REALER by David Hewson and Narrated by Gemma Whelan – An Audiobook Review of a Speculative/Dystopian Near Future that could easily become our post-pandemic reality. 5 Terrified Stars

Title: REALER

Author: DAVID HEWSON

Narrator: GEMMA WHELAN

Genre: FICTION, SCIENCE FICTION, SPECULATIVE FICTION, DYSTOPIAN FICTION

Length: 8 HOURS and 35 MINUTES

Publisher: W.F. HOWES LTD. 

Type of Book: AUDIOBOOK

Received From: NETGALLEY

Release Date: OCTOBER 29, 2020

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS  ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

The Audiobook is narrated by Game of Thrones
star Gemma Whelan

DESCRIPTION:

AN AUDIOBOOK EXCLUSIVE, PERFORMED BY GAME OF THRONES STAR GEMMA WHELAN.

‘Life is real…but this is Realer…’

Realer promises a new virtual reality, a safe and sanitised window into a virtual existence without the risks of the real, crumbling, post-pandemic society beyond the door. Sixteen year old Charlotte ‘Charlie’ Mackintosh is a loner whose father works for the company. He gives her Realer for her birthday – only to be murdered as she watches through her high-tech hood at home. Alone in a tense, post-lockdown world, Charlie has to turn to Realer to find his killers. She’s soon trapped in a murderous conspiracy behind a system that’s steadily beginning to take over people’s lives. Charlie comes to understand that she can only hide from outside dangers for so long. In the end, the only way to defeat them is face-to-face, in the real world. A place she fears more than any.

Audie award-winning author David Hewson’s edgy dystopian, near-future thriller gives us a chilling glimpse into what our post-pandemic world could become.

LISTEN TO THIS AUDIBLE INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR DAVID HEWSON FOR FREE.
Click on the photograph to get this free Audible interview.
David Hewson joins Robin Morgan in the Audible Studios to discuss Romeo and Juliet: A Novel, the latest in the series of original audiobook adaptations of Shakespeare plays, narrated by Richard Armitage. The audiobooks are imaginative reworkings of the original plays using contemporary language but retaining the original historical settings.
©2016 Audible Ltd (P)2016 Audible Ltd

MY REVIEW:

Not your typical Dystopian fiction tale.

This tale could (and probably should) be taken as a warning.

The story begins not long after a full year of lockdowns because of the Covid19 pandemic. (Although Covid19 is never specifically named.)

A corporation that is eerily similar to the Amazon corporation of today is at the center of this speculative fiction tale.

A new technological gadget has begun to take the world by storm. It is called a “Realer.” The company tagline is:

‘Life is real…but this is Realer…’

This piece of technology allows the user to visit anywhere in the world through a sort-of virtual reality.

Instead of being themselves, users create avatars and when in “Realer World,” it is those avatars that people see and interact with – meaning you could be talking to anyone, from anywhere and their real identity remains secret.

Fears of the Virus coming back have been a boon for the Realer Corporation. Why actually go on holiday and chance catching the virus when you can “visit” anywhere – from the comfort of your own home?

Charlie (short for Charlotte) is attacked while sketching at a nearby lake. After the attack she is terrified to leave her home. She receives a Realer from her father as a birthday present as a way to coax her back outside and to prove it is safe.

Her father goes for a walk in the nearby woods while wearing Realer glasses. Charlie is able to tag along from her Realer in the safety of her home. She starts to enjoy herself and even begins to think her father is right and that there is nothing to be afraid of.

Suddenly, three cartoon devil monsters appear in her father’s path. He is brutally murdered while she could do nothing except watch it happen.

So begins this unique Dystopian/Speculative Fiction story.

Charlie may be only sixteen, but she is determined to find out who killed her Dad.

With the dogged determination of the youthful, Charlie finds herself not only caught up in a murder investigation, but also in what might prove to be life-altering events not only for herself, but for the entire planet.

With non-stop intrigue, believable technological innovations, a pandemic causing long term lockdowns and the detrimental mental health issues it caused, this story could easily be our near future.

There are a variety of social issues tackled in REALER, along with a mystery that will keep readers guessing until the very end.

David Hewson has created  characters that readers will recognize as either similar to themselves or to others they know.

If you want to take a look at one of our society’s potential futures, this Audiobook is a must listen.

I will be looking for more audiobooks narrated by GEMMA WHELAN. She is a professional actress and was a member of the award-winning cast of Game of Thrones. Her acting experience shines through in her narration as she knows exactly what intonation to use for each chapter. Her narration deserves a 5 Star review of its own. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

It is the combination of great writing, exceptional narration and professional production that combine to make REALER an audiobook not to miss.

A 5 Star rating is exactly what this Audiobook deserves.

5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

*** Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with a free copy of this audiobook. ***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

David Hewson is a contemporary British author of mystery and thriller novels. His work includes the Nic Costa series and Romeo and Juliet, an expansive and rich retelling of the Shakespeare classic which was awarded Best Original Work at the Audie awards.

To learn more about this author, visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

AUDIBLE

GOODREADS

INSTAGRAM

TWITTER   

AMAZON  

ABOUT THE NARRATOR:

Gemma Whelan is an actress and comedian, best known for playing Yara Greyjoy in the HBO fantasy-drama series Game of Thrones.

She plays detective Eunice Noon in The End of the F***ing World on Netflix.

To learn more about this Narrator, visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

AUDIBLE

INSTAGRAM

TWITTER  

AMAZON

………….

To learn more about this Publisher visit the following links:

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BECAUSE THEY WERE WOMEN – The Montreal Massacre by journalist Josée Boileau is being released TODAY in advance of the Anniversary of the massacre – December 6th. This is the only book ever written to detail what happened on that horrific day in Montreal in 1989

Title: BECAUSE THEY WERE WOMEN

Subtitle: THE MONTREAL MASSACRE

Author: JOSÉE BOILEAU

Genre: NON-FICTION, HISTORY, TRUE CRIME, CANADIAN NON-FICTION, FEMINIST NON-FICTION, WOMEN’S ISSUES

Length: 308 PAGES

Publisher: SECOND STORY PRESS

Received From: NETGALLEY

Release Date: NOVEMBER 10, 2020

ISBN: 9781772601428

Price: $24.95 USD

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐


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Exterior of École Polytechnique de Montréal.
The third floor classroom in the École Polytechnique in which the attack ended.

DESCRIPTION:

Fourteen young university students, murdered because they were women, are memorialized in this definitive account of a tragic day that forced a reckoning with violence against women in our culture.

Each of the victims of what became known as the Montreal Massacre are remembered, their lives cut short on December 6, 1989 when a man entered their school and systematically shot every young woman he encountered, motivated by a misogyny who’s roots go far beyond one man and one day.


