This was a fascinating book! It answered many of the questions I have had about people who commit horrible crimes. It is actually a book about how the...moreThis was a fascinating book! It answered many of the questions I have had about people who commit horrible crimes. It is actually a book about how the brain develops and what happens when something goes terribly wrong in the early years of brain growth. The early experiences of children determine how there brains will grow. If the are given no stimulation or are traumatized, the early brain can't develop properly and every additional experience will be influenced by the missing stages.
I've read a lot of books about feral children, serial killers, sociopaths and psychotics in an attempt to figure out what makes them the way they are. Most of what I have read is limited to what they do instead of why. I keep looking for the missing link. This book is the closest to an answer as I have found. The author uses a medical model of brain development to explain the changes in the brain from trauma or isolation and yet leaves room for individual personality. To me this is the key to why not all children who experience this kind of trauma go on to become murders, serial killers and predators.
As someone else mentioned in a review, this book has made me more compassionate towards people who do heinous things and yet made me more aware of why they cannot be trusted to be free among us. The case of Leon was the best example. Guilty of the rape and murder of two young girls, Dr. Perry was called on to give a pre-sentencing report to decide if his sentence was life in prison or the death penalty. Dr. Perry found that Leon had been left alone in an apartment all day long, day after day. He had no stimulation or love which impaired his ability to relate to others. Sadly, it was a vicious circle for him. He was unlovable because he wasn't loved in infancy but he couldn't get love from the people around him because he was unlovable. He developed into a brutal young man with no conscience and low impulse control. He was damaged by his childhood, but he turned into a man who could not be allowed to live in society. Dr. Perry does not say what happened in his sentencing, but I would have given him life in prison without parole.(less)
l didn't think I was going to like this book st first, but it was very enjoyable. The female main character was very believable without being incredib...morel didn't think I was going to like this book st first, but it was very enjoyable. The female main character was very believable without being incredibly beautiful with long long legs...you get the idea. She was very intelligent and courageous without being like a character from James Bond.
The situation posed, an organism which can be used as a form of population control, is within reason and probably in the minds of some scientists right now, unfortunately. I enjoyed learning about life at the South Pole, the underground lakes and the organisms that can live in such an environment. All together a good read. (less)
I really enjoyed this book. It was so refreshingly new. It is set in the thirteenth-century Tsong Dynasty. It is based on the work of a real person, C...moreI really enjoyed this book. It was so refreshingly new. It is set in the thirteenth-century Tsong Dynasty. It is based on the work of a real person, Cí Song, who is considered to be the founding father of forensic science.
The book starts out with Ci Song as a scholar who is supported by his grandfather who is a noted scholar. Unfortunately, the grandfather dies and Song is forced to return home and become subject to his crass and dissipated older brother. When a crime is committed, he is forced to flee and he returns to the city where his talent for "reading corpses" eventually leads him to the Emperor himself.
Even though one misfortune after another dogs his footsteps, his talent is recognized by his mentor at the school he once attended and he is able to continue to study. There is a serial killer who is killing and mutilating within the circle of even the Emperor himself and Song finds himself in a race to find the killer or be executed.
The author is Spanish and I look forward to more of his books.(less)
This was a fascinating book about some bones buried outside the place where the Romanovs were brutally killed. It is a mixture of fact and fiction. Ev...moreThis was a fascinating book about some bones buried outside the place where the Romanovs were brutally killed. It is a mixture of fact and fiction. Even though we know the outcome of the DNA tests, the book was still fascinating.(less)
I enjoyed this book. The setting of Irish bogs is different from so many mysteries and adds a bit of interest because of the discoveries surrounding t...moreI enjoyed this book. The setting of Irish bogs is different from so many mysteries and adds a bit of interest because of the discoveries surrounding the prehistoric bog bodies found there. Forensic pathologist, Nora Gavin, has been asked to help with the discovery of another bog body who seems to have been killed in a prehistoric ritual “triple death.” When a more recent body turns up with the same “triple death” characteristics, the mystery widens. Is the ritual still being practiced?
