Book Reviews · CrimeThriller · MurderinoMonday · Nonfiction · True Crime

It’s Murderino Monday! (and this one’s a tough one to read/write about…)

It’s Murderino Monday! Thank you @stmartinspress for my gift copy of ‘The Perfect Father: The True Story of Chris Watts, His All -American Family & a Shocking Murder’ by John Glatt (pub 7/21) ** Click HERE to go to my Instagram post & give it some LIKE love!**

In The Perfect Father‘, New York Times bestselling author John Glatt reveals the true story of a Colorado family whose storybook life turned into a nightmare….

In the early morning hours of August 13th, 2018, Shanann Watts was dropped off at her Frederick, Colorado home by a colleague after returning from a business trip. It was the last time anyone would see her alive. By the next day, Shanann and her two young daughters, Bella and Celeste, had been reported missing, and her husband, Chris Watts, was appearing on the local news, pleading for his family’s safe return.

But Chris Watts already knew that he would never see his family again. Less than 24 hours after his desperate plea, Watts made a shocking confession to police: he had strangled his pregnant wife to death and smothered their daughters, dumping their bodies at a nearby oil site. Heartbroken friends and neighbors watched in shock as the movie-star handsome, devoted family man they knew was arrested and charged with first degree murder. The perfect mask Chris had presented to the world in his TV interviews and the family’s Facebook accounts was slipping–and what lay beneath was a horrifying image of instability, infidelity, sexual ambivalence, and boiling rage.

In this first major account of the case, bestselling author and journalist John Glatt reveals the truth behind the tragedy and constructs a chilling portrait of one of the most shocking family annihilator cases of the 21st century.

You guys, this is a really tough story to write about for obvious reasons. It’s been 2 yrs since Watts murdered his family & for several mos. after, you could still see Shannan’s IG page w/ her smiling face, her adorable little girls & her seemingly doting husband, who is truly a heinous, cheating, vile POS. I did look at her IG page & the video of 4 yr old Bella singing in her sweet voice about how wonderful her daddy is & how he is a hero still haunts me & brings tears to my eyes when I think about it.

Glatt compiled 18 mos of research, evidence, & interviews into this fast-paced, true story. Friends, co-workers & many family members gave interviews & insight on the young Watts family, the debt they were in [even though you would have never guessed it given their lifestyle], Chris’s quiet nature compared to Shannan’s outgoing, social media presence, the bickering parents of both C & S, & just so much more. At times I did feel that there was some victim shaming/blaming going on & making it look like “Poor Chris, he got over-shadowed by his successful wife, so he had an affair, snapped & killed his whole family”, but not necessarily by the author, more so from others.

As a parent this book became especially difficult to read once I hit Part 3. I had to take breaks every couple pages or so & just go do something mundane like wash dishes, get a drink of water, fold some laundry, etc. I’ll never begin to understand how a husband can murder his wife, but I cannot even fathom how a parent can take the lives of their children: innocent, little humans that they themselves helped to create. And even though I knew how this tragic story ended, the last chapter of the book left me w/ a pain in my heart, tears in my eyes, a veritable gut punch. My husband was home, thankfully, & I just had to hug him tightly right away, as if to sanitize the memory from my brain.

What Chris Watts did to his wife & three children (don’t forget, Shannan was pregnant w/ their son to be named Nico) is unthinkably horrific, cowardly & selfish. But the book, ‘The Perfect Father‘, is an unputdownable, chilling, & utterly riveting book that readers will never forget. I will definitely be reading more of John Glatt’s other 21 true crime books in the near future, but I’ll need a break from these sort of books for a couple weeks or so.

Click HERE to add ‘The Perfect Father‘ to your Goodreads lists.
Click HERE to use BookStoreLink & find this book at a local independent bookstore.
Click HERE to give my Instagram post some LIKE love so others will see the post & review as well.
Click HERE to go to John Glatt’s website & read more about this book & his others.

