This book is an experience. For me, in particular. I was about five pages in when the news broke. They caught the bastard. After reading the book, I cThis book is an experience. For me, in particular. I was about five pages in when the news broke. They caught the bastard. After reading the book, I caught back up on podcasts (MFM from the book tour, the publisher's limited one etc) and I've seen many people were really creeped out by these crimes and checking windows and only reading in the daytime but I think the knowledge that he was caught made this a slightly safer read for me. I had already been impressed by the way Ms. McNamara tells us details (often messy) but never dwells or lingers on them, so I wasn't as upset by the crimes (or titillated at all) as I could have been. It all felt very respectful. If you're unsettled by violence, or, like me, have lost a stomach for horrible things since getting older and becoming a parent, this is perfect.
This book stays almost as much of a memoir as it is a true crime investigation, talking about the author's life and early interest in true crime as a framework for what makes someone become so interested, almost obsessed, in a case. I had never read True Crime Diary and this was my first experience with Michelle McNamara's writing, so I don't have a frame of reference for is it is always like this, but it keeps you engaged and connected even as the number of detectives and investigators come in and out of the narrative. There were a lot of smart choices, like the one to not go over every single rape and murder, there were so many and I think the reader can feel the scope of his evil and his crimes without dwelling so much on each one. (Her husband, Patton, has confirmed this on the book tour as a choice as opposed to she hadn't gotten to it before her death) I even think it was an effective choice to end Ms. McNamara's chapters as abruptly and without warning as her passing was. The book was compiled and completed by one person with a crime writing background but no particular interest in the case and one person deeply involved in the 'armchair detective' scene of the case but no real writing background. Both were close friends of hers and it is easy to tell that this became important to them for her.
I really haven't done much (book) reading of modern true crime other than Ann Rule so I'm glad I impulsively pre-ordered this, and the timing was really cool. (I think it is hard to find that fine line of describing the crimes without "enjoying" them) I wonder if future editions will have a coda of some sort, an additional chapter about the capture, then maybe even trial and further. I feel like I was reading a living history. Highly recommended....more
I enjoyed it, for a quick hour read, but it did have some real problems. I'm not interested in re-reading. At many points, it read more like an outlineI enjoyed it, for a quick hour read, but it did have some real problems. I'm not interested in re-reading. At many points, it read more like an outline. Part of why I like 'fake romance' stories is the faking it in front of other people aspect, and every time Cam's dad walked in or they went to a party, we cut ahead to a new scene. That was super frustrating. We don't even really get the Cinderella thing where we get some angst over her poor circumstances and see her enjoying the new-but-likely-temporary riches. Those are the best parts and they're completely skipped.
Now, here I may not actually know what I'm talking about, as I don't know anything about the author or her other books, but there were points I thought this might be a Christian romance. A spicy one, absolutely, but still. There were some overtones about values and some particular phrases that jumped out at me (view spoiler)[a lot of the military worship and evil mother tropes for one, the combo of single mother AND virgin, for another (hide spoiler)] and there's nothing really wrong with that, but I like books to be honest about what they are. ...more