True Crime Book Review: Couple Found Slain by Mikita Brottman

Find a copy here

As an avid listener of true crime podcasts, I am drawn to stories that focus on the victims. In this case, everyone is a victim. In many ways each person-both the murder victims and their son, their killer-was the victim of untreated mental illness. The family history leading up to the deadly event is just part of the story. The rest of the story is Brian’s and what happens to the criminally insane. This is a well-researched, deep dive into life in a mental institution. Readers are left wondering about Brian and his fate. Lots to unpack and discuss.

New Books Tuesday @ RRPL

Here are some of the new books coming to our shelves this week for you to add to your book list!

The Defense Lawyer: The Barry Slotnick Story by James Patterson & Benjamin Wallace – Takes readers inside the courtroom to witness defense lawyer and Bronx-native Barry Slotnick, known for his brilliant legal mind, sharp suits and bold courtroom strategies, as he never loses a case for his notorious and dangerous clients.

The Good Son by Jacquelyn Mitchard – When her son is released from prison after serving time for the negligent homicide of his girlfriend, Thea is committed to helping him make amends until attempts on their lives are made, leading her to believe that those who are threatening them having something to hide.

Joan Is Okay by Weike Wang – An ICU physician at a busy NYC hospital, 30-something Joan, a workaholic with little interest in having friends, let alone lovers, is required to take mandatory leave until the day she must return to the city to face a crisis larger than anything she’s encountered before.

You Don’t Know Us Negroes and Other Essays by Zora Hurston – Spanning more than 35 years of work, this anthology showcases the writings of one of the most acclaimed artists of the Harlem Renaissance, providing a window into her world and time.

Robert B. Parker’s Bye Bye Baby by Ace Atkins – Boston PI Spenser takes on a new case in this installment in Robert B. Parker’s iconic New York Times best-selling series.

Lightning in a Mirror by Jayne Ann Krentz – When her speed dating experiment leads her to Harlan Rancourt, who—long believed dead—needs her help locating a legendary lab, psychic investigator Olivia LeClair must use her unique gift to get them to the top-secret lab before innocent people die.

Yinka, Where Is Your Huzband? by Lizzie Damilola Blackburn – A 30-something, Oxford-educated, British Nigerian woman with a high-paying job and good friends, Yinka, whose aunties frequently pray for her delivery from singledom, must find a date for her cousin’s wedding with the help of a spreadsheet and her best friend.

Desolation Canyon by P. J. Tracy – While coping with the loss of her brother, an LAPD detective discovers the body of a successful attorney in Swan Lake at the Hotel Bel-Air bar, leading to a series of shocking revelations about a sinister cabal.

One Step Too Far by Lisa Gardner – Searching for a young man who disappeared without a trace, missing persons expert and recovering alcoholic Frankie Elkin, with her very life on the line, goes up against something very dark to find what she is looking for.

Targeted by Stephen Hunter – When the court in where he is accused of reckless endangerment from his last assignment is attacked by violent operatives, Bobby Lee Swagger must rely on his instincts, shooting skills and the help of a mysterious rogue sniper on the outside, to save the very people who accused him.

~Semanur

True Crime Book Review: The Five by by Hallie Rubenhold

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Mary Ann “Polly” Nichols. Annie Chapman. Elizabeth Stride. Catherine Eddowes. Mary Jane Kelly. Everyone knows the moniker Jack the Ripper, but very few know the names of his victims. For over a century the focus has been on the killer and the nature of his crimes, the meticulous and brutal murder of prostitutes. Author Hallie Rubenhold flips the script on traditional Ripper lore, and presents the lives of the five women whose lives have been reduced by history to their victim status and alleged unsavory activities. These women were more than victims. They were servants, business owners, wives, and mothers. The press of the day was so eager to allay fear amongst Londoners that they painted a portrait of a madman who preyed on prostitutes. This narrative was not only false, it prevented the truth about these women to be known. They were not perfect, but their greatest crime was being born poor women and being at the wrong place at the wrong time.

