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True Crime

4.09  ·  Rating details ·  504 ratings  ·  191 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 4.09  · 
Rating details
 ·  504 ratings  ·  191 reviews

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Sadie Hartmann
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, brav
Sep 01, 2020 rated it liked it
this was an effective little horror story, for sure. it's got the small-town, fucked-up vibes down....there were plenty of things in here that made my stomach flip (abuse, rape, animal cruelty, murder, etc) but at the same time i feel like it lacked the length necessary to really land an emotional punch???
we are just dropped into the middle of the character's lives and the story takes off with not much attention to background/development. then, once things get moving, it felt like samantha kole
Everyone called you sweet before they defiled you. A virgin was nothing if not ripe for the teeth.
This shocking debut novella follows a young girl named Suzy and her brother Lim, on a killing spree after escaping their abusive mother. It's an intense character piece exploring what might lead to the creation of a sociopath like Suzy. With staggering and powerfully insightful prose, Author Samantha Kolesnik is unflinching, pulling absolutely no punches here, forcing us to go on this jo
TRUE CRIME was a brutal novella which, to my mind, was about the cycle of violence abuse engenders within families, and which then ripples outward to the world.

Being a novella, every single word counts and Ms. Kolesnik masterfully used those words to impact the reader.

Recommended to those readers who can stomach severe abuse, (though most appears off-screen), so to speak.

*I bought this novella with my hard earned cash.*
Bark  |  Ladies Of Horror Fiction
I was a little afraid of this book once the comparisons to Ketchum’s THE GIRL NEXT DOOR and J.F. Gonzalez’s SURVIVOR were made. I’ll be honest here and admit that I barely made it through the first and the second was a struggle. There’s one scene in SURVIVOR that I would like scrubbed from my brain, please. But, in my opinion, for whatever that is worth, this book reminds me more of Lynda Barry’s CRUDDY Cruddy, and that book was never a struggle. It is filled with devastation and horrible events ...more
Janelle Janson
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 behavio
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
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 cat ...more
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
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 mot
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 a
Glenn Rolfe
Feb 27, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great debut

TRUE CRIME is a fantastic, bold break into the world of Horror fiction. I can't wait to see what this author does next.
Cassie Daley
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. T
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 destru
The Behrg
May 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Deceit is really the true crime of humanity.”

The killers on the run idea has been done to death, as has the psychopathic emotionally distant murderer with no remorse. So what else is there that can be said in this genre?

Apparently, a lot.

Kolesnik takes your expectations and shatters them, delivering an emotionally powerful story that will resonate with readers long after the book's final page. Reading "True Crime" is sort of like watching a master magician perform. You know you're being manipul
Jan 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book is worth every ounce of the hype that built up to its release.

It's a short, brutal read. Some parts are hard to stomach, but none of them are gratuitous - they're all part of the picture drawn of a lost and damaged soul. Kolesnik has a gift with prose, with tapping into and exposing all the dark things that can happen to a human soul. I felt like I was reading a true story, the internal workings of a girl spiraling down from her own misdeeds, and the things that had been done to her.
Cody | CodysBookshelf
Jan 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
Grim, taut, and well-written, I’m glad I picked up this novella (the author’s debut!), if only because it’s not really like anything I’ve read before in the horror genre.

This one is a bit more hard-hitting and gruesome than I usually like to read, but I quite enjoyed the ride. It didn’t overstay its welcome; it was just right. I was concerned things would get repetitive—and they easily could have—but the author has a clear grasp on plot and character motivation.

I think what I appreciate most i
Feb 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
I liked a lot about this book, but it fucked with me a little.

It addressed a theme I think a lot about lately, and that is the fact that many people are barely hanging on.

I liked that it dealt with self-hate, and despising one’s own body because it is just a receptacle for pain and suffering.

