HALLOWEEN by Curtis Richards, based on the screenplay by John Carpenter and Debra Hill- Film vs. Novel

halloween1979 front coverPUB. INFO: Bantam, 10/1979
GENRE: Horror
SETTING: Illinois, USA 1978
WIKIPEDIA: link
MOVIE TRAILER: Link
MY GRADE: A++

From Publisher: Based on the screenplay by John Carpenter and Debra Hill.

Tricked by his cunning..Treated to his savagery.. Annie, Linda and Laurie.. fresh, pretty, ready to be taken.. stalked by a sadistic power who has returned to claim new victims, on this.. the most frightening night of the year.

THINGS NOT IN THE FLIM: This book was actually released a year after the film. Not sure why. I love the film but the book’s so much better! It’s only 166 pages but boy is it packed with extras. It’s more graphic sexually and the murders are more gory, especially the murder of his sister. The best part is that we get to learn a little about Michael Audrey Myers’ life before and during the fifteen years he was away at Smith’s Grove Sanitarium for the murder of his seventeen-year old sister, Judith, when he was six years old. We learn his thoughts before and during her murder and what he did immediately afterward, before his parents came home to find him standing outside.

I’m going to mention things in the book that weren’t in the movie. We meet Michael’s mother’s mother at the beginning of chapter one. It’s Halloween and he shows her his Halloween clown costume that he got from Woolworth. I love his granny. She’s sassy. She was offended by his cheap store-bought non scary costume and even referred to Michael once as ‘Mister Woolworth Clown Costume’. She began to reminisce to him and his mother Edith about what Halloween was like when she was a child. She said if it was a tame Halloween only your chickens would get beheaded, or as Michael said, unheaded.

We learn that Michael had started wetting the bed after not doing so for three years. He’d been getting into fights at school and with his sister. He’d been having violent dreams and scariest of all, he’d been hearing voices that were telling him to say he hates people. Later in the book Loomis and Sheriff Brackett were discussing how Michael’s great-grandfather Nordstrom (his mother’s father’s father) had heard voices too and had even murdered two people at a harvest dance in the 1890’s and was hanged for it.

Shortly before murdering his sister, he goes trick or treating at his own house on Peecher Street with other kids from the neighborhood. His sister jokingly asked the kids what they’d do if she didn’t give them candy and Michael said he’d kill her. She said, ‘Was that you Michael Myers?!’ and he said, ‘I’m not Michael Myers. I’m a clown’. Every time I’ve read that line its caused me to laugh out loud, for some reason.

Soon after that Judith’s boyfriend Danny comes over. Michael is spying on them through the window. They’re kissing downstairs then later upstairs in her bedroom. Michael can hear the sounds they’re making through the open windows and ‘the sounds filled him with a murderous hatred.’  He doesn’t understand why they’re making those sounds. While he’s standing outside listening to them we learn of a recurring dream he’s been having. In the dream two people who look like Judy and Danny are dancing around a fire outside with other people. He’s jealous as he watches them dance and voices are telling him to kill the lovers.

After Danny leaves he goes into Judy’s room and stabs her over thirty times while she’s sitting at her vanity, brushing her hair, naked except for bikini underwear that have red hearts on them. He stabs her in her wrist, hand, breasts, arms, legs, groin and throat. He goes into the kitchen, eats a cookie, drinks milk out of the bottle, then goes outside and that’s when his parents show up and find him holding the knife.

Earlier that day he told his grandmother, in response to her suggesting he disguise is face with white clown makeup, that he wasn’t going to play any pranks, and was just going to ask for candy and in response she told him to have an ‘innocent, Woolworth kind of Halloween.’ Oooh, it was anything but!