This is a fascinating look at poverty in Victorian London as well as an exciting new chapter in the Jack the Ripper case. Modern day true crime fans will appreciate that author’s work in humanizing and respecting the victims of these brutal crimes. 

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True Crime Book Review: The Man From the Train by Bill James

The Man from the Train: The Solving of a Century-Old Serial Killer Mystery
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On June 9, 1912 in the town of Villisca, Iowa, all six members of the Moore family and two house guests were bludgeoned to death with an axe. An investigation yielded a number of suspects, one of whom was actually charged with the murders. But two trials later, the case remained unsolved. Bill James, a statistician, baseball analyst, and crime writer, set out to connect the Villisca Axe Murders to a single, prolific, and heretofore unnamed killer.

Between 1898 and 1912 dozens of families were bludgeoned to death in their sleep. These victims were in Nova Scotia, Florida, Oregon, Kansas, and Arkansas among other locations. During this time local police assumed most murders were committed by someone known to the victims. When they could not find a suspect, the cases went cold. James’ theory was the killer was an itinerant worker who used the railroad system to move about, slipping in and out of night under the cover of night. James believes he has correctly identified the man who murdered at least 59 people and could be responsible for another 94 deaths.

This is a meticulously researched book and the authors present a cogent argument against the The Man from the Train. His case is plausible and compelling, offering a fresh look at a number of 100 year old cold cases.

This was one of the first cases we discussed in Riverinos and it remains a group favorite. Feel free to join us Wednesday, January 19th at 7:00pm, when we talk about Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann. Register here and we’ll send you the Zoom link.

New Books Tuesday @RRPL

Take a look at some of the exciting new releases coming to our shelves in this week…

The Sleep Fix: Practical, Proven, and Surprising Solutions for Insomnia, Snoring, Shift Work, and More
by Diane Macedo – A renowned ABC News anchor/correspondent and former insomniac presents cutting-edge research, expert advice, intimate stories and easy-to-implement solutions to help millions of people get the sleep they need.

Silent Parade by Keigo Higashino, Keigo – When the suspected killer of two young girls—20 years apart—dies during the annual street festival, Detective Chief Inspector Kusanagi turns to his friend Detective Galileo to help solve the string of impossible to prove murders.

Jane Austen’s Lost Letters by Jane K. Cleland – When she comes into the possession of two previously unknown letters by Jane Austen, antiques appraiser Josie Prescott, as she sets out to authenticate these letters, learns that someone is willing to kill to keep her from finding out the truth.

Agent Sniper: The Cold War Super Agent and the Ruthless Head of the CIA by Tim Tate – This look at one of most important Cold War spies details how he was able to smuggle out a huge amount of Soviet bloc intelligence and military documents.

Everyday Trauma: Remapping the Brain’s Response to Stress, Anxiety, and Painful Memories for a Better Life by Tracey Shors – A neuroscientist explores how trauma impacts the brain, especially for women—and how we can learn to heal ourselves.

Tailored Brain, The: From Ketamine, to Keto, to Companionship, a User’s Guide to Feeling Better and Thinking Smarter by Emily Willingham – Helping us understand cognitive enhancement, a journalist and science writer explores the promises and limitations of well-known and emerging methods of brain customization, including new research on the power of your “social brain.”

Fixed: How to Perfect the Fine Art of Problem Solving by Amy E. Herman – An art historian and attorney uses works of art to present a new paradigm for problem-solving that focuses on critical thinking skills to help recognize and overcome biases that prevent us from seeing problems clearly.

Creative Types: And Other Stories by Tom Bissell – Writers, video-game developers, actors and other creative types who see the world a little differently and are each on the verge of artistic and personal crises populate a new collection of stories from the best-selling co-author of The Disaster Artist.

~Semanur

New Books Tuesday @ RRPL

Check out this selection of new releases for your enjoyment coming this week!