-Archaeologist, Cormac MacGuire, is on the scene again too and he has the cottage where his mentor has lived when working on the bogs. Nora was invited to stay there and the two continue their relationship, but not without trials. Cormac knows that he loves Nora, but Nora is being pulled back to her home in the United States by the tragic and brutal death of her sister. When the identity of the second body is discovered, a cast of local characters are introduced and the link to their ancient roots is probed. As always, the colorful world of Irish music and dancing also adds to the feeling of the book
This novel deals with the frightening mental illness called Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy. In this sickness, a parent, usually the mother, brings the c...moreThis novel deals with the frightening mental illness called Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy. In this sickness, a parent, usually the mother, brings the child into the hospital or to the doctor for a variety of illnesses or accidents in order to either get the attention of the medical community or to gain importance from seeming to rescue her child from horrifying accidents.
This story is written from the point of view of another sibling who watches this pattern develop between her mother and sister and sensitively, but harrowingly describes the effect on all the family. When this sibling suspects the pattern is beginning in another generation, she has to deal with long surpressed emotions and decide what she will do for her family and in her own life. The story is told with sensitivity and depth and gives a window into this terrible sickness.(less)
I thought this was one of Robin Cook's better novels. Laurie Montgomery has done 3 autopsies on young healthy people who have recently had surgery and...moreI thought this was one of Robin Cook's better novels. Laurie Montgomery has done 3 autopsies on young healthy people who have recently had surgery and have died unexplainedly. They seem to have recovered from the surgery with no problem, but some hours later are found dead and the autopsy doesn't reveal anything wrong. Laurie can't seem to get anyone to pay attention to her and especially not Jack Stapleton, who is more concerned with his basketball games with his "homies." When she gets her fourth case, she begins to do some investigating and turns up 6 more, all at the same hospital. The reader knows who the murderer is as we hear from her as the books goes along and this is very effective. Unfortunately, we don't know who hired her.
To add to that, Laurie is very aware that her biological clock is ticking and she sees that the realtionship with Jack is going nowhere and she moves out. Jack just can't get past the death of his first family and Laurie doesn't feel she has any more time to invest in this relationship.
I feel that the character of Laurie is developing very well and I feel as if I have gotten to know her, but Jack seems to be becoming more and more one dimensional. His refusal to take her seriously either in their relationship or at work makes him appear less intelligent than we were led to expect from earlier books. I hope that this downward spiral unto linear geometry doesn't continue.(less)
I usually enjoy Robin Cook, but I found a lot of this boring. I guess it was the business side of "for profit" hospitals and I admit I skimmed through...moreI usually enjoy Robin Cook, but I found a lot of this boring. I guess it was the business side of "for profit" hospitals and I admit I skimmed through a lot of it. Laurie Montgomery is always a good character to follow as she seems to be authentic and there are enough details about her to let the reader identify with her, but it seems like Jack Stapleton is getting more and more one dimensional. It is highly unlikely that a person in his position, knowing the deaths that are coming from the hospital he is to have surgery in, would completely disregard the danger, especially when his wife is so adamant about there being a serious problem. Jack's one dimensional personality is beginning to make me wonder if he is to be killed off in a future book.
On the other hand, this is still a good book. Through most of it, the reader is propelled forward to find the source of the infection before disaster sets in and Jack is killed. While this isn't up to some of the earlier books, it is still a good book and I enjoyed it.(less)
This book was a little different from the usual Temperance Brennan in that she started out being totally involved in the wreckage of an airplane and t...moreThis book was a little different from the usual Temperance Brennan in that she started out being totally involved in the wreckage of an airplane and then after finding a foot that doesn's seem to belong to any of the passengers, she is taken off the crash team. Not only is she not involved, but her reputation as a profession is brought into serious question.
