#BookReview The Charming Predator by Lee MacKenzie

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The Charming Predator is an addicting read for anyone who loves true crime.

Lately I have been in a reading slump (probably from all of those school textbooks I’m devouring…) and most of the books I should love I haven’t been able to connect with. Buuuuut, this book instantly hooked me during this time and appeared to be exactly what I needed.

This book is intriguing because it’s supposed to be “real” (I say supposed to because Lee MacKenzie apparently has numerous pseudonyms). Kenner Jones did exist and there are numerous stories about how he scammed a ridiculous amount of people (including his wife).

I find it an interesting phenomenon that this happens to people. It seems so out of the ordinary and soap opera like, yet I’ve met many people who trick and manipulate anyone they can. Reading it, I found I could see “signs”, but that’s with me knowing the end of this story – I know he’s going to manipulate her, it’s almost like a bad movie you have seen over and over. “Don’t go through that door” or “Don’t talk to that person” and so on…

I have so much respect for this woman, because this was truly one of the worst moments (or say…years?) of her life. Writing a book like this takes courage, and my goodness is it a good book. I find it well written, easy to read and one of the better true crime, life story novels I have read in a while.

This book gets 5 out of 5 stars for sure.

I got this book through a charity that asks for donations to local community charities in return for previous read ARC copies – so my copy was an ARC.

Did you enjoy this book? Why not check out another? Book Review: From Wedding to Funeral: Spouses who Murder by Mindy M. Shelton

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#BookReview Manchester Vice by Jack Strange

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*Arc given by the author, Jack Strange, in exchange for an honest and unbiased review*

Warning: Spoilers below.

Jack Strange’s books are of an interesting variety – when reading the synopsis I always get this very melancholy or “yeah, yeah” feeling, but when I pick up the book I’m blown away by the sheer excellence of his writing skills. Truly, the synopsis of anyone of his books don’t do the novels justice.

If I had to describe this book in one sentence, it would be “what the eff”. Now, that might sound rude, but I mean it in the nicest way possible. This book is all kinds of messed up, and truly memorizing. It gives me Dexter-like vibes in every way, in every good way. If you’re into severely messed up crime, this book is for you. It’ll blow your mind with how crazy, surreal and descriptive a novel like this can be.

I’m honestly surprised that Jack isn’t a more popular author than he is. I could see people lining up for these books in my local book shops, but they aren’t. It really boggles my mind how some really talented people aren’t getting the recognition they deserve.

Pros:

1. Excellent story telling – Jack Strange has true talent with how he weaves his narrative together. You don’t know what’s real or not until the very end – and that’s just how I love a good quality crime novel!

2. Unique descriptions – This man has a way with words, as I already said. But not only is his story telling fascinating, but his word choice enhances this novel to another level.

3. I find it interesting that most crime novels that feature a murderer don’t delve into the actual feelings they have (why they murder, what they feel after, etc) but Jack finally did. It’s a nice change, because I always wondered if the murderers felt anything at all or if they were just emotionless monsters.

4. The arc of the storyline was intriguing and followed every note I hoped it would hit. Some of it is easily guessed, but I’m glad Jack took the route he did (trying to explain this without any major spoilers is tougher than I thought it would be…). In a world like today where Big Brother is always watching us and social media is king of all, it was nice to see this book accept this fact and play along with it.

5. The King Lear references about tragedy being brought on by the character’s themselves is a very nice addition.

Cons:

1. Drugging a cat annoyed me as a cat lover, I won’t lie. That’s a major con for me.

2. My personal con/questions: I would have liked to know what swung Brian into being the bad guy that he is. Was he always this bad? Was it just a situation that led him to this? I have lots of questions as to how someone could be so easily swayed into the life/choices they made. But that’s just me and my over active imagination/thoughts. It’s not necessarily a con against the book, it’s my personal thoughts/loose ends that didn’t get tied up for me.

3. I found that at some points of this book it got a little boring/slow. I get bored very quickly with books that don’t interest me 99% of the time, so that’s a “me” con.

4. The ending is ridiculously obvious if you paid attention while reading the book. Just saying.

Overall, I enjoyed this book. It’s a great read that can be easily devoured in one sitting.