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MY REVIEW:

Canada’s first mass femicide took place on December 6th, 1989 when an Anti-Feminist gunman named Marc Lépine rampaged through the halls and classrooms of École Polytechnique de Montréal.

This cowardly “man” separated the men from the women and opened fire, killing fourteen and wounding several others. He was not “man enough” nor “woman enough” to face up to the consequences of his actions and took his own life.

Journalist and author, JOSÉE BOILEAU has written the only book to ever examine this crime and it’s aftermath.

Not only does this book discuss the day of the Massacre, it also details the political and societal norms of the times and the specific challenges facing women in 1989.

By outlining the massacre and the changes that came about as a result, the author gives this important event the respect it is due.

The murdered women, many of whom did not specifically self-identify as “feminists,” have been honored with a Day of Remembrance that is still celebrated today – over three decades later.

In my opinion, it is about time that an accurate historical accounting of this hate crime has been written. This book needs to be incorporated into every high-school History and Civics curriculum Canada-wide. This MUST be required reading.

It is fitting that BECAUSE THEY WERE WOMEN is being released the day before November 11th, which is Remembrance Day here in Canada. Even though Remembrance Day is a day to honor the men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice during their military service, the fourteen mass murder victims were unwitting pawns in a war they were unaware they were involved in. WE MUST REMEMBER THESE WOMEN.

In 1905, George Santayana, a philosopher, essayist, poet and novelist said, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

We CANNOT allow these women to be forgotten. With the writing of this book, Josée Boileau has ensured that their memories will live on.

I rate BECAUSE THEY WERE WOMEN as 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ and I highly recommend this book to every single Canadian, male and female. I will be recommending this book to everyone I know.

With the 31st Anniversary of the shooting rapidly approaching, I will definitely be giving copies of this book to all of my local women’s shelters for their libraries.

*** Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with a free copy of this book. ***

THE VICTIMS:

Lépine killed fourteen women (twelve engineering students, one nursing student, and one employee of the university) and injured fourteen others, ten women and four men.

Geneviève Bergeron (born 1968), civil engineering student

Hélène Colgan (born 1966), mechanical engineering student

Nathalie Croteau (born 1966), mechanical engineering student

Barbara Daigneault (born 1967), mechanical engineering student

Anne-Marie Edward (born 1968), chemical engineering student

Maud Haviernick (born 1960), materials engineering student

Maryse Laganière (born 1964), budget clerk in the École Polytechnique’s finance department

Maryse Leclair (born 1966), materials engineering student

Anne-Marie Lemay (born 1967), mechanical engineering student

Sonia Pelletier (born 1961), mechanical engineering student

Michèle Richard (born 1968), materials engineering student

Annie St-Arneault (born 1966), mechanical engineering student

Annie Turcotte (born 1969), materials engineering student

Barbara Klucznik-Widajewicz (born 1958), nursing student

The Quebec and Montreal governments declared three days of mourning. A joint funeral for nine of the women was held at Notre-Dame Basilica on December 11, 1989, and was attended by Governor General Jeanne Sauvé, Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, Quebec premier Robert Bourassa, and Montreal mayor Jean Doré, along with thousands of other mourners.

THE SURVIVORS:

Brought together by tragedy: From left, Jocelyne Dallaire Légaré, Heidi Rathjen, Nathalie Provost and Michèle Thibodeau-DeGuire have developed a close bond since the 1989 massacre. The four of them are shown above at the École Polytechnique in 2014. 
PHOTO BY DARIO AYALA /Montreal Gazette CLICK ON THE PHOTO TO LEARN MORE ABOUT EACH OF THESE OUTSTANDING WOMEN AND HOW SURVIVING THE MONTREAL MASSACRE CHANGED THE TRAJECTORY OF THEIR LIVES.

Who was that gutsy young woman who stood up to a cold-eyed killer?

Twenty-five years after surviving the Polytechnique massacre, Nathalie Provost mused about her younger self.

On Dec. 6, 1989, moments before Marc Lépine began a shooting rampage that killed 14 women at Quebec’s largest engineering school, Provost, then a 23-year-old mechanical engineering student, tried to reason with the gunman.

Lépine’s response was a hail of bullets that killed six of her classmates and wounded Provost in the head and leg.

“There’s a lot of tenderness for the young woman I was then, for her naïveté,” said Provost, now a 48-year-old mother of four who works as a senior manager for the provincial government.

“The wounds to your body, you see right away. For the wounds to your soul, it takes longer. You don’t understand them right away. It took me years to grasp what I had lived through.”Nathalie Provost

Marker of Change, memorial consisting of 14 coffin-like benches in Vancouver by artist Beth Alber.
On the 25th anniversary, fourteen light beams representing the 14 victims shine from Mount Royal.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Josée Boileau has been a journalist for more than thirty years, many of those for Quebec’s Le Devoir newspaper, where she became Editor in Chief.

Today, she is a current affairs commentator for CBC/Radio Canada and Chatelaine, and a book columnist for Journal de Montréal.

She has received a number of honors, including the Hélène-Pednault prize in recognition of her feminist activism.

She lives in Montreal.

To learn more about this author, visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

GOODREADS

MUCKRACK

TWITTER

AMAZON

CHAPTERS

PUBLISHER’S WEBSITE

//www.cbc.ca/i/caffeine/syndicate/?mediaId=1110153283614

THE MURDERER:

Marc Lépine – the Mass Murderer in a 1989 photograph.


CBC Archives of the Massacre
https://www.cbc.ca/archives/categories/society/crime-justice/the-montreal-massacre/topic-the-montreal-massacre.html
…………………


A play about the shootings by Adam Kelly called “The Anorak” was named as one of the best plays of 2004 by the Montreal Gazette.

Colleen Murphy’s play “December Man” was first staged in Calgary in 2007.

The movie Polytechnique, directed by Denis Villeneuve was released in 2009, and sparked controversy over the desirability of reliving the tragedy in a commercial film.

Several songs have been written about the events, including “This Memory” by the folk duo the Wyrd Sisters, and “6 December 1989” by the Australian singer Judy Small.

VIDEOS ABOUT THE MONTREAL MASSACRE:

LITTLE BONES – by N.V. Peacock releases this Halloween. An addictive and eerie tale that could easily have been torn from today’s headlines is your Must Have Halloween read!!!

Title: LITTLE BONES

Author: N.V. PEACOCK

Genre: FICTION, MYSTERIES AND THRILLERS

Length: 402 PAGES

Publisher: AVON BOOKS UK – A Division of HARPER COLLINS

Received From: NETGALLEY

Release Date: OCTOBER 31, 2020

ISBN: 9780008436360 (eBook)

Price: $9.99 AUD (eBook)

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

DESCRIPTION:

I have three names: I was born Leigh-Ann. I became Cherrie. When I was a child, they called me Little Bones…

My father was Mr Bones – the notorious serial killer of 25 years ago.

