Back in the 70's my parents had a book about the Zodiac Killer on their shelves. Being a curious kid I picked it up, and man, did it scar me. I had ni...moreBack in the 70's my parents had a book about the Zodiac Killer on their shelves. Being a curious kid I picked it up, and man, did it scar me. I had nightmares for weeks and the worst part of all was that he was never caught. Graphic descriptions of horrific murders embedded into my psyche and I remembered the murders years later when I saw Gary L. Stewarts book claiming his birth father was non other than Zodiac himself.
Remembering how thoroughly messed up the Zodiac saga left me, it was with quite a bit of interest that I picked this book up. Gary Stewart was abandoned by his father when he was in infant. In adulthood he was contacted by his birth mother. The first half of the book is a lot of Gary's extensive family history both of his adopted and birth families.
The second part of the book chronicles Gary's attempts to prove that the Zodiac killer was really his birth father Earl Van Best Jr. After meeting his birth mother Judy, Gary is given enough information to allow him to obtain a booking photo of his birth father. Shortly after receiving the picture of his father, he was watching an A&E special about the Zodiac Killer and boom, it hits him, his father looked exactly like the sketch on the wanted poster for Zodiac. For the rest of the book he tries to present proof for his theory. How much you enjoy this book will probably be tied to how much you buy Gary's story. On his side, his father's picture does look like a dead ringer for the Zodiac composite sketch and both the father and Zodiac have undeniably similar handwriting. I think he does an especially good job of connecting certain interests of his fathers with references made in the Zodiac letters. Where he starts to lose me is the part about a supposed police cover up because his birth mother was married to a police officer at one point. I want to see facts not conspiracy theories. It was because of this supposed cover up that Gary's DNA was never tested by the police and compared to the known sample of Zodiac. DNA testing is so common now, you can even buy a kit at Walgreens to mail out. I don't know why the publisher wouldn't offer to pay for the test to put the matter to rest once and all before the publication of the book. In any case it cannot be denied that Gary has some interesting circumstantial evidence to make you go hummmm. His father seemed to be in some of the right places at the right times. It just kind of bothered me how the authors wrote the book as if Earl Van Best Jr. committed the Zodiac murders definitively. Gary's squabbles with birth mother Judy also made for some uncomfortable reading. I don't think the adoption reunion went as smoothly as either had hoped.
In the end, the lack of absolute proof proved distracting to me. If you read the Wikipedia page there is a long list of people who claim to know the true identity of Zodiac and Gary Stewart is just the latest. Even if you don't believe Gary's story, it still proved fascinating to me. (less)
Sophomore daughter was assigned to read this over the summer and since I did not read this in school I decided to do a read along to help her out. I c...moreSophomore daughter was assigned to read this over the summer and since I did not read this in school I decided to do a read along to help her out. I can't believe I missed it before now. This past July was the 50th anniversary of the book. Now that I have finally read it, I can see just how far reaching it's influence is. I think my daughter can see it's impact too in her favorite YA books, for example in Beautiful Creatures, the dog is named Boo Radley and her favorite kick butt heroine, Katniss Everdeen is referred to as the Mockingjay. It is really touching to see how beloved this book is in the review section on this site. It tops nearly ever best book list there is. Who wouldn't love to have had Atticus Finch as their father?(less)
Ever since reading The Divorce Papers and Where'd You Go Bernadette I have been hooked by a love for epistolary novels which are stories told through...moreEver since reading The Divorce Papers and Where'd You Go Bernadette I have been hooked by a love for epistolary novels which are stories told through a series of documents. In this case the story unfurls through video transcripts, written notes, letters and journal entries.
The basic premise is a twenty something European named A, inherits Axton house in Point Bless, Virginia from a distant relation whom he has never met, but who committed suicide by jumping out of upper story window in the same manner as his father. As soon as A. arrives with his mute companion Niamh all sorts of strange things start occuring.
This book was so much fun. It is clear that the author was influenced by some of my great loves like Scooby Doo and The X Files. How much you love this book will probably be impacted by how many of the references you recognize. The acknowledgements in the front of the book presented in a cipher give a lot of clues about the books inspirations when it is cracked. There are so many genres expressed in this one book. You have a mystery, ghost story, thriller, horror, Southern Gothic and just about every other genre you can think of with the kitchen sink thrown in for good measure. This is not a book you can half pay attention to as you read and to do so would be a mistake. It commands your full attention with minding numbing puzzles and clever clues dropped throughout. Your commitment to the story pays off in the end.
This was my first entry into the R.I.P. challenge held over at Stainless Steel Droppings every year. Although I love a spooky read all year long I especially enjoy this time of year when I can peak into what thrilling reads everyone else is diving into. You can check the challenge out here: http://www.stainlesssteeldroppings.co...(less)
have read the previous books in this series and this is my favorite so far. Now that all of the characters have become fully established, I find that...morehave read the previous books in this series and this is my favorite so far. Now that all of the characters have become fully established, I find that I have come to really care about them. In this latest outing Jana Bibi's son brings his fiance to India to meet her, Tilku is having problems at his new school, and Mary has a possible love interest. Of course Mr. Ganguly the parrot makes regular appearances to steal the show. As for Jana Bibi, her big heart does not allow her to say no to anyone's needs, which has left her in a bit of financial straits. It all works out in the end though, just in time to celebrate Jack's wedding. As this series goes on I find that I am enjoying it more and more. The gentle characters are endearing and there always little gems of wisdom interspersed through out the story. It's refreshing to read about a lady in her 60's who may have snow on the roof but there is still fire in the furnace.(less)
An anthropologist, a surveyor, a psychologist, and a our narrator a biologist, walk into area X and a lot of weird things happen. I saw this book lovi...moreAn anthropologist, a surveyor, a psychologist, and a our narrator a biologist, walk into area X and a lot of weird things happen. I saw this book lovingly mentioned on Entertainment Weekly's website so I decided to give it a go. It's really quite short so it does not require much of a time investment if you are curious and want to check it out.
