Tag Archives: murder

The Profiler by Pat Brown with Bob Andelman

So late one night a couple weeks ago, I decided that it would be a good idea to stay up after Jason had gone to sleep and read a book about serial killers and psychopaths. In a thousand year old building that likes to settle during the night. Not one of my brightest moments. Especially since The Profiler is about real murder cases that have never been solved. 

Pat Brown, with the help of Mr. Andelman, details her life as a self-trained criminal profiler. She started in the business more than twenty years ago when a tenant she was renting a room to turned up as a prime murder suspect. That’s the summary at least. It actually took more than six years for the police to take her box full of evidence and actually do something about it–and even then he was never convicted and the case remained cold and unsolved. Stupid.

In college I majored in Criminology, so I know better than most that the modern American criminal justice system is extremely flawed–with often deadly results. Even if there is a ton of circumstantial AND physical evidence pointing towards a suspect, police are often too overworked to give it proper attention. That leads to them either making an incorrect assumption about the suspect, or brushing the case off completely. Not good when lives are on the line.

Each chapter covers an unsolved murder or two and how Brown has gone into these cold cases with what little evidence is left and pieced together what may or may not have occurred. It’s pretty interesting stuff.

Interesting–and chilling–considering none of these murderers have ever been brought to justice.

Definitely a must read for those interested in crime, murders, or even things that go bump in the night. I was creeped out simply by the knowledge that these real life monsters are still out there somewhere on the prowl.

4 abandoned cars of 5

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The Almost Moon by Alice Sebold

So kiddies, I finally knocked out the last of Alice Sebold’s books, The Almost Moon. First she brought us The Lovely Bones, then Lucky, and now this. I’m kind of sensing a theme here…

The Lovely Bones was about a little girl’s abduction/rape and then subsequent death–told from the perspective of her watching her family from heaven. Lucky was Sebold’s personal memoir about her own rape experience. And now, The Almost Moon was about a woman finally killed her deranged, elderly mother after hating (loving) her for years. Phew… Pretty intense.

I like Sebold for her daring. She’s willing to go where not a lot of authors are. She talks about the rape of a child, her own rape, and the killing of an intimate with a clear and honest voice. I like that a female author is not afraid of touching on such taboo topics. I enjoy being shocked.

That being said, The Almost Moon left me wanting. Big time. I LOVED The Lovely Bones when I read it several years ago because when Sebold is in her full swing there’s no stopping her. She has a way with language that can be quite poetic at times, and she notices the little things about the world that no one else would think to mention. However, in this particular novel, the plot moved rather slowly because all of the good action happened almost immediately. This is great to get the reader hooked, but you have to keep them coming back for more. It took me about a week to read this, which is a long time for me. The main character Helen was not very warm, and even though we lived inside her head within the pages of this book, I never felt as if I really got to know her–or understand her motives.

If you are willing to suffocate your insane mother, your own marbles need to be accounted for. I get it. But at the same time, rather than being interested in Helen’s (extremely freaking) dysfunctional family– I was repulsed by it. And every step she took farther down the rabbit hole of killing her mother (and disposing of the body) I just kept screaming NO NO NO at her in my head. Maybe it’s just because I’m a Criminology major, and I’ve grown up on a steady diet of Cold Case Files and 48 Hours and I’m biased about the whole thing–but damn, this woman was dumb! I know it wasn’t premeditated, but she pretty much incriminated herself in every way possible.

The book itself was hard to read because 95% of it took place alone in Helen’s head, without much dialogue to break things up a bit. There were tons of flashbacks setting up her reason for murder and the whole story jerked back and forth each time she switched gears. I wasn’t terribly impressed.

All in all, my recommendation is that you should reach past The Almost Moon to grab The Lovely Bones, any day of the week.

2 of 5 stars

 


Bangkok 8 by John Burdett

I know, I know… I’ve been posting a lot of quotes lately from this book, I can’t help it. Every time I see something poignant I just have to dog ear the page to share with you guys… Anyway, on to the juicy bits.

 Bangkok 8 by John Burdett tells the story of Thai Detective Sonchai Jiteecheap. He’s lead investigator solving the double murder case of an American marine and his “soul brother”/partner Pichai. Death by python strangulation and getting bitten directly in the eye by a baby cobra, respectively. Ew. It’s now his quest for retribution that drives him to follow the suspects deeper and deeper into the sleaze-fest underground world that is Thailand’s drug, sex, and jade trade industry. Don’t worry, there will be enough yaa baa to go around. Oh yeah, and hookers, trannies, hit men, and corrupt cops–oh my!

Without getting into too much plot detail, I really did enjoy Burdett’s interpretation of Thailand. It made me realize what an interesting (yet dangerous) country it really is, and I liked the comparison between Eastern and Western mentality.  That was really illustrated in Sonchai’s quote I posted yesterday. He had a long internal dialogue as to whether or not he would sleep with the attractive FBI agent with whom he worked. I laughed because as a Buddhist Thai, he seemed more concerned about the karmic retribution rather than the personal disaster that their relationship could potentially become.

“Be nice to incompetents and they’ll be nice back. Be nasty and they’ll still be incompetent, so what do you gain by making an enemy?”

I really liked the Thai landscape being illustrated in my mind. Burdett did a good job making the city seem real, as well as presenting the gritty prostitution (that is a reality for most girls between the ages of 15-30) in one easy dose. I will say that I wish he had included more dialogue, because the long pages of text became a bit monotonous after a while–making the story seem slow at some points. At the same time, although I realize that the story was written from a first person point of view, I wish there had been more action and less time spent in Sonchai’s head. He was a very strange character, and I didn’t ever really feel very attached to him or his mission. There were also quite a few strange tangents the story went off on, but I guess that’s just the natural course of field investigation.

All in all, I would recommend the read– but at the risk of sounding biased, I would say that a man would enjoy this novel more so than a woman…

3 of 5 stars