Book Review: Stiff – Two Years, 262 Bodies, and the Making of a Medical Examiner by Judy Melinek and T.J. Mitchell

“To confront death every day, to see it yourself, you have to love the living.”

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★★★★★

Scribner | 2014

Opening Autopsy: Putting the Y-incision in a “Y-incision party!”

Main Medical Examiner: A nerd goddess

Plot Truthy-ness: Just a doctor who loves her work and wants to share it.


Oh. My. Fairy. Godmother. I loved this fucking book!

Judy Melinek is my new role model/inspiration board/personal icon.

No, no. Judy Melinek is my Patronus!

Yes, that feels right.

Goddamn, this was some good stuff.

Dr. Judy Melinek – amazing human being and most badass bitch I’ve read about it since I can’t even remember when – takes you on a journey through the first two years of her career after she started a forensic pathology fellowship at the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in New York City.

I swear to Jebus, this bitch is living the dreams I would have had if I hadn’t recognized early on in my life that I have zero talent or brain cells dedicated to understanding science.

The romanticized/dramatized version of being an M.E. is that it’s all homicides all the time, and that you’re in the shit with the detectives solving crimes.

And that’s really not at all accurate. I mean I totally knew that on a logically level, but I still love those crime shows. So sue me.

Continue reading “Book Review: Stiff – Two Years, 262 Bodies, and the Making of a Medical Examiner by Judy Melinek and T.J. Mitchell”

Top Ten: Mystery and Thriller Releases for Q2 of 2019!

I can hardly believe it’s already April! I feel like I say that a lot around here, but it’s true. Maybe it’s aging. Time just seems to fly by at a rate I am incredibly uncomfortable with.

It’s like one day your fine and the next day you can’t fit into any of your clothes and you have no idea what happened, but there wasn’t any time in between, even though there was totally like four years.

felicity jones snl GIF by Saturday Night Live

So, while I deal making my expanding ass smaller (still), I’m also realizing I definitely don’t read as many books as I should be able to in all this time that’s passing by. I am much better at finding new books that I want to read, instead of actually reading them. Don’t hate the player, hate the game.

This post is going to be another example of me endlessly adding books to my TBR when I still have so many unfinished ones. And despite making a new years resolution to increase my Netgalley score this year, I’ve made very little progress on that.

It might actually be worse, if I’m honest. Oops.

Speaking of honest, what I’ve been able to get out for this little blog seems to have dropped recently and I’m sorry and I’ll tell you why and I think you’ll understand.

My manager moved into a desk that allows her a view of my computer.

That’s it. For real.

I write most of my posts at work because it’s when I have the most free time. That’s sounds hilarious, but it’s the truth. And since my manager moved desks, there is just not enough security for me to successfully fuck around on things that are definitely not work related.

I’ll have to figure out a better schedule for my reviews and posts. I promise I will. Take right now for instance – I’m catching up on Scientology and the Aftermath (cults woot woot!) and eating dinner and slowly working away at building my list of what I’m most excited about coming out in the next 3 months.

Get your book budgets ready!

Continue reading “Top Ten: Mystery and Thriller Releases for Q2 of 2019!”

Review: Helter Skelter – The True Story of the Manson Murders by Vincent Bugliosi with Curt Gentry

“You can convince anybody of anything if you just push it at them all of the time. They may not believe it 100 percent, but they will still draw opinions from it, especially if they have no other information to draw their opinions from.”

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★★★★

W.W. Norton & Company | 1974

Opening Brainwashing: The lowest of low hanging fruit.

Main Cult Leader: The folk singer with the swastika seems on the up-and-up

True Crimey-ness: Pop culture murder


Everyone and their mother knows the story of Charles Manson. Or at least the bullet points, because the bullet points are fucking insane. Crazy “hippie” cult leader who brainwashed otherwise normal young people into brutally murdering pregnant actress Sharon Tate and her house guests in the Hollywood Hills in 1969.

Everyone knows the blurb. Everyone knows the images of Manson and his craziest moments. Everyone has seen, at some point, that image of three happy girls singing on their way to their murder trial with swastikas on their foreheads. Everyone knows that Sharon Tate was pregnant because it’s those kinds of headline specifics that make your stomach turn or your jaw drop.

The famous imagines and soundbites are so robust and insane and sensational, and seared into pop culture by our own doing, that it led me to believe that I knew basically everything there was to know about this case. Or that I had enough of an understanding that reading this book was going to be just to say that I’d read it. It’s kind of a must for true crime fans, in my sometimes abrasive opinion.

But I was wrong.

There is so much information to be gleaned from this book by the prosecutor who convicted Manson, Vincent Bugliosi. Helter Skelter is a broad picture of Manson’s crimes, his early life and his followers that I found it utterly fascinating, even if the narrator of the audiobook sounded like he stepped right out of Fast Talking, High Trousers.

Image result for fast talking high trousers
Continue reading “Review: Helter Skelter – The True Story of the Manson Murders by Vincent Bugliosi with Curt Gentry”

True Crime Tuesday: Bradford Bishop, Fugitive.

