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

It’s Murderino Monday and GIVEAWAY time!

Murderino Monday & a GIVEAWAY! (Please note: the giveaway can be entered by clicking HERE & going to the giveaway post on Instagram. You can comment on this blog post for additional bonus entries, but must enter initially on the IG post.)

Thank you @grandcentralpub for my gift copies of ‘We Keep the Dead Close‘ by Becky Cooper! (pub 11/10)

Things that happened in 1969: American’s landed on the moon for the first time; Charles Manson’s cult members murdered 5 people including pregnant actress, Sharon Tate; Matthew McConaughey & I were both born (I mention him because I just finished listening to his book, ‘Green Light’, which I will be reviewing soon!😉); & a women was murdered at Harvard only to have the mystery of the crime swept under the rug by the university (& even her family) & remain unsolved for half a century.
Enter, Becky Cooper….

You have to remember”, he reminded me, “that Harvard is older than the U.S. government.
You have to remember because Harvard doesn’t let you forget.

1969: the height of counterculture and the year universities would seek to curb the unruly spectacle of student protest; the winter that Harvard University would begin the tumultuous process of merging with Radcliffe, its all-female sister school; and the year that Jane Britton, an ambitious 23-year-old graduate student in Harvard’s Anthropology Department and daughter of Radcliffe Vice President J. Boyd Britton, would be found bludgeoned to death in her Cambridge, Massachusetts apartment.

A newspaper photograph of Britton’s body being moved from her building. Then-journalist Mike Widmer (in tie and light-colored trench coat) never forgot the tragedy.FROM DAILY WORLD LOUISIANA

Forty years later, Becky Cooper, a curious undergrad, will hear the first whispers of the story. In the first telling the body was nameless. The story was this: a Harvard student had had an affair with her professor, and the professor had murdered her in the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology because she’d threatened to talk about the affair. Though the rumor proves false, the story that unfolds, one that Cooper will follow for ten years, is even more complex: a tale of gender inequality in academia, a “cowboy culture” among empowered male elites, the silencing effect of institutions, and our compulsion to rewrite the stories of female victims.

We Keep the Dead Close’ is a memoir of mirrors, misogyny, and murder. It is at once a rumination on the violence and oppression that rules our revered institutions, a ghost story reflecting one young woman’s past onto another’s present, and a love story for a girl who was lost to history.

Jane Britton. (DON MITCHELL)

Not since Ronan Farrow’s book ‘Catch & Kill‘ & Michelle McNamara’s ‘I’ll Be Gone in the Dark” have I read a book so well-researched, positively captivating, & addictively all-consuming. Part-memoir, part true-crime/whodunit murder mystery that you will solve right along w/ the author, until the shocking end when the crime is solved. (Tip: Don’t Google about the murder before hand or risk ruining the mystery for yourself.) Cooper’s decade long obsession w/ Jane Britton & who murdered her is reminiscent of McNamara’s fixation on the Golden State Killer.

We Keep the Dead Close‘ is fascinatingly informative, hypnotically engaging, & vividly atmospheric.True crime fans will love this comprehensive & twisty tale. And I have a hardback copy to send to one of you! To enter this giveaway, click HERE to go to the Instagram post. (*Giveaway is not affiliated w/ Instagram.)

Purchase Links

Amazon | Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble

About the author: Becky Cooper is a former New Yorker editorial staff member and Senior Fellow at Brandeis’s Schuster Institute for Investigative Reporting. Her undergraduate thesis, a literary biography of David Foster Wallace, won Harvard’s Hoopes Prize, the highest undergraduate award for research and writing. Research for this book was supported by the Fund for Investigative Journalism and the International Women’s Media Foundation’s Howard G. Buffett Fund for Women Journalists. She is also the author of Mapping Manhattan: A Love (and Sometimes Hate) Story in Maps by 75 New Yorkers (Abrams, 2013).

Book Reviews · CrimeThriller · MurderinoMonday · Nonfiction · True Crime

Murderino Monday and a True-Crime book to get on your winter TBR list…

It’s time for Murderino Monday! Thank you @celadonbooks (partner) for my gift copy of ‘Last Call: A True Story of Love, Lust, & Murder in Queer New York’ by Elon Green! (pub 3/9/21). (The above photo is my Instagram post & I would love it if you would click HERE to go give that post a LIKE or a SHARE now.)

The gripping true story, told here for the first time, of the Last Call Killer & the gay community of New York City that he preyed upon.The Townhouse Bar, midtown, July 1992: The piano player seems to know every song ever written, the crowd belts out the lyrics to their favorites, & a man standing nearby is drinking a Scotch & water. The man strikes the piano player as forgettable.

He looks bland & inconspicuous. Not at all what you think a serial killer looks like. But that’s what he is, and tonight, he has his sights set on a gray haired man.
He will not be his first victim.
Nor will he be his last.

The Last Call Killer preyed upon gay men in New York in the ‘80s & ‘90s & had all the hallmarks of the most notorious serial killers. Yet because of the sexuality of his victims, the skyhigh murder rates, & the AIDS epidemic, his murders have been almost entirely forgotten.

This gripping true-crime narrative tells the story of the Last Call Killer & the decades-long chase to find him. And at the same time, it paints a portrait of his victims & a vibrant community navigating threat & resilience.

This is Celadon Books first true crime book & boy, is it a good one! Elon Green really did a fantastic job creating this fascinating, non-fiction book, & it is very well researched. As I always do when reading true crime books or listening to podcasts, I went down the Google rabbit-hole to devour even more information about Richard Rogers, who was dubbed the Last Call Killer, watching interview videos, looking at crime scene pics, & reading more & more about Roger’s heinous crimes. True crime show ‘Mark of a Killer’ (on Oxygen) has an episode about the LCK that I plan to watch on Prime soon, too.

This book does get pretty graphic & I did have to put it down a few times to regroup. It also brought to mind a more well-known serial killer who also killed gay men & dismembered them (sometimes ate parts)…Jeffrey Dahmer. (Oh, & please do not confuse LCK, Richard Rogers, w/ the fabulous composer, Richard RoDgers, who has a theater in NYC named after him where ‘Hamilton’ is currently housed.👇🏻)

Last Call‘ is positively gripping, riveting, & addictive reading for true-crime aficionados like myself. This is a book you will want to devour in one sitting & then research more about (like I did w/this book & many others, like last years ‘American Predator‘), just don’t blame me when you have nightmares. ‘Last Call‘ releases this coming March 9th, so pre-order it & get it on your TBR lists.

Click HERE to add ‘Last Call’ to your Goodreads lists.
Click HERE to pre-order this book at an indie book store near you using BookStoreLink.
Click HERE to go to my Instagram post & give it a LIKE or a story share.

Click HERE to go to Elon Green’s website & learn more about him & this book!

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’

Click HERE to go to IG post!

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

Click HERE to give my IG post some LIKE love!

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.