Category Archives: True Crime

Who Killed My Daughter? by Lois Duncan

Author Lois Duncan’s daughter Kait Arquette was murdered. There is no question the Albuquerque police botched the investigation. But Who Killed My Daughter? is basically a poorly written concoction of what the family assumes happened, mainly because of multiple psychics they consulted. Most of the psychic transcripts included are so vague that it’s kind of funny that they decided the psychics meant certain things because what was said could have meant virtually anything. I’ve read a lot of true crime and this was the dullest I’ve ever read. While the author stated her purpose was to encourage someone who knew what led to Kait’s murder (which is still unsolved today) to come forward, it felt more like a mother wanting to tell the story that she has decided led to her daughter’s murder and happens to have a platform where she could do so. It’s not worth anyone’s time to read this book.

1 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2019: 68
Pages Read in 2019: 18,536
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Filed under Reason: Alphabet Soup Challenge, True Crime

True Stories of Crime from the DA’s Office by Arthur Train

True Stories of Crimes from the DA’s Office is a collection of several stories of cases from the district attorney’s office from the very early 1900s. The writing is rather dull. It tells the stories mostly in a this happened, then this happened, then this happened, just the fact sort of way. I love reading true crime books, but this just didn’t hold my attention very well.

2 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2018: 24
Pages Read in 2018: 4534
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Filed under Reason: Birthstone Bookology, True Crime

Reel to Real: The Video Store Murders by Joyce Nance

In March 1996, Shane Harrison and Esther Beckley set out to rob a Hollywood Video store in Albuquerque New Mexico. It went terribly wrong and resulted in the deaths of five innocent people. Reel to Real: The Video Store Murders is the story of how it happened and the aftermath. As with many true crime books, the timeline can occasionally be difficult to follow and the number of characters hard to keep straight. It is well-written, however, and attempts to make the timeline as easy to follow as possible. I recommend this book to true crime fans.

4 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2017: 114
Pages Read in 2017: 31,242
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)
Reason I Chose It: Birthstone Bookology (R in PERIDOT)

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Early Graves by Thomas H. Cook

In the early 80s Judith and Alvin Neelley went on a vicious killing spree. This book details all the things they did, the investigation and narrowing net around them, and Judith’s trial for one of the murders. It is well-written and quite a fascinating story. I highly recommend this book to true crime fans!

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2017: 25
Pages Read in 2017: 7429
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)
Reason I Chose It: Birthstone Bookology (E in AMETHYST)

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True Stories from the Files of the FBI by W. Cleon Skousen

True Stories from the Files of the FBI by W. Cleon Skousen covers a few of the most high-profile cases the FBI solved in the 1930s. Chapters include an introduction to the early FBI (and before it was officially the FBI – the Bureau of Investigation), Kinnie Wagner, the Lindbergh baby kidnapping, the Kansas City Massacre, the Barker-Karpis gang, Dillinger, and “Baby Face” Nelson. As we lament the crime of today, we often forget that the gangsters kept law enforcement busy several decades ago with their crime sprees. Books like this one help us remember that past. Told with the somewhat cold detachment of an FBI agent, the stories are interesting, but have lots of names and details which are sometimes hard to keep straight. I recommend this book to anyone interested in the FBI or and those who enjoy reading true crime stories.

4 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2016: 13
Pages Read in 2016: 3541
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Filed under Non-Fiction, True Crime

Prescription: Murder! Volume 2 by Alan Hynd

Prescription: Murder! Volume 2 is a collection of true crime short stories that occurred in the late 1800s to early 1900s. The first three are about doctors who committed murder. The first two killed their wives while the third attempted to take out the majority of his wife’s extended family. The fourth story is about a masochist who married several women and killed some of them for insurance money. The final story is about the mobster Pretty Louis Amberg. The stories are extremely engaging. A must-read for anyone who enjoys true crime.

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2015: 124
Pages Read in 2015: 36,759
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The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher by Kate Summerscale

The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher by Kate Summerscale tells the story of the murder of three-year-old Saville Kent in 1860. In the process it sort of tells the story of Mr. Whicher, one of the first English detectives, as well as the stories of many of those in the Kent family and servants working for the Kents at the time. The problem is it is written in a very random and confused manner going back and forth in time and interspersing facts with quotes from books and information about fictional detectives. That was weird. It was an okay book and did an excellent job of telling the facts of the murder itself, but otherwise it often was quite boring and went on and on about things that really were not important.

3 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2014: 21
Pages Read in 2014: 4918
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Filed under True Crime