Book Review: The Fact of A Body (Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich) @Flatironbooks ‏@alexandriaml

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I always struggle when I review a work of non-fiction- especially when it is a memoir.  Who am I to judge if someone has a story that needs to be told?

However, when #cjsreads chose this book for one of our May titles, I figured I would try!

The Fact of A Body, a non-fiction novel by Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich, was one that I was very intrigued by. Following an anti-death penalty lawyer in the deep South, her perception is changed when her firm begins working on a case with convicted murderer and child molester, Ricky Langley.   Part true crime, part memoir, Marzano-Lesnevich, recalls her time watching the confession tapes and going through the crimes, but also how it connects to her own personal history.

The book opens with Marzano-Lesnevich arriving at her new law firm for her summer internship in Louisiana. As she begins watching the first tapes of Ricky Langley, something inside her stirs and she cannot ignore her unsettling feeling. Narrated through alternate time periods, the memoir jumps around and then blends together in its finale. Chapters uncover not only Rickey’s life and his crimes but also his past and his family history. Marzano-Lesnevich explores her own past and childhood.

This work was really different.  At times, I felt as if it was a little jumpy, but the author does make sure to label each chapter with their time period so it can be followed.   I was incredibly interested in the chapters surrounding the psychology of Langley; the author does a phenomenal job of presenting the facts of his case and trial.

However, my favourite part of the novel was the author’s ability to recognize how personal histories can affect a perception.

I applaud the author’s courage to be able to share her own tale and publish this body of work.  I feel like all true crime fans will be interested in this one!

Thanks to the publisher (Flatiron) and the author for the copy of this novel; it was my pleasure to provide an honest review.

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Keep reading to see what Chandra and Jessica thought of this one!

What Chandra Thought

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5 beautiful, shiny stars.
Do you ever just turn the last page of a book, sit back, and go WOW? That’s exactly what happened for me with this piece of art. This book tells two different stories – a tale of convicted murderer and paedophile, Ricky Langley, and the author’s own story; how through her research into Ricky, faces her own past – changing her initial view into his case.

I have never read a book like this one. Bouncing back and forth between the tales, the author’s research and clear ability to weave a story seeps through the pages and into ever fibre of your being. You can see her bare her own soul unabashedly while somehow making you empathize for Ricky. She also has the ability in her reconstruction to show how everyone else affected by this case uses their own experiences to try and understand. Personal experiences give people reason to find compassion in some cases. She truly shows the complexities of holding on to secrets, raw emotion, and the scars that become part of human growth, both physically and mentally. Her blending of her own memoir with this true crime story is unprecedented and something that will be with me for a long time coming.

Fans of Serial and Making a Murderer will be fascinated by this novel. If you pick up this book, and you should, take the time to read the foreword, the Sources Consulted section and the Author’s acknowledgement.

What Jessica Thought

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The Fact of a Body by Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich is unlike any other book that I’ve read. It’s a combination of a memoir and a murder case. It was very intriguing reading through the author’s background and what led her to the Ricky Langley case. When I saw that this was part memoir, I was a little curious as to how this would all play out. The legal disclaimer at the beginning of the book is very helpful and informative (how all the information given about Langley is something that is publicly available, from trial, etc). 

We follow two stories. The story of Ricky Langley and the murder he committed – which then leads to the trial where he eventually crosses paths with the author. The other story is the author’s upbringing. She grew up with two lawyers as parents. These two storylines are very important. We get to see Alexandria’s character take shape, as well as her beliefs before entering into the law firm in Louisiana (completely anti-death penalty). All of that changes the second she sees and hears Langley on tape talking about his crimes. Langley is facing the death penalty for murdering 6-year-old Jeremy Guillory.
We dive deep into Ricky’s background with the author. She puts all of her energy into the details of the murder and soon finds herself digging into his complicated childhood. There’s something unsettling and uncanny about his story – Alexandria is forced to face her own childhood and unearthing deep buried secrets and the past that could be affecting her views of Langley’s crime.
This is an emotional and intellectual thriller that definitely does not read like a memoir/nonfiction. It’s interesting diving into the mind of a lawyer who is having an internal battle with herself over this case and what it means for her beliefs. I would highly recommend this to someone that wants a thriller or mystery that has a unique twist to it. Having this be a true story made it even more chilling to read – Ricky Langley isn’t a made up character and what he did is real and cannot be undone.
This was a page turner for me and I loved it!
5/5 stars!

 

Book Review: Penance (Kanae Minato) @mulhollandbooks

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As children, Sae, Maki, Akiko and Yuko were separated from their friend, Emily. Hours later, she is found murdered. Unable to provide any answers to the police and unable to find the murderer, Emily’s mother curses the girls, vowing that they will pay for her daughter’s murder.

I am always looking to add diversity to my reading rotation, so when I saw Penance, by Kanae Minato, and realized I had never heard of this author before, I decided to add this novel (translated from its original Japanese) into my rotation. I have never read any books by a Japanese author before so I wasn’t sure what to expect. What an experience.

Continue reading “Book Review: Penance (Kanae Minato) @mulhollandbooks”

Book Review: Three Minutes to Doomsday (Joe Navarro) @navarrotells @ScribnerBooks

Screen Shot 2017-04-17 at 2.09.20 PM.pngThree Minutes to Doomsday, a nonfiction book following a cat and mouse game between FBI agent, Joe Navarro and a former American soldier turned spy, Rod Ramsey, was a completely different read than what I would choose for myself.

But, in the name of #cjsreads, I gave it a try!

Continue reading “Book Review: Three Minutes to Doomsday (Joe Navarro) @navarrotells @ScribnerBooks”

#cjsreads2017: Say Nothing (Brad Parks) @Brad_Parks @DuttonBooks

screen-shot-2017-02-20-at-6-18-39-pmI am starting off this review with a Public Service Announcement.  You will need to buy this book.  You will need to add it to your TBR lists.

