True Crime in Mini-Reviews

April 14, 2022 Uncategorized 4 ★★★★

True Crime in Mini-ReviewsTitle: Tell Me Everything: The Story of a Private Investigation
Author: Erika Krouse
Source: Bought
Links: Bookshop (affiliate link) |Goodreads

It took me awhile to figure out why this book didn’t feel more special to me, because the writing was impeccable and the story was hard to put down. It immediately felt a bit light to me. Despite the tough topics and the devastation these events caused for real people, the story had the sort of suspense you find in a nondescript thriller. I think this is because we were at a remove from the women most impacted. As the author talks to them, she’s in a detached state, trying to figure out how to use their stories to build a case. The author’s own history was also gut-wrenching, but even that story was shared at an emotional remove. Despite devastating material, this book never made me sad, just angry. And an exploration of how this sort of complicity by an entire university town can happen was done better in Missoula. After reading Missoula, what happened here was horrifying, but not surprising to me.

This was a book with technically sophisticated writing, a story with a lot of suspense, and a fascinating main character. That’s enough that I’d definitely recommend it! The writing quality made this feel very literary and the author’s job as real life private investigator was fascinating. I enjoyed this and I couldn’t put it down. I don’t think it will stick with me forever, but it’s unique and engaging enough that I think you should pick it up if the topic appeals to you.

True Crime in Mini-ReviewsTitle: Unmasked: My Life Solving America's Cold Cases
Author: Paul Holes
Source: from publisher for review
Links: Bookshop (affiliate link) |Goodreads

The intro to my review copy of this book was terrible – full of cliches that made me nervous about what I was getting into. I’m guessing this section will be revised, because the rest of the book was at least well written enough to stay out of the way of the story. It did have a few other problems throughout. I’m not sure Paul Holes is sensitive enough in how he talks about victims of terrible crimes. I also didn’t love how often he told us how awesome he is at solving crimes and his emphasis on how amazingly empathetic he is. However, these are problems I also had with his podcast, so if you like that, I think you’re likely to enjoy his book. Holes was very open about his personal life, including his marriage problems. That made me a little less annoyed at how much he exposed details about the victims of crimes he discusses, because it seems like that might just be how he is, even about his own secrets. He also shares an insider perspective of the capture of the Golden State Killer and his side of his relationships with Michelle McNamara. Those were the highlights for me. The other crimes he covered weren’t particularly interesting and many were unsolved. This isn’t anything spectacular, but I think it delivers everything fans of Paul Holes would most want.

4 Responses to “True Crime in Mini-Reviews”

    • DoingDewey

      Yes! I’m not sure exactly why – it’s one of those things where I’d be an author myself if I got that technique – but it just wasn’t as affecting as I think the topic should have been.

  1. Rennie

    I was curious about both of these but have felt so uninterested in true crime lately. It’s great to hear that Tell me Everything is so well written, although I hesitate when there’s so much seeming remove of the author from the material. It can end up feeling like they haven’t really processed it enough for themselves. Also great to hear your endorsement of Missoula – that one has been on my list for so long!

    The Paul Holes book I really hesitated on because I didn’t like their podcast. He’s always seemed to me like a person shoved into the spotlight who’s never really wanted to be there and is probably best left to do his work and not tell stories or be a kind of public face for this kind of work. Although I like that he’s so open about his personal life too, he had seemed kind of tight-lipped about himself personally in what I’d seen and heard of him before!
    Rennie recently posted…The “Dark Legacy” of the Nazi BillionairesMy Profile

    • DoingDewey

      I remember liking Missoula a lot, although the emotion it mostly made me feel was anger. I think the author mostly just laid out the facts and I was less critical of that book because the material was new to me and it was more journalism than memoir. Here, I wanted something more personal about the story, because (unfortunately) the story itself seems all too common.

      I also hesitated about the Paul Holes book based on how he came across in the podcast! I’ve never found him quite sympathetic enough to victims and he gives graphic descriptions of the crimes that feel gratuitous to me. I had the same problem with this book and it’s not one I’d give a rave recommendation, but his perspective was interesting to hear.

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