Bath Haus by P. J. Vernon – When an attempted tryst in a gay bathhouse almost turns deadly, recovering addict Oliver Park finds his carefully rebuilt life unraveling.

Widespread Panic by James Ellroy – In the 1950s, Freddy Otash, the Tattle Tyrant for Confidential magazine who held Hollywood hostage, decides to tell all, in this tale of pervasive paranoia teeming with communist conspiracies, FBI finks, celebrity smut films, and strange bedfellows.

Notorious by Diana Palmer – To escape from family members who are after her inheritance, Texas heiress Gaby Dupont, assuming a new identity, starts working for a powerful Chicago lawyer who comes to her aid when her greedy relatives track her down.

The Damage by Caitlin Wahrer – When a small-town family is pushed to the brink, how far will they go to protect one of their own?

The Maidens by Alex Michaelides – When a member of a secret society known as The Maidens is murdered, a brilliant, but troubled, group therapist finds her obsession with proving the guilt of an untouchable Cambridge University professor spiraling out of control, threatening to destroy her credibility as well as her life.

The Great Mistake by Jonathan Lee – From the acclaimed author of High Dive comes a novel of New York City at the turn of the 20th century, a story of one man’s rise to fame and fortune, and his mysterious murder.

Nowhere Girl: A Memoir of a Fugitive Childhood by Cheryl Diamond – In this impossible-to-believe true story of self-discovery and triumph, the author, born into a family of outlaws with no proof that she even existed, shares her escape from the only people she had in the world in order to survive.

Beyond by Mercedes Lackey – The long-awaited founding of Valdemar comes to life in this new series from a New York Times best-selling author.

The Godmothers by Camille Aubray – Godmothers to one another’s children, four women, who married into a prosperous Italian family, must come together, despite secrets and betrayals, when their husbands are forced to leave them during WW II, pitting them against notorious gangsters who run the streets of New York City.

The Outlier: The Unfinished Presidency of Jimmy Carter by Kai Bird – An expert biographer and Pulitzer Prize-winning author of American Prometheus, drawing on interviews with members of Carter’s administration as well as recently unclassified documents from his presidential library, reevaluated the complex triumphs and tragedies of Jimmy Carter’s presidential legacy.

~Semanur

New Books Tuesday @ RRPL

In this week’s releases we have biographies, mystery, suspense, thrillers and many more genres for you to choose from!

Empire of Pain: The Secret History of the Sackler Dynasty by Patrick Radden Keefe – The award-winning author of Say Nothing presents a narrative account of how a prominent wealthy family sponsored the creation and marketing of one of the most commonly prescribed and addictive painkillers of the opioid crisis.

What Comes After by Joanne Tompkins – The grieving single parents of two recently deceased teenage boys forge an unexpected bond over the appearance of a mysterious pregnant girl who offers insight into the tragedy.

The Funny Thing About Norman Foreman by Julietta Henderson – A 12-year-old aspiring comedian pushes the limits of his lesser talents to travel across the country and honor a dead best friend’s dream of performing in the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

Turn a Blind Eye by Jeffery Archer – Going undercover to expose corruption in the Metropolitan Police Force, Detective Inspector William Warwick is compromised by a high-profile trial and a teammate’s romantic relationship with his suspect. By the best-selling author of Kane & Abel.

This Is the Fire: What I Say to My Friends About Racism by Don Lemon – The author brings his vast audience and experience as a reporter and a black man to today’s most urgent question: How can we end racism in America in our lifetimes?

The Venice Sketchbook by Rhys Bowen – Inheriting her beloved great-aunt’s sketchbook, a recently divorced woman uncovers mysteries about her great-aunt’s star-crossed romance with a nobleman in World War II Venice. By the award-winning author of In Farleigh Field.

Death with a Double Edge by Anne Perry – Joining forces with Toby Kitteridge to investigate the murder of a senior barrister, Daniel Pitt follows leads through London’s teeming underworld, before hostile adversaries begin targeting his loved ones. By the best-selling author of the William Monk series.

