Title: I’ll Be Gone in the Dark – One Woman’s Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer

Author: Michelle McNamara

Pages: 352 Pages

Publisher: Harper

The Blurb

A masterful true crime account of the Golden State Killer—the elusive serial rapist turned murderer who terrorized California for over a decade—from Michelle McNamara, the gifted journalist who died tragically while investigating the case.

“You’ll be silent forever, and I’ll be gone in the dark.”

For more than ten years, a mysterious and violent predator committed fifty sexual assaults in Northern California before moving south, where he perpetrated ten sadistic murders. Then he disappeared, eluding capture by multiple police forces and some of the best detectives in the area.

Three decades later, Michelle McNamara, a true crime journalist who created the popular website TrueCrimeDiary.com, was determined to find the violent psychopath she called “the Golden State Killer.” Michelle pored over police reports, interviewed victims, and embedded herself in the online communities that were as obsessed with the case as she was.

At the time of the crimes, the Golden State Killer was between the ages of eighteen and thirty, Caucasian, and athletic—capable of vaulting tall fences. He always wore a mask. After choosing a victim—he favored suburban couples—he often entered their home when no one was there, studying family pictures, mastering the layout. He attacked while they slept, using a flashlight to awaken and blind them. Though they could not recognize him, his victims recalled his voice: a guttural whisper through clenched teeth, abrupt and threatening.

I’ll Be Gone in the Dark—the masterpiece McNamara was writing at the time of her sudden death—offers an atmospheric snapshot of a moment in American history and a chilling account of a criminal mastermind and the wreckage he left behind. It is also a portrait of a woman’s obsession and her unflagging pursuit of the truth. Framed by an introduction by Gillian Flynn and an afterword by her husband, Patton Oswalt, the book was completed by Michelle’s lead researcher and a close colleague. Utterly original and compelling, it is destined to become a true crime classic—and may at last unmask the Golden State Killer.

The Review

True crime fascinates me. Not to the extent that is fascinated Michelle McNamara. She became obsessed with the Golden State Killer and made it her mission to find out as much as she could. Sadly, she did not live long enough to see him incarcerated. 

The book I’ll Be Gone in the Dark is a thorough account of criminal activity that took place across America. The crimes were heinous and led to the infamy of the killer. After reading the book, you get the sense that Michelle McNamara missed her calling in life and that she should have been a police officer in charge of homicide. Her dogged determination would have been an asset to any police force.

I’ll Be Gone in the Dark is a brilliant read if True Crime is your genre. 

I’ll Be Gone in the Dark – One Woman’s Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer by Michelle McNamara is available now.

For more information regarding Harper (@HarperCollinsUK) please visit their Twitter page. 

Title: The One and Only Ivan

Author: Katherine Applegate

Pages: 307 Pages

Publisher: Harper Collins

The Blurb

Ivan is an easygoing gorilla. Living at the Exit 8 Big Top Mall and Video Arcade, he has grown accustomed to humans watching him through the glass walls of his domain. He rarely misses his life in the jungle. In fact, he hardly ever thinks about it at all.

Instead, Ivan thinks about TV shows he’s seen and about his friends Stella, an elderly elephant, and Bob, a stray dog. But mostly Ivan thinks about art and how to capture the taste of a mango or the sound of leaves with colour and a well-placed line.

Then he meets Ruby, a baby elephant taken from her family, and she makes Ivan see their home—and his own art—through new eyes. When Ruby arrives, change comes with her, and it’s up to Ivan to make it a change for the better.

Katherine Applegate blends humour and poignancy to create Ivan’s unforgettable first-person narration in a story of friendship, art, and hope. 

(GOODREADS BLURB)

The Review

I was not emotionally prepared for this story. 

I was asked by one of my students to get The One and Only Ivan for our school library and because I am a delightful person I bought a copy. Then I read it. We like to vet as many of the books that we can so that we don’t cause any upset to our students. I really wasn’t prepared for this story.

I am not a lover of animal stories. It isn’t that I actively won’t read them but they wouldn’t be my first choice. The One and Only Ivan is based on the true story of Ivan the gorilla who was kept in captivity in a mall in America. In this story, the animals are anthropomorphised and we see from their point of view what it is like to live in captivity. The other animals – mainly the elephants Ruby and Stella – make Ivan remember what life is like outside of captivity.

The One and Only Ivan had me in bits. If you do read it then please keep the box of tissues handy because you will need them.

The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate is available now.

For more information regarding Katherine Applegate (@kaaauthor) please visit www.katherineapplegate.com.

For more information regarding Harper Collins (@HarperCollinsUK) please visit the Twitter page.

Title: Three Things About Elsie

Author: Joanna Cannon

Pages: 464 Pages

Publisher: Harper Collins

The Blurb

84-year-old Florence has fallen in her flat at Cherry Tree Home for the Elderly. As she waits to be rescued, she considers the charming new resident who looks exactly like a man she once knew – a man who died sixty years ago. His arrival has stirred distant memories she and Elsie thought they’d laid to rest. Lying prone in the front room, Florence wonders if a terrible secret from her past is about to come to light …

The Review

Three Things About Elsie is a beautifully sad book about getting older and about how people treat the elderly differently or lose sight of them all together. 

This is the story of Florence. She has had a fall and is waiting to be found. While she waits, she reflects on her life and the people who have made an impact. 

The story is told though various narrative threads. These include different time periods and different voices alongside modern times. It is also a mystery/crime story that Florence is trying to solve. Cleverly, author Joanna Cannon relies on societies disregard for the elderly to make out narrator seem unreliable. She has given the character of Florence certain qualities that we tend to attribute to Dementia or Alzheimers so we are never quite sure whether we should believe her or not.

Three Things About Elsie really is a heartbreaking novel about being old. Cannon shows a lot of empathy for her characters and allows us to recognise our own prejudices without preaching. 

Three Things About Elsie really is a wonderful book. 

Three Things About Elsie by Joanna Cannon is available now.

For more information regarding Joanna Cannon (@JoannaCannon) please visit her Twitter page.

For more information regarding Harper Collins (@HarperCollinsUK) please visit the Twitter page.

Title: The Nest

Author: Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney

Pages: 368 Pages

Publisher: Harper Collins

The Blurb

A sharp and funny debut about a wonderfully dysfunctional New York family and the three grown-up siblings fighting to save the family money pot – the ‘nest’ – as their oldest brother threatens to lose it all.

When Leo Plumb drives off drunk from a party in a sports car with a nineteen-year-old waitress in tow, to the moral and legal fallout must be added the horrible inconvenience to his brother and sisters. Leo’s rehab costs have severely depleted ‘the nest’ – the family’s joint trust fund that would have cut them loose from their myriad financial issues.

For Melody, a suburban wife and mother, it was to cover both an unwieldy mortgage and her daughters’ college tuition. Antiques dealer Jack has secretly borrowed against the beach cottage he shares with his husband. And Beatrice, a once-promising short story writer, can’t seem to finish her overdue novel.

Brought together as never before, the Plumb siblings must grapple with old resentments, present-day truths, and the significant emotional and financial toll of the accident, as well as finally acknowledging the choices they have made in their own lives.

Ferociously astute, warm and funny, The Nest is a brilliant debut chronicling the hilarity and savagery of family life.

The Review

The Plumb family have always relied on the Nest – a fund set up by their wealthy father that means that when the youngest child turns 40 they can all have their inheritance. However, when one of the Plumb children gets caught in a compromising situation their mother pulls rank and uses the Nest to fund his recovery…much to the chagrin of the other siblings.

The Nest is a brilliant story of how the other half live and how the sense of privilege transcends down the family line. It is an interesting look at sibling relationships and the dynamics of family life. It also makes you asses what you hold dear or see as important. The Nest is a very good read.

The Nest by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney is available now.

For more information regarding Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney (@CynthiaDSweeney) please visit www.cynthia-sweeney.com.

For more information regarding Harper Collins (@HarperCollinsUK) please visit the Twitter page.

Title: Happily Imperfect – Living Life Your Own Way

Author: Stacey Solomon

Pages: 288 Pages

Publisher: Harper Collins

The Blurb

Renowned and loved for her refreshing candour on everyday issues, social, domestic and intimate, Stacey Solomon reminds us how important it is to embrace ourselves; the good, bad and the ugly.

Stacey’s authenticity and her courage to say what others daren’t opens discussions on sensitive but significant topics; her lack of sex drive after having kids, her battles with anxiety, the lows of motherhood and even the importance of hairy legs.

In Happily Imperfect, be moved to tears and laughter by joining Stacey in her journey so far, as she reveals how to stay positive despite the everyday pressure to be and look perfect. Told through hilarious, sometimes moving, and always charming anecdotes, discover how to get the best out of life by being positive, not following the crowd, and trusting your gut instincts.

Covering how to navigate motherhood, deal with anxiety and prejudice, as well as the experience of getting older, Stacey has plenty of words of wisdom to share. With tips and tricks on how to apply a positive mindset within your own day-to-day life, become emotionally freer and happier with Stacey by your side.

(Goodreads Blurb)

The Review

My love for Stacey Solomon knows no bounds. I love her Instagram feed, I love her attitude to live and I love here on Loose Women. I think she is a boss role model for just being yourself. 

Her book Happily Imperfect addresses people’s need to be perfect and how we are all perfectly imperfect. She discusses her formative years, her X Factor journey, her growth as a young girl, becoming a mother and finding love.

You get the feeling that yes, she is human and she does get down by the negative comments but she also has such a positive attitude towards life. This is the kind of book that you can read more than once because it is so positive. 

Personally, I would love Stacey Solomon to bring out a craft book. Actually, if I am wanting for anything I kind of want to be best friends with Stacey Solomon but I would settle for a craft book (hint hint) because she is boss. Happily imperfect is the perfect tonic and helps you appreciate all the good things you have.

Happily Imperfect by Stacey Solomon is available now.

For more information regarding Stacey Solomon (@StaceySolomon) please visit www.staceyxsolomon.com.

For more information regarding Harper Collins (@HarperCollinsUK) please visit the Twitter page.