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True Crime

4.46  ·  Rating details ·  98 ratings  ·  61 reviews
Suzy and her brother, Lim, live with their abusive mother in a town where the stars don’t shine at night. Once the abuse becomes too much to handle, the two siblings embark on a sordid cross-country murder spree beginning with their mom. As the murder tally rises, Suzy’s mental state spirals into irredeemable madness.
Paperback, 156 pages
Published January 15th 2020 by Grindhouse Press
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Average rating 4.46  · 
Rating details
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Sadie Hartmann Mother Horror
Jan 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
“I want the society in which I live to be clear about the reality of our families; to know all the ways in which we avoid the issues of violence, abuse, and societal contempt; and to see survivors as more than victims. If we know more about what it means to survive abuse, we will be better able to help those still caught in the whole shameful secret world of physical and sexual violence.” - Dorothy Allison (Author of Bastard Out of Carolina)

True Crime by Samantha Kolesnik is an unflinching,
Janelle | She Reads with Cats
Thank you to the author, Grindhouse Press, and the Night Worms for my free copy.

Samantha Kolesnik’s debut novella TRUE CRIME is uncomfortable, intriguing, absorbing, and brilliantly written. I picked it up and did not put it down until I finished the final page.

Suzy and her brother Lim live in a reality of horrific proportions. Their mother is extremely abusive, especially to Suzy. One day, Suzy understandably snaps and retaliates against her mother which then leads to a spree of deviant
Dec 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
True Crime is Samantha Kolesnik's debut novella, and I'm glad that I picked it up. It's grim, haunting, and well-written. I am not going to make a flat-out comparison to Jack Ketchum's writing in The Girl Next Door, but Samantha's has a similar quality in that she can write about terrible and horrendous things, but still have heart in the story.

Suzy, the main character, is kind of a monster, and yet I still felt for her. She is layered, and there's more to her than the being a murderer, and the
Jan 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
So you have probably already heard about this one on Instagram especially or maybe Twitter? Well, the hype is real. This book is the real deal, and I didn't want to put it down. It's a novella, so I probably could have just read it in a single sitting, but of course adulting always tends to get in the way. But when I was able to have some reading time this one reaches out and grabs you by the throat and won't let you turn away. And you will want to turn away. You will want to put it down and ...more
Well Read Beard
Jan 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: my-books
4.5 stars

Hell breeds demons. No one walks through Hell coming out the other side unchanged. Suzy has known only hell. Can an abused animal be held accountable for snapping? Suzy has known only abuse, a hellish home life. Her experiences include a father who wanted to dispose of her and mother who abused her in every way imaginable. Her only salvation, her only ray of light, is her brother Lim.

From the back of the book, Suzy and Lim set out on a cross-country murder spree beginning with their
Tracy Robinson
Dec 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: tbr-wishlist
All the stars. 10 stars. 20. Brutal and heavy. And gorgeously written. Like, look up from the page in awe moments.

Review from Sci Fi and Scary:

“This book is dedicated to the Creators and the Builders, the kind souls whom the world rarely deserves and so desperately needs” (Kolesnik, True Crime)

The synopsis is normal enough for a good horror book: siblings try to escape a bad mother, they go on a rampage, murder happens, madness follows. A blurb from Brian Keene likens the book to the works of
Matt (TeamRedmon)
Dec 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Review from

"Well. So are you a friend, or are you a foe?"
"How can I know that yet? We've only just met."

Suzy and her brother, Lim, live with their abusive mother in Morris Grove. The events that take place in their home are absolutely horrific and evil. Their mother needs to be stopped, but none of the terrible people in their lives will stop her. So Suzy and Lim have to kill her and burn down the house. While they flee the murder scene, they leave a trail of bodies and
Ashley (bookishmommy)
Dec 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Review to come at
Michael Hicks
Jan 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
My review of TRUE CRIME can be found at High Fever Books.

In the build-up to it’s release, I’ve seen a number of comparisons being made between Samantha Kolesnik’s debut and Jack Ketchum’s The Girl Next Door. It’s a fair comparison, and although True Crime doesn’t cut as bone-deep as Ketchum’s justifiably highly regarded emotional and psychological assault against its readers, Kolesnik certainly knows how to worm around a reader’s brain and make their soul ache.

Right from its opening pages, the
Octavia (ReadsWithDogs)
Grey slush is what my mind feels like after reading TRUE CRIME.

This short little book packs a huge punch and it's brutal!!

The cover compares it to Jack Ketchum's Girl Next Door and yup, it's definitely that level of depraved.

