Chase Darkness with Me by Billy Jensen: Audiobook Review

 Chase Darkness with Me by Billy Jensen
Release Date: April 11, 2019 by Audible Studios
8 Hours, 19 min & Narrated by Billy Jensen with foreword by Karen Kilgariff
Buy on Audible  

Short Blurb: Journalist Billy Jensen spent 15 years investigating unsolved murders, fighting for the families of victims. Every story he wrote had one thing in common – it didn’t have an ending. The killer was still out there.
Gripping, complex, unforgettable, Chase Darkness with Me is an examination of the evil forces that walk among us, illustrating a novel way to catch those killers, and a true crime narrative unlike any you’ve listened to before.

My Thoughts: If you like true crime, especially in the form of investigative journalism, this audiobook is for you! I was initially drawn to this story because of Billy’s association with Michelle McNamarra in the amazing I’ll Be Gone in the Dark book from 2018. Billy worked closely with Michelle on her Golden State Killer case and after her death he was instrumental in helping to finish and get her book published.

In his new audiobook, Billy tells of how he developed a love of true crime and justice from an early age. he describes some pretty crazy bedtime stories of crimes and criminals that his dad used to share with him. Rather than scaring him, Billy pinpoints those early stories as instilling a fascination and hunger within himself to explore crime and those who commit it

Believe me when I say this is one of the most engaging, insightful audiobooks I’ve ever listened to! Billy goes in depth in how he uses crowdsourcing…think Facebook and Twitter…to catch criminals and it’s absolutely fascinating. The murder of Marcus Gaines that Billy worked on was not only sad and frustrating to hear but incredible in terms of how it turned out. This crowdsourcing feels to me very timely and tremendously important in terms of the possibilites it offers for solving more murders and finding more missing people. In fact, Billy’s discussion of the“digital posse” seemed so accurate for the future of crime and criminal justice.

Told with empathy, compassion and energy, Billy’s dedication and passion for truth and justice came through loud and clear. I highly recommend this audiobook!

Thanks to Allison Weber and Audible for my copy

Advertisements

Nonfiction November: Nonfiction with Fiction Book Pairings

Nonfiction November is a month dedicated to reading and sharing lots of Nonfiction reading gems! Each week a different blogger…Katie at Doing Dewey, Rennie at What’s Nonfiction?, Julie at Julz Reads, Kim at Sophisticated Dorkiness, and this week, Sarah at Sarah’s Bookshelves host a fun topic. This week’s topic, Fiction/Nonfiction book pairings is one I enjoyed putting together so I hope you find some new book ideas to add to your TBR’s. If you’d like to share your own book pairings, head over to Sarahsbookshelves  and link up!

UNDERCOVER DRAMA & SUSPENSE  

   

I love books detailing the world of undercover cops or agents of some kind. When I came across American Radical (My review) I knew I’d love it and I did. In fact, it’s one of my favorite non-fiction reads ever. Filled with suspense and intrigue, I often had to remind myself that it was all true (it reads like the best fiction)…which was scary, actually, considering it’s about terrorism against Americans. Sirens (My Review ) focuses on a very flawed undercover detective and was itself a page turner. I especially loved that there were TWO mysteries I couldn’t solve in this story!

THE DRAMA & SCANDAL OF DISGRACED SPORTS STARS 

   

This summer I talked about how much I (surprisingly) enjoyed Tiger Woods (My Review). The author took a story I thought I knew and really dissected, investigated, and offered a riveting account of the rise and fall of Tiger Woods. I loved it. In Play Dirty ,which I read years ago (2007), Griff Burkett is a disgraced former Cowboys quarterback who gets involved with a wealthy Texas couple. What follows after he agrees to a rather unconventional agreement with them involves secrecy and murder! I used to read every book Sandra Brown published but for some reason over the last few years I haven’t picked one of hers up. This post has reminded me how much I liked her. Have you read any recent Sandra Brown’s? If so, give me your suggestions on what to pick up!

A MOTHER’S CONNECTION WITH HER KIDS IS FOREVER 

   

I don’t often re-read books but The Bright Hour (My Review) is one I’ll re-read every year. The story and writing was just exceptional and is a book that reminds you to appreciate your health and life. I Liked My Life (My Review) is one of those books that you think you have a grasp on by reading the synopsis but actually ends up being so much more than expected. Maddy, the mother in the story, narrates her part of the story from the Afterlife as she tries to intervene with what’s happening with her family. Filled with humor, drama, and mystery, I highly recommend this debut novel. Both of these books are just fantastic!

INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALISTS VERSUS SERIAL KILLERS 

   

Don’t be surprised if you see I’ll Be Gone in the Dark (My Review) on my top 10 reads of 2018 in a few weeks. This book was everything I look for and love in my crime reads. Michelle McNamara, a journalist who I liked and rooted for, relentlessly tracks the Golden State Killer. It was chilling, well paced, and just downright scary in parts. I read it in the spring but every time I go to the mailbox at night I still think of it, wondering if someone could be hiding and watching. I won’t forget this story! Pierced  (My Review) is the perfect fiction twin for I’ll Be Gone In the Dark. It’s set in Norway and follows investigative crime reporter Henning Juul who tracks the killers who tried to kill him but succeeded in killing his son. There’s layers to this story and to Henning who I really loved and connected with. If you love mysteries and haven’t read Thomas Enger you’re missing out!

What are you reading and loving for NonFiction November? 

Lessons from Lucy by Dave Barry & Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating by Christina Lauren: Mini Reviews

Lessons From Lucy: The Simple Joys of an Old, Happy Dog by Dave Barry
Publication: October 23, 2018 by Simon & Schuster
208 pages
Affiliate LinkBuy on Amazon

From Publisher: Faced with the obstacles and challenges of life after middle age, Dave Barry turns to his best dog, Lucy, to learn how to live his best life.

My thoughts: I confess, I have an older dog, a black lab actually so when I saw this cover I immediately wanted to read this book. I assumed it would only be about Barry and his dog but it was so much more. Dave Barry is funny! He breaks the book up by chapters and each one is a lesson from Lucy. My favorite: the fourth lesson from Lucy, letting go of anger. I read this in a restaurant waiting for a friend (of course I had my kindle in my purse) and I was cracking up. Barry talks about his skill of having “a black belt in instantly hating strangers.” He details the many (funny) times he needs strangers to know he hates them including…

This is how I feel about you if you drive your car past a long line of vehicles waiting to exit an expressway so you can butt in at the front…Or if, when you stop at a red light, you immediately look down at your phone, and it apparently doesn’t occur to you to glance up at the light from time to time in case for some crazy reason – who knows, in this crazy world?- it might turn green again, which means that when it does turn green, to get you moving again, I – because I am always the driver behind you- have to honk, and in response you shoot me an annoyed glance in your rearview mirror, as if to say, Can’t you see I’m texting?”

Hasn’t this happened to everybody? I really enjoyed how Barry took his real life struggles and turned them into lessons his dog has taught him.  I found Barry’s writing  conversational, tongue in cheek , and sarcastic in the best possible way. What he says about dogs and living with them is so spot on, funny, and sentimental that I loved those parts as well. Overall, this was a wonderful feel good book that made me laugh and appreciate by best furry friend.

Thanks to Simon & Schuster via Netgalley for my copy 

**************

 

Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating by Christina Lauren
Publication: September 4, 2018 By Gallery Books
309 Pages
Affiliate LinkBuy on Amazon

Single Sentence Summary: Hazel is quite the handful and Josh isn’t sure he’s up to handling her so they spend a lot of time going on double dates, just not with each other

My thoughts: Unpopular opinion review coming your way. I had been seeing such glowing reviews for this book and thought I’d give it a try, but I have to say this wasn’t for me. We’re first introduced to Hazel and Josh when they’re in college and from the first chapter I wasn’t connecting with the extreme quirkiness of Hazel. I’m all for eccentric characters (to a point) but she was too much…of everything. Fast forward several years and they’ve reconnected one summer day. While I liked Josh, I didn’t feel a connection with Hazel due to feeling slightly annoyed during her sections.  I will say that one thing I did like about her character though was her love of animals. That I appreciated.

I do have to say, I don’t think I was the right audience for this particular story because I don’t really enjoy romances that have the majority of the book revolving around the characters fighting their feelings or extended drama until the end like we had here. The amount of double dates these two set each other up on got to be way too repetitive in my opinion. I just don’t think this was a good choice for me from the get go. In the end, while I did like Josh’s character, I never felt his connection to Hazel, I just couldn’t find any chemistry between them. Overall, this wasn’t the book for me but it may be for you, especially if you enjoy lots of quirkiness and drama in your romances.

Thanks to Gallery Books via Netgalley for my copy

 

 

 

MINI REVIEWS: A SPELLBINDING FICTION & A FASCINATING NONFICTION

MINI REVIEWS

During my recent blogging break I decided that when I returned I’d incorporate more mini reviews into the blog in an effort to ward off further review writing burnout. As all book bloggers know, it’s a lot of work to write reviews for everything we read and sometimes it’s just as easy and convenient to write (and read) mini reviews. So, I’ll be trying out some new ideas here and there in terms of my review writing formats….

32620332

 

Published June 2017 By Atria Books

Short Summary: Evelyn Hugo is finally ready to tell the truth about her glamorous and scandalous life. But when she chooses unknown magazine reporter Monique Grant for the job, no one in the journalism community is more astounded than Monique herself. Why her? Why now?

 

******

I’m the first to admit that sometimes, ok many times, I’ve let books pass me by because of assumptions I make about them or as in the case of Evelyn, I read about 10 pages of it earlier this summer and thought nope, I’m not in the mood for a woman’s story about her 7 husbands. What a HUGE mistake that was and I’m so glad I came around to giving this another try. Being a mood reader is so bizarre sometimes and it took a complete reading slump and Sarah’s Alcohol and Advil post last week to bring this one back into my orbit.

