Book Reviews · non fiction · What You Missed Wednesdays

What You Missed Wednesdays – Non Fiction Edition

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

 

What You Missed Wednesdays is exactly as it sounds!

Book reviews of each week’s genre of choice that you might have missed, and I think you should really hear about.

3 Books a Week with 3 Words/Phrases to Describe Them 

Click on the title of each book to be taken to my full review.

I hope you find new books that you’re excited to add to your TBR!

 

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The Molecule of More: How a Single Chemical in the Brain Drives Love, Sex and Creativity — and Will Determine the Human Race by Daniel Z. Lieberman and Michael E. Long

4/5 stars

enlightening, fascinating, interesting look at brain chemistry

 

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Cannibalism: A Perfectly Natural History by Bill Schutt

4/5 stars

intriguing, informative, weird science and history

 

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I’ll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman’s Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer by Michelle McNamara 

5/5 stars

fantastic true crime, the ultimate book of the genre, can’t get enough 

 

Well there you have it!

Another edition of What You Missed Wednesdays.

Keep coming back each Wednesday for more Can’t Miss Books!

Which book(s) are you now adding to your TBR?

2 Star Books · Book Reviews · mystery · non fiction · True Crime

The Kill Jar: Obsession, Descent, and a Hunt for Detroit’s Most Notorious Killer by J. Reuben Appelman

 

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The Kill Jar: Obsession, Descent, and a Hunt for Detroit’s Most Notorious Killer by J. Reuben Appelman

Published: August 14, 2018

Publisher: Gallery Books

Pages: 288

Genres: true crime, non fiction, mystery

Rating: 2 stars

Recommend to fans of: dark twisted minds, unsolved crimes

Foodie Vibes: greasy diner food

 

Synopsis:

Enthralling. Gripping. Cinematic. Raw. A cold case murder investigation paced like a podcast, as visually stunning as a film, and as brave and personal as our darkest memoirs. J. Reuben Appelman cracks open one of America’s most notorious murder sprees while simultaneously banging the gavel on his own history with violence. A deftly-crafted true crime story with grit, set amid the decaying sprawl of Detroit and its outliers.

With a foreword by Catherine Broad, sister of victim Timothy King.

Four children were abducted and murdered outside of Detroit during the winters of 1976 and 1977, their bodies eventually dumped in snow banks around the city. J. Reuben Appelman was six years old at the time the murders began and had evaded an abduction attempt during that same period, fueling a lifelong obsession with what became known as the Oakland County Child Killings.

Autopsies showed the victims to have been fed while in captivity, reportedly held with care. And yet, with equal care, their bodies had allegedly been groomed post-mortem, scrubbed-free of evidence that might link to a killer. There were few credible leads, and equally few credible suspects. That’s what the cops had passed down to the press, and that’s what the city of Detroit, and J. Reuben Appelman, had come to believe.

When the abductions mysteriously stopped, a task force operating on one of the largest manhunt budgets in history shut down without an arrest. Although no more murders occurred, Detroit and its environs remained haunted. The killer had, presumably, not been caught.

Eerily overlaid upon the author’s own decades-old history with violence, The Kill Jar tells the gripping story of J. Reuben Appelman’s ten-year investigation into buried leads, apparent police cover-ups of evidence, con-men, child pornography rings, and high-level corruption saturating Detroit’s most notorious serial killer case.

 

Review:

I won this book for free through Goodreads Giveaways. Thank you to Goodreads, Gallery Books, and J. Reuben Appelman for the book to review. As always, an honest review from me.

I’m a big fan of true crime books, but this one missed the mark for me. The entire book emirates terror and disturbing thoughts. It gave me the heebie jeebies while reading and left me feeling very unsettled for hours after. The weird disturbing vibes are not my thing.

While the author’s search to find the true killer of these unsolved crimes is noble, the writing comes across as a little too obsessed. Maybe you have to be to search out serial killers and pedophiles? Still, it’s good that someone’s investigating these crimes and holding people accountable.

Also, the bits about his personal life didn’t really need to be included, in my opinion. There were raw, authentic, and insightful. It felt more like a therapy session than cohesive thoughts to tie the rest of the story together.

Overall, The Kill Jar was not the true crime book for me. Way too disturbing and focused on the horrific details of too many predators. It’s not a bad book, but definitely not a good fit for me.

 

How do you shake off unsettling feeling from a book?

4.5 Star Books · biography · Book Reviews · True Crime

The Crate: A Story of War, Murder and Justice by Deborah Vadas Levison

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The Crate: A Story of War, Murder and Justice by Deborah Vadas Levison

Published: May 11, 2018

Publisher: WildBlue Press

Pages: 358

Genres: true crime, biography

Rating: 4.5 stars

Recommend to fans of: true crime, books that honor and tell the stories of Holocaust survivors, justice being done, anyone with a conscience 

Read with food: a homemade Hungarian dish to appreciate the author’s roots . . . which I recently found out that the author has listed on her website! So cool! Hungarian Recipes

 

Synopsis:

After surviving the horrors of the Holocaust – in ghettos, on death marches, and in concentration camps – a young couple seeks refuge in Canada. They settle into a new life, certain that the terrors of their past are behind them. They build themselves a cozy little cottage on a lake in Muskoka, a cottage that becomes emblematic of their victory over the Nazis. The charming retreat is a safe haven, a refuge from haunted memories.

That is, until a single act of unspeakable violence defiles their sanctuary. Poking around the dark crawl space beneath their cottage, they discover a wooden crate, nailed tightly shut and almost hidden from view. Nothing could have prepared them for the horror of the crate’s contents – or how the peace and tranquility of their lives would be shattered.

Now, their daughter, Deborah Vadas Levison, an award-winning journalist, tells the extraordinary account of her parents’ ordeals, both in one of the darkest times in world history and their present-day lives. Written in searing, lyrical prose, THE CRATE: A Story Of War, A Murder, And Justice examines man’s seemingly limitless capacity for evil… but also, his capacity for good.

Review:

Thank you to NetGalley, the author and publisher for a copy of the book. As always an honest review.

I cannot say enough wonderful things about the book. I’ve already recommended it to people, even before I had finished reading it. I will try my best to do the book and the people the justice it deserves in my review.

From the beginning I was blown away by the gorgeous poetic writing. I was captivated from beginning to end, as the author tells the story of her parents’ survival of the Holocaust, move to Canada, and eventual discovery of a woman murdered on their cottage property. The Crate is more than just the telling of crimes across history and their impact on people. It’s so impactful it’s almost intangible.

The author shares with us the stories of her childhood growing up in Canada with Jewish Hungarian parents who had survived the Holocaust. Through their stories we get a first hand look at the atrocities committed during the war, the strength of survivors, and effects these experiences had on their lives and their children’s lives. Her appreciation of her parents and their experiences is wonderful. She’s doing them a great justice by putting their stories down on paper. It is absolutely important that these stories, these individual human experiences are shared with the world before they are lost forever.

The book also tells the story of Samantha, the woman who was murdered and body was found hidden under the family’s cottage. The author related Samantha’s life experiences to some of the atrocities her parents experienced. After all, they’re all just human beings. The book honors Samantha’s memory. The chapters about Samantha didn’t pull me in as much as the rest. Possible because while they’re well researched, some aspects are not the author’s personal life experiences.

The book is incredibly insightful and does a great justice by telling the stories of her parents, the other Jewish people in the Holocaust, Samantha, and her family.
It shows humanity at its best and at its worst.
The Crate by Deborah Vadas Levison is on my unofficial must read book list of the year.

 

What books have absolutely impressed you lately?

 

5 Star Books · Audiobooks · Book Reviews · mystery · non fiction · True Crime · Uncategorized

Book Review: I’ll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman’s Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer by Michelle McNamara

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I’ll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman’s Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer by Michelle McNamara

Published by Harper on February 27, 2018

Pages: 328

Genres: true crime, non fiction, mystery

Rating: 5 stars

Recommend to fans of: true crime

Read with food: strawberries and homemade whipped cream ~ this food choice really has nothing to do with the content of the book, but I was listening to the audiobook while washing and processing the strawberries from my garden, so those foods and this book will forever be linked for me 

 

Synopsis:

For more than ten years, a mysterious and violent predator committed fifty sexual assaults in Northern California before moving south, where he perpetrated ten sadistic murders. Then he disappeared, eluding capture by multiple police forces and some of the best detectives in the area.

Three decades later, Michelle McNamara, a true crime journalist who created the popular website TrueCrimeDiary.com, was determined to find the violent psychopath she called “the Golden State Killer.” Michelle pored over police reports, interviewed victims, and embedded herself in the online communities that were as obsessed with the case as she was.

I’ll Be Gone in the Dark —the masterpiece McNamara was writing at the time of her sudden death—offers an atmospheric snapshot of a moment in American history and a chilling account of a criminal mastermind and the wreckage he left behind. It is also a portrait of a woman’s obsession and her unflagging pursuit of the truth. Utterly original and compelling, it is destined to become a true crime classic—and may at last unmask the Golden State Killer.

Review:

I’m obsessed with this book!

Everyone I’ve talked to about it, loves it as well. As I was listening to the audiobook version, my mom was asking me about it too.

I’ll Be Gone in the Dark is a methodical, obsessive, and intriguing search for the Golden State Killer. She takes us through his crimes, the police investigations, and her painstaking research. I don’t think there are enough words to accurately convey how much I enjoyed this book.

As a true crime book, it discusses the crimes without going into unnecessary graphic detail. She does justice for the victims and their families, first through her blog and then through her book. Michelle helped so many people even after her death.

At the time of publication the killer had not been identified or taken into police custody. A few months ago both happened, and it’s so satisfying. Almost immediately after finishing reading I searched for news articles and videos about his capture.

I so, so recommend giving this book a read!

 

Question for you all:

If Michelle McNamara were still alive today, what would you tell her about her book and the real life capture of the Golden State killer?