Loomis is remembering all the times at the sanitarium over the past fifteen years where Michael got revenge on other kid’s for some slight but was never seen doing it. One kid got food poisoning after playing a joke on Michael by loosening the salt shaker top so the salt would pour out when you went to use it, one boy was scalded in the shower after repeatedly turning the TV volume down when Michael kept turning it up, a nurse fell down the stairs and fractured her pelvis days after an argument with Michael, a boy who forgot to return a game to Michael got a mysterious rash and had to be hospitalized, and worst of all, Michael suggested one year that they be allowed to have a Halloween party, of all things. A girl was bobbing for apples when the lights went out. Soon after when the lights came back on the girl was laying there, almost dead, from someone, Michael, trying to drown her. Loomis looked over at Michael, who smiled at him, but his costume was dry and Loomis had no proof Michael did anything to the girl.

When Laurie’s walking home from school with Annie and Lynda (it’s spelled Linda in the book) and goes inside, her red-haired mother is there, making candied apples and they have a short conversation about evilness. This is right before Laurie goes into her room and sees Michael staring at her from the clothes line. In the film, she walks though the front door and is shown walking straight into her bedroom.

Laurie’s father is Chester Strode. Film credits say his name is Morgan though it’s never spoken in the film.

In the book, several people who see Michael are close enough to tell he may be wearing a mask, but they aren’t sure. In the film, most aren’t close enough to him to wonder if it’s a mask until they’re being murdered by him.

When Loomis and Sheriff Brackett (Annie’s father) go into Michael’s old house and find the dead dog, they say his intestines are hanging out.

Shortly before Annie’s killed, she’s at Lindsey’s, brushing her own hair. Michael’s watching through the window and is staring at her ‘large’ breasts and becomes sexually aroused. ‘The sex between his legs throbbed in an unpleasant way.’

Annie asks Lindsey why their laundry room is in a separate building outside. Lindsey tells her that her mother wanted it outside because of the noise they both make. That’s not mentioned at all in the movie.

Toward the end when Laurie goes to Lindsey’s looking for Bob and Lynda and find Annie’s dead body in bed with Judith’s tomb stone, her stomach had been cut open up to her throat and her intestines were out.

MY THOUGHTS: I’ve always been a fan of the film and got a copy of the book in May 2009 from a friend. The book is so great. Unfortunately it’s so expensive that most fans of the film will probably never get to read it. I don’t know if the added stuff that I’ve mentioned was in the original screenplay or not or if Curtis came up with it on his own. Either way, I’m glad it was in the book and not the film. It makes reading the book so much more exciting.

Below are the two covers. The first two are the covers. The last photo is the back cover of both versions. My copy has the middle cover. It was reissued in 1982 and had the cover in the middle.

Same review here.

 

Halloween Collage

THE MIDWIFE’S TALE: A MYSTERY by Sam Thomas

midwifePUB. INFO: Minotaur Books, 1/2013
GENRE: Historical Mystery
SETTING: England, 1644
NARRATION: First person
SERIES: A Midwife Mystery, #1
AUTHOR SITE: link
MY GRADE: C-

FROM PUBLISHER: It is 1644, and Parliament’s armies have risen against the King and laid siege to the city of York. Even as the city suffers at the rebels’ hands, midwife Bridget Hodgson becomes embroiled in a different sort of rebellion. One of Bridget’s friends, Esther Cooper, has been convicted of murdering her husband and sentenced to be burnt alive. Convinced that her friend is innocent, Bridget sets out to find the real killer.

Bridget joins forces with Martha Hawkins, a servant who’s far more skilled with a knife than any respectable woman ought to be. To save Esther from the stake, they must dodge rebel artillery, confront a murderous figure from Martha’s past, and capture a brutal killer who will stop at nothing to cover his tracks. The investigation takes Bridget and Martha from the homes of the city’s most powerful families to the alleyways of its poorest neighborhoods. As they delve into the life of Esther’s murdered husband, they discover that his ostentatious Puritanism hid a deeply sinister secret life, and that far too often tyranny and treason go hand in hand.