But goddamn if this book wasn’t violent and bleak as all hell. The second half was a bit tamer, but the first part of the book always kept me guessing. That was admirable. It was kind of a bait and switch,
Ashley (bookishmommy)
Dec 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Review to come at
Chris Berko
Mar 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
Heart-wrenching, gut-wrenching, whatever other kind of wrenching you might want to throw in applies as this book is a two-black-eye-causing, straight punch to the nose. It starts out depressing and horrifying and pretty much spins out of control from there. Its tone is dark and brooding and bleak but then there are passages like this: "I wondered how the world made its villains and why it never apologized" or "you can be the best damn parent Monday through Saturday but if you hit your kid on Sun ...more
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
Mark Matthews
Jan 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Five of the biggest stars this cold universe can offer. This is a brutal, captivating story, but told with a remarkable sweetness. Sweetness may not be the word, maybe a unique blend of sinister naivety?. I'll keep searching, but there's the depth of the abyss in these pages.  The main character is, in a sense, the anti-Holden Caulfield— instead of the loss of innocence, this is a character who never had the innocence to speak of, and if JD Salinger was said to have loved his character's more th ...more
Richelle SheReadsHorror
One day, the True Crime magazine prints an article that’s shows it all. Usually the magazine would be very PG with its pictures but on this day it showed all the gruesome and bloody details. Suzy romanticizes the killing tidbits in the articles and would envision herself in the killer’s mind. Suzy and her brother grew up abused so seeing this picture gave her a fire to ignite the pit in her soul. She wouldn’t take it any more which leads to her and her brother going on a cross country killing sp ...more
Andrew Fowlow
Jul 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
Suzy and Lim are a brother and sister duo that live an abusive life at the hands of their mother. Every person has a limit and when Suzy finds hers, nobody is safe. After finally escaping their mother's grasp and leaving their old life behind, they embark on a murderous escapade that bodes unwell for everyone and anyone that crosses them.

What an amazing novella. This was the most heartwrenching and bleak stories I have ever or likely will ever read. Forget blood, sweat and tears. Samantha Kolesn
Chandra Claypool (WhereTheReaderGrows)
Well this wasn't a fun read in any aspect and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I'm not sure what that says about me but WOW. I've seen a lot of discussion about this novella when it first came out and I think due to the discussions, I was expecting... worse... and I mean that in terms of abuse and graphicness of scenes. Don't get me wrong - they're pretty graphic... I was just expecting something more for some sordid reason. But I seem to have a harder shell when it comes to these kinds of reads than mo ...more
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 cri
Jan 19, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: horror, thriller, fiction
I had a few false starts with this book. Don't get me wrong it's amazingly written, short and to the point. I read half way through and I just couldn't finish it. It is the mark of a great writer when the story makes you feel so many things. It's just that it brought up a lot of stuff. I just couldn't keep going. Since I started the book, I haven't felt like myself. So I had to put it down.

It is raw,and original. I don't think I have ever read anything like it.
Oct 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I don't know what to say about this besides that it was fantastic and awful and made me really reflect on my own life? ...more
Levi Walls
Apr 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book was not what I needed right now. You know how sometimes you read a book and it’s really well written, but you’re just not feeling it at that time?! This was not one of those times! This book was written so well that I couldn’t help but be drawn along and amazed by this fast paced, heartbreaking, talented debut. It was so good that even though it wasn’t the right thing at the right time, I couldn’t help but be impressed and give it all the stars. I think I will personally take a break f ...more
Steve Stred
Feb 10, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
** Edited as review is now live on Kendall Reviews! **

When a debut release by an author gets as much love as a book like ‘True Crime’ does, you say to yourself ‘self, we should read this, yeah?’ So, Steve answered himself (god how lame is this!) and snagged this book from Amazon and dove in!

‘True Crime’ is a two-part story; a before and an after. It is peppered throughout with some back story, but for the most part, we follow our characters along in the before and the after.

The before opens the
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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 firs ...more

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