I returned this book to the library with some notes still inside so I only have about the beginning half of what I wanted to say about this book. The o...moreI returned this book to the library with some notes still inside so I only have about the beginning half of what I wanted to say about this book. The one word that comes to mind when I think of this book is - "redundant". It's extremely, extremely, extremely repetitive. I really can't express how much is repeated throughtout the book. In some cases the information is meaningless and is some cases it's repeated on the same page. I thought the book was going to detail, to different extents maybe, different cold cases and the results. Instead it seems to be some sort of how-to manual. I don't know how many people sit around at home pondering becoming cold-case detectives but if they're out there I'm fairly sure the first step in the process isn't to go buy a book. But hey, what do I know. There are cases included of course, some even get fairly detailed which is what I like, and others are little more than outlined. I was curious about one thing - one of the stories involved a few Navy officers as victims and one of them was hit with a baseball bat that had nails driven into it. The authors called this a "mace". I always understood "mace" to be a chemical spray. Another thing that slightly bothered me was a race issue, a slight one I'll admit. When talking about the "last" (documented) racially motivated lynching that happened in GA. in 1946 the authors went to extreme lengths to make sure the reader was aware that the victims were black, the perpetrators white. Okay. My problem comes when you move on to others stories, like what happened in GA. in 1988 where a white woman was snatched off the street by two black men and one black woman. It's obvious from context clues what the races of these people were but the authors didn't seem nearly as determined to make it known. Not like when it was flipped and the victims were black. Anyone who knows me or reads reviews of mine knows I'm sensitive to racial issues - either way it's spliced. But even knowing that the facts are right there in the book. When the victims were black it was made well known, when the suspects were black it was glossed over. That doesn't sit well with me and it wouldn't sit well with me if it was the other way around either. Lastly, before I read this I read The Autobiography of an Execution by David R. Dow. I didn't like it at all and the reasons why are stated in my review. Dow believes death penalty supporters are out for "revenge". There is a quote included in Delayed Justice: Inside Stories from America's Best Cold Case Investigators by Francis Bacon, "If we do not maintain justice, justice will not maintain us." It's fitting to me for numerous reasons. Jack & Mary Branson also stated, very near to the quote, that "Revenge is personal, justice belongs to society." I very much agree with this. I can't say I'd recommend this to anyone. There have to be better cold-case books out there. (I'm open to recommendations as this is a fascinating subject for me.) If you read this make it at a time where you have an extreme amount of patience because it almost feels like parts were written for an elementary school child to read.(less)
I guess I'd find God too if I were her... Don't know if I'll read this - saw the listing and recognized Barfield's name. I may read it at some point....moreI guess I'd find God too if I were her... Don't know if I'll read this - saw the listing and recognized Barfield's name. I may read it at some point. Just to see what a beautiful, wonderful, caring human she was. (less)
Like I said in an update, I'm not real impressed. I don't know if I built it up in my head (I know it's been a few years at least I've waited to read...moreLike I said in an update, I'm not real impressed. I don't know if I built it up in my head (I know it's been a few years at least I've waited to read this) or something else entirely. A good number of the photos are replicated elsewhere. Who hasn't seen Franz Muller's faceshot? Or William Kemmler strapped into the chair in N.Y. in 1890? (The first person executed in this manner as anyone who reads this material knows.) Louis Higgins hanging from the bridge after being lynched in 1907. I wanted things I hadn't seen, stories I didn't know. As it is the only part I've really become interested in so far are the few Holocaust related photos/stories. The photo of the Jewish prisoners brain after having had "research" performed I've seen somewhere but I never fail to be interested with anything related to the Holocaust. Everyone's heard stories of the soap the Nazi's made from the fat of people they'd killed. Seeing a photo of such soap is another matter altogether. Again, it's an exact copy of a picture I've seen but again, shocking. So far I've been basically skimming, I look at each page and if the photo and/or title of the story jumps out at me I'll read the accompanying caption. (I've seen little more than what can be called a caption so far.) I'll finish it at least in this manner. Some photos I'd never seen before and the story I hadn't heard. On page 92, in the Outlaws section, a photo shows a man, Rafael Lopez, presumably posing for the camera in 1913. I say presumably because moments after the photo was snapped Lopez shot and severely wounded the photographer. On page 246 a man is shown holding two photos of Dutch civilians after being murdered by Nazi's. the man is a captured German officer and if you really look at his face you can see a track down the side if his face from a tear falling. I agree with my friend Love who also reviewed this book that the photo on pages 258 and 259 is rare and I'm glad I got the chance to see it. Anyone who reads this type of material knows who WeeGee is, real name Arthur Fellig, but I'd never seen a photograph of him. That may have been the upshot of the book for me personally. Actually, the one other photo if say was