Books: Crime

book review | Talking with Psychopaths and Savages by Christopher Berry-Dee | true crime

talking with psychopaths and savages christopher berry-dee.jpgAuthor: Christopher Berry-Dee
Title: Talking with Psychopaths and Savages
Series: –
Genre: True Crime; Nonfiction
Pages: 288
Rate: 3/5 | Goodreads

Some authors just stick them sticks into their own damn wheels. “Talking with Psychopaths and Savages” by Christopher Berry-Dee is precisely one of those books. Fitting a quote by someone: after all been said and done, more been said than done.

About the Book: Author, hurriedly and in big, pompous sentences promises us to show the mind of a psychopath, their lives, nuances, patterns that might have made them the way they are. He promises to not waste time on murder and case details either, for there are many books on these topics. And then proceeds telling us the tales of serial killers, their lives, medical impairments that might have had impact, their family statuses, upbringing, differences and similarities. And details on murders, cases. With thick inlays of opinions.

My Opinion: Not much to add here. Author’s best trait in these times of serial killer admiration is the fact that he proceeds to often point out: he’s not a fan of theirs. In fact, he drags them time and again, which was the most amusing bit in this book.

Can’t say it’s bad. Can’t say it’s good. Maybe a lazy read. I give it a 3 out of 5.

Categories: 3-5, About Msg2TheMing, Books: Crime, Books: Everything, Books: NonFiction, serial killers, True Crime Books | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

book review | American Kingpin by Nick Bilton

american kingin silk road nick biltonAuthor: Nick Bilton
Title: American Kingpin
Series: –
Genre: True Crime; Biography
Pages: 328
Rate: 4/5 | Goodreads

Everyone has likely heard of the Dark Web. Possibly even the Silk Road on it, one of the most notorious sites on the other side of the internet. American Kingpin by Nick Bilton is a book about its creator, biography of a man who made a dark market place so resilient, it still exists, even after his imprisonment for life.

About the Book: Dark Web is a strange and, well, dark place. And yet we’re separated from it by a mere browser and a few clicks. But most of us spend all our lives unaware of this Other Side, let alone venturing into it. In the end, that’s really the point: to remain invisible, unmonitored, anonymous. Ross Ulbricht was merely one of the many people with questionable morals, who found a way and justification to exploit the human need for the forbidden, the dangerous, and the illegal. According to him, a government has no right to tell us what we put in our bodies, we ought to remain autonomous over it. And yet substance fitting excuses evolved to accommodate such things as weapons, organs, and even suicide kits, manuals and all.

And while Ross was eventually found and imprisoned for life, Silk Road remains active and is now known as the most resilient dark market place on the whole Dark Web.

My Opinion: Let me just clarify right now: not only do I not suggest you go see for yourself, I very much suggest you don’t. Your safety depends on more than just a browser, believe you me. Rather, read this book first and see what little, minuscule things have finally brought this Kingpin down and brought FBI to his doorstep. As for the book itself, it’s good. Clever writing will not bore those who are familiar with the tale, and will ease in, and entertain those who had no clue such a place existed or could even be possible.

It’s a good book I could recommend for the mere fact of how well it portrays our fragility of safety online. 4 out of 5, solid.

Categories: 4-5, Biographies, Books: Crime, Books: Everything, Books: NonFiction, True Crime Books | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

book review | The Looting Machine by Tom Burgis

tom burgis looting machine cleptocracyAuthor: Tom Burgis
Title: The Looting Machine
Series: –
Genre: Nonfiction; Economics
Pages: 352
Rate: 5-5 | Goodreads

The Looting Machine by Tom Burgis is not the first book on brutal kleptocracy that I’ve read this year. But just like “McMafia” by Misha Glenny, it is very important. We do need to educate ourselves on this. For it’s not just by the plastic bag or straw that we add to horrors, to actual crime. But we do have the power, we literally have it all, as consumers. For diamond industry is already whining of millenials ruining their business…

About the Book: Do you know where crude oil comes from? Do you know how it gets extracted in strong countries, and how it’s extracted in places like Africa? And do you know what billions upon billions of dollars worth of export does to an underdeveloped country that has no manufactured good, and relies solely on it? Are you thinking of Emirates? Well, I have bad news for you then.

Juggernaut companies tear places like Africa apart for precious metals, stones, and oil. They force people out into shacks in unlivable places, and then, leaving them no choice, employ them in their cogs of brutal, bloody gang wars, corrupt kleptocracy governments, and condemn them to die. Be it by another faction butchering everyone to make turf for themselves, or by common colds that they couldn’t cure, or just outright starvation.

After the loot has been taken, it is shipped to a better industrialized, but still pitifully cheap country, where raw materials are turned into things. And it’s from there that we get our straws, our phones, our toys, and our jewelry. Blood, by then, is cleaned off.