MY THOUGHTS: I found this to be very boring and it took me forever to finish because of it. Extreme boredom set in at the halfway point of a book that’s only 310 pages.

Bridget is thirty years old, twice widowed, and has lost her two children. Other than that we didn’t get any background on her, the main character. I didn’t find her to be that likeable either. I did like her maid, Martha, but found it pointless to add in the stuff involving her brother. It just detracted from the main mystery of who poisoned Esther’s husband, Stephen. It isn’t anyone I suspected so I give the author credit for not making it so obvious.

There were too many characters, most of which were unnecessary, and too many murders, and I just didn’t care about any of it. It wasn’t interesting or suspenseful like I was hoping. I don’t think Bridget is interesting enough to carry a series.

I received this from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

 

SUDDEN TERROR: The True Story of California’s Most Infamous Sexual Predator, The East Area Rapist, AKA The Original Night Stalker by Larry Crompton

sudden terrorPUBLISHING INFO: AuthorHouse, 8/2010
GENRE: Nonfiction/True Crime
FORMAT: Hardcover, Paperback, E-Book
CRIMESPAN: California, USA, 1970’s-1980’s
PURCHASE: AuthorHouse, Amazon
MY GRADE: A

FROM PUBLISHER: This book is based on the actual case of the East Area Rapist, later also known as the Original Night Stalker, a masked man who terrorized California communities for ten years; 1976 through 1986, and possibly to this day.

Because I was not involved in the initial rape investigations, they are written from hundreds of reports, notes, memos, newspaper clippings, conversations and interviews with those who were involved.

The crimes are factual. The crimes are real. While all characters and events have direct counterparts in the telling of the story, I have created some dialogue in the interest of readability. The cops in the initial rapes are not factual, their actions are. Their names and descriptions are completely fictitious. The names of the victims, witnesses and suspects are fictitious; the terror, the dialogue during the crimes, and the investigations are real.

The cops involved in the cases after I was involved are real, their names and dialogue is factual, the investigations are real.

The pain and terror may have diminished in the minds of the victims, I hope that the pain does not return. My intent is to tell the story without endangering the privacy or the dignity of the victims. They have suffered enough.

MY THOUGHTS: What a great book. I’ve been fascinated by the elusive, unapprehended EAR (East Area Rapist, also known as the Original Night Stalker and Golden State Killer) since I first learned of him in early 2001 on an episode of MSNBC’s MSNBC Investigates. This is the first of only two books that have been written on the case.

The author, a former detective on the case after EAR had been active for a few years, presents us with facts about the rapes and murders with rape victims’ dialogue taken right out of police reports. There’s even a list of rape/murder dates and times in chronological order in the back and a few black and white photographs of murder victims and crime scenes.

Only about thirty-two pages were about the ten murders, towards the end of the book. Some reviewers complain about that but since they’re dead and can’t tell you what all happened like the rape victims can, I understand why more time wasn’t spent on it.

One thing I really like about true crime books is that we usually learn about other rapists/murders who were active in the area we’re reading about and with this book, I learned about several from the 1970’s that I want to research, including a couple of California rapists who are still on the loose: East San Diego Rapist, Car Key Rapist, Stinky Rapist, Early Morning Rapist, Wooley, a copycat EAR rapist.

I loved the book and consider it a must-read for anyone interested in this case.

Listen to what is believed to be EAR’s voice in three phone calls here.

Please watch the documentaries below before they’re taken down!

Parts of the MSNBC Investigates ‘Deadly Behavior’ episode.

E!’s True Hollywood Story from 2009.

I.D.’s (Investigation Discovery) Dark Minds, from season 2, episode 1, from 2013.

 

There are several websites dedicated to his monster: Ear-ons.com (earons), Casebook of the Bedroom Killer. There’s an informative discussion board dedicated to the case, earonsgsk, here. Earons has a complete listing of all EAR’s crimes, link.

Here’s an audio interview that Larry did with Blogtalk Radio in early 2013, I think.