As a child I witnessed his crimes.

Everything is different now. I have a new identity. I’m a mother. I am finally free.

Until that podcast. I should never have listened.

They’re linking a recent disappearance to the crimes of the past.

They know who I am. They’re calling me Little Bones again.

They say I’m a villain but I’m not. I’m a victim.

You believe me, don’t you?

MY REVIEW:

I began this book with no experience of reading other N.V. Peacock books. (Many of her previous books were published with Nicky Peacock as the author, but, before reading LITTLE BONES, I had yet to read any books written under either name.) I was unsure of what to expect since my research showed that the author’s usual genre is Young Adult. However, reading LITTLE BONES with a completely open mind ended up being a pleasantly rewarding experience and I am very pleased that I did so.

There are two interwoven plots in LITTLE BONES; they are fascinating both separately as well as together.

Cherrie is a grown woman with a child of her own. She lives a comfortable life even though she doesn’t make much money at her job at the deli counter of a local independent grocery store. The father of her child lives with them and Cherrie feels lucky. The only thing marring her perfect suburban existence is the knowledge that she harbors a secret.

She knows she should be honest with her boyfriend and with her close friends, but the terror and ostracism she experienced as a child has never been forgotten and she is afraid history will repeat itself.

As a child her name had been Leigh-Ann and her father was the notorious artist and serial killer MR. BONES. (Wait until you read about his crimes, you will be surprised at their uniqueness.) When he was arrested, Cherrie’s entire world fell apart. Kids who knew about her father and what he had done began calling her LITTLE BONES, the media followed suit and the horrible nickname followed her until she was old enough to legally change her name.

But, all that happened twenty-five years ago. Noone in her present-day life knew about her past and she planned to keep it that way… FOREVER.

BUT, life has a way of throwing curveballs into the best laid plans…

When a local child goes missing and ends up dead, one podcast is all it takes to place Cherrie right in the middle of her worst nightmare.

She needs to keep her son safe, and she may just have to channel her inner “Little Bones” to do so.

The fast pace of this story left me unable to put the book down. I just had to know what would happen next.

Kidnapping, murder, stalking, grief, and shame are just a few of the many themes addressed in LITTLE BONES.

I am a mother, so I empathize with Cherrie and her desire to keep her child safe no matter what the cost. There are several incidents during which she crossed the line between legal and illegal, and between moral and immoral. Readers will have to answer for themselves just how far they would be willing to go to keep their family safe. I think the answer might surprise you.

Creepy, yet relatable, this story is one that readers will continue thinking about long after reading the final page. In fact, this book is perfect for Book Clubs and is sure to invite vigorous discussion.

I rate LITTLE BONES as 5 OUT OF 5 STARS. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

*** Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with a free copy of this book. ***


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

N V Peacock also writes YA and Horror as Nicky Peacock. She lives in lovely Northamptonshire, She has spent over 20 years in sales and writes in her spare time. Nine years ago she discovered the anthology market, and it wasn’t long before her first short story was published. With over 30 stories in horror, thriller and paranormal anthologies for publishers all over the world, including stories in the Mammoth Book of Jack the Ripper and a Women in Horror Anthology, she’s no stranger to the dark side. After writing 5 YA supernatural novels, she turned her hand to an adult thriller.

With her love of true crime podcasts, the plot of Little Bones came together quickly and after several drafts, developed into a fully-fledged book with a killer twist and a strong female protagonist with a wicked sense of humour.

Nicky has a degree in creative writing and runs a local writers’ group. With 20 members, it’s grown into a wonderful place for novice and established writers to gather and share thoughts, discuss their work and above all motivate them to keep writing. While running the group, Nicky has found that spending time with like-minded people, who enjoy writing as much as she does, is crucial to maintain the motivation and devotion that writing needs.

About her writing, Nicky says, ‘Entertaining readers is the best feeling in the world. Times are tough at the moment, so to be able to transport readers into someone else’s life and take them on a twisty journey makes all the time and effort I put into my books worthwhile.’

Nicky appreciates every review she receives and thanks all her readers in advance for taking the time to put fingers to keyboard and share their thoughts with other readers.

To learn more about this author, visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

GOODREADS

FACEBOOK

INSTAGRAM http://www.instagram.com/

TWITTER

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AUDIBLE – DECEMBER 10th Release

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THE GHOST TREE by CHRISTINA HENRY is now available everywhere Spooky books are sold.

Title: THE GHOST TREE

Author: CHRISTINA HENRY 

Genre: FICTION, HORROR

Length:  432 PAGES

Publisher: BERKLEY PUBLISHING GROUP – A Division of PENGUIN RANDOM HOUSE

Received From: NETGALLEY

Release Date: SEPTEMBER 8, 2020

ISBN: 9780451492302

Price: $16.00 (USD)

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

DESCRIPTION:

When people go missing in the sleepy town of Smith’s Hollow, the only clue to their fate comes when a teenager starts having terrifying visions, in a chilling horror novel from national bestselling author Christina Henry.

When the bodies of two girls are found torn apart in the town of Smiths Hollow, Lauren is surprised, but she also expects that the police won’t find the killer. After all, the year before her father’s body was found with his heart missing, and since then everyone has moved on. Even her best friend, Miranda, has become more interested in boys than in spending time at the old ghost tree, the way they used to when they were kids.

So when Lauren has a vision of a monster dragging the remains of the girls through the woods, she knows she can’t just do nothing. Not like the rest of her town. But as she draws closer to answers, she realizes that the foundation of her seemingly normal town might be rotten at the center. And that if nobody else stands for the missing, she will.

MY REVIEW:

“Lauren knew Mom didn’t want her and Miranda meeting in the woods. Especially after last year. Especially after Lauren’s dad was found near that old cabin. Mom thought Lauren was macabre for going anywhere near the place where her father was murdered.”

“She and Lauren always met under the ghost tree. They’d done so since they were very small, for so long that Lauren couldn’t remember who’d thought of the idea first.”

So begins the novel THE GHOST TREE.

Something is very wrong in Smiths Hollow.

The story begins a year after Lauren’s father was murdered.

Now the torn-apart bodies of two teen girls have been found in a backyard that connects with the very same forest.

Alex Lopez and his family have only recently moved to Smiths Hollow after he was hired on to the miniscule local police force. It was Alex and his partner who were the first to be called to the scene of the murdered teenagers. He was both shocked and appalled at the horrific violence. 

The first order of business was to try to identify the girls. Next up, they needed to determine who murdered and mutilated them, and WHY?