worth the wait for the book and worth reading it for is on pages 268 and 269. The photos shows us a man, a freed Russian slave laborer as he's pointing directly at a former Nazi guard. According to the Russian this guard was particularly brutal. After reading so much on the Holocaust and seeing so many photos this is one I'll always remember. The German mans eyes are so telling as to his feelings. I think I saw this elsewhere at some point but the photo and story on pages 280 and 281 are of Marcel Petoit's home-made gas chamber. It's enough to fill you with terror. I did learn a few new things also though. Page 428 "Acid Stash" tells about a police haul in Wales in 1978 of a massive amount of acid. The author tells how the Catholic Church used two groups of seminary students for research in 1965. One group used prayer to "achieve divine bliss" while the other group... well, they used acid. It was "learned" that the religious visions seen while tripping "could not be disallowed as possibly true revelations from God." Another thing I learned was that acid may not be as dangerous as we tend to think. Apparently there is isn't much proof, if any proof, that acid, or LSD as it's called by most, makes its users violent or reckless. I know this to be true personally from having used it when I was younger but honestly I kind of assumed since then I just got extremely lucky when in fact it seems like I wasn't the exception but more likely the norm. Another thing previously unknown to me - our government conducted a test in the early 1980's that acid actually increases IQ on first-time users by up to 10%. Interesting. It should also be mentioned that habitual users or people suffering from an imbalance are risking a serious psychological breakdown. I don't know. This is news to me although if someone had asked me before reading this my thoughts on the danger of acid I'd have answered honestly that it's not something I'd take a chance with now, it's not something I'd want my daughter to ever play around with, but from my own personal experience as well as the experiences of friends I used the drug with, I saw no evidence of it being dangerous in any way. Most people who have had some introduction to the drug, or maybe even any drug, have heard the acid "stories". The author included the one about the person thinking they could fly and ending up splattered on the ground. The one that was most widely spread when I was a teenager was the orange one. A person took a hit - just one hit mind you - and ended up going from a good trip to a bad trip. The bad trip ended up being 6-8 hours of thinking they were an orange and by the last few hours the person - er, uh, orange, thought people wanted to peel it. So yeah, basically everyone in my high school knew someone who knew someone who knew someone who had a cousin or great-grandmother who was an orange in a mental hospital. But like I said, I knew no one acid ever affected like this. I did have a "bad" trip one day and I didn't want to settle in for the hours I knew were still ahead but it wasn't anything to where I'd have gone crazy over it. I did get high once with a group of friends, one of whom was very racist against black people. I kind of intentionally goaded him from time to time (granted, goading someone while tripping isn't a very nice thing to do) and I turned on BET and started rapping along. He (predictably) got annoyed and starting talking shit so I talked it right back. I told him I didn't like being white, that I wanted to be black, that black people were so much better than us lowly white folks, etc. Yeah well, he ripped off every shed of clothing he had on, ran into the street outside and starting shouting, at the top of his lungs, how much he hated black people. Looking back he could have been killed. Or at least arrested. I think some friends retrieved him. I don't know for sure. I kept watching videos. But that's my wildest acid story and I think people will agree in pales in comparison with the orange/person story. The Jonestown Massacre is mentioned along with the main photo that's been shown with the story since it happened in 1978. The mention of Henry Lee Lucas threw me slightly. I had no idea that Texas authorities let Lucas read files before asking questions and him "confessing" to hundreds of murders. Shame on them. How many murderers the country over went free over this? And why did Senator George W. Bush commute his sentence? Why? I mean, what is the purpose exactly of a jury or judge sentencing for someone to come along and commute the sentence given. I'm sure Lucas' victims families were thrilled. Ramirez is shown here and if you don't know the full story there - and want to - read The Night Stalker. It's not a slim book but trust me, the way Philip Carlo writes it doesn't matter. If you're like me you'll be through it in no time. Ramirez's story - and Ramirez - are enough to give any nightmares for the rest of their days. Oh jeez, how could I almost forget. I can now say I've seen a picture of a severed penis. And yeah. It's about as gross as you can get. (I don't mean to speak like this about a victim but it must be said - unless the wife whacked it off at the tip poor John Bobbitt had plenty o' problems before she ever even did that. If that's even a quarter of the full length of his penis I feel sorry for him AND her.) OJ and the Unabomber are included of course along with plenty of others you've heard of. Plenty of stories and people I hadn't heard of also though but it wasn't enough to interest me. I need more than one or two bland paragraphs personally. I'm definitely in the minority though because most of the ratings and reviews on this are great. The Brussels Anti-Paedophile Demonstration of 1996 was interesting but again, just not enough info for me to get really involved. I guess this is why I prefer my true crime like the average t.c. book. I wouldn't try to sway anyone away from reading it though. It's written and set up well, just not for me.
