I put off reading Missoula for months because I just knew it was going to piss me the hell off! And I didn't want to deal with that. However, I finallI put off reading Missoula for months because I just knew it was going to piss me the hell off! And I didn't want to deal with that. However, I finally read it...and it did piss me off. Missoula was just so eye-opening.
Rape and the prosecution of rape is a huge problem, particularly if it's acquaintance rape. I know that. However, reading Missoula just drove home how rare it is for something like acquaintance rape to A. be prosecuted and B. for actual justice to be served. And if those accused are good-looking college students who are somewhat adept at handling a ball, well, forget it. Apparently in Missoula, it's okay to rape as long as you can still make it to the game and beat the opponents. GAH! Just thinking about this pisses me off even more.
What was even more eye-opening to me was how many women were okay with this scenario. First on the list, Kirsten Pabst. What a horrible human being that woman is. She refuses to prosecute rapes because of "insufficient evidence" (even when there is actually a great amount of evidence), but has no problem showing up to a hearing on behalf of an accused rapist, so that he won't be expelled from his college because "My God, we NEED him to play football because if we don't win the world will implode!" And that woman is county attorney in Missoula. *shudders* It's insane how many people believe the misconceptions of rape and how many people in law enforcement put the victim on trial as opposed to the actual accused. It's obvious that every law enforcement officer/lawyer in Missoula needs sensitivity training ASAP. And fellow women, come on! Seriously, we have to look out for each other because obviously no one else is going to (and that's why some of these female law enforcement officers clearly sympathizing with the accusers was so disheartening).
Anyway, Missoula was an amazing book. Again, it's eye-opening and you can just see how meticulously researched it was. The fact that I was so upset reading this book just drives home how engaging it is and how much it makes you think. Plus, I'm sure this book pissed Pabst off and that just tickles me pink. I highly recommend this wonderfully written book! Please read it even though my review doesn't do it justice....more
I first became aware of Sylvia Likens story after watching the film The Girl Next Door. Now that film is based on a novel that is based (loosely) on tI first became aware of Sylvia Likens story after watching the film The Girl Next Door. Now that film is based on a novel that is based (loosely) on this case. However, after reading both The Girl Next Door and Let's Go Play At the Adams (It is speculated that that book was also loosely based on this case) and what is written in the True Crime Library website about this case, I found that there was very little about this book that I didn't already know.
I found House of Evil to be very surface-level. It doesn't really dig deep. It is a semi-dry account of what happened to Sylvia Likens. That's not to say that I wanted more detail into her torture (trust me, when I say that the little that you get here is more than enough), but rather I wanted House of Evil to be just slightly more...passionate. I guess you can't really ask for that when the writer wasn't really involved in what happened to Likens while she was alive and only slightly involved in the trial. I just wanted something that was a little more in depth and not just cutting and pasting what happened in the trial.
Overall, I found House of Evil to be just okay. Nothing you read here, can't be found online, so I say if you want to know what happened to Sylvia Likens, read about it on the true crime library and skip the book....more
This is for the Mara Salvatrucha has one thing going for it. It's compulsively readable. Now, I for one adore non-fiction books, but I can see why somThis is for the Mara Salvatrucha has one thing going for it. It's compulsively readable. Now, I for one adore non-fiction books, but I can see why some people would find them a bit dry to read. I don't think any of those people would have trouble with This is for the Mara Salvatrucha because it does go at a really fast pace and the way it's written is like that of a fiction book, which it makes really easy to get into. On top of that, it's one of those books that can't really put down. When I wasn't reading it, all I could think about was going back to it and finishing it. However, when it comes to This is for the Mara Salvatrucha, the fact that you can't put it down is the only thing it has going for it.
I mentioned that This is for the Mara Salvatrucha is written like a novel which is why it made it so readable. However, the fact that it's written like a novel is one of the reasons I had issues with it. Here's the thing, the author of this book, continually writes what the main players in this book are thinking...whether they're dead or not. Which means that he couldn't have possibly known what they were thinking at any one given time...which means that he made it up...which is a big NO-NO in non-fiction.
Another disappointing thing about This is for the Mara Salvatrucha was that it's a very surface-level book. It doesn't dig deep into the Mara Salvatrucha at all. It's dealings with drugs, prostitution, murders...all of that was pretty much glossed over. This book wasn't as much about the Mara Salvatrucha as much as it was about Brenda Paz, a girl who happened to be involved with the Mara Salvatrucha. This isn't a bad thing, perse, if the book wasn't subtitled as "Inside the MS-13, America's Most Violent Gang". The book doesn't go inside the gang as much as the subtitle alluded to.