As the story unfolds, secrets are revealed and a secret and widespread conspiracy seems to be taking place in Smiths Hollow.

The bodycount continues to rise, and it becomes more and more apparent that something very sinister is taking place in the small town.

This is the perfect book to pick up today since it is Halloween and spooky stories are the order of the day.

In addition to the main plot, there are several subplots including one that speaks to a major problem facing the current populace of the United States – that of racism – both overt, and systemic.

I enjoyed reading THE GHOST TREE and I recommend it to those who like a bit of spookiness alongside their mysteries. Like I said, this a perfect book to begin reading on this Halloween night.

I rate THE GHOST TREE as 4 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐.

*** Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with a free copy of this book.***

FAVORITE QUOTES:

“She hesitated, because she felt that to say what she was thinking out loud would be like crossing the Rubicon. Her sixth-grade social studies teacher, Mr. Connolly, had used that phrase once and when she asked what he meant, he told her it was a way of saying a step that you couldn’t take back.”

“Alejandro Lopez – he preferred to be called Alex rather than Alejandro, because the Americanized name made white folks feel like he was one of them…

“There is something wrong with this town, Alex thought.” 

“Yes, there was something very wrong in Smiths Hollow. And Alex needed to find out what it was before it disappeared from his memory, too. Before he forgot about the girls who’d called to him in dead voices. Before whoever – or whatever – cut those girls to pieces did it again.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

CHRISTINA HENRY  is the author of the CHRONICLES OF ALICE series – ALICE, RED QUEEN, and LOOKING GLASS – a dark and twisted take on Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, as well as THE GIRL IN RED, a post-apocalyptic Red Riding Hood novel, and LOST BOY: THE TRUE STORY OF CAPTAIN HOOK, an origin story of Captain Hook from Peter Pan.

She is also the author of the national bestselling BLACK WINGS series (BLACK WINGS, BLACK NIGHT, BLACK HOWL, BLACK LAMENT, BLACK CITY, BLACK HEART and BLACK SPRING) featuring Agent of Death Madeline Black and her popcorn-loving gargoyle Beezle.

She enjoys running long distances, reading anything she can get her hands on and watching movies with samurai, zombies and/or subtitles in her spare time. She lives in Chicago with her husband and son.

To learn more about this author, visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

GOODREADS

FACEBOOK

INSTAGRAM

TWITTER

AMAZON 

CHAPTERS  

PUBLISHER’S WEBSITE

More Books by Christina Henry:

Polish Book Cover of ALICE

FIND THE HELPERS:What 9/11 and Parkland Taught Me About Recovery, Purpose, and Hope is AVAILABLE NOW!!! Fred Guttenberg lost his daughter Jaime to a school shooter – this is his story.

Title: FIND THE HELPERS  

Subtitle: What 9/11 and Parkland Taught Me About Recovery, Purpose, and Hope

Author: FRED GUTTENBERG

Genre: NON-FICTION, BIOGRAPHIES AND MEMOIRS, SELF-HELP

Length: 198 PAGES

Publisher: MANGO PUBLISHING

Received From: NETGALLEY

Release Date: SEPTEMBER 15, 2020

ISBN: 9781642505351 (Hardcover)

Price: $19.95 USD (Hardcover)

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

DESCRIPTION:

FIND THE HELPERS tells the story of Fred Guttenberg’s journey since his daughter Jaime’s death and how he has been able to get through the worst of times thanks to the kindness and compassion of others. Good things happen to good people at the hands of other good people─and the world is filled with them.

They include everyone from amazing gun violence survivors Fred has met around the country to former VP Joe Biden, who spent time talking to him about finding mission and purpose in learning to grieve.

https://abcnews.go.com/video/embed?id=53148682

https://abcnews.go.com/video/embed?id=61068732

MY REVIEW:

FIND THE HELPERS is a book that never should have had to be written. What I mean is that Fred Guttenberg should never have had to lose his daughter in a “school shooting.” His daughter, Jaime, should be at home right now thinking about her life goals, competing in dance competitions, and giggling with her friends over boys. Instead, she has been dead for the past two years and her family is grieving the loss of a vibrant, intelligent, and caring young woman.

Gun violence and mass shootings have become commonplace in the United States and that is the horrific truth.

After losing his daughter in a school shooting in Parkland, Florida, grief-stricken father Fred Guttenberg dedicated himself to fighting against gun violence in America. He did not want any other family to have to lose a loved one to gun violence.

This book does talk about the shooting and it’s aftermath, and does talk about the epidemic of gun violence in America today. However, FIND THE HELPERS is more about the people he has met and who have appeared in his life at the exact moment he needed someone.

“This book is not about gun safety or what happened at Parkland. Instead, [the Author] share[s] the story of the journey [he has] been on since Jaime’s death and how [he’s] been able to get through the worst of times thanks to the love and kindness of others.” Fred Guttenberg states that his book: “…focuses on when good things happen to good people at the hands of other good people.” He states that “To fight, you have to have hope. And this book is about nourishing the soul so that you have the stamina to fight. This book is meant to be a beacon of love and hope and compassion.”

The stories he relates in FINDING THE HELPERS all speak of the people he has met since his daughter’s death and how each of those people have been “helpers” to him and to his fight against gun violence.

“Guns don’t discriminate; bullets don’t discriminate. When they hit you, they do not know if you are a Republican or a Democrat. They do not know if you are for or against gun safety. They don’t know if you are black or white. When they hit you, all that you know is that they are likely to kill you.”

“We do have a real crisis in this country, a real emergency. In the United States of America, over 40,000 people now die every year from gun violence. That is a higher rate of death than from traffic accidents.”

The two quotes I included above are, to my mind, very telling. Now, just to make it clear, I am a Canadian, not an American. Being Canadian means I grew up in a country where gun violence happens, but nowhere near as often as it does in the United States. Fred Guttenberg asks a question in his book that I, and millions of others, would love to have answered. Fred asks: “Why doesn’t President Trump consider 40,000 people dying a national emergency?” The author also writes: “It is sad to realize that if all gun violence were only committed by illegal aliens, this President would be working overtime to do something about it.” I believe that to be true.

Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, invited Fred to the 2019 State of the Union address, and once again invited Fred Guttenberg to be her guest at the 2020 State of the Union address. He was hopeful, but knew it was unlikely, that the President might address the gun violence issue during his speech. Fred Guttenberg was right to be skeptical. During the speech, Fred’s emotions got the better of him when Trump’s only reference to violence against American citizens was once again blamed on illegal immigrants. “He was blaming violence on them, and that was inaccurate.” When Trump announced that he would protect the second amendment, and Republicans in the audience jumped up and cheered, “… [Fred] lost it. [He] had been quiet all night, but at that, [he] stood up and yelled back, saying only nine words: ‘What about victims of gun violence like my daughter?’ Within seconds, [he] was confronted by security… [His] outburst got [him] handcuffed and detained by the Capitol Police.” He was detained and questioned, but was ultimately released (but not until Trump’s speech had concluded) when Speaker Pelosi intervened on his behalf. These events made national and international news. I say, GOOD FOR HIM. Someone needed to say something to the current President who seems to care only about violence caused by illegal immigrants and ignores the epidemic of gun violence that is prevalent in U.S. society.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading about Fred Guttenberg, his family, and his mission to stop other parents from having to bury their children due to some 郎 with a gun.

I am rating FIND THE HELPERS as 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

My only semi-negative comment is that the title can be misconstrued and I hope that people will look past that and will run out and buy this book. In fact, Christmas is coming soon and this book (along with a t-shirt and orange enamel pin from the ORANGE RIBBONS FOR JAIME charity) would make a fabulous gift for every parent, first responder, and educator on your shopping list.

*** Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with a free copy of this book. ***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Photographer: Julia Brownley

Fred Guttenberg began his public life after the murder of his beautiful 14-year-old daughter Jaime in the Parkland school shooting on Feb 14th.  The day after the murder, Fred decided to attend a public vigil in Parkland. While there, the Mayor asked him to speak. His words shook a nation and he has not stopped since.

Only four months prior to the murder of his daughter, Fred’s brother Michael passed away in October 2017 from cancer related to his service in 9/11. He was one of the original first responders at the WTC with a team of doctors who got trapped in the WTC as it collapsed. Amazingly, the room that they hid out in did not collapse and Michael and his team of physicians spent 16 days at ground zero taking care of others.

Following his involvement in these two distinctly American Tragedies, Fred has traveled the country talking about both events but also talking about perspective, perseverance, and resilience. He discusses pivotal moments in our life and how we respond to those moments. Fred uses his speech to inspire others.

Prior to these vents, Fred Guttenberg’s professional life included over a decade of experience in sales and management with Johnson and Johnson, followed by almost 15 years as an entrepreneur, having built a business that consisted of 19 Dunkin Donuts, which he sold in November 2016.

Fred and his wife Jennifer now spend time challenging our elected officials to do more. They began a nonprofit organization dedicated to Jaime’s life called “Orange Ribbons for Jaime.” He has been a regular on TV news programs and myriad of online and print media. Through the formation of the non-profit, this is now his full-time mission.

To learn more about this author, visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE  

GOODREADS

FACEBOOK

INSTAGRAM

TWITTER

AMAZON

WIKIPEDIA

CHAPTERS

PUBLISHER’S WEBSITE

ABOUT ORANGE RIBBONS FOR JAIME:

On February 14th, 2018 our 14-year-old daughter Jaime Guttenberg, along with 16 other victims at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School were tragically murdered by a troubled former student.

Orange Ribbons For Jaime will honor our daughter by supporting programs that were important to her, as well as those dedicated to pursuing common sense gun safety reforms.

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

INSTAGRAM

FACEBOOK

TWITTER

THE MOURNING REPORT by Caitlin Garvey is the most raw and honest book I have ever read about grieving the loss of someone you love to the ravages of cancer. 5 Stars and every one of them earned through tears – both the author’s and my own. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Title: THE MOURNING REPORT

Author: CAITLIN GARVEY

Genre: NON-FICTION, BIOGRAPHIES AND MEMOIRS, MENTAL HEALTH, GRIEF

Length: 168 PAGES

Publisher: HOMEBOUND PUBLICATIONS 

Received From: NETGALLEY

Release Date: OCTOBER 6, 2020

ISBN: 9781947003835

Price: $15.95 USD

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

DESCRIPTION:

Two years after her mother’s death from breast cancer, Caitlin, then 20 years old, was admitted to a psychiatric facility after a suicide attempt. In the wake of this enormous loss, Caitlin questions her religion, comes to terms with her sexuality, and searches for a way to live with severe depression and anxiety.

Years later, unable to come to terms with her mother’s death, Caitlin decides to embark on a “grief journey,” interviewing the people involved in her mother’s dying process: a hospice nurse, a priest, an estate planner, a hairstylist, and a funeral director. If she figures out how they can function after being so close to her mother’s death, then maybe she can learn how to navigate her own life. Each chapter of The Mourning Report is centered on each interview and the memories, anxieties, and reflections that is stimulated. It asks what it means to “move on.”

MY REVIEW:

*** TRIGGER WARNING ***

This book contains talk of depression, grief, a suicide attempt and suicidal ideation. If any of these topics are triggers for you, I suggest you either skip this book, or proceed with caution.

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

“I’m scared to live, and I envy those who aren’t…”

Caitlin Garvey lost her mother to Breast Cancer when Caitlin was only twenty years old. Unable to find her way through her grief, she attempted suicide and ended up in a locked psychiatric facility.

Caitlin was depressed and her anxiety levels were off the chart. Her time in the hospital was helpful, but even after she was released, she was still suicidal.

“[She] began this book out of desperation to feel unbound, to feel a comfort that could allow [her] to move forward in [her] life. [She] wanted to revisit [her] memories of the few days before and after [her] Momma died, the moments when [Caitlin] felt the smallest and the most detached from the world. [She] hoped that [she] could pick up the pieces of [herself] that [she] left behind. [Caitlin] hoped to feel whole, not fragmented, and that [she] could remember more of [her] Momma and get a fuller version of her story.”

“[Caitlin] interviewed five people, all of whom were a part of [her] Momma’s dying process:”


Those five people were:

1. Her mother’s hairstylist who was also her close friend. In fact, it was this woman who styled her mother’s hair for the wake.

2. The family priest

3. A nurse/administrator at Heartland Hospice Care

4. The author’s parent’s estate planner AND

5. An embalmer/funeral director

“[She] thought that if [she] could figure out how these five people functioned after being so close to death, [she] could better navigate [her] own life. [She] hoped they could give [her] some guidance.”

Each chapter focuses on the interviews between Caitlin and the person she was interviewing. Each time, she discovered more, not only about her mother, but about herself as well. Personally, I found these conversations both fascinating and insightful.

THE MOURNING REPORT is probably the most raw and honest grief/depression memoir I have ever read. Caitlin does not shy away from the truth and admits that “[She was] mad at myself for wanting to die when all [her] Momma wanted to do was live.”

Caitlin’s honesty and integrity left me with a feeling of having peeked inside her psyche and having gone along on her journey of healing.