Stargazer by Anne Hillerman – Officer Bernie risks her relationship with Chee to investigate the disappearance of a former college roommate, whose confession for murder does not add up. By the best-selling author of The Tale Teller.

Ocean Prey by John Sandford – Picking up a stalled FBI case involving three murdered Coast Guardsmen, Lucas Davenport teams up with detective Virgil Flowers to investigate the suspicious activities of a sophisticated boat and mysterious diver. By the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of the Prey series.

The Good Sister by Sally Hepworth – Twin sisters who are polar opposites but who are harboring a deep, dark secret about their sociopathic mother must face the consequences of both her actions and their own when one tries to start a family.

The Devil’s Hand by Jack Carr – Former Navy SEAL James Reece embarks on a top-secret CIA mission of retribution, while in a dangerous world region, the supreme leader of a cadre of assassins orchestrates a plot to defeat the United States.

When the Stars Go Dark by Paula McLain – Retreating to her childhood foster home in the wake of a tragedy, a veteran missing-persons detective becomes entwined in the search for a local teen whose disappearance eerily resembles an unsolved case from the detective’s past.

Permission to Dream by Chris Gardner with Mim Eichler-Rivas – Inspired by a girlfriend’s death to make the most of his remaining time, Chris assists his granddaughter’s search for the harmonica of her dreams while revisiting an old ambition. By the best-selling author of The Pursuit of Happyness.

The Hero Code, The: Lessons Learned from Lives Well Lived by William H. McRaven – The Four-Star Admiral, retired Commander of U.S. Special Operations Forces and best-selling author of Make Your Bed shares succinct, inspirational lessons about the character qualities of everyday true heroes.

~Semanur

New Books Tuesday @ RRPL

Check out this weeks new releases and add onto your reading list! Here are some books we picked out for you!

Walk in My Combat Boots: True Stories from America’s Bravest Warriors by James Patterson – The decorated war hero who inspired the movie, Black Hawk Down, shares firsthand wartime accounts describing the courageous battlefield sacrifices of men and women from every branch and operational specialty of the U.S. military.

The Witch’s Heart by Genevieve Gornichec – A subversive reimagining of Norse mythology traces the experiences of a banished witch whose unexpected passionate relationship with the trickster Loki produces three remarkable offspring before her family is targeted by wrathful gods.

The Vineyard at Painted Moon by Susan Mallery – Devastated by a divorce that she admits was inevitable, MacKenzie finds her attempts to move away from the only family and source of employment she has ever known complicated by an unplanned pregnancy.

We Run the Tides by Vendela Vida – The disappearance of a teen in the aftermath of a dispute about something that was or was not witnessed exposes dark community secrets. By the award-winning author of Let the Northern Lights Erase Your Name.

Faithless in Death by J. D. Robb – Investigating a woman whose report about an artist’s murder is not adding up, Eve Dallas uncovers a fanatical conspiracy that leads to Dallas’s partnership with the FBI. By the best-selling author of Vendetta in Death.

A Stranger in Town: a Rockton Novel by Kelley Armstrong – Becoming suspicious when she notices that fewer residents are joining their fresh-start community, Detective Casey Duncan learns in the wake of a violent attack that the Rockton project is being shut down.

The (Other) You: Stories  by Joyce Carol Oates – The National Book Award-winning author of We Were the Mulvaneys presents a latest collection of stories that explores the musings of a writer, a prisoner and a student who consider how their lives might have unfolded differently.

Never Far Away  by Michael Koryta – Placed in witness protection in remote northern Maine, Leah risks exposing herself to the dangerous forces of her past when her homesick children run away. By the award-winning author of Those Who Wish Me Dead.

The Power Couple by Alex Berenson – Embarking on a European family vacation to revitalize their marriage, two government employees find the limits of their bond tested when their daughter goes missing from a Barcelona club. By the award-winning author of The Faithful Spy.

