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Hot Prowl
Hot Prowl
by Jack Gray
Edition: Paperback
Price: $18.99
5 used & new from $14.52

1.0 out of 5 stars A Diamond Knot of speculation... Epic fail., May 10, 2015
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This review is from: Hot Prowl (Paperback)
Where to begin... In brief: this quack profile / fictional dramatization of the East Area Rapist-Original Night Stalker cold case is a proffering of comically faux scholarship, laughably overreaching its aim to be taken seriously, and thoroughly exposing the author’s obvious delusions of cognitive prowess so common to the self-informed with no real authority, experience or expertise.

This book was written by a non-specialist, with no access to case files, or primary sources seemingly beyond the Cold Case Files episode we've all watched a thousand times, and it shows badly. The "profile" is an embarrassingly clunky assessment based on gross generalizations, and paint-by-number psycho babble lifted from a freshman level textbook. And, you might have guessed, there are no footnotes or endnotes to back any of his many fantastically absurd speculative declarations.

Worse still: the fictional dramatization of events written from the EAR-ONS perspective, which closes the book (and serves no conceivable purpose other than being his "personal theory"), reads like a naughty Hot Prowl: a poorly written dime-store sex crime novel that should have lusting Fabio on the cover climbing through a darkened bedroom window while his hair wafts across some unsuspecting sleeping beauty. He even ends it with a wryly smiling EAR-ONS enjoying some sun in his backyard… The inherent fan-boy’esque naïveté of the whole affair is a bit creepy, and ultimately left me feeling not entirely sure if (as the author states) he wants to capture the EAR-ONS, or possibly wants to be the EAR-ONS.

That said: I might not have been so hypercritical of the whole had the author not actually had the audacity to criticize the (at the time) single existing legitimate work on the subject, Larry Crompton's book, Sudden Terror, which is an imperfect and yet vastly superior effort written by an actual investigator who worked the case for many years.

Overall: Epic fail. Do yourself a favor and stick with the specialist authors. In this case you have two options: Larry Crompton's Sudden terror, which is far from a delicate read but is at least accurate, and non speculative. And, the newly released (literary atrocity) Hunting a Psychopath, by Richard Shelby, another professional investigator turned author who actually worked the case.


Lambs to the Slaughter: Inside the Depraved Mind of Child-Killer Derek Ernest Percy
Lambs to the Slaughter: Inside the Depraved Mind of Child-Killer Derek Ernest Percy
by Debi Marshall
Edition: Paperback
Price: $28.95
28 used & new from $18.03

0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THE ULTIMATE NIGHTMARE, July 2, 2013
Lambs to the Slaughter is a FANTASTIC effort. Well researched, well written, and with just the right balance of consideration for the varied parties versus the full disclosure necessary to kick-start an investigation into the horrific hypothesis underlying the story... That Australian Derek Ernest Percy, the admitted-but-never-convicted lust-murderer of 12 y/o Yvonne Tuohy (and also currently Victoria's longest serving prisoner), may also be responsible for a series of unsolved child homicides. Jarring material to say the least, Debi Marshall deftly explores Percy's character and psychiatric paraphilias in light of the veritable mountain of circumstantial evidence against him, placing him squarely in the frame for at least one of the crimes, and possibly more (though not all, to my estimation). Ultimately, you are left to your own conclusions... Either he did, or he didn't; and neither comforting in any respect.

For those who care to speculate, here are my personal conclusions -

The murder of Yvonne Tuohy (12) (1969): CONFIRMED GUILTY, which gives us the greatest insight into Percy and his horrific predilections, which were born out in excessive fantasy, with excessive planning, and ultimately... in excessive PRIVACY. Privacy being a key component of Percy's signature.

