Book Review: Unmasked by Paul Holes

Book Review: Unmasked by Paul Holes

Thank you to Celadon Books for sending me a free copy, all opinions are my own.

Synopsis:

PAUL HOLES: I started getting involved in what became known as the Golden State Killer case back in 1994. My interest in the case started out more akin to a passing hobby, but the last 10 years, it turned into a raging passion that consumed me. This case was one that I took on — no boss at the Sheriff’s Office assigned it to me, so it was not considered part of my job responsibilities. I had to work on my obsession whenever I could, often at home, taking me away from family. 

While at work, I would sneak out of the office to track down leads, always anxious that my bosses would find out I was halfway across the state when they thought I was in my office. The obsession (after I became attached to some of the killer’s victims and their family members, it turned into an obligation) would take over all my thoughts, both at work and at home. I neglected my family and my own mental health. 

No question, capturing DeAngelo was an accomplishment I’m proud of, but most readers are unaware of the toll that working a case of this magnitude for so long had on me. The book will give readers insight into what I was exposed to during my career, along with the all-consuming nature of the Golden State Killer case, and how those factors really had a negative impact that will stay with me for the rest of my life.

My Review:

This is going to be a short review, because all I can really say is this book is excellent. This is a must read if you like true crime and even more of a must read if you read Michelle McNamara’s I’ll Be Gone In The Dark. That wildly popular true crime book about the Golden State killer mentions Paul Holes. Both McNamara and Holes became friends as they worked together to solve that case: Holes as a detective looking into cold cases and McNamara as an investigative journalist. 

Much of Unmasked covers his time investigating the Golden State killer. But there’s much more. This memoir style book talks candidly about Holes’ start in police work and his journey throughout. He humbly mentions the toll his work has taken on his personal relationships and his family and I really appreciated his reflections about it. 

The book is very well written and very readable, I highly recommend it to all non-fiction, true crime, and crime readers! Thanks to Celadon Books for my free copy!

Book Review: The Anatomy of Desire by L.R. Dorn

Book Review: The Anatomy of Desire by L.R. Dorn

Synopsis:

Claire Griffith has it all, a thriving career, a gorgeous boyfriend, glamorous friends. She always knew she was destined for more than the life her conservative parents preached to her. Arriving in Los Angeles flat broke, she has risen to become a popular fitness coach and social media influencer. Having rebranded herself as Cleo Ray, she stands at the threshold of realizing her biggest dreams.

One summer day, Cleo and a woman named Beck Alden set off in a canoe on a serene mountain lake. An hour later, Beck is found dead in the water and Cleo is missing. Authorities suspect foul play, and news of Cleo’s involvement goes viral. Who was Beck? An infatuated follower? Were she and Cleo friends or lovers? Was Beck’s death an accident . . . or murder?

Told in the form of an immersive investigative docuseries, L. R. Dorn’s brilliant reimagining of Theodore Dreiser’s classic crime drama, An American Tragedy, captures the urgency and poignance of the original and rekindles it as a very contemporary and utterly mesmerizing page-turner.

My Review:

Thank you to Libro.fm and Harper Audio for the gifted audio copy, all opinions are my own.

I didn’t learn until the author’s note at the end of the book that this is a retelling of An American Tragedy, which is a story I am not familiar with, but that I think is worth mentioning in case you are. I can’t compare the original and the retelling since I have never read the original, but Anatomy of Desire had a very modern feel to it. The novel is told as a podcast style docu-series for starters, which made the full cast audio narration feel extra important. It also focuses a lot on social media and how it became such a large part of the lives of several characters.  Social media was referred to as an addiction at one point and it altered the choices and directions the character’s lives took, which is ulta reflective of our current culture in America right now. 

Of course I  enjoyed the full cast narration, but I also found the novel very reflective and an interesting examination of the effects of trauma on how people make choices in their lives and move forward. The main character made some unusual decisions that made her appear in a negative light, but then getting to learn about the trauma in her past, it started to make sense. In the end, she was able to start to make these connections for herself and it was very inspiring. 

This was easily a five star read for me, one of those kind of books that you think about when you aren’t reading it and can’t wait to get back to! And while it seems to be marketed as a thriller, and a crime is the central plot point, I do think that a variety of readers would enjoy this one!

Elliott Ness and the Mad Butcher by Max Allan Collins and A. Brad Schwartz

Elliott Ness and the Mad Butcher by Max Allan Collins and A. Brad Schwartz

Thank you to the publisher for sending me a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.

Kudos to both authors for writing a seamless and extremely well done nonfiction book about Elliot Ness. This book is as far from ‘dry’ as I think I have ever come in nonfiction. I learned so much about the prolific police man and really enjoyed the book.

I did hope for more of a true crime take about the serial killer that Ness never caught, but the book was mainly a timeline of Ness’ life. The parts of the investigation of the torso killings were just sprinkled in.

Still a good book, and I am still glad I read it!

Lightning Men by Thomas Mullen

Lightning Men by Thomas Mullen

IMG_0994Thank you to the author, publisher and NetGalley for providing me a free e-copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. 

Lightning Men is a true crime story set in the south and I give this intense read 4 out of 5 stars.  Two ‘negro’ officers, Boggs and Smith, are trying to keep illegal white lightning off the streets of their part of town in 1950’s Atlanta.  Unfortunately, the officers are up against a smattering of outlying efforts that make keeping the streets safe even harder.  The majority of white police are corrupt which undermines everything Boggs and Smith work for, and the Klan is still alive and well, again making things more difficult. As they get closer to shutting down operations, people start getting killed. They are torn between trying to make things right and keeping enough peace that the drug and race issues in down don’t escalate into something bigger.

The writing in this book is great.  Easy to read and moves right along, yet doesn’t skimp on backstory and descriptions. Lightning Men was very enjoyable and I would recommend it to anyone who likes reading about the old south or true crime.