Here’s an excellent article Michelle McNamara (she’s married to Patton Oswalt) did on EAR for L.A. Magazine.

 

I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

 

WATCH PREMIERE EPISODE OF OUTLANDER SERIES

outlander tv

 

The new drama series Outlander, based on the Diana Gabaldon time-travel book series, is set to premiere on U.S. premium cable network Starz August 9 but you can watch the first episode for free on the network’s site.

THE ARNIFOUR AFFAIR by Gregory Harris

arniPUBLISHING INFO: Kensington, 1/2014
GENRE: Historical Mystery
SETTING: England, early 1900’s
SERIES: A Colin Pendragon Mystery, #1
AUTHOR SITE: link
PURCHASE: link
MY GRADE: B

FROM PUBLISHER: Set against the fog-shrouded backdrop of turn-of-the-century London, Gregory Harris’s new historical mystery series introduces tenacious sleuth Colin Pendragon, and a case that illuminates the darkness lurking in the heart of one of England’s most noble families.

When a carriage bearing the Arnifour family crest–a vulture devouring a slaughtered lamb–arrives at the Kensington home of Colin Pendragon, it is an ominous beginning to a perplexing new case. Lady Arnifour’s husband has been beaten to death and her niece, Elsbeth, left in a coma. Is the motive passion, revenge, or something even more sinister? Police suspicions have fallen on the groundskeeper and his son, yet the Earl’s widow is convinced of their innocence.

Even as Colin and his partner Ethan Pruitt delve into the muddy history of the Arnifour family, a young street urchin begs their help in finding his missing sister. Ethan, regrettably familiar with London’s underbelly, urges caution, yet Colin’s interest is piqued. And in a search that wends from the squalid opium dens of the East End to the salons of Embassy Row, the truth about these seemingly disparate cases will prove disquieting, dangerous, and profoundly unexpected. . .

MY THOUGHTS:  This was a somewhat interesting mystery novel. It certainly was a family affair, in more ways than one. I like thirty-eight year old Ethan Pruitt, the narrator, business partner and lover to Colin. They’ve worked together as detectives for twelve years. We don’t have much backstory on either one. I really wanted to know more about Ethan since he’s a recovering opium addict who grew up on the streets and that I find interesting. They’re a gay couple who live together but who knows they’re gay? Is that known by everyone they’re close to, house servants included, or do people just assume they are? Those answers weren’t given. Since this is the first in a series I feel all of that should have been established.

As for the murder itself, very interesting. All the secrets and drama that ensued near the end, ridiculous, mostly, and slightly farfetched.

There was a subplot involving a young missing girl. I was initially interested but soon became bored with it. Looking back I’m not sure what the point of adding that to a relatively short novel was.

One thing that irritated me in this novel, and this happens in most of the historical mysteries that I’ve read, was how one person figured who the killer(s) was/were right at the end and told everyone, then the killer(s) confessed to it all with no remorse.

I received this from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

 

SIMPLY SINFUL by Kate Pearce

sinfulPUBLISHING INFO: Aphrodisia, 5/2014
ORIGINAL PUB: Aphrodisia, 2008
GENRE: Fiction/Erotic Historical Romance
SETTING: England, 1817
SERIES: House of Pleasure, #2
PURCHASE: link
AUTHOR SITE: link
MY GRADE: A

FROM PUBLISHER: Forced to wed at a young age, Abigail Beecham is tired of living in a sexless marriage. She longs to succumb to the delicious pleasures of pure carnal lust that she has only read about. And if her husband can’t satisfy her erotic needs, she’s ready to find a man who can…

Peter Howard is accustomed to unusual sexual requests. His ten years as a slave in a Turkish brothel left him skilled in sensual delights. But there is little that actually arouses him–until he meets Abigail. Now he longs to tease and torment her until she cries out with pleasure. Maybe then he’ll finally experience that exquisite feeling of bliss he so desperately desires…

MY THOUGHTS: Boy, did I enjoy this story, which is book two in the series. This story begins two years after the previous book ended and spans 2 1/2 years. It was about Peter and Abby’s husband James more than it was about Peter and Abby. This was a bit unusual too as in it’s a ménage situation that stays intact throughout the story. It’s not a marriage that turns into a threesome situation that goes back to being about Peter and Abby with James not in the picture via death or divorce. He gets the girl in the end, sort of.