Photo by Enrique Pastor

English-born John Glatt is the author of Lost and FoundSecrets in the CellarPlaying with Fire, & many other bestselling books of true crime. He has more than 30 yrs of experience as an investigative journalist in England & America. Glatt left school at 16 & worked a variety of jobs―including tea boy & messenger―before joining a small weekly newspaper. He freelanced at several English newspapers, then in 1981 moved to New York, where he joined the staff for News Limited & freelanced for publications including Newsweek & the New York Post. His first book, a biography of Bill Graham, was published in 1981, & he published For I Have Sinned, his first book of true crime, in 1998. He has appeared television & radio programs all over the world, including Dateline NBC, Fox News, Current Affair, BBC World, and A&E Biography. He & his wife Gail divide their time between New York City, the Catskill Mountains & London.

Book Reviews · CrimeThriller · Giveaway · MurderinoMonday · Nonfiction · Thriller · True Crime

Murderino Monday GIVEAWAY! Featuring ‘Furious Hours: Murder, Fraud, and the Last Trial of Harper Lee’

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Murderino Monday GIVEAWAY! Thank you @caseycep for my gifted/autographed copy of ‘Furious Hours: Murder, Fraud & the Last Trial of Harper Lee‘ by Casey Cep! (pub 5/7/19)

A New York Times best seller, an Amazon Best Book of May 2019, A Time mag Top 10 Best Non-Fiction book of 2019…

“Nobody recognized her. Harper Lee was well known, but not by sight, and if she hadn’t introduced herself, it’s unlikely that anyone in the courtroom would have figured out who she was.”
― Casey Cep, Furious Hours: Murder, Fraud, and the Last Trial of Harper Lee

The stunning story of an Alabama serial killer & the true-crime book that Harper Lee worked on obsessively in the years after ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’.

Reverend Willie Maxwell was a rural preacher accused of murdering 5 of his family members for insurance money in the 1970s. With the help of a savvy lawyer, he escaped justice for years until a relative shot him dead at the funeral of his last victim. Despite hundreds of witnesses, Maxwell’s murderer was acquitted–thanks to the same attorney who had previously defended the Reverend.

Sitting in the audience during the vigilante’s trial was Harper Lee, who had traveled from NYC to her native Alabama with the idea of writing her own ‘In Cold Blood’, the true-crime classic she had helped her friend Truman Capote research 17 yrs earlier. Lee spent a year in town reporting, & many more working on her own version of the case.

Now Casey Cep brings this story to life, from the shocking murders to the courtroom drama to the racial politics of the Deep South. 

“But to the apprehensive locals, Lee was everything Capote was not: warm, empathetic, and familiar enough that they felt their stories were safe with her. “Absolutely fantastic lady. I really liked her very much,” Harold Nye, one of the KBI agents who worked on the Clutter case, said of Lee, but of Capote he confessed, “I did not get a very good impression of that little son of a bitch.”
― Casey Cep, Furious Hours: Murder, Fraud, and the Last Trial of Harper Lee

Told in 3 parts, The Reverend (thrilling, true-crime), The Lawyer (courtroom drama) & The Writer (short bio on Lee) & equaling pure gold for true crime enthusiasts! It’s an absolutely riveting, all-consuming, well-researched, & utterly gripping story. Richly detailed & full of insight, depth & emotion, it’s just fantastic!

I have 1 hardback copy of for grabs. (**The following is for FYI purpose only. All giveaways entries must be done on the Instagram post. Click HERE to go to @mom_loves_reading on IG now.)

To enter, do the following:
*LIKE this post. (Like some others, too, while you’re here.)
*Must be following @mom_loves_reading
*Tag a couple bookish buds. (unlimited entries, up to 5 tags per comment)

BONUS entries: (5 ea)
*Share this post in your stories & tag me (You can do this daily, 5 entries ea time.)
*RE-post this post on your IG wall & tag me.

