The United States of Absurdity

The United States of Absurdity: Untold Stories from American HistoryThe United States of Absurdity: Untold Stories from American History by Dave Anthony

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I thought this book was hilarious. I loved the way the narration pointed out the finer points in the stupidity of history, and thought the running commentary on absurd history was great. This book may not be for the feint of heart, as there are some very strange, as well as…ewww, moments included in it. If, however, you are a brave individual with a strong stomach, I say go forth and populate the earth with the knowledge that you gain from this book. Just don’t sue me for your psychiatry bill. Go for the authors instead. They are at the root of this mess.

This is the kind of book that makes you laugh at inappropriate times and in the worst of places. It also makes you feel lucky that we live in modern times, until you realise that history is doomed to repeat itself because we are all morons that don’t learn from books like this. Then you feel something else.

In any case, I’d recommend this book to anyone who wants a good laugh and to learn about the stupids that came before us. If nothing else, it will make you think. Thoughts you might not want to share. Those are the best kind.

This review is based on a complementary copy from the publisher, provided through netgalley, who must have decided my stomach strength passed the test and decided to offer me the book in exchange for an honest review.

View all my reviews

Advertisements

Confrontation with Evil by Steven A. LaChance

Confrontation with Evil: An In-Depth Review of the 1949 Possession That Inspired the ExorcistConfrontation with Evil: An In-Depth Review of the 1949 Possession That Inspired the Exorcist by Steven A LaChance

Known as the 1949 St. Louis Exorcism, the story of possessed child Roland Doe was immortalized in the groundbreaking novel and film The Exorcist. Much has been written about the case, but the truth has been shrouded in secrecy…until now.

Join Steven A. LaChance, as he shares the shocking evidence for how a family’s grief over the death of an aunt progressed into a full-blown demonic possession. While the conventional story is that Roland Doe brought the demonic infestation upon himself, LaChance convincingly suggests an alternative interpretation, and provides new insights into the nature of possession itself.

The events of 1949 culminated in grueling exorcism rites, but the story doesn’t end there as LaChance guides readers through the stunning aftermath that forever changed the Catholic church and the city of St. Louis.

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I ended up giving this a full five stars, simply for the interest factor. It kept me turning pages. I can’t say that I fully accept everything about this case as fact, regardless of who has dissected it and reported on it, but the author’s arguments were convincing, for his in-depth research and unique personal experiences.

Honestly, I found most of the value in the first half of the book. It was written from a new angle, spending more time focusing on the family and clergy and their poor decisions regarding the treatment of the boy in question, rather than blaming the entire event on the child himself.

You can come at this book from many different directions and probably form a million different opinions based on your faith and your own experiences, but one thing is for sure, something happened that no one will ever be able to completely explain.

The latter half of the book did not lose my interest, but I saw it as more speculation than proven fact. I would have liked to have seen more witness interviews included to back up the ideas of the author.

Still, this was a fascinating look at a case that still draws interest today. If you are interested in the case, you want to read this one.

This review is based on a complementary copy from the publisher, provided through Netgalley. All opinions are my own.

View all my reviews

A Taste for Murder

A Taste For MurderA Taste For Murder by Burl Barer

Frank Rodriguez, a much-loved counselor of troubled teens, lies dead on the bedroom floor. His wife and step-daughter are in shock, and so is the medical examiner when he performs the autopsy. Aside from being dead, Frank is in perfect health.

Demanding to know the cause of her husband’s death, Angie Rodriguez badgers the police, insisting that Frank was murdered. The cops attribute her assertions to overwhelming grief, but soon they too believe that Frank didn’t die of natural causes.

When the police enlist their number one suspect to help in the investigation, things spiral out of control until police are dealing with a daring plot to murder Angie’s best friend, and allegations of another homicide so evil and perverse that even seasoned L.A County Detectives are shocked beyond belief … and so will the readers!

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a quick read, that will make you wonder how much you really know about the people around you. For the most part, I enjoyed this book. The author was a bit heavy on inserting themselves into the story via interjection of personal opinion, but otherwise, the facts were there and the flow of the story worked well. I do understand that it was intended to be a rather conversational book rather than a boring recount of documented events, so I suppose that is why it comes across as opinionated.

The central figure in this book is a truly awful person that will make you thank your lucky stars that she is not your mum, sister, daughter, friend or worst case scenario, wife. I was disgusted by her actions, and as far as the possibility that she committed the earlier crime mentioned in the book, well, it really wouldn’t surprise me.

I believe this book is so striking, because it is not fiction. To think that there are people in the world that would go to such lengths to obtain what they want is disturbing and terrifying. This book takes you on a journey through the life and mind of a person who was damaged at an early age, and never recovered. If you are sensitive to things that are sexual in nature, this might be a book that you want to prepare yourself for.

Mostly, I thought this was a really good read with a lot to recommend it. I would definitely give it a solid four stars for the way it was written, the intrigue that the writing style created and the fact checking. However, it lost a star for me near the end when the central figure was compared to a well-known, overweight, Star Wars character. Professional? I think not.

Interesting read.

This review is based on a complementary copy from the publisher, provided through Netgalley. All opinions are my own.

View all my reviews

The Graveyard Apartment

The Graveyard Apartment: A NovelThe Graveyard Apartment: A Novel by Mariko Koike

A terrifying tale of a young family who move into an apartment building next to a graveyard and the horrors that are unleashed upon them.

One of the most popular writers working in Japan today, Mariko Koike is a recognized master of detective fiction and horror writing. Known in particular for her hybrid works that blend these styles with elements of romance, The Graveyard Apartment is arguably Koike’s masterpiece. Originally published in Japan in 1986, Koike’s novel is the suspenseful tale of a young family that believes it has found the perfect home to grow in to, only to realize that the apartment’s idyllic setting harbors the specter of evil and that longer they stay, the more trapped they become.

This tale of a young married couple who are harboring a dark secret is packed with dread and terror, as they and their daughter move into a brand new apartment building built next to a graveyard. As strange and terrifying occurrences begin to pile up, people in the building begin to move out one by one, until the young family is left alone with someone… or something… lurking in the basement. The psychological horror builds moment after moment, scene after scene, culminating with a conclusion that will make you think twice before ever going into a basement again.

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

After finishing this book, I was left with a lot of jumbled opinions and feelings. In some ways, this book is everything I hope for in a horror novel. It is certainly full of suspense and makes you want to keep turning the pages to find out what happens next. On the same hand, the never ending suspense was what killed it for me. I like it when things are tense in a book like this, but when that happens, I also expect there to be a big payout and the longer the author waits to give me that, the bigger and better I expect it to be.

After following the lives of this family from the beginning of the book, I truly found the ending to be a huge disappointment. With all the buildup throughout the book, the creepy happenings and the odd events, I thought some moment of absolute horror when good fights evil was sure to happen, but that was not the case. For me, this book just fizzled out, as if the author couldn’t figure out how to end it, so they just left it.

I wanted answers to the underground tunnels. I wanted to know why things were happening. I’m still wondering.

I think that all in all, this is a good book and is worthy of a recommendation, but don’t say I didn’t warn you about the end. I was left with questions, and books that do that annoy me.

This review is based on a complementary copy from the publisher, provided through Netgalley. All opinions are my own.

View all my reviews