There is just no rating other than 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ that would be truthful. In fact, I plan to go back and read THE MOURNING REPORT again in a few weeks.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who has ever lost someone close to them. As well, anyone who has an interest in mental health, depression and suicide prevention should be sure to read The Mourning Report.

Thank you to #NetGalley for providing me with a free copy of this #memoir

QUOTES:

“I wished to trade bodies with her so that I could swallow her sickness, and she could be healthy and take care of me.”

“Since 2010, I’ve tried 13 different medications, a mix of anti-depressants, antipsychotics, anti-anxieties, and ADHD medications. I’ve had five different therapists. Still I feel trapped in my body and trapped by a brain that constantly tells me I’m not good enough, or significant enough.”

“I feel dead, but I can still hear my heartbeat.”

“I stare at the people in the cars next to me, and I wonder how it feels to be them, and I wonder how freeing it must feel to be able to drive to work without considering crashing the car.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Caitlin Garvey is a writer and English professor in Chicago.

She has an MFA in creative writing from Northwestern University.

Her work has been published in Post Road Magazine, JuxtaProse Magazine, Apeiron Review, The Baltimore Review, The Tishman Review, The Journal of Compressed Creative Arts, and others.

To learn more about this author, visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

THE BALTIMORE REVIEW

GOODREADS

FACEBOOK

INSTAGRAM – AUTHOR

INSTAGRAM – PUBLISHER

TWITTER

GOOGLE BOOKS

AMAZON

CHAPTERS

PUBLISHER’S WEBSITE

SKY SEED by Bill McGuire is a book that everyone needs to read. This book is so terrifyingly realistic that even though it is fiction, it should serve as a warning to anyone who might decide to interfere with Mother Nature.

Title: SKY SEED

Author: BILL MCGUIRE

Genre: FICTION, SPECULATIVE FICTION, THRILLERS

Length: 330 PAGES

Publisher: THE BOOK GUILD – a subsidiary of Troubador Publishing Ltd.

Received From: NETGALLEY

Release Date: SEPTEMBER 28, 2020

ISBN: 9781913208882 (Paperback)

Price: £8.99 GBP (Paperback)

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

DESCRIPTION:

Sometimes, when you’re in a hole, it’s best to stop digging. This applies as much to messing with the climate as anything else, except even more so.

Jane Haliwell put her head in her hands. To tell the truth, she was still in shock. All the samples she had taken from inside and around the lab contained the enigmatic spheres in huge numbers. She had only had a brief time to think about the implications, but she was pretty sure already what was going on.

For the first time in the history of the world, it was literally raining carbon. Long before it stopped, the guilty would pay, but so would the innocent…

MY REVIEW:

Absolutely, terrifyingly, utterly realistic and in my opinion this is probably an idea that has already occurred to many world governments. We can only hope that nothing like SKY SEED is ever implemented. This is speculative fiction that will keep you up at night with its plausibility.

In fact, the character in SKY SEED of President Gort reminds me of a certain highly placed U.S. government official. Her gender and utter devotion to religion are just about the only major differences between the fictional character and the one currently in office. Her disregard for the opinions of others, and her complete confidence in her own superiority will be traits many readers will recognize in today’s political leadership. As will her disregard for the potential ramifications of her actions.

Heaven forbid anyone ever acts on a plan such as “Sky Seed,” or “The Fix,” which is the other name for the covert operation spearheaded by the fictional U.S. President. If this were to happen, it could easily lead to the end of humanity as we know it.

Written with superb awareness of the current climate crisis, the author is currently Professor Emeritus of Geophysical and Climate Hazards at University College London, a Co-director of the New Weather Institute and a Patron of Scientists for Global Responsibility. With qualifications such as this, he is more than qualified to tackle this topic and has created a plausible and highly believable scenario. Believable and, as I said above, utterly terrifying.

If you love speculative fiction, science fiction, drama, and thrillers, this book is one that needs to be at the top of your “Must Read” List for 2020 and 2021.

I rate SKY SEED as 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ and I will be watching for more books by author BILL MCGUIRE.

QUOTES:

“Some other mug could take a turn at saving the sinking ship that was the British economy. It had been in deep recession ever since the coronavirus pandemic and, as far as he was concerned, it was a basket case.”

*** Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with a free copy of this book. ***


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Bill McGuire is an academic, blogger, broadcaster and established popular science and speculative fiction writer. He is currently Professor Emeritus of Geophysical and Climate Hazards at University College London, a Co-director of the New Weather Institute and a Patron of Scientists for Global Responsibility. He writes regularly for Prospect magazine and The Guardian, and has also written for many other newspapers and science magazines including The Times, The Observer, The Daily Express, The Daily Mail, New Scientist and Science Focus. He blogs for Extinction Rebellion, the New Weather Institute, Scientists for Global Responsibility and Operation Noah. He has contributed to many television and radio programmes and presented two BBC Radio 4 series, Disasters in Waiting and Scientists Under Pressure, and the End of the World Reports on Channel 5 and Sky News. Most recently, he was Series Consultant for National Geographic’s X-Ray the Earth. Bill lives in the Peak District.

Bill McGuire says, “I am a long-established and successful writer of popular science books and a climate scientist. Having started writing speculative short stories a few years back, a novel seemed to be the obvious next step. A narrative combining geoengineering and conspiracy felt like a good way to go. There is also the added intrigue of the book sounding a salutary warning at a time when geoengineering our way out of the climate emergency is gathering support.”

To learn more about this author, visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

GOODREADS

FACEBOOK

INSTAGRAM

TWITTERAUTHOR

TWITTER – BOOK GUILD

AMAZON

CHAPTERS

PUBLISHER’S WEBSITE

LETTERS FROM CHRISTOPHER by Cheryln Cadle is not worth wasting your time or money on. I give it 2 Stars out of 5 ⭐⭐

Title: LETTERS FROM CHRISTOPHER

Subtitle: THE TRAGIC CONFESSIONS OF THE WATTS FAMILY MURDERS

Author: CHERYLN CADLE

Genre: NON-FICTION, TRUE CRIME

Publisher: SELF PUBLISHED THROUGH AMAZON

Rating: 2 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐

Chris Watts – A Family Annihilater
This piece of human garbage killed his pregnant wife and two babies

OFFICIAL DESCRIPTION:

Letters from Christopher is a true crime story with important information to put the pieces of the puzzle together for inquiring minds. Read herein the completely truthful account of what happened to Shanann, Bella, Celeste, and Nico Watts.

MY REVIEW:

I have a keen interest in True Crime, and as such when I discovered the existence of this book while browsing the Amazon website, I decided to give LETTERS FROM CHRISTOPHER a chance.

The way the book is described, readers will be deceived into thinking that the author has a long-standing and prolific letter-writing relationship with Chris Watts. THIS IS NOT THE CASE.