Open Internationally. If winner is outside of US, book will be shipped via Amazon or BookDepository. Giveaway begins 8/24 & ends 8/27/20 11:59pm EST. No follow-to-UNfollow or you will be excluded from all future MomLovesReading giveaways, & there are a LOT. Entry on Instagram post only. Giveaway is not affiliated w/ Instagram.

Click HERE to go to IG post!

Casey Cep is a writer from the Eastern Shore of Maryland.
“Furious Hours: Murder, Fraud, and the Last Trial of Harper Lee” is her first book. It was an instant New York Times, WSJ, & Indiebound bestseller. The book earned rave reviews from Michael Lewis, Sarah Jessica Parker, Al Roker, David Grann, and Helen Macdonald. Also ONE OF PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA’S FAVORITE BOOKS OF 2019, NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF 2019 BY Time, LitHub, Vulture, Glamour, O Magazine, Town and Country, Suspense Magazine, Inside Hook. Casey is currently a staff writer at New York Magazine. You can follow Casey Cep on Twitter (@cncep), Instagram (@caseycep) or visit her website (www.caseycep.com).

Book Reviews · CrimeThriller · Fiction · Thriller

Book Review: ‘The Nothing Man’ by Catherine Ryan Howard

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Thank you @blackstonepublishing for my gift copy of ‘The Nothing Man‘ (pub 8/4) by Catherine Ryan Howard & for all of the other fantastic books in this stack! (Reviews to come individually.)

At the age of 12, Eve Black was the only member of her family to survive an encounter with serial attacker the Nothing Man. Now an adult, she is obsessed with identifying the man who destroyed her life.

Supermarket security guard Jim Doyle has just started reading The Nothing Man–the true-crime memoir Eve has written about her efforts to track down her family’s killer. As he turns each page, his rage grows. Because Jim’s not just interested in reading about the Nothing Man. He IS the Nothing Man.

Jim soon beings to realize how dangerously close Eve is getting to the truth. He knows she won’t give up until she finds him. He has no choice but to stop her first…

First off, don’t confuse Catherine Ryan HOWARD for Catherine Ryan HYDE like I initially did! I have read several books by C.R.Hyde in the past, so when I started reading ‘The Nothing Man’ by C.R. Howard, I was like “WHOA! Her writing went to the Dark Side like Anakin Skywalker!”

I positively loved ‘The Nothing Man‘ & it wasn’t until I sat down to write my review that I realized my mistaken identity of the author. Oopsie! Regardless of my brain faux pas, you guys, THIS. BOOK. IS. AMAZING!!

Since you know right off the bat who the killer is, you won’t overthink every little detail trying to figure out whodunnit. And going back & forth between the POV of Eve Black & Jim Doyle (aka: The Nothing Man), put the story on a whole other level of creepiness & made the reading experience even more satisfying. I couldn’t put it down & was hooked from the get go.

The Nothing Man‘ is absolutely gripping, expertly crafted, perfectly paced, & utterly bone chilling. As a fan of true crime books, docu’s, podcasts & a card carrying member of the Murderino community, this is exactly the kind of suspenseful, crime fiction, thriller I get goosebumps just thinking about because it’s just so freakin’ fantastic!

Click HERE to add ‘The Nothing Man’ to your Goodreads tbr list.
Click HERE to visit Catherine Ryan Howard’s website.
Click HERE to give my Instagram post some LIKE love!