The Wanda Beach Murders of Christine Sharrock (15) & Marianne Schmidt (15) (1965): HIGHLY POSSIBLE, though unlikely in my estimation. The girls are distinctly older than Percy's seemingly preferred victims, and suffered a blitz-style knife attack in public. Too public for Percy, an excessively private individual who committed even "snow dropping" (Australian slang for neighborhood panty theft) with extreme stealth. While it's certainly possible Percy could be responsible, The Wanda Beach Murders, extraordinarily high risk as they were, are much more akin in fact to the future attacks of convicted Australian lust-murderer Peter Norris Dupas. Though only 12 y/o at the time, Dupas fit Wolfgang Schmidt's description of the "fat boy," and was chillingly active in pursuit of his murderous fantasies at the tender age of 15, being then caught during the attempted knife murder (a blitz-style knife attack in 1968) of his next door neighbor (a young mother); a crime which seems at first glance grossly spontaneous and very high risk, unless you consider that he may have been emboldened by having gotten away with a VERY SIMILAR crime previously.

The disappearance of the Beaumont Children - Jane (9), Arnna (7) & Grant (4) (1966): POSSIBLE, though unlikely. While the Beaumont children reflected Percy's preferred victimology, and the fact that they were never found reflects a well planned crime, the idea of his involvement is ultimately hampered by four things: 1) Percy's seeming lack of transportation at this time in his life. Whoever took the Beaumont children certainly did not WALK away with them. 2) The suave sophistication of the abduction, which is nowhere reflected in the abduction of Yvonne Tuohy (and the escape of 11 y/o Shane Spiller) which was an awkward and disjointed affair. 3) The main suspect, the man seen by several witnesses playing with the children, was described as being significantly older than Percy was at this time. And lastly, 4) If Percy abducted the Beaumont Children, this would effectively remove any connection between the Beaumont abductions and the 1973 Adelaide Oval abduction of Joanne Ratcliffe (11) & Kristy Gordon (4), (during which Percy was incarcerated) a crime so frighteningly similar in method, suspect description, and victimology that linkage is (in my opinion) highly possible.

The murder of Simon Brook (3) (1968): HIGHLY PROBABLE (dare I say, PROVED?). The grotesque and horrifying abduction, murder and mutilation of 3 y/o Simon, who silently vanished from his front yard, neatly mirrors the abduction-murder-mutilation of Yvonne Tuohy far beyond any possibility of coincidence, and speaks eloquently to Percy's obsessive privacy. His need to be quickly cleansed of the crime and removed from suspicion. This was not a man who was going to drive miles out of his way to deposit bodies deep in the bush. This man wanted to (psychologically needed to) vanish instantly upon completing the realization of his fantasy. As if it never happened...

The disappearance of Linda Stilwell (7) (1968): HIGHLY POSSIBLE. Linda was the right age, but her complete disappearance from a very crowded area speaks to a sophistication seemingly lacking in Percy's single known crime (Tuohy), and in the single most similar circumstance (Brook), both of whom were abducted privately from quiet areas, quickly murdered, and deposited nearby with little attempt at concealment. Although conversely this may also show criminal maturity and growth, I'm not entirely convinced that Percy could have (or would have) secreted her so securely that she has never been found.

The murder of Allen Redston (6) (1966): POSSIBLE, but not probable. There is the right victimology, quiet locality, a very PRIVATE crime... nevertheless, a crime distinctly different in certain indisputable signature aspects of Percy's known crime (Tuohy), and the single most similar circumstance (Brook). Lacking Percy's signature mutilation, there is also something overtly homosexual underlying the murder of Allen Redston, with a bent for bondage oriented sophistication that is entirely lacking in the aforementioned. Allen's murder appears to have been an exploratory escalation (non-fatal attacks on other young boys in the area just prior to the crime speak succinctly to this), and while it is possibly it could have been Percy, I don't think it likely.

All said - Debi Marshall's Lamb's to the Slaughter is an intelligent, sensitive and sophisticated examination of a man suffering an extremely rare psychosexual disorder, and the horrific product of his diseased mind; nightmarish crimes which inadvertently boldly highlighted his otherwise shadowy and intensely private existence.

If these children had been eaten by a shark, the difference would be negligible.