There are at least 16 different sex scenes with five being strictly m/m. Those are always my favorite.

Thirty-four year old brown-haired and brown-eyed James is clearly more into men than he is women, specifically his own wife of sixteen years, whom he was forced to wed at 18. She was 16. They rarely have sex together and have no children. James has trouble being sexual with his wife so he invites Peter into their bedroom to help both him and Abby find some sexual enjoyment together.

Abby has very short dark hair and is built like a ‘boy’, which I find to be a total turnoff for a heroine. I find her to be kinda bland too, a ‘go with the flow’ type of person, too agreeable.

Peter first appeared in book one, Simply Sexual, as the heroes close friend. He has blond hair and blue eyes. I think he’s about 32, same age as Valentin. In this story his relationship with Valentin and Sara, from book one, continues to be rocky. Val helps him learn about his mother and his past before he was abducted and forced to work in a brothel when he was eleven. That info doesn’t help his low self-esteem much. I don’t normally like when past characters reappear in later books in the series but I did like hearing from Val.

Overall I really liked two of the three main characters and the entire story except right near the end when James went to search for a man from his past. I friggin’ love this series.

I received this from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

house of pleasure blue

FINDING ME: A Decade of Darkness, a Life Reclaimed: A Memoir of the Cleveland Kidnappings by Michelle Knight with Michelle Burford

michelle knightPUBLISHING INFO: Weinstein Books, 5/2014
GENRE: Nonfiction/Memoir/True Crime
PURCHASE: link
MY GRADE: A

FROM PUBLISHER: Michelle was a young single mother when she was kidnapped by a local school bus driver named Ariel Castro. For more than a decade afterward, she endured unimaginable torture at the hand of her abductor. In 2003 Amanda Berry joined her in captivity, followed by Gina DeJesus in 2004. Their escape on May 6, 2013, made headlines around the world.

Barely out of her own tumultuous childhood, Michelle was estranged from her family and fighting for custody of her young son when she disappeared. Local police believed she had run away, so they removed her from the missing persons lists fifteen months after she vanished. Castro tormented her with these facts, reminding her that no one was looking for her, that the outside world had forgotten her. But Michelle would not be broken.

In Finding Me, Michelle will reveal the heartbreaking details of her story, including the thoughts and prayers that helped her find courage to endure her unimaginable circumstances and now build a life worth living. By sharing both her past and her efforts to create a future, Michelle becomes a voice for the voiceless and a powerful symbol of hope for the thousands of children and young adults who go missing every year.

MY THOUGHTS: What an ordeal Michelle went through. She suffered the most abuse of them all. Out of the three kidnapped girls, Ariel Castro hated her most, for some reason, and Amanda Berry was clearly his favorite and may not have suffered as much abuse as the other two. Michelle was raped, physically abused, and emotionally abused every day for eleven years and even had five babies beaten out of her. Hopes of seeing her son again one day seems to be the only thing that kept her alive.

She tells of her terrible childhood, her pieces of garbage parents, and her molester. She wasn’t even allowed to bathe for the first eight months of her kidnapping, not once. Her hair was so filled with Ariel’s semen that it was hard.

Her story is an honest one and for that, the book gets five stars from me. You can read about the kidnappings here.

I received this from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

 

DIRTY ROCKER BOYS: Love and Lust on the Sunset Strip by Bobbie Brown and Caroline Ryder

bobbiePUBLISHING INFO: Gallery Books, 11/2013
GENRE: Nonfiction/Memoir
PURCHASE: link
MY GRADE: A-

FROM PUBLISHER: SHE’S MY CHERRY PIE. Tastes so good, make a grown man cry.