If you're looking to read about one girl's descent into madness through abuse and murder and you don't mind disturbing content then you should read TRUE CRIME.

You get right inside the head of a murdery girl and her brother, who she can't help but love despite his crimes.

John Lynch
Dec 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I first became aware of Samantha Kolesnik’s True Crime on Twitter. I’d seen a couple tweets of the excellent cover and was further drawn in by the blurb from Brian Keene. I reached out to the author in hopes of being able to get my hands on a review copy. Shortly thereafter, the copy came in, along with a note from the author, part of which stated she hopes the book leaves and impression. After finishing the book, it’s safe to say it did a lot more than leave an impression.

True Crime is the
Jan 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I’d like to keep the spotlight on True Crime in this review, but before I do so, I need to tell you a short tale from my past. It may seem irrelevant at first, but stick with me, as I think it’s important to understanding the effect this book had on me. When I was in college, I overheard a group of students in one of my classes discussing the film “Requiem for a Dream”. One guy said, “Man, I felt so depressed after seeing that movie. You’ve got to watch it.” Well, that’s all I needed to hear to ...more
Sara Tantlinger
Jan 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
One of my favorite things about horror fiction is that it holds up a mirror to society -- it reflects back on us the ugly truth of a world we have created. It shows us, with no apologies, the worst things about life that we refuse to talk about, and it makes us see those moments with our eyes wide open. That is exactly what the author does here. Kolesnik's writing is impossible to look away from -- she lures you into places you do not want to be, and she does it so well. The charm of the writing ...more
Amanda (readlingoctopus714) Turner
"I was the black sheep, the sheep with teeth, the sheep even the wolf wouldn't eat."

This review is so incredibly hard for me to write. This book was BRUTAL but also beautiful. Kolesnik was born to be a writer; I am in awe that this is her first book. She writes with such directness, but there were also quite a few lines that, while simple, were profoundly gorgeous. There were so many parts that were VERY difficult for me to read (which is literally the only reason I am rating it 4/5 stars). The
Cassie Lola (holo.reader)
4.5 stars, rounded up for GR!
Full blog review:

“I wondered how the world made its villains, and why it never apologized for making them.”

I couldn’t put this one down after starting it, and honestly don’t even know what to say other than: read it. ASAP. I’m obviously going to try for a review, but the major take away here is that you need this book!

As someone who had a pretty unfortunate childhood, reading about certain things is sometimes tough for me.
Jan 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
4.5 stars rounded up for Goodreads. In participation with #Ladiesfirst20 this was my first read of 2020.

This was a heavy read and not for the faint of heart. Full of blood, violence, abuse (mental, physical and sexual) and utterly despicable characters.

Samantha Kolesnik pulls absolutely no punches with her debut novel giving us a hard hitting tale. The story focuses on a young girl by the name of Suzy. She lives with her older brother Lim and their sorry excuse for a mother. The mother is a
Jan 12, 2020 rated it liked it
This is a very dark graphic novella, which I liked but didn't love.

I really struggled with the writing style of this book. I'm not sure what it was about it but I just struggled to connect.

I personally think this book would have been better as a full length novel rather than a novella.

There was some big jumps in time, which were confusing because they weren't really labelled. I also would have liked to have got to know the characters and their backstories more. I feel like everything was very
D.K. Hundt
Jan 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
TRUE CRIME, published by Grindhouse Press, is Samantha Kolesnik’s first novel and one I won’t soon forget. As the reader, you’re immediately pulled into the life Suzy and her brother, Lim, endure at the hands of their abusive mother, which gives reason to their mindset - the instinct to survive at any cost - throughout the rest of the book.

‘We wriggled our ways and spread our pain everywhere we were spotted...An infestation that made newscasters lick their lips. Over dinner, they relished in
Aiden Merchant
Jan 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
4.5 - This is a genuinely difficult book to read, due to its child abuse/rape and murders. I was truly sickened more than once during the course of "True Crime," but I continued reading because the story was also horrifically engrossing. Similar to the driving force of "You" by Caroline Kepnes, "True Crime" is fueled by the firsthand accounts of a psychotic character that is uncomfortably captivating.

