(Review) I’ll Be Gone In The Dark: One Woman’s Obsessive Search For The Golden State Killer by Michelle McNamara


I'll Be Gone In The Dark

Publisher and Publication Date: Harper. February 27, 2018.
Genre: Nonfiction. True Crime.
Pages: 352.
Source: Library.
Rating: Excellent. Recommend.
Audience: True crime readers.

Amazon The hardcover is cheaper than the Kindle on the day of review posting. Hardcover is $13.99. The Kindle price is $14.99.

The background on the book is a fascinating tale itself. A young woman, Michelle McNamara,  who has a detectives keen eye for investigative work who tirelessly studies the cases of the Golden State Killer. The name, Golden State Killer, was originally named the East Area Rapist. He attacked and raped women and girls inside their homes, often stealing personal items from the victims. In the later years, the attacks were against couples in their homes. He separated these couples in order to inflict heavier fear and trauma. There are 50 rapes and 10 murders attributed to The Golden State Killer. The time period for the rapes was 1970’s and 1980’s. The assaults took place in Northern California.
On a side note, Michelle McNamara died in her sleep before finishing the book. Her small team of researchers finished the book. The book was published two months before a man was arrested for the crimes of The Golden State Killer.

Further link: From CBS, 48 Hours. This is the entire episode of The Golden State Killer.

I stayed up late two nights in a row to read this book. I kept thinking, “Girl, this is not a book to read before bedtime.” However, I was not able to put the book down except by sheer will power.

Several reasons led me to award this book excellent:
•Michelle McNamara’s life story. Especially the event leading her to have a strong interest in investigative journalism.
•Meticulous time consuming map work to trek the rapist’s crimes in Northern California.
•Interesting, yet, small information from the victims that were in fact big information. For example: the perpetrator had a foul undefinable odor.
•Crime statistics that escalated from 1968-1980.
•Information regarding the perpetrator’s escalating violence; and the planning out of the crimes and possible links to a window peeper before the rapes began.
•The DNA program that began in the late 1990’s helped the investigation.
•What sets apart this offender than other offenders?
•Information about those who rape and murder. A brief analysis of these types of criminals.


(Review) 1,000 Books To Read Before You Die: A Life-Changing List by James Mustich

1,000 Books To Read Before You Die

Publisher and Publication Date: Workman Publishing Company. October 2, 2018.
Genre: Nonfiction.
Pages: 960.
Source: Library.
Rating: Excellent. Recommend.
Audience: Readers and book lovers.


1,000 Books To Read Before You Die holds genres of poetry, science fiction, classic literature, history, travel, and children’s books.
The book is arranged in alphabetical order by the names of authors. Beginning with Edward Abbey and ending with Carl Zuckmayer. Some exceptions to this is when the book has more than one author or an unknown author. For example: Beowulf.
The book holds half fiction and half nonfiction.
Endnotes follow the entries with further information on the books. For example awards the book has won or the time period of the book.
Additional material located in the back of the book: “A Miscellany of Special Lists,” index, and “1,000 Books Checklist,”
Several of the authors have a larger section set apart for them. For example: Vladimir Nabokov. His section holds a brief biography and examples of two books: Lolita and Speak, Memory.
Most entries hold illustrations of books covers in color and a photo of the author.
“More To Explore” sections are tucked away showing an additional book (grouped by theme) similar to the one listed. The first of these is on page 26, Judgment Night by C.L. Moore. This book is paired up as a “More To Explore” beside The Foundation Trilogy by Isaac Asimov.

Examples of authors and books:
Watership Down by Richard Adams
Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen
The Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum
Slightly Out of Focus by Robert Capa
O Pioneers! by Willa Cather
The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion
The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett
The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers
The World of Winnie-The-Pooh by A.A. Milne
A Child’s Garden of Verses
War and Peace, Anna Karenina, and The Death of Ivan Ilych by Leo Tolstoy

My Thoughts:
I’m super excited about this book and wish I owned a copy.
The book would make a great Christmas gift for a book reader/lover.
The author of the book is James Mustich. His added touch of information about the books, including personal feelings, add both charm and enrichment.
The book is visually stimulating. I enjoyed reading the book and being enchanted by the beautiful layout of the pages.
I highly recommend 1,000 Books To Read Before You Die.

(Review) The Last Blue Mountain: Tales of a travelling Englishman by James Chilton

The Last Blue Mountain

Publisher and Publication Date: Clink Street Publishing. March 16, 2015.
Genre: Travel book.
Pages: 384.
Source: I received a complimentary copy, but was not required to leave a positive review.
Rating: Recommend. Excellent.
Audience: Armchair travel readers or travelers who read.


Webpage for James Chilton




From Gabon to Guyana, Shangri La to Kamchatka, through rainbow markets and exuberant rainforests, across impressionist landscapes and a high altitude desert, author James Chilton’s delightfully diverse collection of travel writing will whet the appetite and feed the imagination.
The Last Blue Mountain takes readers far off the beaten tourist tracks and onto uncharted trails of natural beauty and cultural diversity. Chilton reveals his enthusiasm for travel – he’s visited some seventy-eight countries to date – and his love of food, beauty, flora, fauna and, above all, the people he meets along the way. Witty, articulate and with sharp observations, his engaging and often humorous snapshots are illustrated throughout with evocative pen and ink sketches.

My Thoughts:
I loved this book for several reasons!
•Chilton is a wonderful storyteller. It felt like he is sitting next to me and sharing his travel adventures.
•He’s a hardy traveler. Unexpected mishaps occur and he responds with a positive attitude. Whether he is sick or given unusual unpalatable food he retains a positive demeanor.
•He is quick to see humor in most things. To see the humor in something instead of the negative is a quality of great character.
•All his sentences carry descriptions rich with strong verbs, and reflects the exotic locale of sights and smells.
•He shares knowledge of the culture, history, wars, and governments of the countries he visited.
•Special instances where he had meaningful conversations with the natives of that country.
•Some of the travels are for a long weekend. Some of the travels are extensive.
•One of my favorite chapters is a trip to Vietnam. He remarked on the demeanor of people twenty years post war. And, another interesting point is his tall height in comparison to the average height of most males. His height made for cramped rides.
•Another favorite chapter is when he returned to the place of his birth in Burma. A house he lived in is now the home of the daughter of an important official. He became their guest.
•He traveled to Antarctica. From my armchair, this place seems to be the far side of earth, and certainly the remotest. This place holds the greatest mystery to me because I’ve read little about travels to this continent. The boat that carried him to Drakes’ Passage was a stormy ride. The “white silence” of the land is a description I’ll not forget.
•The most personal of the book is a conversation with a teenage schoolgirl named Zed in Ethiopia. This story gave the book a personal touch and a closeup of humanity.
•All chapters have illustrations drawn by Chilton. This added feature of drawings brought an artistic feel to compliment his travel tales.
I loved The Last Blue Mountain and consider it one of the best books I’ve read in 2018!

About the Author:
James ChiltonBorn in Burma, James escaped the country the day before the Japanese captured Rangoon. Educated at Winchester, he served with 1st Royal Dragoons in the Middle East and Malaya before returning to England to work in advertising and real estate. James has built six schools in remote areas of Burma where he is a trustee of HEAL Kids Foundation which cares for disadvantaged children. When not designing gardens or sketching he is an accomplished photographer, particularly of tribal cultures, and has lectured at the Royal Geographical Society, London and in Oxford.
He lives in Oxfordshire with his wife and his labradors.


(Review) They Fought Alone: The True Story of the Starr Brothers, British Secret Agents in Nazi-Occupied France by Charles Glass


Publisher and Publication Date: Penguin Press. September 11, 2018.
Genre: Nonfiction. World War II. Memoir. Secret Service.
Pages: 336.
Source: I received a complimentary copy, but was not required to leave a positive review.
Rating: Recommend. Very good.
Audience: World War II readers.


Included are 46 illustrations and a six page list of characters.

I love the opening line of the prologue: “The German occupation of France, as Dickens wrote of the French Revolution, was the best and the worst of times.”
In mid 1940, Nazi Germany invaded France, and the French people lived under Germany’s heavy rule until late summer of 1944.
During the occupation, the French Resistance worked to collect information and sabotage German efforts.
The Starr brothers were George Reginald Starr and John Ashford Renshaw Starr. Their father was born in America, but the brothers were born in England. These brothers joined the new organization of SOE or Special Operations Executive. The brothers worked in different areas of France. One of them was arrested, tortured, and spent time in a prison. Later, one of the brothers was accused of war crimes. An investigation proceeded.
They Fought Alone is the story of the Starr brothers, but shares the stories of many of the SOE and Resistance workers during the occupation of France.

My Thoughts:
The previous book I reviewed on the same kind of topic was Long Live Freedom, about resistance efforts in Germany. Their group was named the White Rose. Both Long Live Freedom and They Fought Alone are nonfiction, neither are narrative nonfiction. They are journalistic or academic. They Fought Alone is chronological in time and this is helpful to the reader.

What I loved about the book:
•For the most part it is chronological in sequence of dates and events.
•The historical characters are shown with their positive and negative traits. They are described with a transparent and unbiased view.
•The agents had code names, and at times I had to remember who was who. However, I did not become lost as the list of characters in the front of the book helped.
•The Resistance and SOE work is shown in the book. Operations and how they were carried out as well as the results.
•A strong aspect of the book is the history surrounding one of the brothers who was accused of war crimes. After all he’d endured, he was accused and investigated.



(Review) Long Live Freedom! Traute Lafrenz and the White Rose by Peter Normann Waage, translated by DiMari Bailey


Publisher and Publication Date: Cuidono Press. July 24, 2018.
Genre: Nonfiction. Memoir.
Pages: 256.
Source: I received a complimentary copy, but was not required to leave a positive review.
Rating: Recommend. Very good.
Audience: World War II readers.


DiMari Bailey


In 1942, a group of students in Munich wrote and distributed leaflets that went against Nazi Germany. These writings encouraged the German people to question and resist Nazi Germany. It was Heinrich Himmler who had the group of students arrested and murdered. A young woman named Traute Lafrenz was a member of the group. This group was named the White Rose. Later in life, Lafrenz gave an interview to Peter Normann Waage.
It’s important to note that the book begins with the arrest of the group of students in 1943. Then, the book backs up to tell the complete story of the people involved. Several of the students lives are shared. The book does not just focus on Traute Lafrenz, but other students.
Peter Normann Waage is a Norwegian philosopher and journalist.
DiMari Bailey is the translator of the book from Norwegian to English. In addition, Bailey edited the original work for this book. The preface explains Bailey’s other sources, focus, and organization.

My Thoughts:
The only thing about this book I did not like is the moving around in time, back and forth with different years. This is a common practice in a fiction book. I’m not used to this in a nonfiction history book.
A point that readers will want to know is this is not a narrative nonfiction work. It is a nonfiction retelling about the events, reflections from Lafrenz, letters, and the leaflets.
The story of the White Rose is not something I’d read about. World War II is one of my favorite genres. Books about the German people rising up against their government is not as prevalent. I feel this book is important, because it shows that their were individuals and groups of German people who defied Nazi Germany.
An important feature of the book was Hitler’s impact on the German people. When he spoke with fervor and emotion, the people responded in like. I’d wanted to understand a bit more about what Hitler did to cause people to blindly follow his insane rhetoric. This book not only answered my curiosity, but it was a thorough analysis.
On page 68, it is explained that an American journalist had visited Germany in the 1930s. This journalist, John Gunther, witnessed how the German people responded to Hitler. This proceeds the fascinating and disturbing information about the goals of the Nazi Party, especially in regards to the Jews.
On page 122, the rise of the resistance begins. This includes the assassination attempts on Hitler.
I feel this is an important book. It showed me the resistance of the White Rose, but the book held heavy information about Hitler and the German people.
Included in the back of the book are the leaflets that were printed.