I expected that the book would contain the actual letters written both to and from the author. In other words, I expected to be privy to the actual letters. AGAIN, THIS IS NOT THE CASE. (There are a few letters at the end of the book, but not many.)

It only took a few pages before I realized this book was written by an amateur author. Anyone who has followed my Book Review Blog will know that I am an avid supporter of new authors. However, being written by a first-time author does not guarantee I will give the book a high rating. What it does mean, is that I am a bit more willing to overlook SMALL editing and/or proofreading errors.

I am 100% honest when I write my reviews. This is what I believe people want when they read book reviews. No one wants to spend their hard earned money on a disappointing read. There are so many fabulous books on the market today and it would be a shame to miss out on one of them because you wasted your money buying a book that did not live up to your expectations.

So, why am I disappointed in this book? Well, besides being full of typos and terrible grammar, it does NOT offer much in the way of new information. Basically, the author just took the information that has previously been reported and wrote it out in her own words. Words that are written with more grammatical errors than a grade one book report.

In addition to that, the author seems to be incredibly naive. I believe she has lost touch with reality when it comes to the topic of Chris Watts and the beautiful family he slaughtered in cold blood. Cheryln is a religious person. I am not sure what brand of Christianity she subscribes to, but it involves the belief that Chris Watts only murdered his family because of a demon.

It never ceases to amaze me just how fast criminals, and murderers in particular, once caught, profess that they have found God and that God has forgiven them. What a crock of crap!!! This is just one more manipulative ploy by a psychopath who feels nothing and who knows exactly what buttons to push to obtain sympathy from women.

Even if I believed the crap that Chris has clearly manipulated Cheryln Candle into believing, I cannot give this book a rating higher than 2 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐ This is for the reasons listed above as well as the fact that there are very few actual letters included in the book. This is supposed to be a book called LETTERS FROM CHRISTOPHER, but where are the letters.

Please do not waste your money on this book. There are other books about the Watts family murders that are more worthy of your time and your hard earned money.

I am including links to some videos about the case that are more informative than the book.


https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=duu2NePfEo0

Documentary:
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=MbGl8r5MzUI
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=JZPt3uvJZAU

2 minute long video – A tear rolls down his cheek at sentencing – The only time this monster showed any emotion was at his sentencing – the year was for himself, not for the wife or babies he so callously slaughtered…


https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=syQwvoZZvGI

THIS IS CHERYLN CADLE:

MONSTRE by Duncan Swan – Introducing a New Master of Horror and a MUST READ – Release Is Only 5 Days Away…

Title: MONSTRE

Series: MONSTRE: VOLUME ONE

Author: DUNCAN SWAN

Genre: FICTION, HORROR

Length: 388 PAGES

Publisher: SUPER HOOT PUBLISHING

Received From: NETGALLEY

Release Date: SEPTEMBER 15, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-7345740-0-5 (Paperback)

ISBN: 978-1-7345740-1-2 (eBook)

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

DESCRIPTION:

There is no stopping it.

The Cloud is armageddon, steamrolling the world at a walking pace.

In his thrilling debut novel Monstre, author Duncan Swan crafts a relentless, terrifying, genre-bending tale of courage, desperation, and redemption that shows just how fragile our civilization is… and how far we will go to survive.

Day 0. From the wreckage of a research facility in Switzerland, a plume of toxic smoke and ash pours into the sky, forming an impenetrable cloud that is slowly smothering the world in darkness. As Europe disappears beneath the Cloud, a squad of United States Marines are sent on a desperate mission to find out what went wrong, and how to undo it before it’s too late. Venturing into a cold, dark world, the Marines must travel deep under the Cloud, with no comms, no backup, and no idea of what they will face.

Day 89. Half a world away, the Cloud has reached the East Coast of the U.S. With nowhere to run and no hope of survival, the American people have descended into madness, turning on themselves and each other. From the sidelines, an old Tennessee sheriff watches as his country unravels. But he can’t bring himself to take the easy way out. Quitting isn’t in his DNA. So when one of his deputies asks him to help protect her family, he leads them west, chasing a miracle-a rumor of an old nuclear bunker that just may be their only hope for survival.

Because if the Cloud doesn’t kill them, what’s hiding in the dark will.

“Nothing got through it from above, not even radio waves, and anything that tried to fly through it suffered so many lightning strikes that it came out the other end looking like charcoal with all the aerodynamics of a brick.⁠”
Monstre, Vol I, Exc. III⁠
(Art: Chris Cold)

MY REVIEW:

Move over Stephen King, there is a new Master of Horror!!!

If Michael Crichton was still around, even he would feel threatened by Duncan Swan’s writing and imagination.

There are a zillion books out there that talk about the end of civilization as we know it, but none like MONSTRE by Duncan Swan. In the apocalyptic genre there are few storylines that can be considered original, yet Duncan Swan has achieved that goal.

I do not want to give away any of the plot, nor do I want to lessen the enjoyment of potential readers. I do however want to ensure that anyone who reads this review understands that I am giving MONSTRE the highest possible rating allowable.

In scope, this book takes on a mammoth task. After all, it is about the end of all human life on the planet that is being threatened.

The story begins in Europe and at the end of Book One, readers realize that what began half a world away has now come to North America and threatens to wipe out everything and everyone we hold dear.

If you are a fan of horror, this is a MUST READ.

If you are a fan of science fiction, this is a MUST READ.

If you are a fan of apocalyptic fiction, you do not want to miss this book.

If you are a fan of great dramatic fiction, you just can’t afford to miss this novel.

If you love character driven, multifaceted, fast paced stories that grab your attention and are so engrossing that you can immerse yourself for hours at a time, and yet still not want to stop reading, MONSTRE is the book for you.

At 388 pages, this first book in what promises to be an amazing series, is long enough to ensure that readers get their money’s worth and then some.

Duncan Swan has crafted a winner of a book. If he does not win multiple awards for MONSTRE I would be very surprised. 

I rate MONSTRE as 5++ OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

I cannot wait to get my hands on the next book. The only good thing about having to wait is that it will give me a chance to read MONSTRE again.

*** Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with a free copy of this book. ***

Footprint
Artist: Laurie GREASLEY



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

South African born and raised, Kiwi immigrant, Australian citizen, and now a U.S. Permanent Resident, Duncan Swan holds a degree in Aerospace Engineering and a Master of Commerce. He originally wanted to be an astronaut, but somehow wound up working in finance as a portfolio analyst and making fancy spreadsheets.

Now, he lives in Los Angeles with his wife and daughter and tells stories, working with amazing artists, editors, publishers, and marketing geniuses to create something new.