I am even going out on a limb here and stating that this one has been my favourite of all our #cjsreads picks we have read to date; I loved Say Nothing by Brad Parks. Keep reading for our reviews and a synopsis of the book.

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#cjsreads2017: The Book of Mirrors (E.O Chirovici) @AtriaMysteryBus @EugenOChirovici

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A busy release day for #cjsreadsreads and another buddy read in the books!  We read The Book of Mirrors by E.O Chirovici.  Keep reading for a synopsis and to see what we thought about this one; we were pretty mixed!

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Book Review: Right Behind You (Lisa Gardner) @LisaGardnerBks @DuttonBooks

Screen Shot 2017-01-24 at 10.21.11 PM.pngSharlah’s older brother beat their drunken father to death in order to save their lives; eight years later, she has finally moved on and is settling into her new life about to adopted by retired FBI profiler parents, Pierce Quincy and Rainie Conner.   Her life is thrown upside down when a double murder at a gas station calls Quincy and Rainie back to action and the perpetrator seems to be Sharlah’s brother.   Struggling with this meaning and whether she is in danger, Sharlah struggles as old demons resurface. Sometimes the biggest danger is the one standing right behind you

Right Behind You is the newest thriller by Lisa Gardner. The seventh novel in the Quincy & Rainie series, this novel surrounds FBI profiling couple Pierce Quincy and Rainie Conner. Although the seventh in the series, I found that this one was incredibly easy to read as a standalone. This one is the perfect combination of a fast-paced thriller and an intricately woven police procedural.

The novel opens with a murder; dead bodies at a gas station lead police to a foster home where the body count grows. The main suspect is Telly Nash, a seventeen-year-old foster child with a sordid past. From the first pages, I was hooked. It is not a classic “whodunit” but more of a “whydidhedoit”.   As the plot develops and thickens, I was on the edge of my seat trying to figure out how everything was going to piece together. Gardner provides a plethora of red herrings that had me constantly guessing.   By the end of the novel, I was pleasantly surprised to find her twists completely unexpected; they were not jaw dropping or shock inducing but were clever and masterful. Garder is certainly a seasoned writer and this is very obvious as the plot unravels.

Once of my favourite parts of this novel was the unique narration. Each character, even minor characters, got a narrative perspective.   This worked so well for character development; no detail is spared. This narration made the novel a fascinating reading experience. Obviously, the main characters have a strong narrative voice, but I was also able to hear perspectives from the past from Telly Nash to following tracker, Cal, as he helps the police investigate. I loved getting to know Quincey and Rainie and will be picking up more of this series; they were incredibly likable characters.

If you are a fan of a police procedural, but long for something faster paced, this would be a perfect novel for you! Mark your calendars, this one hits shelves on January 31st.

 Thanks to Dutton Publicity and Lisa Gardner for the copy of this novel; it was a pleasure to provide an honest review.

Blog Tour- Accused (Mark Toscano @Aria_Fiction) #Bookreview #Guestpost

Screen Shot 2017-01-23 at 8.34.43 PM.pngThrilled to be today’s stop on the blog tour for Accused by Mark Toscano!

Coming at you today with a guest post from Mark Toscano himself and my review for Accused.    But first, let’s take a look at the synopsis from Goodreads:

About Accused

 A crime reporter. A strange murder. An ex-convict with a dark secret…

Onofrio Palillo receives compensation many years after wrongful imprisonment for murder. Whilst trying to arrange an interview, Fabrizio Corsaro, a crime reporter, finds Palillo dead at his home.   Investigations reveal incriminating evidence, which lead detectives to arrest Fabrizio himself for the murder. It’s left to his brother Roberto, a criminal lawyer, to save Fabrizo from the nightmare into which his life has suddenly been plunged.   With the help of deputy police prefect Domenico Fisichella, Roberto delves into Palillo’s mysterious past. They discover an old secret that puts them on the trail of the most powerful man in Sicily, Giorgio Moncada.   A complex story, full of mystery and memorable characters.

Buy Links

 Amazon: http://amzn.to/2edTZfc

Kobo: http://bit.ly/2gpOyPA

iBooks: http://apple.co/2fCz6xR

 Google Play: http://bit.ly/2g39lan

Keep reading for a Guest Post by Mark Toscano and my review of Accused!

Continue reading “Blog Tour- Accused (Mark Toscano @Aria_Fiction) #Bookreview #Guestpost”

Book Review: Quicksand (Malin Persson Giolito)

Screen Shot 2017-01-21 at 3.39.45 PM.pngQuicksand, the upcoming courtroom thriller, by Malin Persson Giolito follows Maja Norberg; eighteen years old and on trial for her involvement in a mass shooting at a prep school where her best friend and boyfriend were killed.  I, for one, am a fan of any courtroom style thriller. I also really loved Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult and the synopsis of this title seemed similar. Needless to say, I was very eager to read this one and was thrilled when my friend, Danielle from The Blonde Likes Books, decided to buddy read this title with me!

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#cjsreads2017- Little Girl Lost (@carolewyer @bookouture)

 

screen-shot-2017-01-04-at-5-35-04-pmAs mentioned previously (check out my original post here), I am partaking in monthly buddy reads with two of my favourite Bookstagrammers- Chandra and Jessica.  For our second read, we chose a serial killer thriller that is guaranteed to have you hooked, Little Girl Lost by Carol Wyer.   We all LOVED the book and highly recommend it to anyone who is looking for a thriller with completely unexpected twists and turns.

Keep reading below for a synopsis of the book and our thoughts.

Continue reading “#cjsreads2017- Little Girl Lost (@carolewyer @bookouture)”