The Burning Girls by C. J. Tudor – Assigned to a remote English countryside parish after a suspicious suicide, an unconventional vicar and single father investigates the village’s tragic history and the recent disappearances of two teens. By the award-winning author of The Chalk Man.

The New Normal: A Roadmap to Resilience in the Pandemic Era by Jennifer Ashton – The Chief Medical Correspondent at ABC News presents a guide to resilience in the era of COVID, sharing insights into how to understand evolving medical updates, adapt to evolving norms and make responsible choices throughout the pandemic.

Zorrie by Laird Hunt – Cast adrift in the Depression-era West after the last of her relatives pass away, Zorrie survives by working at a radium processing plant before finding love, community and unexpected loss upon returning to her small Indiana hometown.

American Serial Killers: The Epidemic Years 1950-2000  by Peter Vronsky – Collects chilling narrative accounts of serial killers from the age of the serial murder “epidemic” (1950-2000).

Connect: Building Exceptional Relationships with Family, Friends, and Colleagues
by David Bradford & Carole Robin – Based on Stanford’s successful Interpersonal Dynamics course, a guide to building more fulfilling relationships in personal and professional arenas shares time-tested strategies for giving feedback, negotiating boundaries and overcoming tricky disputes.

~Semanur

New Books Tuesday @ RRPL

There are many exciting new book releases coming and you don’t want to miss it…

Cover image for Pianos and flowers : brief encounters of the romantic kind

Pianos and Flowers: Brief Encounters of the Romantic Kind by Alexander McCall Smith – An anthology of 14 stories by the best-selling author of the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series imagines the rich lives and loves behind everyday people featured in pictures from the London Sunday Times photograph archives.

Cover image for Before she disappeared : a novel

Before She Disappeared by Lisa Gardner – Investigating the cold-case disappearance of a Haitian teen in a gritty Boston neighborhood, Frankie Elkin navigates resident and police resistance as well as the challenges of her own sobriety before risking her life to uncover the truth.

Cover image for In the garden of spite : a novel of the black widow of La Porte

In the Garden of Spite: A Novel of the Black Widow of La Porte by Camilla Bruce – A novel of feminine rage looks at one of the most prolific female serial killers in American history and the men who drove her to it.

Cover image for Shiver

Shiver by Allie Reynolds – A reunion weekend in the French Alps turns deadly when five friends discover that someone has deliberately stranded them at a remote mountaintop resort during a snowstorm, where ominous things begin to happen.

Cover image for Till murder do us part : true-crime thrillers

Till Murder Do Us Part  by James Patterson – A woman begins to suspect that her husband isn’t actually who he says he is and a teenager has her life upended during the hunt for a missing girl in two true-crime stories from the prolific and best-selling author.

Land: How the Hunger for Ownership Shaped the Modern World by Simon Winchester – The author of The Perfectionists explores the concept of land ownership and how it has shaped history, examining how people fight over, steward and occasionally share land, and what humanity’s proprietary relationship with land means for the future.

Knock Knock by Anders Roslund – The #1 international-bestselling thriller that tells the story of a police inspector and a former criminal informant in a race against time as they attempt to unravel past and present secrets.

The Divines by Ellie Eaton – Piecing together memories from her teen years at an elite English boarding school, Josephine gradually exposes a violent secret behind why the once-prestigious institution abruptly closed in disgrace.

With Her Fist Raised: Dorothy Pitman Hughes and the Transformative Power of Black Community Activism by Laura L. Lovett – Presents the first biography of Dorothy Pitman Hughes, a trailblazing black feminist activist whose work made children, race, and welfare rights central to the women’s movement.

Thyroid Reset Diet, The: Reverse Hypothyroidism and Hashimoto’s Symptoms with a Proven Iodine-Balancing Plan by Alan Christianson – The integrative physician and author of the best-selling The Metabolism Reset Diet outlines a recipe-complemented, counterintuitive plan for reversing the symptoms of thyroid disease through strategic food replacements that regulate iodine intake.

