing a book.  He's been struggling over what to do with his character Nathalie in the final scene. He has left her in a park after her lover has ended their affair, and he keeps "hearing" her entreaties not to leave her there like that. On one such occasion his thoughts are distracted by his realization that he can't remember what Pittsburgh, the town he grow up in, looks like. This bothers him, and he decides its time to visit his hometown. He thinks that might help him figure out how to end his book. He tells everyone he's going to Pittsburgh. 

Naturally, Candy and Karl follow him so they can observe him and decide whether to take him on as a project. Sally, who had overheard part of a meeting between Bobby and Clive discussing how to end Ned's contract, senses something is up that's not good. She has mentioned this to Saul. Each of  them separately decides to go to Pittsburgh when Ned does without telling Ned or each other. In the meantime, Clive is afraid Candy and Karl might really kill Ned and he might get blamed. So he hires someone to follow Ned and protect him. Her name is Blaze. Clive decides to go to Pittsburgh himself, as well, just to keep and eye on things.   

Paul, although he stays home, is worried at what his demands may have set in motion. He has nothing personal against Ned, so he hires Arthur Mordred to protect Ned. Ned himself is oblivious to all of this. He only vaguely senses someone may be following him.  He does wonder why Candy and Karl seem to be turning up everywhere he goes. 


Arthur Mordred, Candy and Karl know each other and wonder why they are seeing each other on the same turf. It seems like the whole gang is in Pittsburgh, though Saul and Sally don't let Ned or each other know they are there at first. The Pittsburgh chapters are fun for the reader, with Ned mostly just looking around while all the others follow him as inconspicuously as possible, often in disguise. The last day the disguises come off and everyone acknowledges everyone else, but not why they are there. Then everyone goes home and they all manage to get back to New York safely, including Ned Isaly, so the problem of what to do with him remains.  You will have to read the book to see how the situation is resolved, and only at the end is it revealed why Paul wanted Mackenzie to break Isaly's contract. 

The best parts of the book are the conversations between Candy and Karl as they “research the project” and interact with everyone. They provide a lot of comic relief. It was, in fact, this humor and the spoof on the publishing industry that made the book interesting. The characters were not very well-developed, but the dialogue was great. The whole scene (several chapters) in Pittsburgh is hilarious. Some readers may find Ned's mental interactions with Nathalie a bit tedious. though. 

A reader might pick up the idea that in spite of having written the popular Richard Jury novels, which I've not yet read, Grimes is not especially fond of how the publishing industry operates and that would also apply to the way books are marketed and get to the best seller lists. Steve Martini picks up some of these same themes in his legal thriller, The List.

Review of The List by Steve Martini


The title refers to the  New York Times Bestseller List that every author wants their book to be on. I'm classifying this as a legal thriller because two of the main characters are lawyers. The book is much different in tone and style than Martha Grimes Foul Matter. In the Grimes books, there were plenty of opportunities to laugh and the fun was in seeing the characters interact and learning what they really thought of each other. In The List, you will find yourself holding your breath and unable to put the book down. It is full of action and suspense. 

Book Review of The List
Buy The List at Amazon
 The List begins with a Prologue in which Abby Chandlis is running for her life on an old docked ship. She is trying to reach Morgan Spencer, her lawyer, whom she is sure is aboard. She is fleeing two men on the dock, whom you will meet later in the book. Then the book moves to Chapter One and we discover Abby is a lawyer who works with Morgan Spencer. It's obvious the two are very good friends, but not lovers. Abby wants to keep it that way. Morgan doesn't.

Abby has written a book, but since she has written previous books, which although published never got very far, she is reluctant to publish her new book under her own name. She has chosen the pen name of Gable Cooper. She is afraid that if she submits the book under her own name she will get less for it because she's a woman and it wouldn't be marketed well because her other books weren't best sellers. She knows her new book is blockbuster material.

We next meet Carla Owens, who is looking for Gable Cooper. Carla is a powerful literary agent, and she tells Abby that she must get hold of Cooper because a major publisher wants the book and expects it to be very successful. Abby says Cooper is in South America researching another book and cannot be reached. The truth is that Abby hasn't found anyone to play the part of Cooper for the book jacket, interviews, and book signings. She promises to try to find Cooper. She is his legal representative in the negotiations. 

The scene then shifts to Jack Jermaine, a frustrated writer who is currently at home in Coffin Point, South Carolina, using his rejection slips for target practice. He is handsome, rugged, and very good at shooting.

Meanwhile, back at Abby's office, she explains her problem to Morgan, to whom she tells everything. He's upset because they have a new boss, Cutler, whom he doesn't like. It appears Cutler wants to downsize, and that means both Abby and Morgan could lose their jobs. Abby asks Morgan to file a copyright for her on the new book so she can prove, if there's ever a problem with the person she gets to lay the part of Cooper, that she herself wrote the book. The only other person who knows about her authorship is is her best friend Theresa, who is divorced because her husband Joey has abused and almost killed her. Abby had acted as Theresa's divorce lawyer, and Theresa is currently living with Abby.