For fans of quality true crime, HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Ripper Street (Blu-ray)
Ripper Street (Blu-ray)
DVD ~ Matthew Macfadyen
Price: $24.35
35 used & new from $14.57

8 of 53 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A phemominally wasted effort., January 30, 2013
This review is from: Ripper Street (Blu-ray) (Blu-ray)
Biggest let-down of the year: Here you have a unique and interesting concept, loosely based on a fantastic book, THE MAN WHO HUNTED JACK THE RIPPER, which could have smartly formatted itself in historical minutia for a thinking audience, but instead sadly delivers a tepid serial version of Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows [Blu-ray + Ultraviolet Digital copy]. The worst part is the obviously wasted talents involved; slick atmospheric cinematography, set dressings, costuming, acting, it's all here, and beyond reproach. Ultimately, a phenomenally wasted effort.
Comment Comments (7) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 5, 2013 6:31 AM PST

Serial Murderers and their Victims
Serial Murderers and their Victims
by Eric W. Hickey
Edition: Paperback
Price: $106.54
73 used & new from $49.19

6 of 17 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Serial Errors and you're the Victim, December 19, 2012
As a True Crime aficionado I was initially very excited at the prospect of this seemingly immense academic study. After all, the author, Eric W. Hickey, has some very impressive credentials, and the attempt appears admirable at first glance; which makes this review all the more unfortunate.

This textbook disseminates wrong and inaccurate information which the most basic research could have prevented.

To keep this brief, I'll limit myself to pointing out [in brackets] some fallacious comments associated with Hickey's "Profile" of Jack the Ripper. They illustrate my point entirely, and as a devoted amateur Ripperologist, I took these most to heart...

Per Hickey:

1) "The Ripper killed at least five London prostitutes and more likely his death toll was closer to 10 or 15." [WRONG* It is commonly held that The Ripper murdered at least four (4) and at most nine (9) victims].

2) "No one knows for sure, but the Ripper promised through missives to the British media that he would not stop until he had killed 20 victims." [WRONG* The Ripper is commonly believed to have written none, and at most one (1) of the letters associated with his crimes].

3) "His interest in postmutilation [sic] [Postmortem, perhaps?] of the corpse set him apart from others who, at the time, preyed on prostitutes." [WRONG* Jack's proclivities, while rare, were not unique in Victorian England nor the world].

4) "The Ripper was very adept at eviscerating the victim and removing her organs." [WRONG* Opinions vary more or less evenly on his possibly having had anatomical knowledge].

5) "His first victim was murdered on Easter Monday in London's Whitechapel." [DOUBLY WRONG* Easter Monday fell on April 2nd in 1888, whereas Jack the Ripper's first canonical victim, Mary Ann Nichols, was murdered on the 31st of August, 1888. Emma Elizabeth Smith, who was the first victim in the crime series known as the Whitechapel Murders, of which The Ripper's crimes are part and parcel, was attacked on April 3rd, 1888, and died April 4th].

6) "The Ripper clearly derived sexual gratification from her dismemberment." [WRONG* Emma Elizabeth Smith was not dismembered. She died in hospital as a result of a ruptured peritoneum after a brutal gang attack, and is not generally considered a victim of Jack the Ripper, though the press in 1888 linked the crimes; likely from a lack of understanding and a sensationalist atmosphere].

... and Hickey continues, error-after-error, repeatedly presenting wrong information or speculation as fact, and culminating in a fantastically entertaining yet wholly fictitious account of the Mary Jane Kelly crime scene.

All said, these glaring inaccuracies in regard to a case so thoroughly documented and easily accessible should speak volumes to prospective students as to the reliability of the remainder of this tome. And this being the sixth edition, caveat emptor!
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 3, 2014 12:14 PM PDT

Black Sunday: Remastered Edition [Blu-ray]
Black Sunday: Remastered Edition [Blu-ray]
DVD ~ Barbara Steele
Price: $15.14
31 used & new from $11.95

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bava goes Blu!, September 22, 2012
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Not a review of Mario Bava's iconic film, which would merit a book, but rather a brief applause for Kino's upgrade: While not a frame by frame transfer, it's is nevertheless a very solid upgrade, and significantly better than any of it's DVD predecessors. It is the European version (containing all 3 minutes of footage removed for the U.S. release) w/ English dub (the actors spoke their lines in English during filming), and the Roberto Nicolosi score. Audio commentary by Tim Lucas, author of Mario Bava : All the Colors of the Dark, is identical to the Anchor Bay release. I'm wonderfully pleased with this effort by Kino; and I can only hope they will see their way to giving Bava's other masterpieces, most specifically Blood and Black Lace, the same long overdue treatment and respect!
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 24, 2012 10:16 AM PDT

