Archives for November 2017

The Fact of a Body

The Fact of a BodyThe Fact of a Body: A Murder and a Memoir by Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich
Published by Flatiron Books on May 16th 2017
Pages: 336
Format: Hardback
Goodreads
four-stars

Synopsis


Before Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich begins a summer job at a law firm in Louisiana, working to help defend men accused of murder, she thinks her position is clear. The child of two lawyers, she is staunchly anti-death penalty. But the moment convicted murderer Ricky Langley’s face flashes on the screen as she reviews old tapes―the moment she hears him speak of his crimes―she is overcome with the feeling of wanting him to die. Shocked by her reaction, she digs deeper and deeper into the case. Despite their vastly different circumstances, something in his story is unsettlingly, uncannily familiar.

Crime, even the darkest and most unsayable acts, can happen to any one of us. As Alexandria pores over the facts of the murder, she finds herself thrust into the complicated narrative of Ricky’s childhood. And by examining the details of Ricky’s case, she is forced to face her own story, to unearth long-buried family secrets, and reckon with a past that colors her view of Ricky's crime.

But another surprise awaits: She wasn’t the only one who saw her life in Ricky’s.

An intellectual and emotional thriller that is also a different kind of murder mystery, THE FACT OF A BODY is a book not only about how the story of one crime was constructed―but about how we grapple with our own personal histories. Along the way it tackles questions about the nature of forgiveness, and if a single narrative can ever really contain something as definitive as the truth. This groundbreaking, heart-stopping work, ten years in the making, shows how the law is more personal than we would like to believe―and the truth more complicated, and powerful, than we could ever imagine.

My thoughts on this book

The Fact of a Body is billed as a murder and a memoir, at first glance I thought it was about someone who had personally experienced at murder within the family. But the book took a deceive turn. Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich was a freshly minted lawyer when her law firm her assigned her to a death penalty case of a convicted pedophile and child murderer, Ricky Langley. Marzano-Lesnevich whom until the time was a stanch anti-death penalty supporter, immediately after watching a video tape of the convicted murderer wants him to die.

The book then takes on a strange but interesting twist, Marzano-Lesnevich begins to intertwine her childhood with that of the murderer. As she researches the case she is forced to reconcile her own childhood, giving up practicing law to write. As a child she was molested by her Grandfather, once her parents were made aware of this, they stopped having her grandparents stay in the house. Alexandria and her sister were told not to speak of this, her parents never directly addressed the issue. The book moves between her own troubled childhood and that of Ricky Langley, how society refused to acknowledge the problem the both faced one as the abused and the other as an abuser.

The book is well written and engaging. The subject matter is very timely as we now have a political candidate running for office in the United States Senate that has been accused of molesting a fourteen year old girl. He is calling her a liar and is continuing to gain support in the Alabama election which is unconscionable.

About Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich

Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich is the author of THE FACT OF A BODY: A Murder and a Memoir, named an Indie Next Pick and a Junior Library Guild selection; one of the most anticipated books of 2017 by Buzzfeed, Book Riot, and the Huffington Post; a must-read for May by Goodreads, Audible.com, Entertainment Weekly, Real Simple and People; long-listed for the Gordon Burn Prize and a finalist for a New England Book Award; one of the 10 best books of the year so far by Entertainment Weekly; and one of the best books of the year so far by Audible.com and Book Riot. It was published May 16th in the US and May 18th in the UK, to be followed by the Netherlands, Turkey, Korea, Taiwan, Spain, Greece, Brazil, and France. The recipient of fellowships from The National Endowment for the Arts, MacDowell, and Yaddo, as well as a Rona Jaffe Award, Marzano-Lesnevich lives in Boston, where she teaches at Harvard.

The Girl Who Takes an Eye for an Eye

The Girl Who Takes an Eye for an EyeThe Girl Who Takes an Eye for an Eye (Millennium, #5) by David Lagercrantz, Simon Vance
Published by Penguin Random House Audio Publishing Group on September 12th 2017
Format: audiobook
Goodreads
three-stars

Synopsis


Lisbeth Salander, the girl with the dragon tattoo, the brilliant hacker, the obstinate outsider, the volatile seeker of justice for herself and others--even she has never been able to uncover the most telling facts of her traumatic childhood, the secrets that might finally, fully explain her to herself. Now, when she sees a chance to uncover them once and for all, she enlists the help of Mikael Blomkvist, the editor of the muckraking, investigative journal Millennium. And she will let nothing stop her--not the anti-Muslim gang she enrages by rescuing a young woman from their brutality; not the deadly reach from inside the Russian mafia of her long-lost twin sister, Camilla; and not the people who will do anything to keep buried knowledge of a sinister pseudoscientific experiment known only as The Registry. Once again, Lisbeth Salander and Mikael Blomkvist, together, are the fierce heart of a thrilling full-tilt novel that takes on some of the most insidious problems facing the world at this very moment.

My thoughts on this book

While, I enjoyed this 5th installment of the Lisbeth Salander saga, The Girl who Takes an Eye for an Eye, this book doesn’t have the depth of original series. There is just something missing, I felt that the plot was just a little weak and didn’t have the same intricate balance that the first two books had.