What others are saying about ‘The Nothing Man’:

‘Fiendishly clever…Howard uses serial killer tropes in original and surprising ways in this tour de force.” —Publisher Weekly (starred review)

”Gripping, beautifully written, and genuinely chilling, The Nothing Man had me from page one. Simply stellar.” —Meg Gardiner, Edgar Award-winning author of The Dark Corners of the Night

The Nothing Man is the most original and chilling thriller I’ve read in a long time, and is perfect for fans of Serial and The Fall.” —Mark Edwards, bestselling author of The House Guest

”Expertly crafted — storytelling at its best.” —Patricia Gibney, bestselling author of The Missing Ones

”A book to steal your waking hours and haunt your sleeping ones. Chilling and brilliant.” —Cass Green, award-winning author of In a Cottage in a Wood

”The queen of high-concept crime fiction strikes again: this is the first novel I’ve read that really captures the chills and twists of the true crime that obsesses us. Catherine Ryan Howard has always been thrillingly good at what she does but she’s just getting better and better with every book.” —Jane Casey, author of the Maeve Kerrigan novels

”I was truly blown away and couldn’t read it fast enough. I can’t shower it with enough praise. Terrifying, brilliantly plotted, and extremely satisfying.” —Jo Spain, bestselling author of With Our Blessing

”Whip-smart, thrilling, and utterly compelling.” —Liz Nugent, bestselling author of Lying in Wait

”Utterly compelling, completely original, The Nothing Man will be the standout novel for 2020. This is a book you won’t forget as Catherine Ryan Howard brings crime writing to a new level.” —Sam Blake, bestselling author of Little Bones

Catherine Ryan Howard was born in Cork, Ireland. Her debut thriller, Distress Signals, was an Irish Times and USA Today bestseller and was short-listed for the Crime Writers’ Association John Creasey New Blood Dagger and the Irish Crime Novel of the Year. Her second novel, The Liar’s Girl, was a finalist for the 2019 Edgar Award for Best Novel. She lives in Dublin.

Blog Tour · MurderinoMonday

Book Tour for “Last Girl Standing” by Lisa Jackson and Nancy Bush

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Murderino Monday book time!

Thank you @kensingtonbooks & @tlcbooktours for including MomLovesReading on the online book tour for “Last Girl Standing” by Lisa Jackson & Nancy Bush! This book will be available next Tues, May 26th!

The best of friends . . .
In the Portland suburb of West Knoll, Delta & her friends were the pretty, popular elite of the high school. That was fifteen years & a whole lifetime ago. Even then, backstabbing & betrayal erupted among the women in the group, a trio of which are now gathered around a hospital bed. And most of it revolved around the man lying close to death before them . . .

Until the day . . .
To Delta, it feels as if a nightmare unfolds every time they get together. It started at their senior year graduation party when a group of daredevils led by Tanner slipped under the safety rope & tumbled into the dangerous, fast-flowing river. One of their clique died following his lead. It all seemed spontaneous at the time. A thoughtless deed. But since then, there have been more deaths, more “accidents.” And the question hovers, unspoken: who’s next?

They die . . .
As the body count rises, Detective Chris McCrae, one of Delta’s classmates & a long ago friend of Tanner’s, realizes that stopping the terror means digging deep into the past. Hidden beneath the conflicting stories, gossip, & scandalous half-truths are secrets that someone will kill again & again to protect–until there is no one left to tell . . .

Click HERE to add it to your Goodreads list

Last Girl Standing” is co-written by sisters, Lisa Jackson & Nancy Bush, who also wrote the Colony book series together. Both authors have many books under their proverbial belt.

If you like suspense/mystery/thrillers that are fast-paced, twisty, well-written, with interesting characters, laced with romance & keeps you guessing until the end, then this one is for you! Add it to your TBR list or pre-order it today! Use BookStoreLink to find this book & others at a local indie bookstore. Many also ship to your home or have curbside pick-up available. Let’s support the indie stores & help them stay afloat & keep their beautiful brick-n-mortar stores in business!

Also, today is the last day to enter to win 1 of 3 sets of beautiful Elin Hilderbrand beach reads on my Instagram page. Click HERE to go to that post now. Hope you all have a wonderful Monday!

Giveaway

Happy Murderino Monday and (almost) my Birthday…time for a GIVEAWAY!