Morgan, as Abby's lawyer, wants all the details of how Abby intends to pull off letting someone play her part without the publisher and agent finding out who really wrote the book. They discuss all the details of how Gable Cooper will sign papers and contracts that deposit Cooper's advances, signed over to Abby, in Abby's account. Then she will pay Cooper his share. Morgan wants to be sure only he, Abby, Theresa, and whomever turns out to be Cooper, are the only ones who know Abby really wrote the book. Because he doesn't trust Cutler, he tells Abby he will keep all the documents safely at his home.

Abby, realizing she has to come up with a Gable Cooper soon, goes with Thersa to L.A. to hire someone to play the part. She settles on the handsome Jess Jermaine. Theresa is staying with friends. Abby stays in L.A. to continue briefing Jess on his part. After that her plan is to fly to New York, meet Carla alone, and then after the two of them have worked out the details, they would meet Jess at the airport together.

Meanwhile, back in Seattle, Joey has broken into Abby's home and torn it up, waiting for Theresa to appear so he can abuse or kill her. While he's there, the people trying to get the movie rights to the book appear looking for Cooper. Joey answers the door, plays along, pretends he is Cooper, and agrees to sell them the rights for only $25,000.

Abby gets into New York at 2 AM and after only a few hours sleep prepares to go meet Carla. Under her hotel door she finds a handwritten note from Jess saying he can't be Cooper after all, but not to worry, he's made arrangements. She imagines her entire book deal flying away and is furious, but when she calls Carla's office about the change in plans for picking up Cooper, Carla very happily tells her that she has been chatting in her office with Cooper and he's wonderful. Jess had arranged for his brother Jack, older and just as handsome, whom we met earlier in Coffin Point shooting up rejection slips, to substitute for him. Abby is extremely angry that Jack got to Carla before she did, but she's in a bind and finally has to accept the situation in order not to blow her own deal.

Since this is a review, not a synopsis, I won't tell you about all the dead bodies, romance, and double-crossing that follow or even introduce all the players in this drama. The plot is too intricate for me to do that here. I did not pay careful enough attention to all the details on my first reading, and so I was more surprised than I should have been at the end. What I could not do is put this book down. As I'm rereading parts of the book today, I find myself laughing at some parts I'd forgotten about. There is touch of humor because of who the people are and how they interact, even though the mood of most of the book is tense.

Novels that Take You Behind the Scenes in Book Publishing Houses


My Recommendations 


I would recommend either Foul Matter or The List to writers or anyone else interested in the publishing industry. Foul Matter is a light book with a lot of comic relief. Most of the action is intellectual, and most battles take place with words. The “goons,” Karl and Candy, have their own version of justice. They tend to find an appropriate punishment to fit whatever is crime in their eyes. 

Although The List has a bit of humor, it has much more violence and suspense than Grimes' books. It, too, has some vigilante justice, but it's more violent than in that in Foul Matter.  You will find language and behavior in both books you would not want your grandchildren to imitate, but nothing worse than they would see in a PG-17 rated movie or much of today's television, or overhear in conversations. The F-word is used often by some characters because it fits their personas. There aren't any sex scenes in Foul Matter that I can remember, but The List has a few that would be rated R if they were in a movie. Forewarned is forearmed. I didn't see anything that seemed inappropriate in its context, and I enjoyed both books, different as they were from each other.

Which of these books do you think you'd want to read first?



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Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Review of Selected Books Dealing with Murder, True and Fictional

Murder: True or Fictional?

I have been an avid reader of murder mysteries for many years. In 2013, I started to read true crime books because I thought maybe it would be better to see what really happened rather than reading what only occurred in an author’s imagination. Either way one gets to follow a detective's thinking, but the novelist can make the book turn out any way he or she wants. The detectives can’t do that with the real cases they try to solve.


My exposure to true crime began with several true crime stories by Ann Rule, including “A Rose for Her Grave,” “Campbell’s Revenge,” and “The Hit Person: Equal Opportunity Murder.“ Fictional murder mysteries I've enjoyed include many James Patterson novels and several J.D. Robb (Nora Roberts) books from the “In Death” series. One of the most recent crime thrillers I've read is Eyes Wide Open by Andrew Gross. (Keep reading for more on this book)


So what’s scariest? For me it’s realizing how wicked people are, without anyone needing to embellish the facts. Men do really kill do woo and then kill wives who live trustingly with them just for the insurance money. (Randy Roth, Washington State.) Rape victims are brutally slaughtered, along with children and neighbors who happen to be present, by their paroled rapists. (Charles Campbell, Seattle area.)

These are things we pass quickly over in the news. The killers whose crimes I am most familiar with from the news are the California Zodiac Killer who was never caught, Richard Ramirez, (the Night Stalker) and Charles Manson and his “family.” I followed those cases in the papers and heaved a sigh of relief when Ramirez and Manson were finally behind bars. 