My Opinion: Books like this are extremely important. We do need to educate ourselves, especially seeing that we actually can. And it is not to say that we should feel guilty over using the laptops and phones. It is so we’re more aware, wiser, and make better decisions the next time we need to get new ones. We need to be aware. It is from our awareness that the change can be made. As long as we put in that little bit of effort. That is not to say we’ll stop the juggernauts, that’s unlikely until there’s literally nothing more to dig out of places like Africa. But we can support people who are fair to others, we can support companies that don’t import from what we, our countries, deemed too big of a hell to allow happen around us.

It’s a good book. Well written, and while maybe not fully worth the 5 out of 5 I will give it, but I think the thought behind it matters greatly.

Categories: 5-5, Books: Crime, Books: Everything, Books: NonFiction, crews, gangs, etc, Historical Books, mafia, murder | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

book review | The Girl who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest by Stieg Larsson | Millennium 3

the girl who kicked teh hornets nest stieg larssonAuthor: Stieg Larsson
Title: The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest
Series: Millennium 3
Genre: Thriller; Crime
Pages: 563
Rate: 5-5 | Goodreads

And so with The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest by Stieg Larsson I’ve finished the Millennium trilogy. It was dark, gritty, and very interesting.

About the Book: Lisbeth Salander has survived her own death and funeral. And now will have to spend a lot of time in hospital confinement, with doors locked and all access to the outside world – cut. Healing and hoping that the bullet to the head didn’t damage her brain permanently.

In the meantime Mikael Blomkvist is gathering together an army, ready to take down the criminal organization that thought themselves to be important men of the government, power. With the help of his sister, his friends, he’s building a case that’ll set Lisbeth free, and put everyone who ever hurt her behind bars, at last. But the criminals in question have no intention of going down, at least not that easily. They’re doing everything they can to discredit everyone speaking against them, falsify evidence, and make evidence disappear, sometimes together with the witnesses. It’s now a matter of who will outwit whom.

My Opinion: At some points the book was so awfully dark that I was left to wonder why are characters experiencing it lack reaction. But then, as I’ve read on, and every string connected tying together to make one big picture, I realized it was the whole point. This is a tale of people broken, but not dead. People hurt, but not giving up. This is a tale of very brutal fight where you make a very conscious choice to live, survive, and tell the damned tale. And it is very well written, truly.

I think I will go ahead and rewatch all the movies. Maybe I’ll even have it in me to review them, we’ll see. But for now I give this book a 5 out of 5, and the whole trilogy gets the same too.

Categories: 5-5, Books: Crime, Books: Everything, Books: Other Fiction, crews, gangs, etc, Crime Books, Detective Books, murder, Thriller Books | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

book review | I, Ripper by Stephen Hunter

i ripper stephen hunter jack book coverAuthor: Stephen Hunter
Title: I, Ripper
Series: –
Genre: Horror; Fiction
Pages: 309
Rate: 3/5 | Goodreads

I, Ripper by Stephen Hunter or how to ruin your main plot, main secret, in the middle of the book. For that is exactly what the author did, no matter how much his main character praised Sherlock Holmes.

About the Book: Jack’s a common fellow, invisible in the crowd, one of many. It’s only that at nights, under the barest light of the moon, he hires girls, who even in the midst of this murderish horror that became Jack the Ripper, wouldn’t suspect a fella as polite and charming as he, and then dissects them, seemingly, for the pleasure of it. Thus entering the world as a nightmare legend.

Journalists helped this legend grow, the legend of Jack the Ripper, Whitechapel Butcher that London won’t soon forget, by supplying the mob with gory details, blunt headlines, and even the name itself.

My Opinion: Nothing tied proper. Nothing. Do you remember how it used to be popular to describe yourself as “random“? Well, this book was bloody random. Jack made no sense whatsoever, what he said, what he did, what he pretended to be, those where three different things that didn’t mix at all. And on top of that jumble, author goes right ahead and tells us who the murderer, who Jack is in the middle of the damned book, thus taking away the one thing that drove me, as a reader. The only praise I got is Jack wasn’t made to be a charming serial women killer, the way it seems to be fairly popular these days.

I’ll give this book a very shaky 3 out of 5 for the sheer fact that author wrote in a very smooth fashion. If someone would’ve pointed out he gave up his cards like that, for no reason, it might have made a decent book.

