From Andrea Kalinowski
Author: Colin Evans
Title: Blood on the table : the greatest cases of New York City’s Office of the Chief Medical Examiner
Blood on the table: the greatest cases of New York’s Office of Chief Medical Examiner by Colin Evans echoes some of the history which I had already known through reading Arsenic and clam chowder: murder in Gilded Age New York by James D. Livingston. Colin Evans explores, in detail, the complex history and tumultuous beginnings of the Coroner’s Office, which was eventually renamed. “Of the sixty-five men who had held the office of coroner since consolidation, not one was thoroughly qualified, by training or experience, for the adequate performance of his duties. By occupation, nineteen were general physicians without any formal training in legal medicine, eight were undertakers, seven were politicians, six were real estate dealers, two were saloonkeepers, and two were plumbers; the rest were respectively, a lawyer, a printer, an auctioneer, a contractor, a carpenter, a painter, a dentist, a butcher ….” This book was an eye-opener regarding the politics and fiduciary issues plaguing the Coroner’s Office. The Coroner’s Office was eventually abolished in 1915. “The small print stated that the current holder of the positon would be replaced when their engagement ended on January 1, 1918. Beginning in January 1918, the city of New York, would have its first chief Medical Examiner. For anyone interested in forensics and history, this book is a perfect amalgamation of both. It is sprinkled throughout with true crime examples and the bitter rivalries engendered by the esteem attached to the office of Medical Examiner.
From Elaine Pasquali
A Little Gentle Sleuthing
Author: Betty Rowlands
This was Rowlands first crime novel and it was very engaging. The lead character, Melissa Craig, herself a crime novel writer, investigates and solves a local crime. Enough character development to enrich the story without detracting from the plot.
From Edna Susman
author: Borowitz, Albert
Musical Mysteries: From Mozart to John Lennon
Author Albert Borowitz, a graduate of Harvard and a true crime historian, presents us with a fascinating interplay between crime and music. The book is divided into two parts: the first explores eight famous crimes and crime legends including the alleged killing of Mozart by Antonio Salieri and the murder of John Lennon by Mark Chapman. The second part examines crimes within various musical settings including Gilbert and Sullivan operettas. True crime aficionados as well as students of music history will enjoy this book.
From Chris Garland
author: Sides, Hampton
Hellhound on his trail : the stalking of Martin Luther King, Jr. and the international hunt for his assassin
James Earl Ray and Martin Luther King were at existential crossroads in 1968. Each was looking for a new path to the next phase of his life. Ray was seeking a way to give his life focus after his escape from prison. King, struggling in his personal and professional life, was trying to jump start his movement in a new direction- away from Civil Rights and toward the issue of poverty. Chance found both men in Los Angeles where Ray had his epiphany. He would kill the Civil Rights leader and become a hero. Thus, their paths led them to Memphis and to their ultimate fate. Hampton Sides weaves together a fascinating account of these two men which led to the assassination of Martin Luther King in April 1968 and the historic manhunt for James Earl Ray that followed.
From Chris Garland
titl: Millions [videorecording]
Millions is an uplifting tale about a nine year old boy whose mother has died and is moving with his father and brother to a new home and a new school. Damian is fascinated by the saints, who inspire him to do good deeds.
One day, the heavens provide him with an endless supply of money, which leads him on a complex adventure on which he will learn what money means to different people and what is really important in life.
Alex Etlel turns in a memorable performance as young Damien under the direction of Academy Award winning Danny Boyle.
From Rosemarie Jerome
author: Westerson, Jeri
The demon’s parchment : a Crispin Guest medieval noir
Crispin Guest was a knight and a nobleman. After being convicted of treason he lost everything. Now he struggles to make a living as “The Tracker,” a man who will find anything or solve crimes for a price. When approached by a Jewish physician to find stolen parchments, he reluctantly takes the job. Are these parchments involved in the recent gruesome murders of young boys? Were they used to bring forth a monster? Who is behind this evil scheme? This is based on the true events of a fifteenth century serial killer. It is the third title in the series which includes “Veil of Lies” and “Serpent in the Thorns.” Can’t get enough of Crispin Guest? Visit his blog at www.CrispinGuest.com
From Susan Wolff
author: Stieg, Larsson
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
The story takes place in Sweeden and starts out when an Octogenarian Industrialist hires a journalist (Blomkvist) to solve the mystery of his niece who disappeared 40 years earlier. The main character Lisbeth Salander (the girl with the dragon tattoo) teams up with the journalist to solve the mystery. The book deals with dark issues of sexual violence against women and Sweden’s facist groups. Although the book took some time to get me hooked, I recommend this crime thriller and look forward to reading the other 2 books in the series: “The Girl Who Played With Fire” and “The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest.”
From Catherine Givens
author: Wittman, Robert K.
Priceless : how I went undercover to rescue the world’s stolen treasures
The new book, “Priceless”, by Robert K. Wittman is a fascinating memoir set in the dark world of art thievery and the black market. Wittman, a 20-year veteran of the FBI, founded the Bureau’s chronically understaffed Art Crime Team. Most FBI personnel, he explains, place a lower priority on the nabbing of art thieves, compared to the capturing of drug dealers and bank robbers. Meanwhile, deeply appreciative of the cultural significance of art, he immerses himself in the study of Art History, to sharpen his ability to act the part of an astute art dealer.
He colorfully relates the conflicts that arise when agents whose values
differ are pitted against each other by bureaucratic hierarchies. With
grace and wisdom, and a highly experienced eye on the prize, Wittman
navigates these obstacles, transcending would-be blockades to repeatedly recover the loot.
Time and again precious paintings and cultural artifacts, both domestic and international, are handed over by clueless crooks to undercover agents, as well as to Wittman. The effort expended by all the undercover law enforcement players is awe-inspiring. Meanwhile, the fact that our government places so little value on and assigns so few people to the recovery of stolen art is shocking. And it explains why art thieves and unscrupulous dealers abound, displaying increasing levels of audacity.
Full of action and suspense, this fast-paced book is bursting with
bigger-than-life villains, dumb and dumber criminals and unassuming heroes. It would make a fantastic movie. But I highly recommend the book: The author’s heartfelt revelations of his inner thoughts as he strives to return art to its rightful owners keep us rooting for him all the way.
From Robin McCracken
author: Logan, Richard PhD, and Fassbender, Tere Duperrault
Alone, Orphaned on the Ocean
On a family vacation, her fathers biggest dream to share the open ocean with his wife and children, set out on a voyage of no return, except for Tere Jo Duperrault. Tere Jo Duperrault Fassbender tells her amazing story of her survival of the 1961 sinking of the Bluebelle, a 60ft sailing yacht off the coast of the Bahamas. What she witnesses, and remembers over the years, while stranded in the ocean for four days, will remain with her forever. Alone and orphaned all in one night. Her courage was amazing. A must read.
From Mary Quirindongo
The girls must once again come out of hiding to help a friend in need. This time it is Supreme Court Chief Justice Pearl Barnes who is being
blackmailed for her own illegal brand of justice. Once again reporters Ted Robinson and Maggie Spritzer are hot on the sisterhood trail trying to find out what it is that the sisterhood is doing for Chief Justice Barnes. Don’t forget to start the series with Weekend Warriors. Read all twenty books.