Four out of five stars.

 

Check out Jack Strange on Goodreads! Jack Strange on Goodreads

Or visit his website: Jack-Strange.co.uk

Why not give one of us a shout out on Twitter?! @JackStrange11 or @ReviewAlholic

Did you enjoy this review? Why not check out another you might enjoy? Book Review: Confessions of an English Psychopath by Jack Strange

#BookReview Depraved Heart by Patricia Cornwell

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Depraved Heart by Patricia Cornwell was a solid, steady crime novel.

This is the 23rd book in this series, and of course it’s the first one I read. Believe me, that doesn’t help AT ALL. Not knowing a lot of the background about these characters and their situations didn’t help my understanding of the relationships between these characters when reading this book through. While it didn’t ruin the entire book for me, I think it somewhat ruined the experience. Why is the bad guy, well, the bad guy? Why do certain people not like each other? Patricia tries her very best to give as much background as possible in short bits, but it just wasn’t enough.

Besides that issue, this book was really good! I love a good crime thriller – like Kathy Reichs, Patricia Cornwell has her own style and it’s fantastic! It’s a splash of mystery, some R rated scenes, and some solid character development along the way.

This book seems like it spans a long time, but in reality I think it’s only a day or two. I don’t even think it goes into the night! So this entire plot involving a dead body and “finding” the killer happened in under 24 hours?! It might not be believable, but it somehow worked. I didn’t even notice it was only one day until I looked back over the story and some of the other reviews. I would like to see that expanded on – maybe make the books over a couple days, at the very least? But that’s just my opinion.

Overall, I liked this book. I definitely would like to start from the beginning and work through all 23+ books, but I doubt I’ll be able to find them all (or find the time. My goodness, summer is already over when I wrote this review?!). Gritty crime stories like these always make my days more interesting – some days I love an ooey, gooey, guilty pleasure romance and other days I want an R rated crime/thriller or horror to take up my time.

Three out of five stars.

I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

 

Check out Patricia Cornwell on Goodreads: Patricia Cornwell on Goodreads

Visit her website: PatriciaCornwell.com

Or give her a quick shout out on Twitter! @1pcornwell

Enjoy my reviews? Check out my Goodreads page! Briar’s Reviews on Goodreads

Give me a shout-out on Twitter! Let me know your recent reads!!! Or give me some recommendations!  Briar’s Reviews on Twitter

Did you enjoy this review? Check out another one you might enjoy!! Book Review: Confessions of an English Psychopath by Jack Strange

Murderous May Book Review: From Birth to Death: Mommies Who Murder by Mindy M. Shelton

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Photo via Goodreads.

Book Review:
Book Title: From Birth to Death: Mommies Who Murder
Book Author: Mindy M. Shelton

Introduction: I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads for an honest review. I wanted to read some more non-fiction, and this book fit the bill!

Synopsis: This book is non-fiction, and it primarily focuses on mothers who murdered their children. It’s a good book for those looking into researching in this specific field since it gives an general insight into each situation (about 1-3 pages worth) and it gives any and all citations used (websites, books, interviews, etc).

Review: I thought this book was a great introduction to mothers who are murderers. I was under the impression it was a fictional read, but when I saw it was non-fiction I was a lot more interested. It was definitely a quick read (I read it in under 30 minutes), and it was hard to put down. It was also very hard to get a grasp on why these women did what they did.

The small book does not go into the psychological context, it’s mainly just an area that gives you a brief description of what happened and the consequences. If anything, this would be a good book for research. I definitely wouldn’t want to pick this book up again and read it for fun, but anyone who needs something to cite in their professional works could look at this book!

Overall, I did enjoy this book. It looks professional, the research holds up, and it’s very easy to read.

Three out of five stars.

Quick Book Review: Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn

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Photo via Goodreads.

I love Gillian Flynn and her writing story! I decided to read this novel after I became obsessed with all things Gone Girl.

This novel, from my understanding, was the first one she had ever written that was published. Even for a first novel, it was amazingly thought out and had me hooked at every word. I found it to be a little short and I saw the ending coming, but I still found the book addicting and well planned.

