Book Review: American Wolf: A True Story of Survival and Obsession in the West by Nate Blakeslee #nonfiction

American Wolf - Nate Blakeslee

Some books you should never leave sitting on the shelf – when Crown Publishing offered to send me a copy of American Wolf to review, two months passed before I finally picked it up. I gave myself a good telling off for not reading this five-star non-fiction book immediately.

Book Description:

The enthralling story of the rise and reign of O-Six, the celebrated Yellowstone wolf, and the people who loved or feared her

Before men ruled the earth, there were wolves. Once abundant in North America, these majestic creatures were hunted to near extinction in the lower 48 states by the 1920s. But in recent decades, conservationists have brought wolves back to the Rockies, igniting a battle over the very soul of the West.

With novelistic detail, Nate Blakeslee tells the gripping story of one of these wolves, O-Six, a charismatic alpha female named for the year of her birth. Uncommonly powerful, with gray fur and faint black ovals around each eye, O-Six is a kind and merciful leader, a fiercely intelligent fighter, and a doting mother. She is beloved by wolf watchers, particularly renowned naturalist Rick McIntyre, and becomes something of a social media star, with followers around the world.

But as she raises her pups and protects her pack, O-Six is challenged on all fronts: by hunters, who compete with wolves for the elk they both prize; by cattle ranchers who are losing livestock and have the ear of politicians; and by other Yellowstone wolves who are vying for control of the park’s stunningly beautiful Lamar Valley.

These forces collide in American Wolf, a riveting multigenerational saga of hardship and triumph that tells a larger story about the ongoing cultural clash in the West–between those fighting for a vanishing way of life and those committed to restoring one of the country’s most iconic landscapes.

Publication date: 17 October 2017 Continue reading “Book Review: American Wolf: A True Story of Survival and Obsession in the West by Nate Blakeslee #nonfiction”

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Book Review: Ghost of the Innocent Man: A True Story of Trial and Redemption by Benjamin Rachlin

Ghost of the Innocent Man - Benjamin Rachlin

I find stories of wrongful convictions fascinating, so I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to read this one.

Book Description:

A gripping account of one man’s long road to justice, the relentless attorney who crusaded for his freedom, and the scourge of wrongful conviction in our criminal justice system.

After a 1987 rape in Hickory, North Carolina, a mistaken identification by the victim combined with botched evidence and suspect testimony led to the conviction and decades-long incarceration of Willie Grimes. Grimes, who was working two jobs to make ends meet at the time of his arrest, had no history of violent crime. He was a gentle spirit beloved by friends and family. For the next quarter century he and they devoted their lives to securing his freedom and providing justice for a crime he did not commit. Using this case as a lens into the criminal justice system at large, GHOST OF THE INNOCENT MAN unearths the shocking realities of wrongful conviction, and reveals the people and organizations fighting for social justice on behalf of those without a voice.

One of those people, Christine Mumma, was Grimes’s crusader. Mumma never stopped believing in his innocence, and it was she who was responsible for spearheading the founding of North Carolina’s Innocence Inquiry Commission, the only organization in the country with the power to declare a person not merely not guilty, but legally innocent. Grimes’s exoneration is one of ten that the Innocence Inquiry Commission has secured since its inception. With meticulous research and pulse-quickening prose, GHOST OF THE INNOCENT MAN presents the tragedy and triumph of one man’s long road to justice. More than that, it is a call to action through this account of one life spent away, but not gone to waste. Continue reading “Book Review: Ghost of the Innocent Man: A True Story of Trial and Redemption by Benjamin Rachlin”

Book Review: Another Day in the Death of America by Gary Younge

Another Day in the Death of America

“24 hours. 8 states. 10 young lives lost to gun violence.”

From the back cover:

Saturday, November 23rd, 2013. It was just another day in America. And as befits an unremarkable day, ten children and teens were killed by gunfire. Far from being considered newsworthy, these everyday fatalities are a simple banal fact.

