Tag Archives: crime

* Dead to Her by Sarah Pinborough

In Dead to Her, two gold digger wives with shadowy pasts plot, together and separately, to have one old, rich husband die and the other, not-so-old, apparently rich husband not leave his wife. When the old one is murdered, everyone becomes a suspect. Told with a surfeit of blinding headaches, knotted stomachs, and a meticulous count of every sex episode, wrapped in caricatural Southern society, you can leave this one on the shelf where it belongs.

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*** The Less People Know About Us by Axton Betz-Hamilton

The author of The Less People Know About Us: A Mystery of Betrayal, Family Secrets, and Stolen Identity has a mother who, having full control of the family’s finances, failed to pay important bills, stole her daughters’ identity to obtain credit, and spent a small fortune on herself. All that was perhaps discoverable during her mother’s lifetime (although her father did not really want to know, it seems), and came to light, disastrously, after her death. Since the author had since become an expert on identity theft, of which she knew she had been a victim, albeit not by her own mother, she was able to untangle most of the tangled web. Sad and scary family story.

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** Nobody’s Victim by Carrie Golberg

Nobody’s Victim: Fighting Psychos, Stalkers, Pervs, and Trolls is the memoir of a lawyer who defends the victims of stalkers, rapists, revenge porn online stalkers, and worse. It contains very graphic personal memories as well as client stories that are often terrifying, not only for the perversity and violence of the perpetrators but also, more troublingly, by the inept responses of the authorities–as in a student raped by another student outside school being told to stay home (no sanction for her rapist), or a woman reporting online harassment who is told by police to just go home. And that does not include opening one’s door to a SWAT team when the stalker has called in a boomb threat to one’s house.

The author makes the point that the legal structure is slow to keep up with new, online harassment techniques (and online providers also slow, and deaf to victim’s pleas to remove utterly offensive materials, under the cover of defending free speech.)

I could have done without the combative tone throughout, and the level of language, but found the book illuminating. It would be good to include some of the stories in the basic “health” classes that high-school students suffer through. Online violence is a real danger, and one that parents and teenagers underestimate.

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*** No Visible Bruises by Rachel Louise Snyder

Let me start with gripes: No Visible Bruises: What We Don’t Know About Domestic Violence Can Kill Us could have used a good editor to avoid repeats, organize the book better, and clean up some stylistic stuff. And the author, could have shown a wider spectrum of victims; she claims (and I believe her) that domestic violence cuts across gender and economic level, but we only see relatively poor women.

That said, she does a great job of showing why victims cannot leave, how law enforcement and social services strain at coordinating a proper response, and also how some batterers can change (with time, and great difficulty). If we made abating domestic violence a national (or international!) priority, we would undoubtedly see massive improvements.

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* A Serial Killer’s Daughter by Kerri Rawson

When a serial killer is caught, what happens to his family? A Serial Killer’s Daughter: My Story of Faith, Love, and Overcoming shows us how harrowing it is to discover that one’s father killed (and tortured!) many people. Sure, he was a man with a temper, but no one in the family suspected him, and he seemed content to continue his relationship with them as if nothing had happened.

The story could have been edited to make for a much more solid outcome, but the theme is heartbreaking.

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*** Solitary by Alfred Woodfox

The author of Solitary spent over 40 years in the Angola prison of Louisiana, most of it alone in a cell 23 hours a day, and almost all of it for a crime he did not commit. He freely admits that his life pre-prison was mostly spent on the wrong side of the law, but nothing that would send him away for that long, or under such a harsh treatment. Racism was at the center of the prison (just as a very mild example, the guards were called “freemen”) and institutional racism meant that framing an African-American man for murder was swiftly arranged.  It’s a miracle that he got out, and as undamaged as he did.

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*** Good Me, Bad Me by Ali Land

Good Me, Bad Me is a chilling thriller, even more chilling because written by a mental-health nurse, that tells the story of the teenaged daughter of a serial killer, who reported her mother to the police and is temporarily sheltered by her therapists’s family (which seems to be a very bad idea to begin with!) She is bullied in her new school, and she will want some revenge, somehow. I guarantee you will keep reading!

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