There’s not much wrong that I can critique about the book, other than wanting more action to happen or the book to be longer (but I think that’s because I adore Gillian Flynn and I just want more books and writing by her out right now). I did see the ending coming from the very beginning, but that might be due to the part that I read and watch a lot of books and television shows about crime.

I found this book not to be as good as Gone Girl, but still an amazing read. For me, the book was a five out of five stars. A good crime novel mystery that made me want more out of Gillian Flynn immediately.

Wonderful novel! 5 out of 5 stars!

Book Review – From Playground: Siblings Who Murder (Ready Research #4) by Mindy M. Shelton

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Book Review
Book Title: From Playground to Prison: Siblings who Murder
Book Author: Mindy M. Shelton

Introduction: Mindy M. Shelton sent me her entire Ready Research series for me to read and give an honest review. Thank you for this opportunity Mindy!

Review:

I love reading fictional crime and mysteries novels, and I also love researching true crime – so this book was a great read for me.

It’s set up as profiles of each murderer(s), giving the reader as much as information in an unbiased form as possible. Their names, the victims, the date of the murders, accomplices and any other basic information needed is provided as a form. The following pages has the situation and investigations written out similar to a newspaper article. This format expands on the initial profile to give the reader more insight into how and why the murders happened.

One really great aspect of these books is that Mindy has done rigorous research. There isn’t just one website or book referenced, there’s many! This helps with the unbiased approach Mindy takes with these non-fiction accounts.

Overall, I’m impressed with this series. Each book highlights these horrible true crimes in an unbiased, appropriate fashion. There are no opinions in this book, which makes it a great reference for true crime fans, justice students, or just curious readers.

Keep in mind – these are not fiction and are not presented as such. This isn’t a Kathy Reich’s or Steven King novel – it’s a non fiction encyclopedia of murderers.

Five out of five stars – what a great non-fiction read!!

Book Review – From Cradle to Grave: Children Who Murder (Ready Research Book 2) by Mindy M. Shelton

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Photo via Goodreads.

Book Review
Book Title: From Cradle to Grave: Children who Murder
Book Author: Mindy M. Shelton

Introduciton: Mindy M. Shelton was absolutely wonderful and offered to send me the entire series for an honest review. I was more than thrilled to be able to read more about true crime, since that has been my recent addiction – binge watching and reading about true crime.

Review:

This book is non-fiction, which makes it absolutely horrifying. The entire book from front to back is about children (some being adults – but they are still labelled as children of the victims) who murdered someone. It’s incredible and nauseating to read this book since it explains how each murder occurred and the potential “whys” as to the reasoning behind these murders.

I really enjoyed this book. It’s short, sweet and to the point – there’s no jibber jabber or useless information, it’s up front!

I also appreciated the way the book was set up. Each section had the individual(s) who committed the cat, it had their name, age, date of the murders, the victims, the weapon, claims, the state they were in and the sentence. The information is right there, ready for the taking and it doesn’t add any fluff.

This book is a great reference for anyone looking to study true crimes. While I might not suggest this to someone who wants the story-line as if it were a novel, I would suggest reading it either for studying or for just an interesting read.

Some of the stories in this book will leave you scratching your head – like the instigator who murdered his family out of cold blood and then said what he did was horrible. If it was so horrible then why did you do this? It is so tempting to beg Mindy M. Shelton to write a book based on the psychological reasoning behind these killings, since they will make your head spin with some of the logic.

I wouldn’t recommend any improvements upon this book. It’s an encyclopedia of children murderer knowledge that will help a true crime lover or a student get a basic background on the situations. Mindy also does an amazing job of including all of her references, so if required you can use those for citations as well.

I will advise readers to beware of this book though – it is an Mature or Restricted rating. It’s not for the lighthearted.

Also, this book is not a story or a tale, it is a textbook of information. If you are looking for a story with a plot, climax and ending you won’t find it here. Be aware and research your books before you read them so you aren’t disappointed with this wonderful work.

Overall, I’m really impressed. I enjoyed reading this book (I’m using enjoyed lightly, these situations are absolutely horrible) and I would love to see Mindy research more in the future.

Five out of five stars.