Speak of the Devil (Kindle Single) Kindle Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
The author presents a very unbiased story of an intelligent, likeable guy who just "snapped." He didn't "dumb-down" the criminal or search his childhood to find a tortured cat. He used the guy's own words, which flowed seamlessly with his own commentary which enables the reader a rare personal glimpse into his psyche - rather than the technical psych-speak we usually get...and isn't that precisely why many read this genre?
OH! Before I forget...to the reviewer, and many like him/her who asked us not to buy this book - please look up the "Son of Sam" law which states that criminals CANNOT PROFIT from their crimes...then read the last page of this book that states THE PROCEEDS FROM THIS BOOK GO TO A SHELTER FOR BATTERED WOMEN.
Sorry! I'm not trying to be mean, but I don't like being judged for my reading preference by people who MISTAKENLY think I'm buying bon-bons for the prisoner every time I purchase a true crime book. It's also VERY unfair to give 1-star reviews to the AUTHOR just because you don't approve of the SUBJECT without even reading it. (Psst...I've read several books about Caylee Anthony, too!) Regardless of your attempt to drive down the rating, it didn't work...but who knows how much money you may have stopped the women's shelter from getting?
Braunstein provides a possible answer himself by perversely describing what he did as an act of empathy, a way to get people to pay attention.
"I'm experiencing all this hurt, and you don't seem interested. So the only way I can make you interested is to make you hurt the way I'm hurting. I mean, that's what I'm looking for," he says.
Or, borrowing line from "Dark Knight," Braunstein says the why of it all may be as simple and nihilistic as "Some men just want to watch the world burn."
It's hard not to feel a little grimy after reading Gell's search for understanding. The account late in the essay of what actually happened in the apartment is factual without being lurid.
Still anything that comes close to an understanding of what motivated Braunstein - parental neglect, rejection, insecurity - carries with it a sense that somehow Braunstein is himself some sort of victim and that society somehow shares some responsibility for what he did.
Gell senses he's swimming in rough waters by giving Braunstein a voice, but ultimately decides that there is value in asking why. His search is written with talent, compassion and a clear-headed approach to difficult issues.
Decide for yourself whether you want to understand and care. I for one choose to not feel the slightest bit of empathy, compassion or an iota of sympathy that is implicit in understanding Braunstein's motivation. I hold out hope that the criminal remains locked up and is forgotten.
I think the same kind of confusion and disbelief happened to Aaron Gell as it did to Ann Rule, only Peter Braunstein wasn't in the same class as Ted Bundy. Since Gell had known Braunstein and they were both in the same industry, Gell must have felt very confused when his friend went off the deep end and broke into a female co-worker's apartment dressed as a fireman to put her off guard, and then attacked her and kept her as his hostage all night. He never raped her and never killed her, but the woman was traumatized enough going through an experience like Braunstein put her through. When he left her he went on a crime spree and was eventually caught and sentenced to 18 years. He became a tabloid sensation.
When he asked Aaron Gell to read his papers and write about him, it may have been self-serving, but he may also have been trying to make some sense of his own actions. Whatever the case, it made for some nightmarish reading for Gell.Read more ›
Aaron tells the story of famed "Fire Perv" New Yorker Peter Braunstein, who led a two-month life on the run as a fugitive. While from the outset his crimes appear degenerate, you'll find yourself in slight awe at his surprising logic behind it all. While I don't in any way endorse or approve of the actual crimes, I found myself pretty swayed by his social critique and commentary, the likes of which drove him to do what he did. That's gonna be hard for anyone to understand who hasn't read the book.
I'm giving this book 5 stars and I haven't given any writing that sort of review in a long time. It's a page-turner, to say the least. Highly recommended.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Well worth reading and easy to pick up and and put down then pick up againPublished 11 months ago by J. M. Barclay
A journalist and someone that knew the people personally in the case, makes Aaron Gell an interesting story teller. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Deb Rain
Not one of my favorite stories. I thought there should have been more to the story, not just alluding to most of the crimes. I kept waiting for something more to happened.Published on May 6, 2014 by jshelyn
What happens when someone you know commits a serious crime? Do you maintain contact? Try to reach out and help? Read morePublished on January 19, 2012 by Stephen
I think the author did a superb job telling the story often using the Braunstein's own words , and never making excuses for his behavior. Read morePublished on January 17, 2012 by cikaladim
A quick and compelling Kindle single, the author weaves a bizarre true-crime tale of psychology and analysis. Read morePublished on January 10, 2012 by tim3t
I am glad I didn't pay much for this book. I have never attempted to read a book so poorly written. It jumps all over the place. Read morePublished on January 2, 2012 by Ms. Goose
The author spends too much time talking about himself. I am a huge crime buff but I was so bored with this book I put it down and did not finish it!Published on December 28, 2011 by Acree
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