Another delightful romp from Carl Hiaasen! Like most of his novels, Skin Tight was a roller coaster ride through South Florida from start to finish. IAnother delightful romp from Carl Hiaasen! Like most of his novels, Skin Tight was a roller coaster ride through South Florida from start to finish. It all starts when a mysterious dead body washes up on the shores of Biscayne Bay. The recently deceased is (apparently) a member of the mob and the cause of death is impalement by marlin. It just gets crazier from there. As with most of his novels, Skin Tight hosts a crazy cast of characters, including an unqualified plastic surgeon, good cops, slimy cops, supermodels and actresses, and a TV journalist named "Reynaldo Flemm" who bears a striking resemblance to Geraldo Rivera. Given the novel was written in 1989, one of the best parts was all the archaic references to a time where cell phones were rare and Internet searches were practically non-existent. Hiaasen is always good for an easy summer read! ...more
This book was intriguing and disturbing. As with most true crime, it's like a horrible car crash from which you just can't turn away. Marzano-LesnevicThis book was intriguing and disturbing. As with most true crime, it's like a horrible car crash from which you just can't turn away. Marzano-Lesnevich recounts her experience as a young law student, working on the case of Ricky Langley, a convicted child molester and murderer who kills a six year old boy in Louisiana and is sentenced to die. When she begins her work on the case, his death penalty conviction has been overturned and he is sentenced to life in prison. What the case does for the author, though, is dredge up her own experiences with sexual abuse. She creates a "compare and contrast" story that is a reflection on the long-standing impact that abuse (or other circumstances) can have on a crime. I think it is worth noting that individuals who have a significant abuse history, particularly that of sexual abuse, may find this story very difficult to read.
Some things about the story were very well done. For at least the first half of the book, it's an interesting read. I found both stories compelling and wanted to know more about Alex and Ricky's "origin stories". (Again, it's like watching a car crash.) I appreciated the fact that the author uses detailed notes and makes it fairly clear which details she has "recreated" based on facts available to her from over 30,000 pages of trial transcripts and other evidence as well as her experience investigating the story. I also think that her retelling of her own survivor story is raw, honest, and compelling. She doesn't pull punches and she makes it very clear that she is still a person in need of healing and support. Marzano-Lesnevich also allows the reader to draw some interesting comparisons to how class and circumstance can impact situations: the ability to access services, family support, opportunities that make abuse and crime easier (or harder) to occur. One might wonder if her middle to upper middle class upbringing were a little different, would she even be able to write this book.
On a more critical note, there were moments when the author's writing was beautiful and full of descriptive prose that sets you right in the middle of the story. However, there were enough moments in the story where sentences were worded awkwardly or parenthetical phrases and sentences seemed overused to the point that it was distracting. I blame the editors for this one, not the author. The stories jump back and forth in time and, for the most part, this is easy to follow. But there were times where she's talking about a situation in 1992 and then says things like "years from now, this will happen" or "when this many years ago, such and such happened". Sometimes this flowed well but other times, it was awkward and confusing.
The author's portrayal of her family is interesting, relying on snatches of memory and impressions that felt unsympathetic and unfulfilling. Perhaps it is part of the way she is processing her grief, but I thought she described her parents through the lens of her view of them as a child, rather than through the reflection of adulthood and experience.
Finally, I found the ending to be very unfulfilling. I think what I wanted more than anything was to see that the author, certainly a person of intelligence and reasonable means, was taking the awareness of her abuse and its impact on her life and doing something more than just writing about it. She makes very fleeting references to "her therapist" or getting help for what is, clearly, still a very painful experience in her life. Her relationships with family members have been forever altered because of this abuse and it did not come across that she was anywhere close to moving towards healing. Perhaps that is where she is, and that's very sad. This book certainly highlights the lasting impact that abuse of any kind can have, on both individuals and society at large, and also sheds some light on how our justice system and social support system impacts these cycles of abuse (for better or worse). It is a testament of her courage and resilience that she has survived to this point in her life to be an accomplished writer, teacher, and researcher and I hope that this story functions to offer more healing in the future. ...more
What would happen if the descendants of the iconic Sherlock Holmes and John Watson ended up at a Connecticut boarding school together? They would becoWhat would happen if the descendants of the iconic Sherlock Holmes and John Watson ended up at a Connecticut boarding school together? They would become best friends and solve crimes (of course!). This is the premise behind A Study in Charlotte, and it's a delightful read.
James (or Jamie) Watson finds himself shipped off to America and enrolled at Sherringford on a rugby scholarship, where he meets up with the enigmatic Charlotte Holmes. Charlotte is living up to the eclectic genius of her great (x3) grandfather with her incredible intelligence, standoffish nature, and her uncanny ability to read others. As Jamie just starts to get to know Charlotte, a student is murdered and it appears that someone is trying to frame Holmes and Watson for the crime.
What ensues is a classic whodunit mystery spun with a modern flair. There are references to the original Sherlock Holmes mysteries, but this was a fun read even if you've never been a huge fan of the Arthur Conan Doyle classics. I particularly enjoyed some of the subtle touches, such as Sherringford dorms named after famous authors (Stevenson, Michener) and just enough hyperbole to toe the line between realistic fiction and fantasy. Once the climax of the novel hits, the transition to the finish is a bit lengthier than probably necessary, but it sets things up nicely for the next "Holmes and Watson" adventures that will come in the sequel. This was a fun take on a classic genre. ...more