The story was just not big enough to handle the mythical character, Lisbeth Salander. In the earlier books written by Larrson, the plot revolved around the characters, they were the forefront of the story. In this book the story was in the forefront not the characters. Lisbeth was some how diminished, along with Mikhael Blomkvist became mere shadows of their former selves.

About David Lagercrantz

David Lagercrantz

David Lagercrantz, born in 1962, is a journalist and author, living in Stockholm. His first book was published in 1997, a biography of the Swedish adventurer and mountaineer Göran Kropp. In 2000 his biography on the inventor Håkan Lans, A Swedish genius , was published. His breakthrough as a novelist was of the Fall in Wilmslow (Fall of Man in Wilmslow) , a fictionalized novel about the British mathematician Alan Turing. In David Lagercrantz 'writing you can thwart see a pattern: the major talents who refuse to follow the convention. He has been interested not only in what it takes to stand out from the crowd, but also in the resistance That Such creativity inevitably faces.

In 2011 his best-selling sports biography I am Zlatan (I am Zlatan Ibrahimovic) was published, one of the most successful books in Sweden in modern times. The biography was nominated for the prestigious August Prize in 2012, as well as shortlisted for the William Hill Sports Book of the Year award. To date, I am Zlatan Ibrahimovic has been published in over 30 languages around the world and been sold in millions of copies.

In the summer of 2013, Lagercrantz was asked by Moggliden (the Larsson Estate) and Collins to write the fourth, free-standing sequel to Stieg Larsson's Millennium Trilogy. That which does not kill us (The Girl in the Spider's Web) was published - in August 27, 2015 - Simultaneously by 26 publishers (in 24 languages) worldwide, Ten Years After the Swedish Publication of Stieg Larsson's Men Who Hate Women (The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo) . The fifth novel in the series, The Man Who Hunted his Shadow, will be published September 7th 2017.

A Colony in a Nation

A Colony in a NationColony in a Nation, A by Christopher L. Hayes
Published by Recorded Books on March 21, 2017
Format: audiobook
Goodreads
four-half-stars

Synopsis


New York Times best-selling author and Emmy Award-winning news anchor Chris Hayes argues that there are really two Americas: a Colony and a Nation. America likes to tell itself that it inhabits a post-racial world, yet nearly every empirical measure--wealth, unemployment, incarceration, school segregation--reveals that racial inequality has barely improved since 1968, when Richard Nixon became our first "law and order" president. With the clarity and originality that distinguished his prescient bestseller, Twilight of the Elites, Chris Hayes upends our national conversation on policing and democracy in a book of wide-ranging historical, social, and political analysis. Hayes contends our country has fractured in two: the Colony and the Nation. In the Nation, we venerate the law. In the Colony, we obsess over order, fear trumps civil rights, and aggressive policing resembles occupation. A Colony in a Nation explains how a country founded on justice now looks like something uncomfortably close to a police state. How and why did Americans build a system where conditions in Ferguson and West Baltimore mirror those that sparked the American Revolution? A Colony in a Nation examines the surge in crime that began in the 1960s and peaked in the 1990s, and the unprecedented decline that followed. Drawing on close-hand reporting at flashpoints of racial conflict, as well as deeply personal experiences with policing, Hayes explores cultural touchstones, from the influential "broken windows" theory to the "squeegee men" of late-1980s Manhattan, to show how fear causes us to make dangerous and unfortunate choices, both in our society and at the personal level. With great empathy, he seeks to understand the challenges of policing communities haunted by the omnipresent threat of guns. Most important, he shows that a more democratic and sympathetic justice system already exists--in a place we least suspect. A Colony in a Nation is an essential book--searing and insightful--that will reframe our thinking about law and order in the years to come.

My thoughts on this book

In a Christian Science Monitor book review Nick Romeo, notes:

The title comes from a phrase that Richard Nixon used in a 1968 speech at the Republican National Convention. “Black Americans,” he said, “do not want more government programs which perpetuate dependency. They don’t want to be a colony in a nation.” Hayes argues that in the half-century since Nixon’s speech, white America has subjugated a colony of the unfree within its own borders.

The idea that the criminal justice system is divided into two systems, one for whites and one for black has come to the forefront of American political discourse. Hayes does a good job of providing us with overwhelming evidence that there still is a large amount of racial bias. Police departments have become more militarized since 9/11 and that has become very evident when you see protest marches on the television. Hayes describes how “white fear” has led to politicians and the police to institute in some areas of the country a warfare mentality. We need as a nation become aware of our tribal instincts and the need to rise above those.

Hayes is an excellent writer, very readable, sometimes I feel his writing is better than his interviewing as seen on All in with Chris Hayes. This was an audiobook and it was read by the author. I am a fan of Chris Hayes and look forward to hearing and reading more from him.

About Christopher L. Hayes

Christopher Loffrado Hayes (/heɪz/; born February 28, 1979) is an American liberal political commentator, journalist, and author. Hayes hosts All In with Chris Hayes, a weekday news and opinion television show on MSNBC. Hayes formerly hosted a weekend MSNBC show, Up with Chris Hayes. He remains an editor at large of The Nation magazine.