Not sure yet whether I'll count it towards the years challenge. It won't matter as I'll make my number but I'll probably leave it out just the same
**I'm not going to count it to the challenge. Just decided.**(less)
I have about ten books to review, some from months ago, that I should have reviewed right away. This is one of them. This is unique because the author,...moreI have about ten books to review, some from months ago, that I should have reviewed right away. This is one of them. This is unique because the author, Sofios, is a reporter/journalist who befriended the family/surviving victims of this crime. It feels honest - I think Sofios wrote this with honesty. I'd have liked to have seen more photos. Normally the amount included would be the average amount but with a family of this size, and so many victims, the photos are small in number. There are things I want to know that Sofios can't tell me. How did this go undetected for so long? Why do people put up with this in the beginning? I get the whole 'brainwashed' thing. I even believe it in some cases. I don't know if I entirely believe it here. The kids? Probably. The wife? No dice. No one can make me believe that the girls in the family, who were not even allowed to talk to their brothers and spent tremendous amounts of "alone time" with their monster "father" got pregnant and the mother didn't think it suspicious. A normal family the suspicion would fall on a boyfriend, lover, one night stand, etc. This family? No. By all accounts these girls were allowed to do nothing but worship this piece of shit. How would they get pregnant any other way? The "mother" says often - and Sofios seems to buy it - that she "didn't know". "I just didn't know that Alysia." How? Why didn't you know? IMO, 'not knowing' and 'not wanting to know' are two different things. A part of me hates to say this - I could never even dream of the pain this woman has gone through. But at the same time, it's me being honest. I do applaud Sofios for coming to their aid because if it's true, the state was only caring for those members of the family who agreed to side with the prosecution. As much as I wouldn't want to see any family members in this circumstance side with the defense, is that really a reason to leave them out in the cold? If you have the ability to care for the one side you have the ability to care for the others as well. To expand on that a little, I would think they'd have a better chance of making the family members "see the light" if they did open some sort of dialogue. It bothered me on page 310 when the author mentions seeing on the news that Wesson's dirty ass dreads were hacked off. Hack the hair off. That's fine with me. They could hack his head off and I wouldn't care. It's what was done with it that bothered me. According to the news report and Alysia the disgusting things were sent to Locks of Love. So, in the authors words, now they were allowing a 'bunch of little kids to run around with a mass murderer's hair on their heads.' And that's not even o mention how they cleaned it. I saw pictures and I'm here to say I doubt it could be done. That crap wouldn't touch my child. There are other questions too - how did the officers outside the house not hear the shots? Is there a gun that quiet? Neighbors supposedly head shots, why didn't the people who were in the very yard of the house where these people were murdered? I don't have much, if any, sympathy for Sebhrenah. I feel like I should but I don't. Other kids got out. Other kids saw that this wasn't right. How could she turn a gun on babies? On her own babies at that? All on the word of one single "human". I don't have enough sympathy inside to have any left for her. I certainly have none for Wesson. I feel for the kids and babies who were brutally murdered and left in some sort of horrid pile. And I do feel for the remaining family members. Not for the two responsible for this atrociousness. All in all it's written well. It doesn't have that journalist ring to it that makes books so hard to read for some people. The crime is unique enough to make it interesting for those looking for that also. (less)