This weekend my husband and I were watching Dateline – or I should say, I was watching Dateline and my husband was barely paying attention, looking at his phone instead.

His interest was piqued when he realized the case was about a woman scorned who had tried to poison her lover. She was one of the top breast cancer doctors in the US. She’d saved many lives and was making important strides in cancer treatment. Now she’s serving ten years for attempted murder and will likely lose her medical license.

khloe kardashian GIF

My husband said to me, “why would someone so successful risk everything over a relationship?” Good fucking question. “The dick was really good?” was my quippy retort, but I know that’s not the real answer.

But, why do people risk their own livelihoods, successes and futures for a relationship? It makes no sense from the outside looking in. And yet, it happens all the time. There is an endless supply of Dateline stories about otherwise normal people killing their spouses and mistresses and boyfriends. And getting caught. And losing everything.

Part of me understands the “heat of the moment” thing. Or being so hurt or angry that you see red and don’t really know what you’re doing until it’s over. And part of me understands a cold, calculating anger that waits and plans and poisons. Would I ever do it? I doubt it, but there is something to be said for not being “in your right mind.” I’ve been there a time or two for other reasons. It’s an interesting feeling, to say the least.

Perhaps a great many people understand those emotions. And that’s where our fascination with these kinds of cases comes from. We just don’t get it! …but then, we kind of do.

This, for me, extends to the family annihilator killer as well. As my husband and my conversation progressed, we ended up talking about John List.

Would I ever murder my entire family and then run away? I can’t see myself doing that for a number of reasons that include I don’t like running, I don’t like exerting myself and I don’t deal with open-ended stress well which would certainly follow me as a fugitive. But do I understand how someone could do this? A little bit.

I found myself searching out some of these family annihilator cases and came across Bradford Bishop. Everyone knows the John List story, but I’d never heard of Bishop before that I can remember. He’s super interesting to me because today, he’d be 81 years old. And if he’s still alive, he’s still successfully hiding from justice.

This is the story of William Bradford Bishop Jr.

Continue reading “True Crime Tuesday: Bradford Bishop, Fugitive.”

Review: Stiff – The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach

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★★★★

Penguin | 2004

Overall Grossness: You put that monkey head back where it came from, or so help me!

Best Cadaver: They were all beautiful, in their own dissected ways.

Plot Educational-ness: Thinking about your own expiration date has never been more fun!


I think if you’re into the macabre and that side of life, or death as it were, then this book is probably required reading.

And truth be told, I am not a science-brained kind of girl. Or history. Or geography. Or math. Really anything that requires a level of intelligence that is based on facts and an excessive amount of information and concentration.

These are just not my strong suits. And as much as high school teachers would want to make me feel bad about that with those shitty grades I kept getting, I’ve accepted myself now as an adult. I fully embrace that I will never be able to help my stepkid with science or math homework. He could ask me about English and art though. And I do appreciate logic and thoughtfulness.

I do have some intelligence, y’all!

Continue reading “Review: Stiff – The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach”

Review: The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides

“…we often mistake love for fireworks – for drama and dysfunction. But real love is very quiet, very still. It’s boring, if seen from the perspective of high drama. Love is deep and calm – and constant.”

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★★★★

Celadon Books | 2019

Opening Hook: You know how you want to kill your spouse sometimes?

Main Character: Creases his jeans, eats oatmeal, probably.

Plot Twisty-ness: A clever bitch


There was a lot of hype surrounding this book’s release, and for the most part, it was deserved. I mean, it didn’t totally blow my socks off and it wasn’t necessarily reinventing the wheel when it comes to thrillers with unreliable narrators. But, for a debut novel, it’s pretty impressive and I had a fun time reading it, so one eggplant up for Mr. Michaelides.

Alicia, an artist, killed her photographer husband. Shot him in the head repeatedly while he was tied to a chair, as a matter of fact. And she’s been silent every day since. Locked up in a psych hospital, she hasn’t uttered a word in nearly 7 years.

Theo Faber is a psychotherapist who believes he can crack Alicia’s silent nut. He takes a job in the hospital where she is locked up and starts his mostly one-sided conversations in the hopes of getting Alicia to finally explain why she did what she did to her husband, who by all accounts, she was madly in love with.

And I don’t know about all of you, but while I jokingly say I’d like to murder the shit out of my husband sometimes, I don’t really mean it. Well, mostly I don’t mean it. But I swear to jeebus, when he clips his toenails in bed I could really, truly smother him with a pillow.

Anyway!

Continue reading “Review: The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides”

Review: Blood for Blood (Ziba MacKenzie, #1) by Victoria Selman

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★★★

Thomas & Mercer | 2019

Opening Hook: It’s a blasty-blast

Main Character: If Sherlock Holmes lacked a personality

Plot Twisty-ness: Technically good, missing the feeling.


*shakes fist at sky* I just want to read a legitimately strong female character! Just one!

Okay, so I liked this and it’s also a disappointment in some big ways so… *fart noises*

Here goes my ranty review. I’ll try to highlight the positive stuff, but we all know that’s not my strong suit.

