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on April 2, 2013
Murder mysteries are pretty rare here in New Hampshire, which is almost last in violent crime rates by state (47th). The murder of Edith "Pen" Meyer was not only shocking, it was especially difficult to solve (no body, blood or other DNA evidence). The story the authors weave is absolutely riveting and this is no exaggeration. As one who liked "true crime" writing many years ago but who became numb to it after the explosive growth of the genre, I read this book only because of its local connection (and the fact that, as a bookseller, I was able to obtain an advance copy, gratis). It is an engrossing story with truly fascinating and complicated twists and turns, and deep biographical/psychological profiles of the victim, her murderer and those who brought him to justice after a long struggle.

I prefer not to reveal too much about the book's contents, as most readers would prefer to discover the facts themselves, but as far as the quality of the writing and the intensity of the story are concerned, you will not be disappointed. This is an excellent book, a real 'page-turner'.
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This was a page turner for me. It's a really well written book about a very unusual crime. This book is developed around the circumstances and motives of the crime itself and not the trial. The trial coverage in the book is fairly small for a true-crime book and was rather anti-climactic. It's obvious from the beginning who the killer was and just about as clear that he will be convicted. What held my interest in this book was the excellent writing and the very well done development of the characters and the various parts they played.

For me, I'm a trial and evidence person and so I dropped one star off of the rating I gave this book. It's really close to a five-star book and it is personal preference in the kind of story that left me just a bit disappointed in the lack of trial drama. Regardless I still highly recommend this very well done book.
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on April 17, 2013
"There's nothing more pathetic than an Alcoholic trying to prove how smart or honest he is at an AA meeting"
( Heard from an AA Old-timer)

Let me make one thing very clear at the beginning of this review: That there are a lot of very decent people at AA meetings that are kind, understanding and working a good program. But there are also people that are wolves in sheep's clothing. There are people that are downright dangerous. 12 step meetings are NOT hotbeds of mental health. With that thought in mind the authors have created a staggering work of true crime. If Jack Olsen was still alive he would have had a glowing review on the outside cover of this book. It's that good!

This book is astonishing in it's detail. As with all very good true crime books it's ALL in the details. And the book is wonderfully detailed. In this day and age with the price of books going through the roof, you want to be sure your getting your bang for the buck when you plop down your money. I know I do. And you will get it with this book. This is one of those books that when you get done, you KNOW you'll be reading it again sometime.

I'm hoping that this book will get the attention it deserves! We live in a world where books are punched out everyday like donuts. This is NOT one of those books.

There have been some excellent reviews here on this book detailing what actually happens in this book. But, I don't want to do that, I don't want to give anything away. I want you to enjoy this book as much as I did.

12 step meetings are not the safe places they used to be 20, 30, or 40 years ago. There are still a lot of good people but as I said earlier there are people that are predators. One of the growing problems in Alcoholics Anonymous in general, is the amount of people that are coming to meetings and claiming they are sober when in fact they are smoking marihuana or abusing painkillers. In some areas of the country this has reached epidemic proportions. Some long time AA members have actually stopped going to local AA meetings and have started going to AA phone meetings in order to be safe.

This book works on a number of levels. On one level it's a top rate true crime book. On another level, it can be used as a primer for someone new to recovery on what to watch out for. Remember, When in doubt, leave THEM out!
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on May 5, 2013
"Pen" was a very basic woman who adored her dog and her simple, rustic existence in the house she loved. If only she could have avoided the twisted Ken Carpenter and his deluded thoughts about her and her "motives." This is a sad tale of a "too-trusting" person full of good intentions who had the misfortune to get in the way of a madman. Peculiar things happen in small towns and relationships among close neighbors can spin out of control for the craziest reasons. This book will hold your attention, most definitely. It never fails to amaze me how brazen killers can be, how oblivious to perceptions.
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on April 17, 2013
Kenneth Carpenter had to be in control. Of everything. But the truth of the matter was, he was in control of nothing.

Although he appeared to maintain sobriety for almost a quarter of a century, the fact was he'd simply replaced with it with another drug - one not always recognized as such: women.

Whenever Ken attended his Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meetings, he oozed charm and intellect, draw otherwise downtrodden gals to him like moths to a flame. Women sought him out, feeling safe among his facade of strength and knowledge from experience.

But Pen Meyer had lived too long and through too much to be swayed by a fake like Kenneth Carpenter. She'd also experienced enough in life to know it best to stay out of the relationship between her friend Sandy Merritt and Ken; that is, until Ken took it too far and he was caught red-handed in a lie about his marriage and Pen decided to tell Sandy the truth.

Ken, however, couldn't stand to lose anything - especially control. When Sandy broke it off with the cheating Ken, he was enraged. While begging and pleading for Sandy to take him back, he continued to make proclamations of undying love to his wife - and planning his revenge against Pen Meyer, the woman he felt was responsible for all the headache and heartache in his life.

In crime-writing duo Kevin Flynn and Rebecca Lavoie's newest book, Notes on a Killing: Love, Lies, and Murder in a Small New Hampshire Town, they recount a case centered around a love triangle, a madman, and the irony of how it all began in an organization founded on realizing one's personal responsibility for the problems in their lives.

While the story is super interesting, if a bit mind boggling at times because of the pure insanity of one man, what I was most impressed with is how kindly the authors manage the sad tales of people who lost their anonymity and had their strength against overwhelming addiction tested by a lunatic who thought only of himself. In this world of snap judgments and where smear campaigns make the sale, kudos to Kevin Flynn and Rebecca for not destroying the credibility and respect many of these folks had worked hard to recover.

But as they say, "do not mistake kindness for weakness," as Notes on a Killing is anything but a weak story. It's intriguing. It's heartbreaking. It's a crime story laced with sentiments of love, triumph, and loyalty among friends. To sum it up, it's a fantastic story you simply don't want to miss.
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on February 14, 2014
Could not put it down. Read it on my Kindle in one day, switching between digital listening (you know it's a page turner if you are willing to torture yourself with a digital reading). Even though I have been a Behavioral Health nurse for many years (now retired) and have dealt with the dreaded Borderline Personality Disorder patient many, many times I am still astonished at the lengths they go to to get their way! Carpenter went as far as one could go....murder! The authors really made Pen come alive, on the page and in the heart! Great book, horrid story but told in a compassionate manner. I have read other books by Kevin Flynn and he has a real talent for putting a story to page.
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on June 5, 2013
I'm only 60% through the book as of now but so far am enjoying the story. It is one of the rare few that I haven't heard anything about before reading the book. I found this book interesting even though you knew pretty much right away who the killer was. I also didn't find it repetitive like a coupe of the reviews claimed. I would be the first to complain about repeating and word for word trial testimony. Both are pet peeves of mine when I find either in a book and usually do not buy anything else from an author that "writes" like that. I do quite a bit of reading when time allows and Ann Rule, Kathryn Casey and M. William Phelps are among my favorites so am a fairly good judge between a good book and a bad one.
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on May 9, 2013
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on December 4, 2013
This was a page turner about a horrifying homicide in an unlikely location. Reminded me of "Fargo" in more than one way. I kept wondering why this guy's wife had such a hard time coming to terms with this man and felt so much sorrow for the family of the victim.
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on August 3, 2014
I just started reading this book last night and couldn't put it down. It's a riveting tale about a single woman who tries to advise a friend and ends up getting murdered. Excellent writing that makes you want to know more of the story.
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