Gary L. Stewart claims that he discovered the identity of the Zodiac killer when he tried to find out who his father was. He believes his father, Earl Van Best, Jr. committed the Zodiac murders. His book explaining what led him to this conclusion, The Most Dangerous Animal of All, was published in 2014.  A related book, The End of the Zodiac Mystery: HowForensic Science Helped Solve One of the Most Infamous Serial KillerCases of the Century, was published at about the same time. I hope to read one of both of them soon. I once thought I had a clue, myself, thinking it might be someone I had known in college, but, fortunately, I was wrong. 

I pay attention to parole hearings. A Manson Family member is currently up for parole, and that gives me the shivers because I just read Eyes Wide Open by Andrew Gross. I'm sure it's a novel based on the Sharon Tate and other murders committed by the Manson Family, changing the names and moving the setting of the murders to Santa Barbara. (The author, Andrew Gross, even states in an interview that he once met Manson in his father's home before he became a murderous cult leader and that part of the idea for this book came from that incident. )

In Eyes Wide Open, Charlie, is told his son Evan has commit suicide. His brother Jay, a successful surgeon in New York, comes to visit him in California to try and help him through his grief. Both suspect foul play rather than suicide, even though Evan was bipolar. Jay decides to see if he can find out the truth about whether Evan had jumped from high on Morro Rock into the Bay, as the police believe, or whether he had been pushed.

Charlie has always been unsuccessful and disturbed. He and his wife have lived dependent on the state for support for years. As the book unfolds, Jay learns Charlie had decades ago lived as “Chase' on the Riordon Ranch with Russell Houvanian (The Charlie Manson figure) and his followers, and had helped the police investigators find the evidence they needed to convict Russell and the others.

 Charlie and another woman at the ranch who were not in the inner circle and not participated in the murders both cooperated with police. At the very beginning of Eyes Wide Open, readers witness the brutal murder of Sherry, that other woman, who had put that past long behind her to move on to live a productive and normal life. The reader doesn't understand that murder until the book is over half over. As we get into the book, we discover that one of Houvanian's accomplices, Maggs, had been released from prison after serving a thirty-year sentence. Dead bodies continue to pile up until the climax of the book is reached. I highly recommend this book to those who love thrillers, but I won't spoil it for you by telling you more. Even with what I've said, you won't be able to put the book down until you finish it. You can get Eyes Wide Open as an audio CD, but I suggest you keep the lights on while listening. 

Back to true crime. Like many living in Southern California in the 1980's, I was nervous about leaving my windows open in the summer until Richard Ramirez, aka the Night Stalker, was apprehended and locked up. He used to kill his victims by entering houses through unlocked doors and windows. I wouldn't have what it takes emotinally to read the account of his evil deeds and twisted mind, but a highly reviewed and well researched book on Richard Ramirez by Philip Carlo is available. I also lived in the Seattle area for a time when the Green River Killer, later found to be Gary Ridgway, was still on the loose. Several true crime books about the Green River Killer are also available.

The true crime books lay all the events and facts and trials out factually. Those happenings as they played out in people’s real lives seem more terrifying than any made-up crime that never happened. We all know these crimes happen and to stay sane we have to not actively think about having them happen to us, even though we know anyone can be a victim.

Naturally, we all need to take reasonable precautions not to be a target of violent crimes, but we also know that a good percentage of victims have taken those precautions to no avail. I deal with these facts by realizing that God will not let anything happen outside his control and that He will give the grace to deal with any situation when it’s needed. We need to live our lives wisely and leave the rest to God.

To get back to the books, I think the main difference between true crime and detective novels is that the novels allow one to escape reality for a bit, whereas the true crime books bring you face to face with reality. Bad things do happen to good people because sin is in the world and God has allowed men to choose to do evil rather than good. People make that choice to do evil every day. All of us do evil occasionally, but most of us just make less violent choices than the criminals do. Our weapons of choice are often just words that hurt or thoughts that aren’t fair to someone.

Some evil exists in every human heart. Sometimes it just takes the right situation for us to be able to see it in ourselves, or worse yet, to turn evil thoughts to evil actions. All evil actions began as wicked thoughts. Most of us deal with them before they become actions that will hurt someone else. Some of us take those things to God when we examine our hearts and find them, and we ask him to deal with our sin in those areas of our lives. We know he will forgive us for our sins against him and others. We trust him to cure our problem at the heart level.

Some people, though, the ones that become violent criminals, either have no sense of right and wrong or their emotions or peer pressure overrule conscience. Others give up control of their minds and bodies to substances that alter their thinking and judgment, leaving their natural impulses in charge of their actions. People such as these are loose on our streets. We see them in the news every day. We want to avoid having our names in the news with them, so we are as careful to avoid them as we know how to be.


It's No Mystery Baby Doll Fitted T-ShirtTrue crime books help us to know the kinds of things that can happen and the minds of the criminals. The novelists offer us some escape from that reality by giving us a situation that is controlled and where justice is usually done for the victims. Which do you prefer to read? 









This It's No Mystery Baby Doll Fitted T-Shirt is available in many other styles for men, women, and even children. 






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