TCT Update: A Graphic Novel Murder – Let’s Discuss Motive!

Please read the “TCT Disclaimer” under the True Crime tab at the top of the page before reading any true crime posts.

Now, I know it’s not Tuesday, but if you read my post from last week about Blake Leibel, the trust fund douche-canoe who murdered his girlfriend just weeks after she gave birth to their daughter, then you have been waiting with bated breath for an update on the trial.

Or you’ve been waiting with normal breath, no irregular breathing pattern at all. That seems more likely.

Breaking News: about 12 hours ago, the jury came back with its decision.

GUILTY.

Like, duh.

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So, it’s officially time for True Crime Tuesday – Thursday Update… or something like that. It would be better if I had some kind of flashing graphics for this.

Continue reading “TCT Update: A Graphic Novel Murder – Let’s Discuss Motive!”

Review: Missing, Presumed (DS Manon, #1) by Susan Steiner

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★★

The Borough Press | 2016

If you’ve ever thought to yourself “what would Bridget Jones be like as a homicide detective?” then I think you’ll want to read this book.

I myself have never wondered about Bridget Jones taking on different career paths, (really she does enough of that in her own stories,) but now that I have some idea of what a “DS Jones” would look like, I’ll tell you, it doesn’t work.

Missing, Presumed is the first book in the DS Manon Bradshow series – a UK police procedural revolving around the disappearance of the twenty-something daughter of a prominent doctor.

Overall I found this to be severely lacking on the police procedural part and overwrought on the personal “character-study” side, like to such annoying degree that I’m physically disappointed by this book. And also fucking exhausted. It’s certainly not what it was presented to be on the jacket or in the blurbs.

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Review: The Last Mrs. Parrish by Liv Constantine

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Harper | 2017

“What we’ve got here is a failure to communicate.” 

This quote from the 1967 film, COOL HAND LUKE, basically sums up how I’m feeling after reading this book. And I’ve never even seen the movie. The quote just came to me, as a thing I know somehow, deep from within the pop culture recesses of my mind. There’s a lot of useless information in there.

I might also go with: “…in the galaxy of This Sucks Camel Dicks!” Stepbrothers.

What I mean to say is: I wish the publishers hadn’t stuffed this novel into the psychological-thriller genre just because that’s where all the cool kids are, and had instead been honest about what this book is: a dark romance meets women’s fiction meets soap opera intrigue with a terrible, TERRIBLE message.

It’s not a thriller. I’m sorry, but no. I am not thrilled.

Had I known this from the start, I would have passed on reading it, because this level of dramatic soap-opera nutty-ness is just not my thing. It lacks humour and humanity, and is overpopulated with terrible one-liners, cliches and silly dialogue and tropes that feel like a reenactment. And the writing is derivative and basic.

Not to mention, the internal misogyny that permeates the entire theme gets my feminist hackles up.

Anyway… I didn’t know I shouldn’t read this, so I did, and now I have library late fees and a shitty review to write, so buckle up, bitches!

(This could get mildly spoiler-y because I’m going to rant, so if you’re super excited to read this, here’s my takeaway: Don’t waste your time with this, unless you’re cool with domestic abuse being legitimized. Otherwise, read on!)

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Review: Eighth Grave After Dark (Charley Davidson, #8) by Darynda Jones

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★★

St. Martin’s Press | 2015

It physically hurts to say this, like I have bad gas, but I must tell the truth: I did not like this book.

I really do love this series and the characters have a special place in my heart, but WHAT IN THE HOLY-HELL IS GOING ON?

This can be my problem with long-running series: at some point, the author wants to take things to a new, unexpected level, but because the story has been going on for so long the only place left to take readers is right off the fucking rails.

And this is the book in Charley Davidson’s adventures that dropped off the tracks and decided to go careening off a bridge.

First of all, this book read more like a romance erotica novel than a true Charley Davidson instalment.

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Review: Never Never (Detective Harriet Blue, #1) by James Patterson & Candice Fox

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★★½

Century | 2016

Literally two of my three book-related New Years resolutions for 2018 were to stop reading James Patterson and I’ve already failed. It’s only March! What is wrong with me?!

Don’t answer that.

My only consolation is that this wasn’t totally fucking awful.

Candice Fox is an excellent writer on her own. She’s obviously the reason this book is at least relatively well written, if not still an emotional flatliner that is full of logic-holes.

It maintains the typical Patterson style of short chapters and colourful characters who lack depth, plus the typical “detective chasing a serial killer” plot that doesn’t attempt to bring anything new to the genre.

But what this book does have, which other Patterson novels don’t, is more realistic dialogue and a female lead that doesn’t irritate me when she calls everyone “butterfly” and has to hug her friends because she hasn’t seen them for a whole five minutes.

*cough Women’s Murder Club cough*

Continue reading “Review: Never Never (Detective Harriet Blue, #1) by James Patterson & Candice Fox”

Review: Black-Eyed Susans by Julia Heaberlin

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★★★½

Ballantine Books | 2015

This is just an OK book about O.J. Simpson.