"True Crime" will be a major trigger for some, no doubt, but if you can handle the terrible
Sara Monahan
Jan 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
Review at!
Horror DNA
Dec 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: steve-pattee
When friend and fellow reviewer Shane Keene messaged me on Twitter alerting me of the availability of review copies for Samantha Kolesnik's True Crime, I took notice because when Shane tells me to read something, I do. Every reader I know has ‘that person’ whose recommendations are always rock solid, and Shane is my ‘that person’. If I wasn’t already sold, Brian Keene’s front-cover quote definitely would have sealed the deal:

A debut with the power of a nuclear bomb. Ranks alongside Jack Ketchum
April Huppenthal Dickerson
Samantha Kolesnik is known for her horror screenplays and independent horror movies. I'm looking forward to reading her book when it gets published in January 2030.
Dec 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Proper review to come, but let me just say this this book is a stunning debut. Kolesnik is a talented writer and I will follow her anywhere. The themes of the book were dark and difficult, but Kolesnik writes in such a gorgeous and precise way that I needed to keep reading.

I can’t wait to write more about this book after I gather my thoughts!

HERE WE GO!! Cut and pasted from my blog:

What I liked:

- Samantha's writing is exceptional. Her style is precise and direct. She'll slip in a sentence so
Don Gillette
Jan 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
A positively riveting tale of despair, revenge, and pathos without the inclusion of what we've come to expect as the normal clichéd redemption.
True Crime is a fairly quick read thanks to the relatively rapid pace of the narration and the every-changing landscape. Characterization is sound: detailed where it needs to be and sketchy when it's appropriate.
I've seen a lot of comparisons to Jack Ketchum's The Girl Next Door which lead me to believe some folks didn't read the book past the first few
Tattooed Bibliophile
Jan 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
"The world never accepted the unwanted child. Firmer than any scripture was the belief that no matter how ugly or horrid a child could be, at least the child's mother would love it. Perhaps the worst damage to society had been the perpetuation of this myth...for it orphaned Lim and me. It orphaned all of us. The unwanted. The abused. The raped.

The Unloved."

Suzy and her brother Lim are The Unloved. Raised by a woman who raped and abused her, Suzy is about as sane as you'd expect. In other words,
Jan 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned, horror
**I received an ARC from the author.**

So, True Crime is the debut novella of Samantha Kolesnik and clocks in at 143 pages. I'll tell you, it may be short but packs an incredible punch.

In the story, the reader takes a gripping look into the mind of a deeply disturbed young girl. Written in the first person narrative, we are at times privy to her innermost thoughts and come to understand that there is a serious disconnect between her and the world around her. My two favorite lines from the book
Lucas Mangum
Jan 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
For nearly a decade and a half, you couldn't talk about female violence in literature without mentioning the name Gillian Flynn. Going forward, you won't be able to do so without mentioning Samantha Kolesnik. With her debut TRUE CRIME, she firmly cements her place in the canon. TRUE CRIME is bleak, nuanced, and frankly, just beautifully written. TRUE CRIME may wear its influences on its sleeves, but it transcends them, becoming something far more interesting. It's a meditation on the shadow ...more
Kevin Jones
Jan 16, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A brutal character study of how a brutal world creates villains and monsters with no apologies. Suzy was a surprisingly complex character, broken by abuse but still fascinated by the idea of redemption. Some things are beyond repair though, and redemption has its limits. This was without a doubt a tough read filled with disturbing scenes of violence. I appreciated, however, the complexity of Suzy’s character in plumbing the depths of some truly dark material.
Jan 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
4.5/5 star read. Please check out my BookTube review below.

True Crime is a fast paced, dark, brutal and very intriguing debut novella. I'm looking forward to what Samantha Kolesnik writes in the future since she's proven she's a strong horror writer with this book!
Dec 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arcs
I want to say a huge thanks to the author for letting me read a review copy in exchange for my review! I read this in ONE SITTING!!

Ok! Let's start with how the cover alone caught my attention then you have an amazing blurb by Brian Keene (a favorite author who won't steer you wrong) right in front. So you're walking into what you know is a real treat. The back of the book resembles a newspaper article as well with Ketchum Plumbing. SOLD!!

Now onto the story, it takes place with an older brother
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Samantha Kolesnik is an award-winning writer and film director living in central Pennsylvania. Her screenplays and short films have been recognized at top genre film festivals and her fiction has appeared in notable literary magazines including The Bitter Oleander, The William and Mary Review, and Barnstorm. She is one of the co-founders of the Women in Horror Film Festival. True Crime is her ...more
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“To come in as a murderer and to murder is one thing. To come in as a friend, but to be a foe is another. Deceit is really the true crime of humanity.” 0 likes
“I was the black sheep, the sheep with teeth, the sheep even the wolf wouldn’t eat.” 0 likes
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