Categories: 3-5, Books: Crime, Books: Everything, Books: Horror, Books: Other Fiction, murder, serial killers | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

book review | The Girl Who Played with Fire by Stieg Larsson | Millennium 2

the girl who played with fire millennium stieg larsson book coverAuthor: Stieg Larsson
Title: The Girl Who Played with Fire
Series: Millennium 2
Genre: Thriller, Crime
Pages: 503
Rate: 5/5 | Goodreads

Why do I want my darkest reads in the brightest of Summers? Well, no matter. I’ve read The Girl Who Played with Fire by Stieg Larsson, second book in Millennium trilogy. And it was as good as the first one.

About the Book: A couple of journalists contact Millennium requesting a book on sex trafficking in Sweden to be published via them. After a long and extensive work on it, on the eve of publication, both of them were found shot to death. And they’re not the last victims either. But to Mikael the worse is the fact that all the links, including the evidence, lead to Lisbeth Salinger. He categorically refuses to believe she’s to blame, and thus has only one path left before him. Find the young woman, and unbury her past. For someone wants her gone, but who and why?…

My Opinion: It’s a very dark thriller, but very good. Full of story lines that intertwine and make one whole good story. Not all of them are good, of course, but most I loved, and so, as a reader, I am pleased. More than that, I enjoyed reading of Lisbeth’s past, and finally getting to know the young woman better. I always admired girls like her, so this is no little crush I’m having. She’s smart, her morals are flexible (in a good way, as poor as that sounds), and she’s a techwiz. Something I always wanted to be, but never had the smarts to do. That, or I’m just too lazy, which is often a possibility among all of us, isn’t it? Mikael I still don’t like all that much, but I feel like I can’t exactly explain why without… Throwing accusations around.

Yep, so if you want a good thriller and, as I, have not read these yet for some reason, I can recommend. This one gets a 5 out of 5 from me. There’s really nothing I could’ve taken points off for. Maybe the too lightly thrown “dyke” around… I feel like male equivalent of that wouldn’t have been used as-a-matter-of-fact like that.

Categories: 5-5, Books: Crime, Books: Everything, Books: LGBT, Books: Other Fiction, Crime Books, Detective Books, LGBTQ+ Books, murder, Thriller Books | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

book review | Any Old Diamonds by K.J. Charles | Lilywhite Boys 1

any old diamonds charles kj book coverAuthor: K.J. Charles
Title: Any Old Diamonds
Series: Lilywhite Boys 1
Genre: LGBT literature, Historical Romance
Pages: 320
Rate: 5/5 | Goodreads

Sometimes it’s great to read at nights. Other times I get very mad with myself. Reading Any Old Diamonds by K.J. Charles I was the latter. For you want to read more, you’re mad curious, but… Your ereader is threatening to smack you in the face if you don’t go to sleep right now.

About the Book: Alec’s father murdered his own wife, their mother, to marry an archetype of an evil, greedy stepmother. Driven by the woman’s fury he kicked his children out too, and cut them off on basis of disrespect. Alec’s older brother took it upon himself to support their sisters of whom one was very sickly and eventually died due to lack of care. Alec, seeking to relieve his brother of any burden, took up illustration. So, naturally, everyone were very surprised and angry with him, when he said he intends to make amends to father and ask for allowance.

But Alec has a plan. Via his sources he made contact with the best jewelry thieves, the Lilywhite boys, and has full intention of taking them right into the heart of his former home, where his dragon of a stepmother is sitting on all her jewels, and those of their mother. It’s time to pay the debts.

My Opinion: Alec had a very strong moral compass that eventually loosened up, but you could really see the struggle and the overcoming. And if character development like that is not enough, then just wait until that plot twist turns everything upside down. I don’t remember the last time I’ve read anything this tricky that I’ve not even suspected! It was very, very good. But, of course, I am a little bit biased. I mean, can you blame me? Jewelry thieves, criminals who are very good at their job… (recommend me more of those, preferably in modern times, please)

Yes, this was a great book, and I’ll happily put it among my favorites. It gets a firm 5 out of 5 from me, and I’m looking forwards to the second.

Categories: 5-5, Books: Crime, Books: Everything, Books: LGBT, Books: Romance, heists, historical romance, LGBTQ+ Books, M/M Literature | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

book review | In The Dark by Mark Billingham

mark billingham in the dark book coverAuthor: Mark Billingham
Title: In The Dark
Series: –
Genre: Crime, Thriller
Pages: 384
Rate: 4/5 | Goodreads

I keep seeking those good, good crime books. In the Dark by Mark Billingham is not one of those. But it did remind me why I believe that life’s too short to quit a book because it didn’t pick up for a while. The very end of it, and it’s not the first book to do so, has fixed so very much that it made it worth it.

About the Book: A cop driving at night. A gang with a crew member in need to prove himself. Secrets, lies, cover-ups, and victims.

