Tag Archives: Crime

Serenity by Brad Parks

Overview
Murder and Mayhem in Muskego: Jordan, Jon & Ruth, Phillips, Gary,  Richardson, Kat: Amazon.com.au: Books

Title: Serenity
Author: Brad Parks
In: Murder and Mayhem in Muskego (Jon & Ruth Jordan)
Rating Out of 5: 3.5 (Liked this)
My Bookshelves: Crime
Pace: Fast
Format: Short story
Publisher: Down and Out Books
Year: 2012

Thoughts

I enjoyed the way in which the wisdom prayer was used to create the name of this short story. It’s definitely Italy a prayer that has come up a few times in my life over the years. I know in this context, it’s used in relation to AA. But still, it was a nice little moment.

This story is kind of horrible in places. Which is unsurprising because it features a murder. But I was weirdly happy about the fact that the lead in this story didn’t have a drink. So re,  he murdered someone and is about to dispose of the body and (theoretically) get away with murder. But he didn’t give up on his AA and have a drink.

You kind of gues from the beginning that Billy is dead. Yet, it isn’t till the end that you get that confirmation. And I kind of needed that. Mostly to make sure I wasn’t insane in my understandings. Also, there’s a great, somewhat graphic description of just how the man is killed.

<- The Great PlainsChatter ->

Image source: Amazon

Chemotherapy by Kat Richardson

Overview
Murder and Mayhem in Muskego: Jordan, Jon & Ruth, Phillips, Gary,  Richardson, Kat: Amazon.com.au: Books

Title: Chemotherapy
Author: Kat Richardson
In: Murder and Mayhem in Muskego (Jon & Ruth Jordan)
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Crime
Pace: Slow
Format: Short story
Publisher: Down and Out Books
Year: 2012

Thoughts

This short story had a completely unexpected turn. It was quite dark and filled with death and crime (expected), but with a much, much, much darker ending than I expected. Like, actually kind of horrifying. Although that could just be because it hit some of my sensitive points.

The little girl in this is just so damn adorable. But honestly, all I could think about when I finished this was how scared the child is going to be. It was totally heartbreaking. There was so much emotional connection in this story, and it was very difficult to not feel kind of sad at her story.

I honestly thought that this story was about a murder and would be a bit if a whodunit. But, as mentioned earlier, it was filled with unexpected twists and turns. So, ultimately it was about something entirely different. And I just loved that fact…

<- ChatterThe End is Never Pretty ->

Image source: Amazon

Chatter by Gary Phillips

Overview
Murder and Mayhem in Muskego: Jordan, Jon & Ruth, Phillips, Gary,  Richardson, Kat: Amazon.com.au: Books

Title: Chatter
Author: Gary Phillips
In: Murder and Mayhem in Muskego (Jon & Ruth Jordan)
Rating Out of 5: 3 (On the fence about this one)
My Bookshelves: Crime
Pace: Slow
Format: Short story
Publisher: Down and Out Books
Year: 2012

Thoughts

This short story was pure dialogue. Which makes sense, considering the fact that the title of it is literally Chatter. I mean, the whole thing read like chatter. And it was chaos, pure and simple. Considering it’s a short story in a collection about murder and mayhem, that was seriously apt.

This short story was rambling and chaotic, but really fun. Although, admittedly, it was so rambling that I’m not 100% sure of what was happening throughout. Still, that lack of understanding was kind of fun and is part of the reason I’d like to reread this story.

Even with my lack of understanding, I found this story to be wonderfully dark and twisty. Seriously enjoyable.

<- SerenityChemotherapy ->

Image source: Amazon

The Great Plains by Chris F. Holm

Overview
Murder and Mayhem in Muskego: Jordan, Jon & Ruth, Phillips, Gary,  Richardson, Kat: Amazon.com.au: Books

Title: The Great Plains
Author: Chris F. Holm
In: Murder and Mayhem in Muskego (Jon & Ruth Jordan)
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Crime
Pace: Slow
Format: Short story
Publisher: Down and Out Books
Year: 2012

Thoughts

When you read a short story on a murder collection that is all about a man who is sitting by himself in a car and watching… you get the hinkies. And have some pretty serious reservations about where this is going to go. Don’t get me wrong, I like to sit in my car and just BE at times. But I don’t go to the same place and watch the same woman everyday…

Which makes it quite surprising that this didn’t really involve so much stabby stabby. Not necessarily a bad thing, but definitely a much gentler story than I was expecting.

Although this was still a bit stalkerish in feel, the acknowledgement of the stalkerishness made it much less creepy. That, and the fact that it is such a feeling of emptiness and lack of destination. It kind of made it sad more than anything.

<- The Name of the DameSerenity ->

Image source: Amazon

Loose Lips by Andrew Grant

Overview
Murder and Mayhem in Muskego: Jordan, Jon & Ruth, Phillips, Gary,  Richardson, Kat: Amazon.com.au: Books

Title: Loose Lips
Author: Andrew Grant
In: Murder and Mayhem in Muskego (Jon & Ruth Jordan)
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Crime
Pace: Slow
Format: Short story
Publisher: Down and Out Books
Year: 2012

Thoughts

I loved the spy angle of this short story. As the tale unfolds and the actions of the past twenty-four hours… you start to see more and more of what has gone on behind the scenes. And with each and every revelation, you find a new easter egg for some well thought out plot.

For every action, there is a wonderful reaction in this story. The narrator just filters out information as he’s distracting his opponent. And, the murder has already happened, so the stakes feel a whole lot intense and full on.

The title made me think that this would be a tale of gossip. One that lead to death because someone spoke when they shouldn’t. instead, it’s all about misdirection and secrecy. With so, so, so many unexpected twists and turns throughout.

Eight short pages, and I seriously loved this short story.

<- Kross KillThe Name of the Dame ->

Image source: Amazon

Kross Kill by J.M. Edwards

Overview
Murder and Mayhem in Muskego: Jordan, Jon & Ruth, Phillips, Gary,  Richardson, Kat: Amazon.com.au: Books

Title: Kross Kill
Author: J.M. Edwards
In: Murder and Mayhem in Muskego (Jon & Ruth Jordan)
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Crime
Pace: Slow
Format: Short story
Publisher: Down and Out Books
Year: 2012

Thoughts

This was… disturbed. Which is not surprising considering the collection that I found this in. And the fact that it had the word “kill” in the title. Although, I was expecting more of a twist in this tale. It was actually a pretty straight forward, kill and murder kind of story…

I do like that although all of the bad in this happens through sheer stupidity, the guy who is a dumbass does get his comeuppance. It’s probably a little bit extreme and not necessarily poetic justice… but, still, I liked the just desserts at the end. Actually, both the dumbass bad guy and the bad guy bad guy got a pretty horrible / good ending.

Actually, I completely expected the uncle to be more of a bad ass. Certainly a determined man, but not anywhere near the level of challenge that I was expecting. Which was a little bit sad.

You know how when you read a story, there is one image that just seems to stick? For this one it’s blood splatter…

<- Nice Guy TypeLoose Lips ->

Image source: Amazon

The Royal Art of Poison by Eleanor Herman

Overview

Title: The Royal Art of Poison: Fatal Cosmetics, Deadly Medicines and Murder Most Foul
Author: Eleanor Herman
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Crime, History, Science
Pace: Slow
Format: Non-fictional text
Year: 2018

Thoughts

This is one of those books that I’ve stopped and started multiple times. It’s incredibly interesting and informative. But, it’s a little bit dry throughout. There’s good wit, humour and sass. But it’s also a lot of information in a short amount of time.

I enjoyed how this book first talked about the different (and many) caused of death in the past. How many of these deaths were often attributed to poison… but in fact were just poor hygiene and pure insanity. Of nothing else, this is a great reminder of just how far we’ve come. And how damn lucky I feel to have been born in the modern era.

Then there’s the section on historical figures which were reported to be murdered by poison. I love how Herman not only talks about those final moments, but also a little about their lives, the reasons for their apparent murder and finally the modern evidence that does or does not support poisoning. It’s very interesting reading about well known historical figures.

This is definitely one of those books that I’ll need to read again and again. It’s filled with information that I probably won’t absorb even with multiple reads. And then there’s so much follow up reading to fill my brain with!!!

<- More crimeMore history ->

Image source: Amazon

The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith

Overview

Title: The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency
Author: Alexander McCall Smith
Series: No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Africa, Cozy mysteryCrime
Pace: Slow
Format: Novel
Year: 1998

Thoughts

I was surprised by this story. Mostly in the fact that there really didn’t appear to be any one specific storyline. I thought that there would be one underlying crime that would carry throughout this whole story. Instead, it was a series of short investigations that let you get to know Botswana and Mma Ramotswe.

Although this was very different to what I expected, I absolutely loved reading this. It kind of felt like the African sun (I’ve spent time in South Africa)… that feeling of being relaxed and content. That the world is good just for being itself and worth embracing every moment. It was so relaxed and just downright fun. Although, it also meant that I didn’t race to finish this either…

Although there wasn’t a huge underlying crime that went through as a common thread, there was one crime that had moments showing up throughout. It gave a sense of mystery without being overpowering like many of the crime stories that I’ve read. I love that there was an eventual conclusion, but it wasn’t the conclusion to the story.

This is one of those cruisy books that I look forward to reading again. I will also look forward to adding more of this series to my shelves. It was impossible to put down and look away from. And definitely has pulled me into the glorious nostalgia of the African sun.

<- More Alexander McCall SmithTears of the Giraffe ->

Image source: Kobo

Pack of Thieves? 52 Port Arthur Lives by Hamish Maxwell-Stewart & Susan Hood

Overview
Pack of thieves? : 52 Port Arthur lives

Title: Pack of Thieves? 52 Port Arthur Lives
Author: Hamish Maxwell-Stewart & Susan Hood
Rating Out of 5: 3 (On the fence about this one)
My Bookshelves: Australian history, Crime, Non-fiction
Dates read: 15th – 30th August 2021
Pace: Slow
Format: Non-fictional text
Publisher: Port Arthur Historic Sites
Year: 2001
5th sentence, 74th page: On the same day he was punished with a beating of one hundred strokes for breaking gaol while awaiting trial – he had been recaptured by the guard at Eaglehawk Neck.

Synopsis

George Arthur, Lieutenant-Governor of Van Diemen’s Land from 1824-36 is credited with constructing an intricate system of convict management. The idea behind Arthur’s grand plan was that convicts would sink or rise through the tiers of his multi-layered system according to their conduct. Thus, the intention was that the wicked would be punished for their sins and the good rewarded for unerring servile toil. In 1830 Arthur ordered the construction of a new penal station on the Tasman Peninsula named Port Arthur in his honour. This was to be the foundation stone of Arthur’s scheme for regulating the lives of his colonial charges – a place to which prisoners incurred the wrath of the convict administration could be sent as a lesson to all.

Arthur likened his convict system to a prison without walls. This was because the lives of ordinary prisoners were regulated by paper work rather than guard towers and iron bars. Every detail that could be gleaned about a convict was entered into a set of enormous registers which ere used to separate those considered worthy of indulgence from those whose conduct was thorught to merit further punishment. At times Arthur appeared to sit astride his system like a colonial puppet master pronouncing judgement on his charges.

This book charts the lives of 52 prisoners who served time at Port Arthur in the 1830’s. It looks at the impact of transportation upon their lives and charts the ways in which they negotiated a passage through Arthur’s labyrinthine penal colony.

Thoughts

After visiting Port Arthur, this was a fun and easy read. It was also seriously fascinating. If you read it in parts. I mean, most of the stories were someone stole something, they got sent to Port Arthur. And repeat. But then some of the daring just had me smiling… you can’t predict human nature after all.

All in all, this was an interesting journey into the world of Australian history. But, like most Australian history, it was a bit white-washed and turned softer. I remember visiting Port Arthur fifteen years ago, and the stories that you were told were a lot more honest and gritty. Not like the ones that are told now…

<- More non-fictionMore Australian history ->

Image source: Abebooks

Nice Guy Type by Sean Doolittle

Overview
Murder and Mayhem in Muskego: Jordan, Jon & Ruth, Phillips, Gary,  Richardson, Kat: Amazon.com.au: Books

Title: Nice Guy Type
Author: Sean Doolittle
In: Murder and Mayhem in Muskego (Jon & Ruth Jordan)
Rating Out of 5: 3.5 (Liked this)
My Bookshelves: Crime, Ghosts
Dates read: 15th August 2021
Pace: Fast
Format: Short story
Publisher: Down and Out Books
Year: 2012
5th sentence, 74th page: “Take the next block.”

Synopsis

There’s always the “nice guy type”. Even in death, but, as always seems to happen with the “nice guy”, they’re not always that nice…

Thoughts

Oh wow. There are so many layers of devious and revenge in this story. Which is surprising considering how short this story actually is. And, although I don’t agree with ANY of the characters’ actions… I also kind of understand some of them.

I seriously hate that saying “nice guys finish last”. Mostly because those “nice guys” generally turn out to be… Well, not nice. That is definitely the case in this story… not so nice and most definitely not finishing last.

Although this story involved a whole heap of violence and discomfort… I actually found it slightly sassy. In that humorous, but not outright funny way. I may just be a little sick and twisted though…

<- Undying LoveKross Kill ->

Image source: Amazon