~Semanur

New Books Tuesday @ RRPL

In this week’s special picks there are new exciting romance, mystery, suspense, and many more genres for you to choose from! Enjoy!

D: A Tale of Two Worlds by Michel Faber – Baffled by the sudden disappearance of the letter D, a young woman is summoned to the home of a former history teacher before arriving in an enslaved, wintry land where free thinking is under threat.

The Last Days of John Lennon by James Patterson – Published to commemorate the 40th anniversary of Lennon’s assassination and based on insider interviews, a chronicle of the iconic music artist’s final days includes coverage of his last album and the life of Mark David Chapman.

Layla by Colleen Hoover – From #1 New York Times bestselling author Colleen Hoover comes a novel that explores life after tragedy and the enduring spirit of love in this engaging contemporary romance with a supernatural twist. It is part psychological thriller and part paranormal romance.

Cold Wind by Paige Shelton – A sequel to Thin Ice finds Beth investigating the discovery of a trapper’s secluded home in the woods near Benedict, Alaska, where a murder victim is linked to the owner of the local mercantile.

The How Not to Diet Cookbook by Michael Greger, M.D., FACLM –  The author of the New York Times bestseller How Not to Die, comes a four-color, fully illustrated cookbook that shares the science of long-term weight-loss success. This book is primed to be a revolutionary new addition to the cookbook industry: incredibly effective and designed for everyone looking to make changes to their dietary habits to improve their quality of life, weight loss notwithstanding.

Unsinkable: Five Men and the Indomitable Run of the U.S.S. Plunkett by James Sullivan – Documents the true story of a U.S. Navy destroyer that inspired the writings of John Ford and Herman Wouk, drawing on the journals and other writings of five shipmates who witnessed the Anzio attacks and D-Day invasion.

Red Hands by Christopher Golden – Ben Walker, an expert in weird phenomena is asked by the Global Science Research Coalition to locate a woman who has been the victim of a devastating bioweapon that causes every person she touches to drop dead.

The Daydream Cabin by Carolyn Brown – A headstrong woman discovers it’s never too late for change in New York Times bestselling author Carolyn Brown’s spirited novel about lost hope and second chances. Working as a summer counselor at an amenities-limited camp for at-risk teens, a public-school teacher employs a tough-love approach to intervene on behalf of three troubled girls while bonding with a hardened boot-camp drill instructor.

Girl Gurl Grrrl: On Womanhood and Belonging in the Age of Black Girl Magic by Kenya Hunt – The award-winning Grazia UK fashion director presents an evocative anthology of essays celebrating the timeless, thriving potential of being a Black woman, mother and global citizen in today’s dynamic world.

Blowing My Way to the Top: How to Break the Rules, Find Your Purpose, and Create the Life and Career You Deserve by Jen Atkin – The celebrity stylist and social media influencer discusses the challenges faced by today’s women entrepreneurs and the foundational values that shaped her rise from a conservative, isolated teen to the head of a multi-million-dollar empire.

Snowdrift by Helene Tursten – Swedish Detective Inspector Embla Nyström puts her life on the line when a new lead breaks in the unsolved disappearance of her best friend, a cold case that is further complicated by the murder of a notorious gang member.

The Mermaid from Jeju by Sumi Hahn – A talented young deep-sea diver from occupied 1948 Korea’s neighboring Jeju Island visits Mt. Halla for her family’s annual trading trip before her romance with a mountain youth is upended by family tragedy and political turbulence.

Take It Back by Kia Abdullah – Leaving her high-profile law position for a job at a crisis center, Zara Kaleel becomes involved in the case of a deformed teenage girl who accuses four boys in her class of rape, tearing the community apart.

The System by Ryan Gattis – On December 6, 1993, a drug dealer called Scrappy is shot and left for dead on the lawn outside her mother’s house in South Central Los Angeles, a heroin addict fingers two drug dealers as the killers, but only one of them is guilty.

~Semanur~