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It’s Murderino Monday where I generally post about a true-crime book or two, but this week, I have not one…not two…but THREE fiction murderino-esque novels up for grabs from author Jamie Mason. This giveaway will start on my Instagram page sometime today so keep an eye out for that. In this giveaway will be the following books:

The Hidden Things (pub date 3/3/20)

A brilliantly original thriller and “a startling, smart, vivid book” (Tana French, New York Times bestselling author) from the acclaimed author of Three Graves Full—inspired by the real-life unsolved theft of a seventeenth-century painting.

Twenty-eight seconds.

In less than half a minute, a home-security camera captures the hidden resolve in fourteen-year-old Carly Liddell as she fends off a vicious attack just inside her own front door. The video of her heroic escape appears online and goes viral. As the view count climbs, the lives of four desperate people will be forever changed by what’s just barely visible in the corner of the shot.

Carly’s stepfather is spurred to protect his darkest secret: how a stolen painting—four hundred years old, by a master of the Dutch Golden Age—has come to hang in his suburban foyer. The art dealer, left for dead when the painting vanished, sees a chance to buy back her life. And the double-crossed enforcer renews the hunt to deliver the treasure to his billionaire patrons—even if he has to kill to succeed.

But it’s Carly herself, hailed as a social-media hero, whose new perspective gives her the courage to uncover the truth as the secrets and lies tear her family apart.

Monday’s Lie” (pub date 10/13/15)

From the acclaimed author of the “ripping good” (The New York Times) debut novel Three Graves Full comes a new thriller hailed as “superb…will entrance readers from page one. Sly, poignant, and beautifully written” (Library Journal, starred review).

Dee Aldrich rebelled against her off-center upbringing when she married the most conventional man she could imagine: Patrick, her college sweetheart. But now, years later, her marriage is falling apart and she’s starting to believe that her husband has his eye on a new life…a life without her, one way or another.

Haunted by memories of her late mother Annette, a former covert operations asset, Dee reaches back into her childhood to resurrect her mother’s lessons and the “spy games” they played together, in which Dee learned memory tricks and, most importantly, how and when to lie. But just as she begins determining the course of the future, she makes a discovery that will change her life: her mother left her a lot of money and her own husband seems to know more about it than Dee does. Now, before it’s too late, she must investigate her suspicions and untangle conspiracy from coincidence, using her mother’s advice to steer her through the blind spots. The trick, in the end, will be in deciding if a “normal life” is really what she wants at all.

With pulse-pounding prose and atmospheric settings, Monday’s Lie is a thriller that delivers more of the “Hitchcockian menace” (Peter Straub) that made Three Graves Full a critical hit. For fans of the Coen brothers or Gillian Flynn, this is a book you won’t want to miss.

Three Graves Full” (pub date 2/12/13):

“There is very little peace for a man with a body buried in his backyard.”

But it could always be worse. . . .

More than a year ago, mild-mannered Jason Getty killed a man he wished he’d never met. Then he planted the problem a little too close to home. But just as he’s learning to live with the undeniable reality of what he’s done, police unearth two bodies on his property—neither of which is the one Jason buried.

Jason races to stay ahead of the consequences of his crime and while chaos reigns on his lawn, his sanity unravels, snagged on the agendas of a colorful cast of strangers. A jilted woman searches for her lost fiancé, a fringe-dweller runs from a past that’s quickly gaining on him, and a couple of earnest local detectives piece it together with the help of a volunteer police dog — all of them in the wake and shadow of a dead man who had it coming. As the action unfolds, each discovers that knowing more than one side of the story doesn’t necessarily rule out a deadly margin of error.

Jamie Mason’s irrepressible debut is a macabre, darkly humorous tale with the thoughtful beauty of a literary novel, the tense pacing of a thriller, and a clever twist of suspense.

Three great thriller/mystery/suspense books that one lucky reader will receive directly from Jamie Mason herself! So be sure to watch for that Instagram post sometime today. And in the meantime, comment on this post what you are currently reading. And as always, stay home, stay safe & stay sane. Now go wash your hands!