Here’s what I found to be important about this book…I went into it not reading any recent reviews so the entire storyline was a surprise to me and there were SO many unexpected twists along the way. Legendary movie star Evelyn tells her story to young and inexperienced Monique and while you’ll wonder what she’s got up her sleeve for choosing Monique of all people, that will take a backseat as you’re swept into the 1950s glitz, glamour, and excitement of Old Hollywood. As we get to know Evelyn though, we come to find that her life wasn’t all glamour, there was plenty of heartache, drama, betrayals, and secrets to last a lifetime. And that’s what kept me completely captivated and made this a book I spent my entire Saturday reading. I was unprepared for the respect I felt for Evelyn despite not agreeing with so much of what she did; I really did like her…in the end I think she was her own worst enemy most of the time. I can’t forget to mention the supporting characters…sheer perfection! Get your tissues ready for this addictive, gorgeously written novel that’s earned a place on my 5 star bookshelf.

******

 

30687200

 

Published March 2017 by Knopf; narrated by Mark Bramhall

Short Summary: In 1986, a shy and intelligent twenty-year-old named Christopher Knight left his home in Massachusetts, drove to Maine, and disappeared into the forest. He would not have a conversation with another human being until nearly three decades later

******

Believe me when I say this was the perfect audiobook for not only long dog walks but also cleaning the house, running errands etc. I listened to it nonstop. I was immediately drawn into the story which really starts at the end in terms of when Chris Knight, not of his own volition, ended his 27 years of solitude in the Maine forest. As a lover of psychology, I really wanted to know what made someone choose to leave society behind and basically spend 27 years camping. How did he survive? What did he do for all those years? The awesome thing about listening to this was that Mark Bramhall made Chris Knight come alive, so during the many long interviews it felt like we were hearing from Chris himself and I was beyond intrigued.

I still think about this story for many reasons but mainly for the ways it made me think about it from so many different sides. Chris Knight was a complicated individual and in no uncertain terms broke the law…over and over and over again. I loved hearing from the citizens whose lives he affected, some were forever (negatively) changed and some who brushed him off and even tried to help him. As I said, fascinating! If you’re looking for an engaging story for nonfiction November, I highly recommend this audiobook.

HAPPY READING!

 

AUDIOBOOK REVIEW:GETTING LIFE:AN INNOCENT MAN’S 25-YEAR JOURNEY FROM PRISON TO PEACE by Michael Morton. Narrated by Roger Wayne

19302626

GOODREADS BLURB

He spent twenty-five years in prison for a crime he did not commit. He lost his wife, his son, and his freedom. This is the story of how Michael Morton finally got justice—and a second chance at life.

On August 13, 1986, just one day after his thirty-second birthday, Michael Morton went to work at his usual time. By the end of the day, his wife Christine had been savagely bludgeoned to death in the couple’s bed—and the Williamson County Sherriff’s office in Texas wasted no time in pinning her murder on Michael, despite an absolute lack of physical evidence. Michael was swiftly sentenced to life in prison for a crime he had not committed.

My Review

This story is haunting to say the least. Michael Morton went to work one morning and by the afternoon his life, as he knew it, was over. When and how he finds out that his wife Chris has been murdered in their bed, with their three year old son home , is heartbreaking. It’s hard to attribute positive words like fascinating and page turning to such a tragic story but that’s how I would describe the complete railroading and injustice that took place when the local sheriff’s department immediately zeroed in on Michael as the killer. How he was treated, questioned, and then arrested was mind boggling and I listened in a state of bewilderment.

I know I’m being somewhat vague but I don’t want to give away important plot details about the case because there’s so much that happens over the 25 years it took Michael Morton to get justice that you really need to listen, or read, for yourself. This being a memoir we get in depth, first hand accounts from Michael about what happened the day his wife was murdered,  how he felt, and what he was thinking and feeling. We also get his first hand account of life in prison for 25 years and his pursuit of and determination to get to the truth of who really murdered his wife Chris.

While this is a memoir, it’s also a real life mystery because there are questions about the case that the sheriff’s office completely ignored such as: what did Michael’s son who was 3 at the time, and home with his mom, actually see and hear? What about other physical evidence that was found on the property? Will these unanswered questions lead to the real killer? You’ll have to listen or read to find out!

This story caused me to feel so many things while listening…anger, sadness, confusion…it’s all there.  Sometimes, even if the story sounds interesting ,  I’ve found it hard to listen to a book because the narrator’s voice just didn’t work for me. That wasn’t the case with this audiobook, however, because the narrator, Roger Wayne, was fantastic. I recommended this book to my book club and they all read the print version and also loved it,  so either way you “get” this incredible true crime story you won’t be disappointed.

5/5 Stars