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

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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.

Book Reviews

Book Review: “A Tangled Web: A Cyberstalker, A Deadly Obsession and the Twisting Path to Justice” and Giveaway winner!

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Happy Murderino Monday & Thank you @kensingtonbooks for my gifted copy of “A Tangled Web” by Leslie Rule! (Pub date 4/28)

In the tradition of her acclaimed mother, Ann Rule, author of The Stranger Beside Me‘, bestselling author Leslie Rule delivers a riveting true story for our time–as she exposes the years-long trail of a sadistic sociopath, identity thief, and killer at the dark heart of a real-life fatal attraction . . .

It was a bleak November in 2012 when Cari Lea Farver vanished from Omaha, Nebraska. Cari, thirty-seven, was a devoted mother, reliable employee, and loyal friend–not the type to shirk responsibilities, abandon her son, and run off on an adventure while her dying father took his last breaths. Yet, the many texts from her phone indicated she had done just that.

It appeared that Cari had dumped her new boyfriend, quit her job, and relinquished custody of her son to her mother–all by text. While Cari’s boyfriend, Dave Kroupa, and her supervisor were bewildered by her abrupt disappearance, they accepted the texts at face value. Her mother, Nancy Raney, however, was alarmed and reported Cari missing. Police were skeptical of her claims that a cyber impostor had commandeered her daughter’s phone and online identity.

While Nancy was afraid for Cari, Dave Kroupa was growing afraid of her, for he believed Cari was stalking him. Never seen or heard, the stalker was aware of his every move and seemed obsessed by his casual girlfriend, Shanna “Liz” Golyar, often calling her “a fat whore” in the twelve thousand emails and texts he received in a disturbing three-year deluge.

Click HERE to add it to your Goodreads list

How did the stalker know Dave’s phone numbers immediately after he changed them, the names of his lady friends, even what he wore as he watched TV? He and Liz reported death threats, vandalism, and burglaries, but the stalker remained at large. The threats were vicious, vile and often obscene, sent mostly via text and always in Cari’s name. There was some truth in the messages, but all of them contained one big lie. The culprit was not Cari — but had killed and planned to kill again.

With mesmerizing detail and compelling narrative skill, Leslie Rule tracks every step of the heart-pounding path to long-awaited justice–from a sociopath’s twisted past to the deadly deception and the high-tech forensics that condemned the killer to prison, where the tangled web of manipulations still draws trusting souls into danger.

Mindblowing, captivating & utterly unputdownable! Like watching something on the ID channel! Leslie & Ann Rule both RULE the true crime writing genre!

Praise for ‘A TANGLED WEB

“Leslie Rule delivers an incredible story of obsession and deceit, a one-woman campaign of terror that could only exist in our digital age. Harrowing.”
Maureen CallahanNew York Times bestselling author of American Predator: The Hunt for the Most Meticulous Serial Killer of the 21st Century
 
“We expect a tangled tale to have an exquisite twist, and Leslie Rule brings it home. In the tradition of her mother, true crime author Ann Rule, she presents a gripping case of fatal obsession and stolen identity so bizarre it’s hard to believe it’s true. Rule’s first true crime book hits the mark.”
—Katherine Ramsland, author of Confession of a Serial Killer: The Untold Story of Dennis Rader the BTK Killer
 
“The murder was straightforward, but the cover-up was as intricate as the impressive artistry of a garden spider.  In A Tangled Web, Leslie Rule artfully weaves the strands of a monstrous net that ultimately ensnared its evil perpetrator.  A fascinating, incredible read.”
—Diane Fanning, Edgar finalist and author of Death on the River
 
“Following in her famous mother’s footsteps, Leslie Rule deftly explores the strange case of a bizarre love triangle, a cyberstalking impostor, and a terrifying fatal attraction that leads to a deadly obsession.”
—Kathryn Casey, bestselling author of In Plain Sight
 
“With a journalist’s eye for detail and a storyteller’s compelling voice, Leslie Rule draws readers into the world of a diabolical criminal and her victims. A Tangled Web will leave you with lingering feelings that evil walks among us, in plain sight, even in the idyllic Midwest.”
—Axton Betz-Hamilton, author of The Less People Know About Us: A Mystery of Betrayal, Family Secrets, and Stolen Identity
 
“Leslie Rule’s recipe for A Tangled Web takes one depraved killer, adds broken-hearted victims, mixes in cutting-edge crime fighting, and whips it all into a sexy and spell-binding souffle. Bon appétit!”
—Dawna Kaufmann, co-author of A Question of MurderFrom Crime Scene to Courtroom and Final Exams: True Crime Cases from Cyril Wecht
 
“In A Tangled Web, Leslie Rule shows that she is truly her mother’s daughter, down to the expert detailing that defined Ann Rule, but with this told in a high-tech world. Rule guides the reader down a slippery slope, with twists and turns of text messaging and online dating, ultimately revealing just how cagey are the deeds of the devious perpetrator.”
—Cathy Scott, author of The Crime Book and the Los Angeles Times bestseller The Killing of Tupac Shakur

***Click HERE to find this book at a independent bookstore near you or one that ships. They need our sales now more than ever!

Congratulations to @inliterarylove ! You are the winner of last weeks Murderino Monday Giveaway which includes this book & ‘Losing Jon’, both true crime & publish tomorrow!
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Keep an eye out for a new giveaway SOON! (PS: UNfollowers are noted, so please, just don’t or you’ll miss out on some fantastic giveaways!) And as always…stay home, stay safe, stay sane. Now go wash your hands!

Book Reviews · Giveaway

Heads-Up…”Murderino Monday” 2 ARC-Book Giveaway going LIVE soon…

Head to my Instagram HERE

This is your official notice that a new giveaway will be starting on my Instagram @Mom_Loves_Reading shortly!

Two advance copies of the above true crime novels, “Losing Jon” & “A Tangled Web”,which release next week are up for grabs today to one winner. All the details will be in the Instagram post, so please head there when the post is live.

Click HERE to add this to your Goodreads

PopSugar Best True Crime Book of 2020

“The twists and turns read like a page-turning thriller, but Losing Jon is all fact. This is true crime at the highest of levels. Scary, heartbreaking and completely insightful.”
–Brad Meltzer, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Escape Artist

David Parrish was in disbelief when he learned that nineteen-year-old Jon Bowie’s body had been found hanged from a backstop at the local high school’s baseball field and the death declared a suicide. David had known Jon and his twin brother since they were boys. He had coached them on the baseball field and welcomed them into his home for sleepovers with his own sons. However, when David learned how Jon’s body was found, he felt compelled to find the facts behind this incomprehensible tragedy.

Soon, David would learn of a brutal incident at a local motel where Jon and his brother had been severely beaten by police officers, the charges filed against those officers, and the months of harassment and intimidation Jon and his brother endured. Few in the utopian community of Columbia, Maryland, believed Jon could commit such a final act. Like many others, David wondered how a fateful night of teens blowing off steam could lead to such a tragic end. As law enforcement failed to find answers and seemed intent on preventing the truth from surfacing, David uncovered a system of cover-ups that could only lead to one conclusion–Jon’s death was an act of murder.

“A true page turner, filled with almost-too-unbelievable-to-be-true details of one community’s fight to find justice for one of its own . . . the issues raised, particularly when it comes to questions of police brutality and cover-ups, are very much relevant today.”
New York Times bestselling author Lisa Pulitzer

Click HERE to add this to your Goodreads list

In the tradition of her acclaimed mother, Ann Rule, author of The Stranger Beside Me, bestselling author Leslie Rule delivers a riveting true story for our time–as she exposes the years-long trail of a sadistic sociopath, identity thief, and killer at the dark heart of a real-life fatal attraction . . .

It was a bleak November in 2012 when Cari Lea Farver vanished from Omaha, Nebraska. Cari, thirty-seven, was a devoted mother, reliable employee, and loyal friend–not the type to shirk responsibilities, abandon her son, and run off on an adventure while her dying father took his last breaths. Yet, the many texts from her phone indicated she had done just that.

It appeared that Cari had dumped her new boyfriend, quit her job, and relinquished custody of her son to her mother–all by text. While Cari’s boyfriend, Dave Kroupa, and her supervisor were bewildered by her abrupt disappearance, they accepted the texts at face value. Her mother, Nancy Raney, however, was alarmed and reported Cari missing. Police were skeptical of her claims that a cyber impostor had commandeered her daughter’s phone and online identity.

While Nancy was afraid for Cari, Dave Kroupa was growing afraid of her, for he believed Cari was stalking him. Never seen or heard, the stalker was aware of his every move and seemed obsessed by his casual girlfriend, Shanna “Liz” Golyar, often calling her “a fat whore” in the twelve thousand emails and texts he received in a disturbing three-year deluge.

How did the stalker know Dave’s phone numbers immediately after he changed them, the names of his lady friends, even what he wore as he watched TV? He and Liz reported death threats, vandalism, and burglaries, but the stalker remained at large. The threats were vicious, vile and often obscene, sent mostly via text and always in Cari’s name. There was some truth in the messages, but all of them contained one big lie. The culprit was not Cari — but had killed and planned to kill again.

With mesmerizing detail and compelling narrative skill, Leslie Rule tracks every step of the heart-pounding path to long-awaited justice–from a sociopath’s twisted past to the deadly deception and the high-tech forensics that condemned the killer to prison, where the tangled web of manipulations still draws trusting souls into danger.

**********

Head over to Instagram soon to enter! In the meantime stay home, stay safe, stay sane. Now go wash your hands!