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A Killing in Iowa: A Daughter's Story of Love and Murder
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A Killing in Iowa: A Daughter's Story of Love and Murder

3.0 of 5 stars 3.00  ·  rating details  ·  498 ratings  ·  52 reviews
Rachel Corbett was eight years old when the man she had come to regard as a father killed his girlfriend and then himself on May 13, 1993. Over the years Corbett has been haunted by how such a seemingly gentle, loving man could be capable of murder. She's wrestled with how her mother, who had been involved with the man for years, hadn't seen the signs. And she’s wondered w ...more
Kindle Edition, 42 pages
Published November 14th 2011 by Byliner, Inc.
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(showing 1-30 of 730)
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Kim
Well, thank God this book was short. I picked this up from a B&N sale for either .99 cents or for free. Let's just say in this case you get what you pay for. I wouldn't say it was BAD...but I wouldn't say it was good either. There is a very large possibility that she wrote this for a class in college (hence its 50 page length).

Where to begin? It wasn't really a crime story...okay, again, not sure what it was. It definitely did not have the caliber of writing (or editing) to be a 'real' book
...more
Beverlee
I found this very short book interesting and well-written, but I see my opinion is in the minority when I looked at the reviews. I believe Rachel Corbett is a promising author and I would definitely read something else she writes.
Lori Henrich
Not sure why I finished reading this. I didn't particularly care for the style of writing or why she would write this story. It didn't come to any real conclusion. I kept reading because I thought it would get better.
Kate
The author beautifully wrote but forgot to tell the story.
Janyne
I found this book to be disappointing. It was not investigative journalism. It wasn't really an investigation of the author's personal feelings. The author never went into the drugs in the house, etc. The author never went into her own feelings so it wasn't really autobiographical. The author discusses the flooding of the Mississippi River and then says that Vinton flooded in 1993 but Vinton is on the Cedar River.

The work did have a few interesting pieces
- "At one point, more than a quarter of
...more
Jason Kirk
Amazon.com Review: Vinton, Iowa, is not just a place where people live; it's a place where people "stay, sometimes for so long that farmers throw parties when a family reaches its centennial on a plot of land." So when Scott Johnson kills, it rocks the whole community. We all hear about homicides, serial killings, and murder-suicides, but who among us knows a killer, plays with him, watches our mother's heart-rending break-ups with him, or goes to sleep one night while he crashes on the couch in ...more
karenbee
I feel bad giving A Killing in Iowa a less-than-stellar rating because it's REAL LIFE and there are some real emotions involved: I'm not sure why this is bothering me NOW when it normally doesn't. Shake it off!

Corbett's story is a Kindle single, which means the length is closer to a feature magazine article or a short story than a book. In this case, I'm glad, because if it had been much longer I don't think I'd have finished it. I just didn't like it. I kept making notes in my copy of it becaus
...more
Lora
Living less than 3 yeards from where the murder suicide happened, I was excited to read this book. This 46 page short story was very dissapointing at best. It should be titled "Childhood Memories" because only a few pages pertain to the murder suicide. The pages that are actually about the crime are not even totally factual. I was a teenager when this happened, however, I do remember it very well since things like this did not happen in my small town. I'm not sure why the author did not research ...more
Julie
This is the story of a young girl whose mother lived with a boyfriend for quite awhile ,along with this girl as a youngster. She remembers the guy from her younger years. The relationship went on for quite awhile,but then started going haywire .The guy eventually moved out and then in with another girlfriend .
He ended up being found dead in the house,along with the girlfriend .
The author tries to go back in time and investigate a bit further into what happened in this guy's life & death .
...more
Jamie
This was interesting, I picked it up soley because I'm doing the state challenge and was stuck for books that sounded interesting from this state. It's not very long so nothing is covered in any real depth. It just seems like one person's reaction to her experience of the killer who was her mother's ex.
Kaliki
Of course the title piqued my interest, being born & raised in Iowa, and it was a free kindle download so I thought - what the heck.

This book is a good starter, but I wish it had dug deeper. The story focuses on the author searching for answers about why her mother’s ex-boyfriend had committed murder-suicide with his new girlfriend. In her search, she discovers that their story was not at all unusual for it’s time and place (Iowa during the early 90’s). Downturn in the economy following majo
...more
Karen
The opening chapters were stunningly written and at first I was excited to find a freebie that would be a good read, although puzzled about the 45 pages. How can you spend a chapter describing small town Iowa and still get to any kind of story in 45 pages? One would need to be a skilled storyteller to pull that off. Unfortunately, not the case with this author.