Who could forget the sexy “Cherry Pie” girl from hair metal band Warrant’s infamous music video? Bobbie Brown became a bona fide vixen for her playful role as the object of lead singer Jani Lane’s desires. With her windblown peroxide mane, seductive scarlet lips, and flirtatious curves, she epitomized every man’s fantasy. But the wide-eyed Louisiana beauty queen’s own dreams of making it big in Los Angeles were about to be derailed by her rock-and-roll lifestyle. . . .

After her tumultuous marriage to Jani imploded, and her engagement to fast-living Motley Crue drummer Tommy Lee ended in a drug haze–followed by his marriage days later to Pamela Anderson–Bobbie decided it was time Hollywood’s hottest bachelors got a taste of their own medicine. Step one: get high. Step two: get even.

In a captivating, completely uncensored confessional, Bobbie explicitly recounts her encounters with some of the most famous men in Hollywood: Leonardo DiCaprio, Kevin Costner, Mark McGrath, Dave Navarro, Sebastian Bach, Ashley Hamilton, Rob Pilatus of Milli Vanilli, Matthew and Gunnar Nelson, Orgy’s Jay Gordon, and many more. Whose bedroom did Bobbie (literally) set on fire? No man was off limits as the fun-loving bombshell spiraled into excess, anger, and addiction.

Bobbie survived the party–barely–and her riveting, cautionary comeback tale is filled with the wildest stories of sex, drugs, and rock and roll ever told.

MY THOUGHTS: Unfiltered doesn’t even begin to describe Bobbie’s mouth. She’s blunt and doesn’t hold back much and is hilarious. The memoir flowed nicely and I really didn’t want to put it down. It was a quick read, 264 pages, but it’s not for everyone because of her coarse language.

Bobbie came from an abusive home (her father Bobby, for whom she’s named after, was a wife beater, as was his father) in Louisiana but wasn’t abused herself. She went on to be in countless dysfunctional, sometimes abusive relationships (Tommy Lee, who grabbed her by the throat in front of people). She’s been on drugs most of her adult life and  I don’t think she’s ever been to rehab. She never mentioned wanting to go. She never mentioned how she felt seeing the abuse then or how she feels about it now and if she thinks it may have to contributed to her drug use.

She detailed some of her sexual exploits with many men. The most memorable one was with Leonardo DiCaprio in 1996. He had her perform oral sex on him while wearing a condom. It tasted bad so she took it off.  She said his penis was huge, ‘on steroids’, bigger than Tommy Lee’s, and she could hardly fit it in her mouth. She said Tommy’s was ‘as big as a baby’s arm’. Tommy’s very immature, a big kid, needy, extremely jealous, and a big whoremonger. I think he’s the one she said always wanted to remove her tampons for her.

She barely mentioned having a nose job at around age 19/20 ‘to remove the bump’ and getting breast implants and having them redone. Never once mentioned that they leaked and she got really sick and has lupus now because of it (according to her). A few years ago I watched a documentary that she narrated on VH1 called “Do It For the Band: The Women of the Sunset Strip” and she mentioned the leakage. She failed to mention being diagnosed with trichotillomania yet mentions it in interviews. I found out about it online when I should have just read about it in her own book. That developed during 2005 during what she says is the worst relationship she’s ever been in but I don’t recall reading about it and I don’t know who’s she’s talking about. How on earth can you write your memoir and leave out the most important things of all?! You can’t have surgeries and barely mention them. I want details. I want to know why you had the surgeries, what it was like recovering from them and all that. What lead to wanting them? Any regrets?