So, overall, I found This is for the Mara Salvatrucha to be a disappointing read. While it was a page-turner, it doesn't go very deep into what the book is supposed to be about: the Mara Salvatrucha. Plus, while adding stylish flair to your writing is all great and good, but if you're adding things that you don't have concrete proof happened and don't mention that it's speculative, than you lose a bit of credibility. So, two stars....more
Stumbling Along the Beat started off really strong. It was engaging and the author's voice seemed very genuine. It also seemed like it was going to beStumbling Along the Beat started off really strong. It was engaging and the author's voice seemed very genuine. It also seemed like it was going to be a great book about what it's really like for a woman on the police force. However, while the engaging part was something that was consistent throughout the entire book, the other two started drifting as the book went on.
The cases in Stumbling Along the Beat were always interesting. That was always what was most intriguing to me in the book. The author's tidbits about how she was treated like crap by the other men in her workforce were intriguing the first few times. However, she kept continuing to harp on this while mainly not doing much to fight it off. I can understand about not wanting to speak up because the author felt it would damage her career. What I could not understand was the continuous harping on not just the other men in the police force who treated her like crap, but also on every single little thing.
The author harped on fellow officers, the author harped on the police bunnies, she harped on the prosecutors, on the defense attorneys, on the social workers, on the judges, on how dangerous it was being a police officer (now correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't this in the general job description? I'm sure it starts off with a "DANGER! You might get picked off if you do this!"),even on her husband in one instance (because he had the misfortune of always being right). It just went on and on. I'm not saying that some of those people didn't deserve the continious bitching because a lot of the time they did, but it's just after a while it ceases to be informative and starts coming off as whining. And then I start thinking, "My God, she thinks she's the only one with any moral compass in that police department she was working in", which then lead me to not feeling very sympathetic towards the author. That becomes a problem when this book banks on you being sympathetic towards her since it all comes out as "poor me."
The author does state that everyone in her department wasn't all bad; that there were some prosecutors and judges that weren't dirty, but she doesn't elaborate on these instances. She just continues droning on about the negative aspect of being a police officer. So, either these instances were a lie or she decided they weren't very important because they didn't paint her in the light of the martyr the way the other times did. I was then lead to the conclusion that she didn't really like being a police officer. Now, there isn't anything wrong with that, but if you don't like it, then own that you don't like it. Don't sit there and try to excuse why you're leaving the police force if all of the excuses are going to seem false. Just say, "I don't like it anymore".
By the end of Stumbling Along the Beat, I started getting so sick of the author's "poor me" attitude and of her general "I'm better than everyone else" attitude, that I was desperately wanting the book to end. So, two stars solely because the cases that the author metioned were interesting. However, everything else in the book was grating. I say, don't even bother. ...more
I first heard of John Walsh the year Elizabeth Smart was kidnapped. I was the same age that she was when she was taken and I remember being horrifiedI first heard of John Walsh the year Elizabeth Smart was kidnapped. I was the same age that she was when she was taken and I remember being horrified at the abduction and the ones that seemed to follow. It seems as though it was happening frequently during that time...children getting abducted left and right (later I learned that 2002 was one of the years where the abduction rate wasn't that high, much to my surprise) and the media harping on it. I also remember that when Elizabeth Smart was found, John Walsh interrupted his scheduled programming of his talk show to report live saying that Elizabeth had been found. I remember wondering how he got so dedicated in helping families dealing with abductions and later I found out about what had happened to Adam Walsh. And if I was horrified before, it was nothing compated to how horrified I was after I finished reading Bringing Adam Home.
Let's put aside the fact that the Adam Walsh abduction and murder was a horrifying case. What was even more horrifying was the way the investigators in charge of the case botched up the investigation and then basically REFUSED to rectify the issue. Most of the investigators were just interested in covering their asses, particularly when their blatant unprofessionalism and just all around douchery was finally discovered. They didn't care about the victim, they just cared about their careers. And, unfortunately for the Walshes, this case just proved that.
Bringing Adam Home also showed how different it was back then when it came to child abductions. Very little protocol was in place both at the mall and throughout the overall ordeal of an abduction. This was a time where people had assumed it was safe to leave your young child alone, unsupervised in a public place, a time where apparently it was okay to kick a 6 year old kid out of a store, into the streets, despite the fact that he was unsupervised. Not that I'm blaming the Walshes or the security guard (or anyone other than the murderer and the useless police detectives on the case), but it's interesting to see how the times have changed. And utterly heartbreaking to realize that, most of the time, change only comes when the problem has already claimed its victims (like Adam Walsh, Amber Hagerman, and other victims of child abductions) and therefore, for some, came absolutely too late.
Now to the actual book: Bringing Adam Home was an immense page-turner. It was completely engrossing and wasn't dry like non-fiction books have the potential to be. I found it to be factual and highly enlightening. This is one book I highly recommend.