The youngest was nine; the oldest nineteen. None made the news. There was no outrage at their passing. It was simply a day like any other day. Gary Younge picked it at random, searched for the families of these children and here, tells their stories and explores the way they lived and lost their short lives. Continue reading “Book Review: Another Day in the Death of America by Gary Younge”

Blog Tour | Book Extract: The Green Bicycle Mystery: Cold Case Jury Collection by Anthony M. Brown

The Green Bicycle book cover.jpg

I’m so excited to be a part of The Green Bicycle Mystery blog tour because I get to share an extract of the book with you today – the extract was hand picked by the author and he even provided the context for it.

When I read the blurb of the book, I was so intrigued (as I’m sure you will be too) because we’re not just reading about a murder, we’re solving it! And if that wasn’t exciting enough, this is not a fiction novel, readers, this is True Crime! When I first read the book extract provided, the book climbed it’s way up my TBR pile so expect a review to follow in the near future.

But for now, let get right to it…

Book Description:

Don’t just read about a murder… solve it.

The first in a unique collection of books. Each one tells the story of an unsolved crime in an evocative and compelling way, it presents fresh evidence, exposes the strengths and weaknesses of past theories and then asks the reader to decide the outcome.

The series begins with the tragic case of Bella Wright. In a lonely lane running through rural Leicestershire in 1919, a solitary bicycle lies on its side, its metal frame catching the glow of the fading evening light. The back wheel slowly turns about its axle, producing a soft clicking; a rhythmic sound, soothing like the ticking of a study clock.

Next to the bicycle, lying at an angle across the road, is a young woman. She is partly on her back, partly on her left side, with her right hand almost touching the mudguard of the rear wheel. Her legs rest on the roadside verge, where fronds of white cow parsley and pink rosebay rise above luxuriant summer foliage. On her head sits a wide-brimmed hat, daintily finished with
a ribbon and bow. She is dressed in a pastel blouse and long skirt underneath a light raincoat, the pockets of which contain an empty purse and a box of matches. The blood-flecked coat tells a story…

Although each book is perfectly self-contained and offers the author’s conclusion, there is a website (coldcasejury.com) for those who wish to share their own verdicts and opinions, making these the first truly interactive crime tales. Continue reading “Blog Tour | Book Extract: The Green Bicycle Mystery: Cold Case Jury Collection by Anthony M. Brown”

Blog Tour: The Fact of a Body: A Murder and a Memoir by Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich

I’m absolutely delighted to be taking part in my first non-fiction blog tour; I’m sure you’ve seen the buzz surrounding this memoir, The Fact of a Body: A Murder and a Memoir by Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich, if not, don’t worry I’ve got a jam packed blog tour stop with all the need to know information. Not only am I sharing my review with you all today, I’ve got links to the evidence pack which contains disturbing video footage, pictures from the author’s archives [when researching the book], a link to the prologue and Pan Macmillan kindly sent me two copies of this book, one for me and one to giveaway!

The Fact of a Body - Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich

Book Description:

In 2003, while studying at Harvard Law School, Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich takes a summer job at a law firm in Louisiana working on the retrial of Ricky Langley – a death-row convicted murderer and child molester. The daughter of two lawyers, Alexandria is staunchly anti-death penalty. But the moment Ricky’s face flashes on the screen as she reviews old interviews tapes, the moment she hears him speak of his crimes, she is overcome with the feeling of wanting him to die. Shocked by her reaction she digs deeper and deeper into the case, realizing that despite their vastly different circumstances something in his story is unsettlingly. Uncannily familiar.

Crime – even the darkest and most unspeakable acts – can happen to any one of us and as Alexandria pores over the facts of the murder she uncovers the complicated narrative of Ricky’s childhood. By examining minute details of the case she is forced to face her own story of long-buried family secrets, to reconcile how her own past colours her view of this crime. Continue reading “Blog Tour: The Fact of a Body: A Murder and a Memoir by Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich”