Thursday, January 26, 2012

The Road Out of Hell: Sanford Clark and the True Story of the Wineville Murders by Anthony Flacco

From 1926 to 1928, Gordon Stewart Northcott committed at least twenty murders on a chicken ranch outside of Los Angeles. His nephew, Sanford Clark, was held captive there from the age of 13 to 15, and was the sole surviving victim of the killing spree. Here, acclaimed crime writer Anthony Flacco-using never-before-heard information from Sanford’s son Jerry Clark-tells the real story behind the case that riveted the nation. Forced by Northcott to take part in the murders, Sanford carried tremendous guilt all his life. Yet, despite his youth and the trauma, he helped gain some justice for the dead and their families by testifying at Northcott’s trial–which led to his conviction and execution. It was a shocking story, but perhaps the most shocking part of all is the extraordinarily ordinary life Clark went on to live as a decorated WWII vet, a devoted husband of 55 years, a loving father, and a productive citizen. In dramatizing one of the darkest cases in American crime, Flacco constructs a riveting psychological drama about how Sanford was able to detoxify himself from the evil he’d encountered, offering the ultimately redemptive story one man’s remarkable ability to survive a nightmare and emerge intact.

This book was amazing. It reads like a novel, and the story is unbelievable, especially for its time. What Sanford went through, and came out of, is totally beyond belief. Even if you don't like true crime, this is an excellent book.

4 stars

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Set in the future, 2 children from each of the 12 Districts of Panem must compete in the yearly Hunger Games. Katniss Everdeen is sent from District 12, along with Peeta Mallarky, a boy who made a small gesture of kindness to her when they were kids that she still feels the need to repay. They at led by their mentor and former winner of the Hunger Games, Haymitch, along with an entourage of stylists. But all the preparation in the world could not prepare them for what they are about to encounter. A cruel game, designed by the Capitol, as a punishment for their uprising years ago, in which all 24 players are dropped into an arena of unknown circumstances and climate and are forced to fight to the death. Will Katniss and Peeta survive, should they align their forces, and what else keeps pulling them together? I was shocked that this was a YA book. It is brutal, but fascinating. Toward the end I was rooting out loud for people. Very fascinating, but unlike most people I know that read it, not fascinating enough to keep me up all night. I think I would have enjoyed more scenes with how Haymitch and Katniss' stylist Cinna and their reactions to what was playing out in the arena. That's my only complaint though. 4 stars - Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone