Saturday, July 14, 2018

Psycho by Richard Bloch Book Review

Psycho by Robert Bloch
You already know the story, you saw the movie. But did you ever read the book? That’s the question that people ask about so many things, that at this point, I don’t even know what to say half the time. But then again, I am one of those people that does read the book. In fact, I read a lot of books. So today, I finally finished “Psycho” by Richard Bloch, and it’s the novel that came out in 1959 that was the basis for a movie that is now a classic. I won’t go into a ton of details of the differences and likenesses that you get within the movie and the book, as this is a book review. However, you can tell how Hitchcock turned the novel into a movie, and used the main premises nearly the same way.

As far as a horror novel is concerned, this is a swift one. It only takes about 5 hours to read if you read it straight through. It’s not an epic tale, it’s succinct, and Bloch’s style is straight forward, to the point, and uses the descriptions to tell the larger story, before you get thrown into the craziness of the story. You are introduced to a fat, nervous, sweaty, Mr. Bates. You also are introduced to Mrs. Bates, albeit you know the twist that is coming, so that’s something to take into consideration. The book goes through the same processing that the movie comes through, and it’s something that is very simple overall. You are taken through the same darkness, the series of events that involves taking out the lead character in the first act, and then moving through the investigation like a crime drama, only to see unfortunate ends throughout.

What makes this book so compelling is not so much the similarities it has to the movie, but the differences. You get a sense for the horror to come, and Bloch uses a good foundation of descriptions that float through the bigger picture overall. It’s a swift novel, Bloch uses all the simplified literary devices that you would expect from R.L. Stine, and doesn’t really go too far away from a simplified scripting, and doesn’t give you gore or anything like that. This is an isolated, simmering book, and by the time you get to the end, you’re fully vested in Norman Bates and his mother, as well as the surprises to come. It’s a novel that is not going to jar you, but it will definitely satisfy your curiosity as to what this is like versus the movie.

I give “Psycho” by Richard Bloch a 3 out of 5.

If you are an avid horror fan, then you will want to look into this book, especially since it’s now a classic in many ways. Is it the best book ever? No, and it’s nothing like Stephen King, but you’re going to find that it has all of the good points you want to enjoy for some light, horror reading. You can purchase “Psycho” by Richard Bloch by clicking here, its worth collecting and reading, simple as that.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Pretty Little Killers by Dallen Berry and Geoffrey C. Fuller Book Review

Pretty Little Killers by Dallen Berry and G.C. Fuller
I never knew who Skylar Neese was. At least not until I read the book, "Pretty Little Killers" by Dallen Berry and Geoffrey C. Fuller. This was a jaw dropping story, and one that I cannot believe is real. I'm dealing with my own personal tragedy right now, but nothing could prepare me for what happened to poor Skylar, who was only 16 years old when tragedy struck.

For those that aren't aware of this story, Skylar was reported missing from her home in July of 2012. The crime involved two friends of Skylar's as they took her out to smoke and have fun. Then when she wasn't looking, two of her friends took knives and stabbed her more than 50 times, until she died. They then tried to bury the body, and couldn't, so they just left her amidst a creek. Her body wasn't found for a year, and her friends tried to cover it all up and say she must've ran away.

The book details the court case, the friends, and Neese. There's a lot to this case, but the major element is the crime, which is described initially then really gets gritty and real towards the end of teh book. True crime fans are going to love the story, and the writing, but as a human, you are going to have a lot of empathy for the family, as this is a sad case that is just wrong. The criminals didn't get away with it, and were sentenced to prison, but man, what a story.

If you're a fan of true crime novels, then I recommend picking up "Pretty Little Killers" by Dallen Berry and Geoffrey C. Fuller. It's a book that is as brutal as any other true crime tale, and it's a true story of how bad things can get in life, and how friends can very well stab you in the back.

I give "Pretty Little Killers" by Dallen Berry and Geoffrey C. Fuller a 3 out of 5.

You can support this blog and my writing by purchasing "Pretty Little Killers" by Dallen Berry and Geoffrey C. Fuller by clicking HERE! Seriously, buy it or buy other things and help a brotha out.

Perfidia by James Ellroy Book Review

Perfidia by James Ellroy 
"Perfidia" by James Ellroy is an epic crime drama that is set in the 1940s. It covers a lot of ground in what is real time. It took me a long time to finish this one as there are several characters and story arcs that connect the actions of this book. This goes into 23 days with dates, times, and everything and goes through several different types of story telling throughout. James Ellroy does a great job in setting you up in the Los Angeles Police Department.

The book gets gritty, with the murder of a Japanese family, and the cops that are trying to figure it all out. This is not a book for those that don't like to read racist remarks and things along those lines. This is the 1940s, and it's Los Angeles crime, and homicide, with a lot of attention to political pushes, presidents, and even Hollywood. Ellroy taps into the gritty reality of Los Angeles and the past that used to make it great, and yet dirty.

