The Killer Across the Table by John Douglas

Hello Kittens!  We’re going dark with this week’s review.  John Douglas is the author or contributing author on over a dozen books dealing with the lives of serial killers and the FBI profiling teams that hunt them.  He has done in-depth personal research on serial killers and their motivations as a former FBI Profiler.  He worked with others to create the Crime Classification Manual that is used by law enforcement professionals as one of many tools in the fight to understand how serial killers think and act and how to stop them.  “The Killer Across the Table” is another addition by Douglas to the field.  While it is labeled as true crime, it doesn’t necessarily fit the mold for the genre.  Douglas introduces the reader to 4 in-depth profiles of serial killers spanning several decades, but brings in stories from dozens more cases as support material throughout.  This is a dark, disturbing read and I would recommend reading it in a bright happy place.  These stories are real and they will turn your stomach.

Title: The Killer Across the Table The Killer Across the Table

Author: John Douglas, Mark Olshaker

Author website: http://mindhuntersinc.com/

Publisher: Dey Street Books (HarperCollins)

Publish date: May 7, 2019

ISBN: 9780062910639

Buy the Book: Amazon, Barnes and Noble

 

“The Killer Across the Table” is a deep dive by author John Douglas (with an assist in writing from Mark Olshaker) into his career working as an FBI profiler focused on serial killers. This book focuses intently on 4 specific serial killers and their victims with detailed descriptions of Douglas’ interactions with the murderers. In the process of telling these stories, Douglas takes the reader through the development of criminal profiling and how it has been applied in other cases since its inception.

My first impressions of “The Killer Across the Table” were that the writing was clear. It will get a little more polish before it goes to print, but the authors convey their points succinctly. It also lists two authors but is written with one distinct voice, which is not always easy to do, especially in non-fiction.

The stories are pulled from personal experience and evidence and there are numerous direct quotes from the serial killers themselves, which lend authoritative weight to the narrative. I also think the content would make good source material for anyone preparing to write a serial killer based thriller or mystery. It puts me in mind of the television show “Criminal Minds” but the authors actually helped inspire the Netflix show “Mindhunter”.

At times, it can feel like you are reading a best-selling thriller, but then the horror sinks into your soul, because all of this is real. It actually happened and is likely to happen again. At times I had to stop reading and go think some happy thoughts. These are truly unpleasant stories, but they are told with professionalism.

The author(s) comes down somewhat strongly on those who believe in the rehabilitative potential of these killers, dismissing their professional appraisals as naive, at best. It conveys the divide between law enforcement’s perceptions versus the mental health community’s, which is an important aspect to consider that is often overlooked.

The conclusion reads like a lollipop at the end of a painful doctor visit. These stories fascinate people, but Douglas does an excellent job of helping to explain why we are drawn to these horrific tales. It is an unexpectedly profound soliloquy on the human condition.

Criticisms: There is a story that seems to go nowhere regarding the Atlanta child killer. As far as I can recall they never circle around to clear that one up. Douglas frequently introduces additional stories in the middle of the larger narrative about these serial killers, and if the reader doesn’t pay close attention, it can feel disorienting.

 

My rating:

1 glass of lemonade= a book that can only be recommended to someone whose reading taste you know well, like a best friend.  There may be a fair amount of curse words, spicy sex scenes, or potentially morally repugnant behavior.  This does not mean that the book is bad, just that the audience might be a little more limited.

As a Librarian, this one would be tough to recommend, mostly because of the graphic descriptions. I would probably only be able to recommend this one in the context of a reader who was looking for true crime or source material to write their own thriller. However, with the rise in popularity of true crime murder-based content (think: television shows like Mindhunter, Criminal Minds, Making a Murderer or podcasts like My Favorite Murder and Serial.) this book could definitely be included in the context of a true crime book display.

 

Disclaimer: I was granted early access to this title from the publisher through NetGalley with the expectation that I would provide an honest review of the material.

I Flipping Love You by Helena Hunting

Hello Kittens! As the mercury and the humidity hit their highest levels here in the South I thought it was time to get our internal temps rising as well. Which is why I have a steamy romance novel for you today. I Flipping Love You is a sexy romp set in the Hamptons that will have readers fanning themselves while dreaming about attractive men at the beach. There’s heart to this story, but it’s also got everything your average romance fan is going to love: mistaken identity, horrible blind dates, sex in public places, and genuinely lovable characters. Good luck staying cool while you read this one.

Title: I Flipping Love YouI Flipping Love You (Shacking Up, #3)

Author: Helena Hunting

Author website: http://www.helenahunting.com/

Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks

Publish date: 05/29/18

ISBN: 9781250183972

Buy the Book: Amazon, Barnes and Noble

Rian Sutter (pronounced like Ryan) and her sister Marley are out shopping for groceries when she meets an undeniably attractive man in a sharp suit, a man who seems to be tracking her throughout the store, a man who confronts her and begins yelling at her? In one of several deliciously funny mix-ups, this story starts off with a case of mistaken identity. Rian and her sister are hard-working entrepreneurs, trying to escape their family’s sordid past, and rebuild a life while selling and flipping homes in the Hamptons. They are finally beginning to do well and start working towards some of their long-term goals, barring that little grocery store incident. But fate isn’t done with Rian and Mr. Sharp Suit, Pierce, because he and his brother are buying, renovating, and renting homes in the area as well. As the Summer heats up, so does the chemistry between Rian and Pierce, but after being abandoned on numerous occasions due to her family history, Rian cannot open up to Pierce in the ways he wants her to. One thing’s for sure, they have crazy chemistry that is obvious to anyone who sees them. You’ll find yourself rooting for them all the way to the end.

I Flipping Love You is the third title in Helena Hunting’s Shacking Up series. While you don’t need to have read the first two books for this one to make sense, I understand based on reading the synopsis that at least one of the characters that appears in I Flipping Love You appears as a protagonist in the previous book. I have not read the other two and still managed to thoroughly enjoy this book. My one complaint about this book will barely register for most romance fans, but I’ll state it anyway: there’s not enough time spent in the book talking about flipping houses. That is supposedly a major point of the plot, it’s even in the title, but there are no specific details in the book that lend weight to that. It reads as though someone who doesn’t know much about construction set a book in that world.

That being said, the plot was still enjoyable. It moves at a decent pace and tension builds throughout. You won’t find much in the way of surprises in the plot, with every revelation being teased a few chapters before, but the characters are so adorably flawed that you still anticipate how they are going to react to each other when it all hits the fan. Pierce is definitely the dream romance character: extremely attractive, wealthy, and a good guy, while Rian is also attractive (but unaware of it), determined, and sassy. You’ll love them both as they come to love each other. This book was funny, a little sad at times, and constantly steamy. A winning combination as far as I’m concerned.

Disclaimer: I received an electronic galley of this title from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

My rating:

1 glass of lemonade= a book that can only be recommended to someone whose reading taste you know well, like a best friend.  There may be a fair amount of curse words, spicy sex scenes, or potentially morally repugnant behavior.  This does not mean that the book is bad, just that the audience might be a little more limited.

Sex, sex, and more sex for this one, no real cursing or immoral behavior. Nothing wrong with any of that and it’s typical of romances, but I still wouldn’t be recommending this one to anyone but known romance fans.

Tell Me Lies by Carola Lovering

Hello Kittens!

Long time, no post, I know.  I have been reading faster than I have been writing, but I am happy to say I’ve got the next month of posts all ready to go for you and I hope you’ll enjoy them!  We’ll start out with a dark and sexy option to get your summer off to a steamy start.  This one comes out in a few days and while it has a limited audience, it is well-written and gripping.  Without further ado…

 

Title: Tell Me Lies

Author: Carola Lovering

ISBN:9781501169649

Publisher: Atria Books

Publish Date: 06/12/18

Genre: Women’s Fiction/ Debut Author

Author Website: http://www.carolalovering.com/

Author Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/carolatlovering/

Buy the book: Amazon   Barnes and Noble

Carola Lovering’s first novel concerns the life of a young woman named Lucy and her first experiences with love. Like so many, Lucy has a lot to learn about what love is and what it isn’t. As she strikes out on her own, leaving her East coast life for a West coast college, we learn that she is fleeing a secret about her home life that has been haunting her for four years. It’s easy to blame everything that happens next on that secret and its impact on her life, but it’s too easy. As Lucy meets Stephen, a young, slightly older man, early on in her first days at Baird College, she is swept up in a completely new lifestyle of partying, drugs, and sex that will unravel her life as she knows it.

This story is a coming of age tale for Lucy, who will face secrets, lies, and emotional distress over the course of the story, covering several years of her life. Her story will be recognizable to so many young women today. Everyone has dated a guy similar to Stephen, or knows a friend who did. The story will infuriate you as you silently plead for Lucy to get a clue about what is going on and get her life together, but it feels true to life.

The story is told from Lucy and Stephen’s point of view, alternating chapters and flitting between the early 2010s and present day. The story is broken into four parts, although they are not particularly distinct from each other. If you’re looking for likeable characters, this novel is not for you. You may pity Lucy, but you probably won’t think highly of her for most of the book. While Stephen is clearly the villain, Lucy certainly has her faults. Lucy’s musings on love serve as an interesting contradiction to Stephen’s thoughts on relationships. The juxtaposition is very reminiscent of predator-prey relationships.

This story won’t give you the warm and fuzzies, but the lessons it imparts are important. This was a good debut for this author, and I will definitely be keeping an eye out for her work in the future. That being said, with its emphasis on sex and drugs, this book will not be for everyone. I would recommend it to those who like their women’s fiction gritty and raw and want a focus on the strength of women’s friendships.

And lastly, while I don’t judge books based on them, I love the cover for this one.

Disclaimer: I received an e-galley of this book from NetGalley with the expectation of an honest review.

My rating:

lemonade_icon1 glass of lemonade= a book that can only be recommended to someone whose reading taste you know well, like a best friend.  There may be a fair amount of curse words, spicy sex scenes, or potentially morally repugnant behavior.  This does not mean that the book is bad, just that the audience might be a little more limited.