Daimajin - Triple Feature Collector's Edition - Blu-ray
Daimajin - Triple Feature Collector's Edition - Blu-ray
DVD ~ Riki Hashimoto
Price: $9.99
35 used & new from $7.49

53 of 57 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Finally!!! Daimajin done right!, September 22, 2012
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I'm not going to bother reviewing the films. If your reading this then you are either already familiar with this fantastic franchise, or you are just discovering it, in which case nothing I can say will do it justice in terms of relating it's sheer awesomeness. That said: Having owned the Daimajin trilogy in all it's various incarnations, this long overdue effort is without a doubt the best ever presentation of the these films for the home entertainment market. While not perfect, they are nevertheless literally world's away from the ADV / Rubbersuit DVD collection (which was the previous best). It's like comparing a donkey cart to a jet plane. The upgrade brings life to these films in such a way as you will feel you are seeing them for the first time, with a clarity and depth wholly lacking in all past releases. Presented in the original Japanese, with optional English audio tracks or subtitles, and nicely packaged; it's only downside is the sparsity of extras. Overall: Kudos to Mill Creek Entertainment! A job well done!
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 13, 2014 6:16 AM PST

In the Wake of the Butcher : Cleveland's Torso Murders (Ohio)
In the Wake of the Butcher : Cleveland's Torso Murders (Ohio)
by James Jessen Badal
Edition: Paperback
34 used & new from $7.50

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hesitant? Let me give you a hand... or a leg, or a head., May 30, 2012
In the wake of this fantastic book, I'm left with little to say other than the bar has been set very high: Badal's peerless effort represents historic true crime at it's absolute best, and joins the ranks of definitive accounting's such as Sugden's Complete History of Jack the Ripper. Kudos!

Witchcraft Persecutions in Bavaria: Popular Magic, Religious Zealotry and Reason of State in Early Modern Europe (Past and Present Publications)
Witchcraft Persecutions in Bavaria: Popular Magic, Religious Zealotry and Reason of State in Early Modern Europe (Past and Present Publications)
by Wolfgang Behringer
Edition: Paperback
Price: $79.99
38 used & new from $44.94

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, and unrivaled., April 9, 2012
This bulky tome's title speaks for itself, so I'll forgo content specifics: Behringer's effort here is the unrivaled champion of the field, and any investigation into Early Modern German witchcraft persecutions ought to begin with this masterful summation, translated from German. Casual readers beware: Have an arm-brace and dictionary at the ready. Heavy, and highly academic.

Peasant Fires: The Drummer of Niklashausen
Peasant Fires: The Drummer of Niklashausen
by Richard M. Wunderli
Edition: Paperback
Price: $11.51
108 used & new from $3.23

5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars ... actually, that never really happened., April 9, 2012
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Relatively common 15th century German micro-history: Peasant claims visions. Peasant is burned alive. A fascinating topic, and more so per the specifics of this case; unfortunately marred by Wunderli's approach, including a several pages long imagined sermon, which saddles this otherwise intriguing effort like a wet blanket.

Shaman of Oberstdorf: Chonrad Stoeckhlin and the Phantoms of the Night (Studies in Early Modern German History)
Shaman of Oberstdorf: Chonrad Stoeckhlin and the Phantoms of the Night (Studies in Early Modern German History)
by Wolfgang Behringer
Edition: Paperback
Price: $25.00
60 used & new from $5.23

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Chonrad,... you really need to zip it., April 9, 2012
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Micro-history, translated from German; Wolfgang Behringer's Shaman of Oberstdorf is a wee bit academically winded, yet fascinating regardless. One thing struck me most: 16th century German Alpine villages were absolutely not the place to be making metaphysical/out-of-body claims. Try Behringer's Witchcraft Persecutions in Bavaria: Popular Magic, Religious Zealotry and Reason of State in Early Modern Europe (Past and Present Publications) for an excellent and unrivaled overview.

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