Oh, I’m sorry, it’s not about O.J. Simpson? He’s just talked about incessantly?

My bad.

So, this is a pretty good suspense-mystery that is not about O.J. Simpson.

But who are we kidding? There really is no O.J. mystery.

He did it.

Black-Eyed Susans follows Tessa, the only surviving victim of a serial killer. Known as “the lucky one,” her body was left in a ditch covered in the ominous yellow flowers and surrounded by the remains of three other women. Now 32, with a daughter and a life she’s scraped together with determination and strength, Tessa has to face the consequences of the testimony she gave at her accused killer’s trial because she’s not totally convinced the right man is behind bars.

But just like everyone else in the history of mystery novels, the bitch has amnesia and can’t remember what happened to her. Dun dun dunnnn…

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With the execution looming, Tessa teams up with the inmate’s lawyers and forensic experts, to find the truth. Who were the other victims? Is her killer still free? Where did her best friend disappear to fifteen years ago? And who keeps planting black-eyed-susans in her garden?

And ALSO, just what do Americans think Canadian bacon is?

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Review: Final Girls by Riley Sager

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★★★★★

Dutton | 2017

It’s my birthday and I’m King of the World!

Okay, it’s not my birthday, nor am I a king, but that’s how this book makes me feel.

I’m not going to shame other people for their opinions on this one, but I will say if you didn’t like it, I truly believe you missed the beauty of what Riley Sager did here.

But, still, no judgement. I respect you all, I’m just a little bit in love with this novel.

At Pine Cottage, ten years earlier, Quincy Carpenter emerges from the woods, bloody and screaming, the only survivor of a murderous massacre. We’re talking slasher-flick-sized proportions. The only problem is, Quincy has repressed all memories of that night. She has no idea what happened.

By surviving this horrific event, Quincy becomes a member of a very exclusive club dubbed in the media as The Final Girls. 

“Final girls is film-geek speak for the last woman standing at the end of a horror movie.”

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Review: Seventh Grave and No Body (Charley Davidson, #7) by Darynda Jones

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★★★½

St. Martin’s Press | 2014

So, in this instalment we follow our hero (sans coffee, the horror!) as she balances running from the 12 hell hounds sent to kill her, trying to solve a Friday The 13th style mystery, testing her growing abilities, learning more about whether she’s going to save or destroy the world as per the big ole prophecy; dealing with being pregnant with Beep, and of course, delving deeper into her dysfunctional relationship with Reyes.

At this point, fans pretty much know what they’re going to get when they pick up a Charley book. There’s not a lot to say about this series that hasn’t already been said, or can’t be said exclusively with gifs and some swear words.

Also, I don’t like pregnant Charley.

Babies ruin everything. There I said it.

If the overall prophecy arc has been a favourite part of this series for you, then you’re in luck! We learn so much more about what the eff is really going on, including all that Charley is capable of and what her destiny is shaping up to be.

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Review: White Bodies by Jane Robins

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★★★½

Atria Books | 2017

If you’ve ever wanted to eat your sister’s hair, this book is for you.

Or if you just like reading twisty novels about obsession, with a dose of weirdness, then definitely try this. I will in no way assume it’s because you also eat your sister’s hair.

This novel has a decidedly bleak, gloomy and unsettled atmosphere hanging over it, with a noir quality that is subtle, but evident. Combine that with twins and the “murder exchange” trope and you’ve got yourself something that can only fail in its cliches.

Callie is the ugly twin. Tilda is the beautiful one. I’m going to be honest, they both have serious mental health issues even if Tilda wants to play like only Callie does. Callie is a quiet, meek follower. Tilda is a leader, controlling and determined.

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Opinion: The Staunch Book Prize & Violence Against Women in Fiction

Listen, this isn’t going to be an easy lighthearted booknerd post, okay? I have some actual real thoughts that I want to put down. It might be long, so if you stick around for the whole thing I’ll be your best friend. And I’m a pretty good friend. I can talk some good shit about your enemies, or find you some enemies if you don’t have any, and then talk shit about them.

I always have wine and weed at my house that I’ll share, I can fill your Instagram DMs with dank memes, and if you want to cancel plans at the last minute instead of going out, that’s okay with me because I was probably thinking of doing the same thing.

qf8uf

So…

There’s a new book prize that is specifically designed to honour thrillers that don’t contain violence against women. Colour me intrigued.

“The inaugural Staunch Book Prize will be awarded to the author of a novel in the thriller genre in which no woman is beaten, stalked, sexually exploited, raped or murdered.”

Part of me is giving this a thumbs up and thinking how is it 2018 and this is a new idea? And another part of me is having some conflicting emotions about it because of comments made surrounding it.

I love crime thrillers and serial killer stories, without shame, and yes, they mostly always contain violence against women. So, is it me? Am I shitty feminist? I try, but maybe my own misogyny runs so deep I didn’t even know it was there?

I feel like I need to be introspective about this. Because, I’ll be honest, I’ve never even considered the fact that most of literature I read is consistently about women being victimized in some way.

Continue reading “Opinion: The Staunch Book Prize & Violence Against Women in Fiction”