The books flows stiffly, and I had a hard time finishing it because it's dense. Ellroy doesn't hold back, and he can go from stalling to outright donnybrooks of violence. The book drags you through the violence, and then sets you back into personalizations with the police officers, their informants, and the streets of Los Angeles as they were. It's one hell of a book, and one that puts you in the passenger's seat of what crime, drama, and murder is like in the Los Angeles Police Department.

Ellroy knows his stuff, and it's one of the most compelling of books that you're going to read if you like police dramas. "Perfidia" by James Ellroy punches you in the gut several times, and it's a tough read, but one that is satisfying to finish.

I give "Perfidia" by James Ellroy a 4 out of 5 star rating.

You can purchase "Perfidia" by James Ellroy by clicking HERE, and seeing what the hype is about. This is one book I will be gifting my friends this year, it's that good of a book in my opinion.

Friday, April 20, 2018

I Will Find You: Solving Cases From My Life Fighting Crime by Joe Kenda Review

I Will Find You Book Cover (2017)
“I Will Find You: Solving Cases From My Life Fighting Crime” by Joe Kenda is the book that I just finished, and I couldn’t put it down. I usually don’t read a book a week, but this week I was able to dive into this one and really get a handle on the material, and couldn’t really put it down. It haunted me and I finished it with great joy. Joe Kenda is a very interesting public figure, but before he was on television he was a homicide detective for 19 years. He worked law enforcement for a long time, and saw the worst of humanity, and this is his book about the gruesome and uncomfortable things that he had to witness as a homicide detective.

The book is easy to read. It’s not a complex thing, and it’s brutal. Kenda doesn’t hold back, and talks about things that he experienced, as well as what others experienced when going through the world of crime. He talks about how he got into the field, what drove him to stay, and what eventually got him to quit and retire. He also talks about how long it took him to get rid of some of the stress that came after the fact, how the toll of being a detective hurt his wife and children, and much more. There’s humanity found in this book, and it’s more than just a true crime narrative, it hits you in the heart several times.

What makes this book different than others in the true crime genre is that it’s told from the perspective of the detective that went through the cases. He talks about his winning percentage, his failures, and so much more with a first person narrative style that is really well put together. In the book, “I Will Find You: Solving Cases From My Life Fighting Crime”, Joe Kenda takes you away from the television and unleashes a raw and poignant story of his life in fighting crime and the things that most people take for granted. It’s a revelation of a book and one that most people will admire if they read it.

One note that I found was that Kenda is sympathetic at times. One thing that really stood out was his opinion on escorts and prostitutes. He noted that despite their occupation, they have rights, and no one should treat them any differently, and that they deserve respect etc. Not what I expected from a former cop. There’s humanity in how Joe Kenda’s writing works, and for that, I recommend this book.

You can pick up “I Will Find You: Solving Cases From My Life Fighting Crime” by Joe Kenda by clicking here. I give it a 4 out of 5 star rating, and loved it.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Final Girls by Riley Sager Review

Final Girls by Riley Sager 
I finally finished another book, and while I finish books a lot, I keep forgetting to review them. So here I go, talking about a recent book and one that will come with more interest as I keep reading more books and reviewing them for this blog. For this review, I’m taking note of “Final Girls by Riley Sager. This is a good book, and it reminded me of the “Scream” movie franchise. It takes the notion of final girls from horror movies, and takes them into a novel.

The novel is interesting to start. A group of young people get killed while on a camping trip and only a handful of survivors exist. From that survival group, a few girls start to find each other, and as they start to learn about one another, nothing seems to be the same, and then, the last final girl shows up and it turns out that there is a serial killer that is killing off the survivors of horrific crimes. There are twists, turns, sex, and more, before you find out the bigger issue is not so much the PTSD of the crimes that were committed to one Quincy Carpenter, but that there’s so much more going on than meets the eye.

As far as “Final Girls by Riley Sager is concerned, the book feels like a movie. It’s steady, the pacing is fast, and there’s enough attitude to make you laugh, smile, and then fear as you hear noises in your home. This is a horror novel that features a great deal of heart, as you start to really fall in love with Quincy as a character, and the people around her. What I thought was another story about identity crisis turns into a twisted tale of the true horror of the world, humans. It’s a nice romp with a twist that I enjoyed, no doubt.

If you’re in the market for a modern horror movie that is not written by Stephen King, or any other big name writers, then “Final Girls by Riley Sager is going to be a great option. This is a clever book with a lot of focuses, and I loved it. It’s fast paced, horror romp, and continues to stay in my mind even though I already finished it.

