Thursday, February 7, 2019

Book Reviews - Heavy (But Good) Reads

Y'all, whatever you do, do not ever read these four books in succession. Independently, you might want to check them out, but trust me when I say they are not meant to be read as a quartet. They are heavy and dark and intense, and when you quadruple that feeling, you land at a not great place.

A Serial Killer's Daughter: My Story of Faith, Love and Overcoming by Kerri Rawson is by a woman who is the daughter of BTK. Given this occurred in Kansas, I was quite familiar with Kerri's father's crimes. However, this story, above all else, was about Kerri. It was about the before of her life and then the after. Before, she was living a relatively normal life, as she went to school, college, got married, etc. Then, there was the after as she discovers (along with the rest of the world) that her father is Wichita's most notorious serial killer. Everything she thought she knew is different now in an unimaginable realization. Throughout, Kerri tells a honest and authentic story. She shares the depths of her emotions as she reflects on the before of her life, and then had to process everything that was revealed about the man she thought she knew. This was an incredibly powerful read as she centers her story in a reality that she could have never imagined. She shares how she struggles, especially with her own mental health and grief, and she also shares where she found comfort and even forgiveness. it was an emotional read, but again, it was Kerri taking ownership of her story and showing how she has found a way through it all.

Read this book if - You want to read a true crime book told from a unique and powerful perspective.

The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson was a book I read after hearing about it on an architecture tour this summer in Chicago. I knew it was about the World's Fair, but y'all, I'll be real that I didn't know the serial killer plot that would be going on. That's totally on me, and not a critique of the book, but just worth noting. To connect back to the title, it's definitely way more devil than stuff about the White City. Anyway. This one revolves around the Chicago's World's Fair. What captivated me here is the work that went into making these fairs happen. I mean, they essentially built a temporary city from scratch for these. It truly was an incredible showcase, and I couldn't even fathom how they'd make something like this happen then or now. The other story is about a serial killer who uses the fair to create a ruse to lure young women to his hotel/home/business (pending on which angle he was working) and ultimately kill them. As I was reading, I had to remind myself that "Holmes" was a real person. All of this tragic story was something that happened in real life. Throughout, there was so much detail in this one as the stories were told, and it was so incredibly well done. 

Read this book if - You like your historical fiction with a side of intense thrills.

The Hot Zone: The Terrifying True Story of the Ebola Virus by Richard Preston was horrifying. Y'all, I knew that the Ebola virus was a thing, but holy smokes, I did not know what it really and truly was. I now have a thorough understanding, and it is truly one of the scariest things I've ever read about in life. This book explores how the virus began, how it spread, and how it almost could have been worse - and it still could. There is incredible detail about the research into how this virus spreads, including many (terrifying) unknowns. I do not know that I have read a book where I was so petrified of content, while also being captivated by what I was reading. The author talks to those who know the virus best, and that is what makes the story all the more horrifying. They know what the virus is capable of because they've seen it firsthand. This book is also a warning of the potential this virus has to cause damage. It moves quick, so continued research, awareness and education is paramount. I never, ever want to read this book again, but I am glad to now know more about this virus. Wow.

Read this book if - You want to be simultaneously terrified and informed.

The Girl in the Window by Wilma Yeo was a throwback read. After reading a trio of thrillers, I decided to take on one from the juvenile genre. I remember this book from my childhood as one of those books that we all read and/or was in book orders regularly. I did not remember any of the plot. The premise is that Kiley's next door neighbor has disappeared. She is worried, and she takes it on herself to do some investigating. She is further confused when she thinks she sees missing Leedie Ann in the window aka THAT'S WHERE THE TITLE IS FROM. She suspects a gypsy who is connected to the family is involved, and she takes it on herself to investigate her as a suspect. Through this work, the gypsy is arrested. She turns out not to be the culprit, and additionally, Kiley learns more about the gypsy's past in a pretty intense way. This one took a turn towards the end that I was not expecting which really upped what the story was about. 

Read this book if - You're looking for a throwback thriller.

I'll definitely be looking for lighter content in the next quartet. Geez!