This was more like a class assignment "write about an experience that greatly impacted you and what you learned from it" than a story. Be
...more
drazz
This book was created by 'Byline' and I guess their deal is that they try to make books "that can be read in one sinning". I find this idea super interesting in and of itself, but I digress-
I overall thought this was worth reading.

positive attributes / things that were interesting: the idea of claustrophobia, domestic violence, providing a narrative for the midwest, poverty, gender roles, the raw feeling of it, the confidence on the author's part to admit her own mistakes, and the story- this is
...more
Debra Anne
I would like to see this developed into a full-length book and not a Kindle Single. However, the purpose of the Singles is to present compelling writing in a short form, and as such, Corbett's book certainly fits the bill. However, as a writer of books from real life, I am aware that real life does not always conveniently adjust itself to fill more pages, much less to a tidy resolution. It is possible that Corbett has taken this as far as she can, at least at this time, since she was personally ...more
Pirate
I downloaded a sample since the description piqued my interest. I'm from the midwest and my morbid curiosity thought this could be a good book.

The sample was all right so I paid a $1.99 for the Kindle version. I want my money back. While the story is tragic, Corbett's style is pathetically cliched and there is no research to support her claims when she discusses psychological trends. I sympathise with her pain and confusion, but there is nothing of substance in the book.

I paid $2 to read what am
...more
Todd N
I’m not sure this counts as a “book” or not. It’s a “Kindle Single,” which is designed to be read in one sitting. It’s also an incredibly depressing piece of nonfiction, telling the story of the author’s discovery that her mother’s boyfriend, had not just killed himself, but his new girlfriend too. The author, many years later, tries to put together the pieces of this seminal event in her life and the life of her small Iowa town. This isn’t an easy read, but it is well-written and thoughtful, al ...more
Diana
Sometimes when someone commits a horrible act, you can look back and see that there were signs leading up to it...but sometimes it is completely out of the blue. Why did the quiet, shy man kill his girlfriend and then himself? Why that woman and why not the author's mother, who he was with earlier in the day? Was it an act of claiming his masculinity, or a suicide pact? Was it planned and dispassionate, or an act of passion? While there aren't answers, the author's beautiful narrative outlines a ...more
Charlotte
2.5. Hard subject matter but well written. Author's journey to find answers in an effort to heal.
Annette Kikta
This is a short story. Not recommended.
Coryann
This was my first experience with a "Kindle Single" and I cannot say I was impressed. Perhaps I do not fall into the target audience. After finishing this book I felt like the story was unfinished. If I could give this book a rating it would be 2 1/2 stars. It was just "okay". A Killing in Iowa is a short memoir of some of the events that shaped Rachel Corbett's life. If nothing else, it was well written.
Fionna
This Kindle Single is less about the stated topic - a woman exploring why her step-father murdered his current lover and then killed himself - as it is an examination of life in rural Iowa, and what happens to the men and women when they can see no way out of the area.

It is somewhat unsatisfying at the end, hopefully more cathartic for the author, but worth reading at such a short length.
Kristin
I was fortunate enough to win an e-version of this in a giveaway (not on goodreads) and I'm looking forward to reading it as it's a bit different from my usual fare.

Very different from what I usually read, but quite interesting. It read more like a long magazine article than the book that I expected, but it was well written and engaging.
Ana
Wishing there was more scientific (psychology, sociology) background given. I guess this lacking gives this non-fiction book an extra quality - it reads like a short fiction, which is both great and utterly unsatisfying.
I would have read a full-lenght book, given a chance.

Bought this as a Kindle Single for $1.99, which it is totally worth.
Stacie
I really wanted to like this book, and there were some heart-felt parts. But mostly for me it was more like a story in Good Housekeeping and ended much too abruptly and really without closure. I understand these are stories written to be read in one sitting, which it was for me, I still wish she could have given me more.
Todd Johnson
Recommended by Mary Roach on Twitter.

I like the short format. Corbett's writing was a bit too self-consciously pretty a couple of times, but mostly really enjoyable.

The hardest part of reading this is that there aren't any answers. But then, that's also the hardest part of Corbett's story.
Lesley
Disappointing! Even the title makes no sense to me after reading this. Her father did go to jail and her mom is alive. This is about her moms old boyfriend that killed his new girlfriend then himself. She finds this out as an adult and feels the need to look into it. It gave me no answers!
Michelle
Although the book was a good read and written well, the story ended abruptly. I was expecting more to be mentioned about Scott, her mother, Zach, and her life after the murder but instead I felt like I was left hanging. Would recommend for those who are wanting a quick and easy\ read.
Susan Poling
The story of a young woman's search into her past: The story of her mother's divorce from an abusive husband and her involvement with a younger man whose destiny brings sorrw to the girl who was infatuated by him.
Becky
This was my first Kindle Single. This grabbed my interest since I live close to Iowa. I found the initial idea of exploring this event interesting, but would have liked to see the book go more in-depth.
Theresa Ory
Overall impressive in that the language used and thoughts formed were beautifully articulated. But I found myself wanting more from the Author. I suppose I would have preferred more closure.
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