House of Secrets is probably the most twisted true crime book I've ever read. It's just such a sad case. It's even sadder when you realize that the soHouse of Secrets is probably the most twisted true crime book I've ever read. It's just such a sad case. It's even sadder when you realize that the social workers, police officers, and lawyers had tons of chances to do right by these children and by Joel Sexton, yet ultimately intervened a little too late. Had they acted right when the first got an initial complaint, I have no doubt in my mind that more lives would have been saved. It's sick what Eddie Sexton did, but it's even more sick that he escaped detection for so long.
House of Secrets was meticulously researched. This book held my interest from the first page right up until the last page. I couldn't have stopped even if I wanted to. However, I do have to say that House of Secrets does have some clunky writing. Lowell Cauffiel doesn't tell the story in one straight narrative, but rather shifts around through the timeline. Not only that, but he refers to the people in this story (particularly the Sexton children) to their actual names, nicknames, and, when appropriate, their married names. It's very confusing. It took me a while to figure out who exactly he was referring to. I thought he should've picked one name to call each person and stuck with throughout the whole book. But other than that, House of Secrets was a good read that is definitely not for the faint of heart. ...more
I'm surprised that the Richardson family murders weren't a big headline in the U.S. despite the fact that it happened in Canada. You would think thatI'm surprised that the Richardson family murders weren't a big headline in the U.S. despite the fact that it happened in Canada. You would think that some people would bring it up and say "See the US Justice System isn't THAT bad. Sure we let Casey Anthony out, but we would NEVER give an underage murderer a slap on the wrist!" But, nevertheless, this is my first time hearing of this case. I was intrigued by the cover, so I decided to check Runaway Devil out of the library, and was appalled by the case and the subsequent sentence that Jasmine Richardson (one of the murderers) received.
So, Jasmine Richardson masterminded this evil plan of murdering her parents and her 8 year old little brother because her parents wouldn't let her see her 23 year old pedophile boyfriend. Oh, right, I forgot to mention that Jasmine Richardson was only 12 at this time. Yep, a 12 year-old girl masterminded a plan to snuff out her parents who were only looking out for her well-being. She was manipulative, cold, and all-around sociopathic, but can't really be categorized as such because her young brain is still developing. Therefore, she is only plagued by a conduct disorder despite the fact that all accounts on this case have stated that she has shown no remorse for the cold-blooded murders of her family.
Her pedophile EX-boyfriend (these two sick "love" birds broke up while they were/are in prison), was actually the one who murdered Jasmine Richardson's mother and father. Jasmine, herself, has admitted to stabbing her brother, even while he begged for his life stating that he was "too young to die." Jeremy has received 25-to-life, but Jasmine Richardson only received a maximum sentence of ten years, two which were taken out for time served. She'll be out by 2012 (and some people say that she's actually allowed outside to prowl amongst society during unsupervised visits). And if that isn't bad enough, if she's out and doesn't commit any crimes in five years, her record will be expunged. That's right. She'll be allowed to work as a teacher with kids despite the fact that she murdered one, if she so chooses to. Jasmine Richardson's name also isn't allowed to published by the media thanks to some idiotic law that protects vicious, underage, murderers. But I'm not Canadian nor am I a journalist, so I can say "Jasmine Richardson murdered her parents with the help of her pedophile boyfriend" all I want.
Now that I got those thoughts on the case of my chest, I can finally start off about why I DIDN'T really like Runaway Devil. The authors are clearly biased. Their views on the Goth subculture, Wicca, cutting, and Jeremy Steinke come off so strongly that you can tell exactly what they feel about each one of those things. The writing was also majorly inconsistent. For example, they write that Jasmine Richardson cried while confessing to some of her crimes (this wasn't in quotations, by the way, so it wasn't taken verbatim from the recording) and then they go on to say (in quotes from the recording) that the cop questioning Jasmine was wondering why she wasn't crying. So did she cry or didn't she cry? It doesn't change my opinion either way, but that inconsistency bothered me.
Another thing that bothered me was that the author was trying to add some poeticism to his prose...and ultimately failed at it. It's clear that this was to make Runaway Devil more dramatic. But the crimes committed are already dramatic, so why would you try to add more drama to it by putting in these hokey lines like "the shards of glass reflected JR and Steinke. 7 years of bad luck" (not verbatim, but you, unfortunately, get the picture)? This book also had moments where it dragged and was dry. It also didn't stick to the facts and was plagued with things that weren't even remotely tied to the case or the town. So it seems as if they were there to fluff the book up so that it could pass the 200 page mark.
So, I don't really recommend Runaway Devil. I gave it two stars because some of the details seem to be accurate and there really isn't another book about Jasmine Richardson's and Jeremy Steinke's crimes. But all in all, I found it to be really biased and poorly written....more