You can purchase “Final Girls by Riley Sager by clicking here. I give it 4 out of 5 stars, and highly recommend it.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Daddy Stop Talking: And Other Things My Kids Want But Won’t Be Getting by Adam Carolla

Adam Carolla Paperback Book Cover
This is the third book that I have read by Adam Carolla. I loved when he was on the radio, and would listen to his show in Seattle when I worked for Snowboard Connection. With this book, Carolla takes aim at parenting. The book is a humorous look at the past, present, and possibly future of parenting from the comedy works of Adam Carolla. If you’re not familiar with his type of humor, you may feel that he’s mysoginistic, and a crass individual. I don’t think he is. I think he’s the product of comedy, hard work, and construction. The former construction worker turned comedian looks at regular life in the way Jerry Seinfeld looks at it, but throws a good deal of common sense at the problems. Daddy Stop Talking: And Other Things My Kids Want But Won’t Be Getting by Adam Carolla is the latest book I’ve finished reading, and well, it’s an interesting read.

The book is simple enough, Carolla talks about the birth of his twins through invitro fertilization. The twins have two different personalities, his wife doesn’t work, and he is the sole bread winner. He talks about genre roles, tells stories about his life, his past, and how different it was growing up in the San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles in a poor family and now a rich man in a new world. Everything you wanted to know about how easy or how difficult it is to raise twins and be a comedian is uniquely presented here.

Carolla is a novice writer, and he uses regular English to tell you stories. From buying a car to dating to the fact that his daughter is smarter than his son, and lots of other little things, Carolla gives advice, destroys parenting stupidity, and compares it to the idiocy of modern parenting and more. It’s a breezy read, and it’s an interesting follow up to the past books that he wrote. If you are a fan of Adam Carolla, then you probably will love this book. If you are not familiar with his humor, don’t start here. Start with “in Fifty Years We’ll All Be Chicks”, and see if you’re a fan of his humor. Chances are, you will either like him or hate him, because there’s not much in between with Daddy Stop Talking: And Other Things My Kids Want But Won’t Be Getting by Adam Carolla.

The book is only 256 pages long, and it didn’t take me long to read it. It’s funny, and honestly, Carolla has a way of seeing the world that reminds me of many construction workers that I worked with in Southern California, only this time, it has a raw edge that comes from training in comedic arts. Carolla is hilarious here, but I don’t have children and probably won’t have them, so it’s hard to relate at times.

I give Daddy Stop Talking: And Other Things My Kids Want But Won’t Be Getting by Adam Carolla a 4 out of 5.

You can purchase, Daddy Stop Talking: And Other Things My Kids Want But Won’t Be Getting by Adam Carolla, by clicking here and getting the book for yourself.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

The End of Reason: A Response To The New Atheists by Ravi Zacharias Review

Paperback cover of "The End of Reason"
“The End of Reason: A Response To The New Atheists” by Ravi Zacharias was next on my reading list, and it is a departure from the books that I had been reading recently. With this book, the premise is simple enough, the author aims to make a statement against the newfound glory that is stemming from a boom in Atheist literature. Zacharias is an apologetic for Christianity and it shows, he holds nothing back with his arguments, and if you’re not a cerebral spiritualist, you’ll get lost in translation when you read this book.

Ravi Zacharias uses logical elements of religion to answer questions that atheists have promoted through books in recent years. He doesn’t aim to say that there is logical explanations for what they push forward, and that determining definitions amidst a vacuum is not how you bring about morality. In fact, there’s an interesting focus on how morality is defined, and in contrast to the atheist thinkers, it’s fascinating. Zacharias doesn’t argue with the reader, instead he introduces a secondary opinion that is backed by citations and focus on secularism as well as spiritualism. He is framing a Christian argument, but not always focusing on citing definitions that are in the Bible. Although, he can, and does, he focuses on the larger scholarship of spiritual thinkers to show that there is an alternative structure to spiritual arguments, including that of atheism.

Reading the negative reviews on “The End of Reason: A Response To The New Atheists” by Ravi Zacharias is an interesting counter thought on the book’s premise. People are easily offended when alternative ideas to what they believe are presented, and if you read this book topically, without knowing the author at all, then you can easily be mad at the idea of Christendom. However, he doesn’t aim to convince you that Christendom is the only way, but rather he marginalizes the argument that modern atheists are speaking to in their books, and relegates them as hollow in some points by defining them against spirituality, including Christendom.

I can appreciate the book, and it’s not a long read. I found it fascinating to contrast atheism’s premises with ideas that are outside of their own framework. Zacharias aims to help students and individuals figure out the larger pictures of spiritualism, while not completely preaching at you, which is a nice touch.

I give “The End of Reason: A Response To The New Atheists” by Ravi Zacharias a 4 out of 5.

This is a book that is aimed at scholars and Christians. If you’re not either, you probably won’t care to read this book. I loved it. I would read it again, as it is an interesting apologetic tool, but also focuses on a scholarly writing style that is fascinating, and yet accessible.

You can purchase “The End of Reason: A Response To The New Atheists” by Ravi Zacharias by clicking here, and reading it for yourself.

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