The most interesting story was when her ex-husband Jani (Warrant), a crying, drunken mess at the time, confided in her about something awful that happened to him years before he was famous. Page 250:

He was nineteen when it happened. It was after a show. And older man, a major rock star, had invited Jani to hang out with him and the big guys. Jani was young, and easily impressed. Later that night, along with an accomplice, that major rock star put Jani through an ordeal he had been to ashamed to talk about until this moment. It was violent. It was ugly. It was exploitative. Jani said he had been too scared to tell anybody and had been pushing the memory under the carpet, pretending it wasn’t there. Jani was a proud man and hated to think of himself as a victim. Now, finally, I understood why he had been acting like one for so many years.’

Bobbie did a lot of acting/modeling when she was in her early twenties, and some things since, so this book should have had a filmography.

Some of the music videos she’s been in aren’t mentioned online so I’ll list them all:

I’m On To You by Hurricane- 1988 (pre-implants and nose job)
Cecilia by Times Two- 1989
Once Bitten, Twice Shy by Great White- 1989
House of Broken Love by Great White- 1989
It Feels So Good To Love Someone Like You by Terence Trent D’Arby- 1989
Sittin’ in the Lap of Luxury by Louie Louie- 1990
Cherry Pie by Warrant- 1990

She misspoke and said model Paulina Porizkova was Czech-American when she’s actually Czech-Swedish.

Here’s a great interview with Screamer Magazine and one with Fuse television she did to promote the book. Here’s a link to the video for Cherry Pie.

I loved the book, thought it was highly entertaining and I do recommend it.

I received this from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

THE MOST DANGEROUS ANIMAL OF ALL: Searching for My Father and Finding the Zodiac Killer by Gary L. Stewart With Susan D. Mustafa with Book Trailer and Documentary

zodiacPUBLISHING INFO:  Harper, 5/2014
GENRE: Nonfiction/Memoir/True Crime
PURCHASE: link
MY GRADE: A

FROM PUBLISHER: Soon after his birthmother contacted him for the first time at the age of thirty-nine, adoptee Gary L. Stewart decided to search for his biological father. His quest would lead him to a horrifying truth and force him to reconsider everything he thought he knew about himself and his world.

For decades, the Zodiac Killer has captivated America’s imagination. His ability to evade capture while taunting authorities made him infamous. The vicious specificity of his crimes terrified Californians before the Manson murders and after, and shocked a culture enamored with the ideals of the dawning Age of Aquarius. To this day, his ciphers have baffled detectives and amateur sleuths, and his identity remains one of the twentieth century’s great unsolved mysteries.

The Most Dangerous Animal of All reveals the name of the Zodiac for the very first time. Mustafa and Stewart construct a chilling psychological profile of Stewart’s father: as a boy with disturbing fixations, a frustrated intellectual with pretensions to high culture, and an inappropriate suitor and then jilted lover unable to process his rage. At last, all the questions that have surrounded the case for almost fifty years are answered in this riveting narrative. The result is a singular work of true crime at its finest—a compelling, unbelievable true story told with the pacing of a page-turning novel—as well as a sensational and powerful memoir.

MY THOUGHTS: This was a fascinating memoir/true crime book about an infamous unapprehended serial killer who began killing in 1969.  Like the author said, he was searching for information about his birth father, Earl Van Best, Jr., after his birth mother Judy, who’s a liar that I don’t like, contacted him for the first time in 2002. He researched his father, who goes by Van, as best he could, for twelve years. He found old police reports, talked to an old close friend of his, found family members, and so on. I don’t know what more he could have done in order to find more information on a man who’s no longer alive. I think he researched Zodiac well.

Gary presents us with handwriting samples of his father’s that match up pretty well with known samples of the Zodiac’s that he sent to the newspaper in San Francisco during the time of the killings. We see how this unsolved cipher that Zodiac sent spells out Gary’s father’s name. Zodiac’s fingerprints are compared to Gary’s fathers and they both have an identical scar on the same finger.