I didn't like having to wait for other characters to provide information any better than Brennan did. At first it seemed as if she was getting side tracked with mysterious problems with her car and strange mountain folk, but it all came together in the end, making this one of her better books. (less)
This was an absolutely fascinating book on genetics. The author used color of dogs as her example and I learned just how complex some colors of dogs a...moreThis was an absolutely fascinating book on genetics. The author used color of dogs as her example and I learned just how complex some colors of dogs are, especially white dogs. The most interesting part was how the genes have switches which activate them only under certain conditions...if the color is brown and if the hair length is ? then... Ms. Dyer also has a way of explaining even the most complex concepts in ways that layman can understand. Not only will this book explain basic genetics to you, but you will never look at dogs the same way again.(less)
For a book that has no good guys, this was surprisingly good. Dr. Daniel Lowell has developed a procedure for using stem cells in curing Parkinson's d...moreFor a book that has no good guys, this was surprisingly good. Dr. Daniel Lowell has developed a procedure for using stem cells in curing Parkinson's disease which shows great promise in lab animals. The powerful Senator Ashley Butler is one of the foremost opponents of stem cell research, but has been diagnosed with Parkinson's. In a secret meeting, he has promised that the bill to ban stem cell research will not proceed out of his committee if Dr. Lowell will use him as his test subject. Both men are thoroughly self serving and amoral. They decide to do the procedure in an unlicensed infertility clinic in the Bahamas which is run by two doctors who are even more despicable than Lowell and Butler. Add in a couple of mobsters who have invested in Daniel's company and want their money to provide dividends and you have a thoroughly disgusting cast of characters. There are two women involved and they seem to have the only modicum of conscience in the book.
Cook has again written a book that is timely and complex. You are kept guessing up to the end of the book and at times, it seems impossible for the book to come to a satisfying conclusion. As with most of his books, the book is fast paced and believable.(less)
Dr. Megan Clark and the Murder by the Yard Reading Circle decide to do a book tour of all the old murder sites in Amarillo, TX. Her best friend, Ryan,...moreDr. Megan Clark and the Murder by the Yard Reading Circle decide to do a book tour of all the old murder sites in Amarillo, TX. Her best friend, Ryan, hopes that this will keep her out of trouble. Ryan is her widowed next door neighbor and father of her childhood best friend. He comes to the meetings of the book club with her in hopes of keeping her out of trouble.
Megan is a petite young woman who has a Phd in anthropology and an interest in murder. Her training helps her to see relationships that the police often miss, but lead her into danger. While conducting this tour, Megan is approached by the grandfather of a murder victim and asks her to find out the murderer of his grandson even though it is almost assuredly a member of his own family. As Megan circles closer and closer to the murderer, Ryan becomes increasingly alarmed by her danger.
I found this to be a better than average cozy murder and the characters are quite likable. The relationship between Ryan and Megan is a stretch, but adds interest to the plot.(less)
This book is similar to The Perfect Storm: A True Story of Men Against the Sea. It tells of a freak blizzard that hit the northern plains states in 18...moreThis book is similar to The Perfect Storm: A True Story of Men Against the Sea. It tells of a freak blizzard that hit the northern plains states in 1888. Scores of immigrants had sold everything and come to the rich lands of the American prairie only to find that the harsh climate could destroy those dreams in a day. The blizzard was called "the children's blizzard" because it struct about the time that children were going or returning from school. The weather bureau was in its infancy and the politics of the government agency and the conflicting claims of the railroad made it difficult to get what little warning there was out to the people. Actually, while there were problems with the weather bureau, this storm was so huge, so freakish and moving so rapidly that it was probably unpredictable with the weather instruments of the day and impossible to get word to the people on the prairie who had no phones or radios. This storm stands out like the 1935 hurricane in the Florida Keys and the Galveston hurricane of 1909 and the perfect storm of 1991...perfect, but sinister storms where every variable added more fuel to the raging tempests.