Paul’s widow Helen, an officer herself, now lonely and expecting, can’t help herself but dig deeper into her husband’s life. It turns out he had way more secrets than she suspected. And much darker ones too. Bit by bit they’re making her see what seemed to be a random gang attack to be something entirely else.

My Opinion: The ending is emotionally brutal to the reader. It was dark, unexpected, hard, but so, so good. Story is very slow to pick up, the pace is horrible. Some dialogues were jagged, characters often turned out to be two dimensional, shallow, not to mention completely random unnecessary scenes. I was about to give this book a poor rating, but then it ended like that, and blew me away. See, as a reader you see a little more than Helen. You see the people around her, who she meets, who she talks to. And whom she starts to sympathize with. And it’s bloody beautiful.

Yeah, it’s one of those books. Makes you sad and happy at the same time. As a reader – you’re satisfied with how it happened. But as a human being you’re probably sad. I give it a shaky little 4 out of 5.

Categories: 4-5, Books: Crime, Books: Everything, Books: Other Fiction, crews, gangs, etc, murder, Thriller Books | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

book review | Tokyo Vice by Jake Adelstein

tokyo vice jake adelstein japan crime book coverAuthor: Jake Adelstein
Title: Tokyo Vice
Series: –
Genre: Nonfiction; Memoir
Pages: 335
Rate: 5/5 | Goodreads

Ah, I wish I knew how good Tokyo Vice by Jake Adelstein is sooner. For it fell down my TBR list quite a few times. But hey, I got to it at last, and it’s better later than never!

About the Book: Jake learns Japanese and moves there in pursuit for journalist career. The rules are different there, and the book picks up the pace here, setting up an amusing tune of this white jewish man jumping traditions and politeness hoops in a foreign country. All that said, work goes well, including the whole structure of building relationships with co-workers, sources, cops… Which can get quite costly.

One day a yakuza contacts him, letting him know that Jake’s name was mentioned in trustworthiness context. This is where the story starts getting darker, for Jake gets to see beyond Love Hotels, Hostess clubs, where people dress up for you, to be your best friend until you run out of money. Beyond that there’s dark, gritty, nightmarish web of debt, loan sharks, human trafficking, and destroyed lives.

My Opinion: This is a very, very masterfully written book. With facts, memories, experiences  woven into one smooth if nightmarish tale. Don’t know about you, but Japan to me was always that dream country, something exotic and far, far away, so very different from anything we know here. But truth is much more simple. Yes, there’s differences. Yes, there’s plenty of pros, pluses. But there’s just as many cons, minuses. Just as in any country.

A very good book. Reminded me of this one I read long ago called “Yakuza Moon“. This one gets a 5 out of 5. And no, it is not made to slander. Merely a country this journalist lived in, a place where he found this, and was in a position to make a difference, no matter how small.

Categories: 5-5, Biographies, Books: Crime, Books: Everything, Books: NonFiction, mafia, murder, True Crime Books | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

book review | Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson | Millennium 1

the girl with the dragon tatttoo stieg larsson book coverAuthor: Stieg Larsson
Title: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Series: Millennium 1
Genre: Thriller, Mystery
Pages: 465
Rate: 5/5 | Goodreads

I have this trilogy for years and years now, so many that I’m ashamed to admit. But at last I’ve read the first Millennium trilogy book by Stieg Larsson, the “Girl with the Dragon Tattoo“, and it was amazing.

About the Book: In the chaos of family tragedy a girl disappears, leaving her loving uncle burdened by this painful mystery. For there was no trace, and no body, but he is certain, the girl must be dead, how else? Upon his birthdays he receives a pressed dried flower, every year, and it has become a wall of mockery, for the killer surely knows, and likes to pain him. Thus, he has made a decision to try one more time to shine some light on this mystery. He hires a journalist, who, in turn, hires Lizbeth, this fantastic alternative woman with almost supernatural mind that sees patterns where others only see chaos, white noise. Together they dig up old clues, old tales. But what if the truth is worse than the secrets?

My Opinion: This is a marvelously written, captivating book that’ll require your undivided attention. It’s easy to loose track, that’s all I’m saying. Other than that, the characters and the plot are amazing. My favorite being Lizbeth, with her intelligence and strength, she’s an amazing example of what characters I lean towards. Her ability to put up a show reminded me of Ghostman, so some small part of me was sated (I truly wish the author of those books was alive and well, and would write more of those unbelievably amazing books). Less so impressed by the journalist, but that’s also only my personal preference and lack of belief, so to speak. For he is written well.

So, yeah. This was an amazing book, and if you’re seeking a good detective, there’s surely a reason why these were such a phenomena at some point. 5 out of 5 from me.

Categories: 5-5, Books: Crime, Books: Everything, Books: Other Fiction, Crime Books, Detective Books, murder, Mystery Books, Thriller Books | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

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