Dark Places (Review)
reviews* / November 18, 2014

Title: Dark Places Author: Gillian Flynn Narrators: Rebecca Lowman, Cassandra Campbell, Mark Deakins, Robertson Dean Publication Year: 2009 Pages: 368 (audio length: 13 hours 43 minutes) Genre: Fiction, Mystery Source: Audiobook version purchased from Audible.com From the cover: Libby Day was seven when her mother and two sisters were murdered in “The Satan Sacrifice of Kinnakee, Kansas.” As her family lay dying, little Libby fled their tiny farmhouse into the freezing January snow. She lost some fingers and toes, but she survived – and famously testified that her fifteen-year-old brother, Ben, was the killer. Twenty-five years later, Ben sits in prison, and troubled Libby lives off the dregs of a trust created by well-wishers who’ve long forgotten her. The Kill Club is a macabre secret society obsessed with notorious crimes. When they locate Libby and pump her for details – proof they hope may free Ben – Libby hatches a plan to profit off her tragic history. For a fee, she’ll reconnect with the players from that night and report her findings to the club . . . and maybe she’ll admit her testimony wasn’t so solid after all. As Libby’s search takes her from shabby Missouri strip clubs to…

Sharp Objects (Review)
reviews* / January 20, 2014

Title: Sharp Objects Author: Gillian Flynn Narrator: Ann Marie Lee Publication Year: 2006 Pages: 254 (audio length: 9 hours 29 minutes) Genre: Fiction, Mystery Source: Audiobook version purchased from Audible.com From the cover: WICKED above her hipbone, GIRL across her heart Words are like a road map to reporter Camille Preaker’s troubled past. Fresh from a brief stay at a psych hospital, Camille’s first assignment from the second-rate daily paper where she works brings her reluctantly back to her hometown to cover the murders of two preteen girls. NASTY on her kneecap, BABYDOLL on her leg Since she left town eight years ago, Camille has hardly spoken to her neurotic, hypochondriac mother or to the half-sister she barely knows: a beautiful thirteen-year-old with an eerie grip on the town. Now, installed again in her family’s Victorian mansion, Camille is haunted by the childhood tragedy she has spent her whole life trying to cut from her memory. HARMFUL on her wrist, WHORE on her ankle As Camille works to uncover the truth about these violent crimes, she finds herself identifying with the young victims — a bit too strongly. Clues keep leading to dead ends, forcing Camille to unravel the psychological…

The Bite of the Mango (Review)
reviews* / October 18, 2012

Title: The Bite of the Mango Authors: Mariatu Kamara (with Susan McClelland) Narrator: Jessica Almasy Publication Year: 2008 Pages: 216 (audio length: 6 hours 35 minutes) Genre: Non-Fiction, Memoir Source: Audiobook version purchased from Audible.com From the cover: As a child in a small rural village in Sierra Leone, Mariatu Kamara lived peacefully surrounded by family and friends. Rumors of rebel attacks were no more than a distant worry. But when 12-year-old Mariatu set out for a neighboring village, she never arrived. Heavily armed rebel soldiers, many no older than children themselves, attacked and tortured Mariatu. During this brutal act of senseless violence they cut off both her hands. Stumbling through the countryside, Mariatu miraculously survived. The sweet taste of a mango, her first food after the attack, reaffirmed her desire to live, but the challenge of clutching the fruit in her bloodied arms reinforced the grim new reality that stood before her. With no parents or living adult to support her and living in a refugee camp, she turned to begging in the streets of Freetown. In this gripping and heartbreaking true story, Mariatu shares with readers the details of the brutal attack, its aftermath and her eventual arrival…

Push (Review)
reviews* / April 9, 2012

Title: Push (later changed to Precious) Author: Sapphire Narrator: Bahni Turpin Publication Year: 2009 Pages: 192 (audio length: 5 hours 8 minutes) Genre: Fiction Source: Audiobook version purchased from Audible.com From the cover: For Precious Jones, 16 and pregnant with her father’s child, miraculous hope appears and the world begins to open up for her when a courageous, determined teacher bullies, cajoles, and inspires her to learn to read, to define her own feelings and set them down in a diary. Like most other people, I noticed the hype surrounding this book shortly before the movie version, Precious, was released. It seemed interesting at the time, though over-publicized, so I waited. And a few months ago, I finally stopped waiting and read it. Push absolutely sucked me in from the first sentence. The way that Precious just lays everything out there right from the beginning was enthralling and horrifying at the same time; I couldn’t even begin to fathom the anguish that the character had gone through before the point where the book picks up. The language in the book is raw and honest, which gives an even better indication of the narrator’s mindset than anything else could. There’s something…

Columbine (Review)
reviews* / February 27, 2012

Title: Columbine Author: Dave Cullen Narrator: Don Leslie Publication Year: 2009 Pages: 464 (audio length: 14 hours 9 minutes) Genre: Non-Fiction Source: Audiobook version purchased from Audible.com From the cover: On April 20, 1999, two boys left an indelible stamp on the American psyche. Their goal was simple: to blow up their school, Oklahoma-City style, and to leave “a lasting impression on the world.” Their bombs failed, but the ensuing shooting defined a new era of school violence-irrevocably branding every subsequent shooting “another Columbine.” When we think of Columbine, we think of the Trench Coat Mafia; we think of Cassie Bernall, the girl we thought professed her faith before she was shot; and we think of the boy pulling himself out of a school window — the whole world was watching him. Now, in a riveting piece of journalism nearly ten years in the making, comes the story none of us knew. In this revelatory book, Dave Cullen has delivered a profile of teenage killers that goes to the heart of psychopathology. He lays bare the callous brutality of mastermind Eric Harris, and the quavering, suicidal Dylan Klebold, who went to prom three days earlier and obsessed about love in his…