I could give some line about my expectations being too high when it comes to female-led crime fiction, or it’s not the book, it’s me. But I won’t because I refuse to apologize for wanting to find a female character who isn’t desperately crippled by a man in some way which then doesn’t allow for robust characterization to occur within the pages outside of what revolves around that man. It’s fucking annoying me at this point.

Ziba MacKenzie is former special forces and an expert criminal profiler. SPECIAL FUCKING FORCES. She has a huge brain stuffed with lots of knowledge that is both practical and theoretical. Like, she can recite facts about serial killers but can also save lives in dire situations.

Continue reading “Review: Blood for Blood (Ziba MacKenzie, #1) by Victoria Selman”

Review: My Sister, The Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite

Three, and they label you a serial killer.

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★★½

Doubleday Books | 2018

Opening Hook: Rub-a-dub-dub, cleaning blood out of a tub

Main Character: Don’t miss The Amazing Doormat! Watch as she makes terrible decisions!

Plot Twisty-ness: It’s all given away in the title.


I don’t really know how to rate this book totally, so I’m giving half of five stars because that seems the most fair. I mean, honestly, the cover deserves one of those stars just on its own. Talk about fucking gorgeous! I don’t even need words to read after that, honestly.

But when it comes to the words, this wasn’t really what I thought it would be, or what I wanted it to be. It wasn’t bad, it just seemed like the hammer missed the head of the nail. It felt outside of my usual book choices when it comes to fiction even though it really should have been right up my alley.

The gist is: Korede is a nurse who also has a passion for cleaning, or rather a talent for it. She’s also an older sister. She finds herself constantly cleaning up her younger sister Ayoola’s, messes, as older sisters tend to do. But these particular messes come in the form of men that Ayoola has had to kill in the name of self-defence. Each time Korede helps her little sister get rid of a body and finds herself cleaning up blood, her rational brain gets a little bit louder: maybe Ayoola just likes to kill. Maybe she’s a serial killer. Maybe she’s taking advantage of Korede.

When Ayoola starts dating a doctor with whom Korede is secretly in love with, she starts to worry he might be Ayoola’s next victim. A war inside Korede starts to brew between doing what is objectively right and doing what is right as a sister.

“You’re a big sister now, Korede. And big sisters look after little sisters.”

Continue reading “Review: My Sister, The Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite”

True Crime Tuesday: The Moors Murders

Finally another #TCT! I know, I know, I knowwww. It’s been a while since I’ve posted one. I wanted to have this story up last week, but I’ve been super busy both personally and in terms of the reading I’m trying to get done (my goals this year have been lofty so far,) so the draft I’d been working on for the last couple of weeks never saw its way to publication. Whomp whomp.

Another thing I’ve wanted to get posted is a Book Nook Sunday where I finally share images of my finished (for a second time) basement. That’s right! The water damage is repaired, new floors are down and I’ve finally gotten it all put back together. I’ve been down there, under blankets on my nice couches playing Assasin’s Creed: Odyssey all weekend and it’s been glorious!

There are still lots of finishing touches that I want to get done – pictures on the walls, etc. And basically, two of my four bookshelves are totally empty, but trust me I am rapidly correcting that and spending too much money in the process. This includes a trip to Book Outlet’s Box Sale next Friday! It’s the most wonderful time of the year for any booknerds within travel distance!

But enough about me and my bullshit. Let’s talk about Ian Brady and Myra Hindley. Together, between July 1963 and October of 1965, in Manchester, England, they sexually assaulted and killed five children together.

You know what they say: the couple that kills together goes to prison in separate locations and never gets to see each other ever again!

This is The Moors Murders.

Continue reading “True Crime Tuesday: The Moors Murders”

Review: No Exit by Taylor Adams

“The difference between a hero and a victim? Timing.” 

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★★★★★

William Morrow | January 2019

Opening Hook: Did we learn nothing about isolated rest stops from Halloween?!

Main Character: Lady McGuyver

Plot Twisty-ness: Hold-onto-your-bits thrills with a side of snow.


This is my first 5-star read of the year. And thank Thor, because I was starting to get a little cranky since nothing has really been knocking my socks off. Who’s fault is that really? Mine? Because of my choices? Get out of here! I don’t want to here it!

Lalalala…

Reading No Exit was an exercise in cinematic writing. It would be easy to say it was written with a movie option in mind (and maybe it was,) but my gut tells me that what actually happened here is that the plotting and timing of the story are so good, that it comes across in vibrant cinematic scenes in the reader’s mind. And therefore, seems like it should be a movie. And it definitely should.

I would honestly give this five stars just based on the writing skill alone, it was that seamless and riveting. And my friends here know I don’t give out my stars easily. You have to earn this shit from me. You want easy stars? Go to the reviewers who aren’t dead inside with a stick up their ass.

It’s all ass sticks here, baby!

I do it because I love you and I want you to have an honest opinion that isn’t worried about feelings and blah blah blah.

andre braugher brooklyn 99 GIF by Brooklyn Nine-Nine
Continue reading “Review: No Exit by Taylor Adams”