Duncan’s debut novel, MONSTRE – a story about survival and mad desperation, described as “sci-fi with teeth” – will be released in two parts, with Volume 1 due in paperback, ebook, and audiobook formats on September 15, 2020, and Volume 2 to follow in Summer 2021.

To learn more about this author, visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

GOODREADS

FACEBOOK

INSTAGRAM

TWITTER

PINTEREST

AMAZON

MISSING FROM THE VILLAGE by Investigative Reporter JUSTIN LING is available for pre-order NOW. This 5 STAR Read is destined for the National Bestseller list.

Title: MISSING FROM THE VILLAGE

Subtitle: The Story of Serial Killer Bruce McArthur, the Search for Justice, and the System That Failed Toronto’s Queer Community

Author: JUSTIN LING

Genre: NON-FICTION, LGBTQIA2+, LGBTQQ, QUEER NON-FICTION, TRUE CRIME, DIVERSITY, MULTICULTURAL INTEREST, SERIAL KILLERS, TORONTO, ONTARIO, CANADA,  CANADIAN AUTHOR

Length: 304 PAGES

Publisher: MCCLELLAND AND STEWART – A DIVISION OF PENGUIN RANDOM HOUSE CANADA

Received From: NETGALLEY

Release Date: SEPTEMBER 29, 2020

ISBN: 9780771048647

Price: $32.95 CDN

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Bruce McArthur pleaded guilty to killing these eight men.
Top row, from left to right: Skandaraj Navaratnam, Andrew Kinsman, Selim Esen and Abdulbasir Faizi.
Bottom row, from left to right: Kirushna Kumar Kanagaratnam, Dean Lisowick, Soroush Mahmudi and Majeed Kayhan.
(John Fraser/CBC)

DESCRIPTION:

The tragic and resonant story of the disappearance of eight men — the victims of serial killer Bruce McArthur — from Toronto’s queer community.

In 2013, the Toronto Police Service announced that the disappearances of three men–Skandaraj Navaratnam, Abdulbasir Faizi, and Majeed Kayhan — from Toronto’s gay village were, perhaps, linked. When the leads ran dry, the investigation was shut down, on paper classified as “open but suspended.”

By 2015, investigative journalist Justin Ling had begun to retrace investigators’ steps, convinced there was evidence of a serial killer.

Meanwhile, more men would go missing, and police would continue to deny that there was a threat to the community. On January 18, 2018, Bruce McArthur, a landscaper, would be arrested on suspicion of first-degree murder. In February 2019, he was sentenced to life in prison for the murders of eight men.

Canadian Serial Killer
Bruce McArthur
Ho / THE CANADIAN PRESS

This extraordinary book tells the complete story of the McArthur murders. Based on more than five years of in-depth reporting, this is also a story of police failure, of how the queer community responded, and the story of the eight men who went missing and the lives they left behind. In telling that story, Justin Ling uncovers the latent homophobia and racism that kept this case unsolved and unseen. This gripping book reveals how police agencies across the country fail to treat missing persons cases seriously, and how policies and laws, written at every level of government, pushed McArthur’s victims out of the light and into the shadows.

MY REVIEW:

MISSING FROM THE VILLAGE is destined to become a National Bestseller.

Investigative Reporter Justin Ling, himself a member of Toronto’s LGBTQ community – the very same community from which McArthur chose his victims – is uniquely qualified to author this book.

I say this, NOT based on his sexuality, I say this because he seems to have been the only person, and definitely the only reporter, who was interested in finding out what was happening in Toronto’s Gay Village YEARS before the police even considered the men’s disappearances to be connected. Not only that, but because Justin knows the area, and is a reporter with a heart who cares (sometimes too much) about each victim as a person, not as just another face in the lineup of victims. Justin is the only person who could tell this story without sensationalism getting in the way.

I have read numerous true crime books over the span of many years, but MISSING FROM THE VILLAGE is unique. It is superbly told so that the focus is not on the gruesome crimes themselves, but is on the story as a whole. I love that the author was so wrapped up in the story that, at times, he had to fight back tears.

Canada has its fair share of crimes, including murder, but Canadian serial killers are rare. These killers seem to focus on marginalized populations, seeing those victims as disposable. The problem is that they seem to be right. It took way too long for the police to catch this POS.

Sex, murder and secrets are the basis for this horrific true crime story that, if I didn’t know better, I would never have believed to be true, especially not here in Ontario, Canada.

MISSING FROM THE VILLAGE is a MUST READ if you want to know the entire story, not just of Bruce McArthur and his victims, but also the history of Toronto’s gay village and the fight for LGBTQIA2S rights, and why Bruce McArthur was able to go on killing over the span of several years and remain undetected.

McArthur’s victims were real people who had loved ones and friends who still miss them.

In this era of the #metoo movement and the calls to #defundthepolice and, of course, #blacklivesmatter we all need to remember that many people are still seen as unimportant. THIS NEEDS TO STOP.

For decades people who are queer, who are sex workers, who are black, who are brown, who are Indigenous, who are homeless, and many more, have been treated as if their lives do not matter. It is up to each and every one of us to make sure we see, REALLY SEE, every life as equal and as precious. This book will open people’s eyes, it is up to us to ensure our eyes stay open.

If we can do this, maybe, just maybe, we can stop the next Bruce McArthur from being able to choose victims at will.

I rate MISSING FROM THE VILLAGE as 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ and I will be watching for Justin Ling’s byline, and hopefully another book.

I just discovered that you can Pre-order the hardcover version of this book on the Chapters/Indigo website for a reduced price. It is currently 25% off, but I am not privy to when this offer ends, so I suggest you pre-order your copy ASAP.

Pre-Order NOW and Save 25%

*** Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with a free copy of this book. ***

QUOTES:

“The bar changed colour like a drag queen trying on new shades of lipstick.”

“The contrast between the bright paint and the rest of the dour building gave Zipperz the particular quality of being a portal into another world, a secret passageway.”

“The campaign to find a missing loved one sits exactly between hope and dread.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

JUSTIN LING is an investigative journalist whose reporting has focused on stories and issues undercovered and misunderstood.

His writing has appeared in Vice News, BuzzFeed, Foreign Policy, Motherboard, the Globe and Mail, the National Post, and the Guardian.

In 2019 he hosted “The Village,” the third season of the CBC podcast Uncover, which examined cold cases from the 1970s that were reopened as a result of the McArthur investigation.

To learn more about this author, visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

GOODREADS

FACEBOOK

LINKEDIN

CBC

UNCOVER – THE PODCAST

MUCKRACK

TWITTER

VICE

TALENT BUREAU

GOOGLE BOOKS

AMAZON  

CHAPTERS

PUBLISHER’S WEBSITE

ABOUT THE PUBLISHER:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

FACEBOOK

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