I appreciated the horror aspects of the novel but I could just never fully dial into the plot. No one has a name making it difficult to connect to them. The novel leaves a lot of the context of area x shrouded in mystery. I just had so many questions and that detracted from my enjoyment. The biggest question I had is if you knew bad things happened to every expedition before you why the hell would you sign up for one. Were the people brainwashed? Lots of horrifying things happen to the expedition members and if I cared the least about them I might have felt disturbed but instead I was left feeling detached. I still would like an explanation of the whole it's a tower no it's a tunnel thing.
I don't know if I am interested enough in continuing on with the series. There would have to be the promise of serious information payment in the next two novels in order to make me want to read on. Although this wasn't a novel suited to me I can see how other people would be absolutely in love with it. I am trying to get my teen daughter to read it now so I have someone to discuss it with. I think it is totally up her alley and Vandermeer is the author of one of her favorite books, The Steampunk Bible. Vandermeer has a very distinct writing style and while it wasn't fully to my taste I would like to see how it translates into the movie it will supposedly be made into. (less)
I started out with such love for this series, a love that is waning with each successive novel. Nothing every progresses for Bess. She is exactly the...moreI started out with such love for this series, a love that is waning with each successive novel. Nothing every progresses for Bess. She is exactly the same as she was five books ago. Compare this series to a similar one featuring Maisie Dobs. Since the start of the series she has had different love interests, she has changed jobs, she has allowed new people into her circle, and the mysteries are intriguing and thought provoking. I don't always like what Maisie is doing but at least she is doing something. In six books Bess and Simon haven't even had one kiss. Come on you have to give the readers something!
As far as the mystery goes it was pretty boring. Bess is asked to escort Sergeant Jason Wilkins to receive an award and after doing so he disappears on her watch reflecting badly on her. The rest of the novel has Simon and Bess traveling from one boring English town to the next looking for the elusive Wilkins. The most exciting thing that happens between Bess and Simon is their constant discussions on what they are going to eat. Should we get lunch, have dinner, go on a picnic, have tea? They talk about what they are going to eat ad nauseam. Since I didn't really care about the characters I was not invested in the outcome. It was a relief to finish the book.
If I sound harsh it's because I loved this series so much. If Bess was allowed the least little progression I would love it again. Once I start a series it is hard for me to give it up. I stuck with Stephanie Plum through twenty books before I had to face the fact that she was never going to chose between Joe and Ranger. This is probably not my last Bess Crawford novel but I long for the excitement that was in evidence in the beginning of the series.(less)
I had previously read and loved The Dinner. This author writes books where outwardly respectable people have diseased underbellies. This novel is no e...moreI had previously read and loved The Dinner. This author writes books where outwardly respectable people have diseased underbellies. This novel is no exception. In this case we have a psychopathic, possible adulterer doctor and he isn't the only one hiding secrets. The doctor and his family, an American photographer and his paramour, and a Dutch actor and his family all converge on a summer home with swimming pool and then the fireworks start. I love the horror aspect of Koch's novels. It's just so fun to see how these people unravel. Now if someone could just explain to me that last page concerning Stanley and his picture of donkey at the farm. What was that about? The ending was murky but in any case if something bad happened to any of the characters it was well deserved. (less)
I have loved the writing of Simone St. James since her first and my favorite book that she's written, The Haunting of Maddy Clare. This is now her thi...moreI have loved the writing of Simone St. James since her first and my favorite book that she's written, The Haunting of Maddy Clare. This is now her third book and she has perfected a formula of Gothic creepiness with a dash of romance that is right up my alley.
In this novel, lead character Kitty, has accepted a job as a nurse at a remote mental hospital that caters to the wealthy, veteran men of the Great War. The Portis house the hospital is ensconced in is falling apart and the previous family that lived there has mysteriously disappeared. The patients are having nightmares but the cause may be more than the horrors they saw in war. An evil presence seems to reside in the house causing some of the patients to attempt to kill themselves in a certain spot. One of my first thoughts with this kind of novel is always why would anyone chose to work in a place clearly fraught with danger. Kitty like many Gothic heroines who are thrust into such situations has no choice. She lied to secure her position and she is penniless with no where else to go. Kitty spends the novel attempting to get to the bottom of the secrets of Portis House while trying to hide a few secrets of her own.
I adore Gothic historical fiction so I was pretty happy with Simone's latest novel. The plot kept me turning the pages and I especially enjoy novels set during this time period. Kitty is a spunky heroine who is determined not to let life's set backs hold her back. I enjoyed reading about her as well as the veterans of the Great War who inhabit the hospital. Simone has written another engaging novel and I look forward to her next novel about mediums with anticipation.(less)