The most disappointing part of this involves current detective John Hennessey and has to do with Zodiac and Gary’s DNA and the mystery as to why Hennessey severed ties with Gary. Another mysterious detective is Harold Butler, who’s clearly hiding information from both Hennessey and Gary. There’s clearly some sort of cover-up going on and I have no doubt that one day it’ll be exposed. Gary, don’t give up on having that DNA tested.

I don’t get into how screwed up Van is but I will say he has all the makings of a serial killer, complete with cold, unaffectionate, unloving, cheating mother. Even if he isn’t the real killer, I enjoyed reading about him.

This hardcover book has the coolest cover. The book itself has Van’s mugshot printed on the front and back cover. The dust jacket is translucent red on the front and back and has all the black writing on it. The spine and flaps are almost clear. Never seen one like that before.

Below is a composite drawing of the Zodiac Killer and the other is Gary’s father, Earl Van Best, Jr., in 1962, seven years before the Zodiac killings. The documentary is an old one from A&E that I’ve seen many times.

I received this from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Zodiac collage

SIMPLY SEXUAL by Kate Pearce (House of Pleasure # 1)

sexualPUBLISHING INFO: Aphrodisia, 4/2014
ORIGINAL PUB: Aprodisia, 2/2008
GENRE: Historical Erotic Romance
SETTING: England, 1815
SERIES: House of Pleasure, #1
AUTHOR SITE: link
PURCHASE: link
MY GRADE: A-

FROM PUBLISHER: Sexual Satisfaction… Ten years as a sex slave in a Turkish brothel left Lord Valentin Sokorvsky with an insatiable appetite for sex. Now the time has come for him to marry, but finding a woman who can satisfy his lustful desires proves a challenge…until he meets Sara and all he can think about is having her lie under his rock-hard body, begging him to taste and touch her…

Sensual Seduction… Sara Harrison knows she should be shocked and scandalized by Lord Sokorvsky’s bold advances, but instead she is secretly aroused by this sensual, seductive man. For beneath her calm and composed manner is a wanton woman who longs for a man’s intimate caress. She is most willing to be educated in the art of sensuality, to receive and give pleasure and to succumb to the wild desire that knows no limits…

MY THOUGHTS: Damn, this is one explicit book. Right off the bat Sara caught Valentin in a compromising situation with a servant.

Valentin is about thirty, with dark hair and violet eyes. He was forced into sexual slavery as a child, until he was eighteen. He was forced to have sex then with both men and women and is mostly into women now. He’s become wealthy due to owning a shipping company.

His future father-in-law, John Harrison, was at that brothel and bought Valentin’s and his friend Peter Howard’s freedom since they were English like him. Twelve years later John is low on funds and wants Valentin to marry his younger daughter, Charlotte, but Valentin is interested in his older daughter, twenty-six year old Sara. They marry very early on, within twenty-five pages. Details of the wedding are skipped and the story goes right into their wedding night.

Sara’s got dark hair and blue eyes. She’s a little too passive and easy going for my taste. There was only a little bit of friction between her and Valentin throughout the story, which spans at least six months. Caroline Ingham, Valentin’s jealous ex-mistress, is at the center of some of the drama.

There are at least ten sex scenes between Sara and Valentin and two or three of them involve m/m interaction between Valentin and Peter and about two threesomes with them. Words can’t really express how I enjoyed those descriptive sex scenes. It was like a porn film put into words. I think I’ve read all but two in this series and this is the most explicit and it’s certainly not for everyone. It’ll leave you longing for a penis.

I really like Peter. He’s very close to Valentin and when they were first given their freedom, he was addicted to and was reliant on him, as well as to opium. Peter gets his own story in the second book in this series, Simply Sinful, and I cannot wait to read it.

I was turned off by Sara getting her nipples pierced and by a few of the things that went on sexually. I didn’t like rushed kidnapping story right at the very end the mystery as to who’s stealing money from the company wasn’t very suspenseful.

I received this from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Same review here.

 

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