I remember a storm a little like this from my childhood in St. Louis. The weather of the morning of the storm was very mild and, like the children in the book, we went to school without boots, gloves or even hats. Out of nowhere came an incredible drop in temperature...in the case of the 1888 storm of even 30 degrees in less than half an hour. In our case, traffic came to a standstill and our buses couldn't run. We were kept at school for hours and hours watching the snow build and wondering if someone could come and get us. The nuns played games with us and allowed us to slide on the hall floors, something totally forbidden, in order to keep us from panicking, but the snow continued to rage. Finally a neighbor walked home from his work and then walked the 2 miles to the school bringing winter hats, boots and mittens for us and we set out for home. I will always be grateful for those wonderful nuns whose faith and good nature made our wait more of an adventure than anxiety. I remember standing at the window, realizing that it was possible than no one could get through and I remember one of the nuns calling us to slide on the perfectly waxed floors and making a game of who could slide the furthest. The incredible novelty of being encouraged to break such a hard fast rule made me leave my fears at the window and revel in such an unexpected pleasure.
The teachers and students of 1888 didn't have paved roads lined with houses to follow as we did. Teachers faced the decision to keep the children at school and hope their firewood held out or was enough to keep them freezing in temperatures of -30 degrees, or to lead them home as quickly as possible. In some cases, the decision didn't matter. They were doomed no matter what they chose. In other cases, some children miraculously were found alive where they seemingly had little chance of making it and others were found dead all huddled together on the bare prairie.
It wasn't just children. Farmers got lost going to the barn and froze to death just feet from their homes. Cattle froze standing up and toppled over when it began to thaw. Some communities lost dozens of members and some families lost almost all their children in just one day. Little decisions, easily made, spelled life or death.
I would recommend this book to everyone. It is a glimpse into the tremendous power of nature an a reminder that no matter how advanced we become, we can never control nature. It is also an excellent glimpse into the life of early immigrants and the prairie they lost so much to tame.(less)
This book is so hard to read...not from the writing, but the events and the people who perpetrated them. I am finding that I can only read a few pages...moreThis book is so hard to read...not from the writing, but the events and the people who perpetrated them. I am finding that I can only read a few pages at a time. The book is extremely well researched with footnotes and an extensive bibliography. A great deal of it comes from actual interviews.
The extent of Nazi crimes is far more unimaginable that I could have ever thought and nothing is worse than doctors, who are trained to heal, turning into killers. The book deals with the SS doctors, German doctors, prison/inmate doctors and prison/inmate/Jewish doctors. I is also filled with the elaborate lengths the Nazis went to to cover up what they were doing to the world and to themselves.
As I continue to read this book, I am amazed at the amount of source material Lifton has used. The foundation of the book is interviews with the doctors, a few SS doctors, but mainly prisoners who were doctors. I am on the chapter on Mengele and it is one of the most extraordinary things I have ever read. I have read numerous books on Hitler and the concentration camps, but was left unsatisfied. No author could answer the question, "Why?" Why did seemingly normal people do such atrocious things?
The chapter on Mengele explains how he was able to compartmentalize his mind and do seemingly contradictory things. He would work hard to save a Gypsy from typhoid and then send him to the gas chamber later that week. In understanding the mind of Mengele, I finally began to understand some of these incredible events effected ordinary people. Make no mistake, Mengele was not a normal person. He had to have had a sadistic streak already, but, as the author says, he was “the right person at the right time and at the right place.” He saw himself as “healing” the German race and beyond that, healing mankind through genetic selection. He was an ideologue, as were the leaders of the party. They saw themselves as purging the race of man of the undesirables, which would lead to the “thousand year reich.” He was a demigod in Auschwitz and acted accordingly, but at times, he would be seen as honorable and courageous.
This is the book that I have always been looking for. (less)