THE HILLSIDE STRANGLER by Robin Moore and Neville Romain

thehillsidePUBLISHING INFO: Condor, 1978
GENRE: Fiction/Serial Killers
SETTING: California, USA
MY GRADE: D

FROM PUBLISHER: Driven by animal desire, a psychotic killer springs from the mist-shrouded California hills, ravishing and murdering to sate his perverse sexual lusts. A hard worldly call girl... a fragile, beautiful, vulnerable, young musician - In the harsh light of morning the police found they had one thing in common... Their Last Terrifying Moments On Earth Were Spent With The... HILLSIDE STRANGLER.





MY THOUGHTS: This book is incredibly hard to find and wasn't worth what I spent on it. I was so let down. The title and story was probably inspired by California's real life Hillside Stranglers, active from 1977-early 1978. That's why I was interested in this.

Though the book is relatively short, 240 pages, we got a tiny bit of background on the murderer and four female victims. Two of the girls were young call girls. There were a few more victims but no background info on them. Early on we learned who the killer was. I didn't want to know until the end. Most of the suspense was taken away by knowing too early. I guess the authors' wanted us to know so that they could let us in on his background, childhood, home life and such so maybe we could understand him a bit. Like most serial killers, this one was physically abused and there was a bit of sexual abuse at the hands of his father. He was also frustrated at having erectile dysfunction for almost a year and was also having problems at work. The act of strangling the victims' caused him to get an erection.

Aside from the murders, this book was boring as hell. I think the majority took place at Andy's job. He's some sort of manager for a real estate development firm. His age wasn't given but I'm sure he was in his mid to late thirties. His co-worker, Sam, was annoying and took up many pages.

I don't understand why two American authors use the slang word 'bloody', say 'round' instead of 'around', and say 'spelt' instead of 'spelled'. I didn't like that at all.

There weren't any interesting characters in the entire novel, including the killer. The only good thing about this book is its cover. They don't make 'em like that anymore!


SIMPLY VORACIOUS by Kate Pearce

PUBLISHING INFO: Aphrodisia
SERIES: House of Pleasure, #8
GENRE: Historical Erotic Romance
SETTING: England, 1826
MY GRADE: D

FROM PUBLISHER: Lucinda Haymore is still reeling from the cruel betrayal of a vile seducer. Softly, irresistibly, his profession of love disguised his truer, baser intentions. With the knowledge that her reputation is at stake, she is happy to accept a proposal of marriage in name only from her best friend since childhood...

While Paul St. Clare has no interest in consummating his marriage with Lucinda, he has every intention of allowing her to enjoy true physical ecstasy in the hands of another. It's no surprise that he finds an agent more than willing to accommodate his needs in the House of Pleasure. What he doesn't expect is how perfectly the arrangement satisfies everyone's desires...

MY THOUGHTS: Another bad novel with little to no background information on lead characters. I don't know anything at all about Lucinda's (aka Lucky) background/childhood, or how long she's been good friends with Paul. I don't even know how old Paul is. I was assuming he was around her age but since he fought in a 'long, bloody war', I'm guessing he's a bit older than her twenty-one.

Something bad happened to Lucky so she was eager to marry Paul. She claimed she's always loved him but I never felt any love between those two or for the love she and Con claim to feel for each other. I did feel love between Paul and ex-lover Constantine (aka Con) Delinsky and was sad that they couldn't be together in the traditional sense. They say they're still in love with each other.

Con is from Russia, and is thirty-four, tall, and has white hair and silver eyes. I wanted to know how long Con and Paul have known each other but never got any information on it.

Paul, well, all I know about him is that he's blond and brown-eyed, has a slight frame, and was in the army. That's it.

Lucky puzzles me. She knows Paul loves Con so she wants them to continue to see each other. She thinks Paul 'gave up everything' to be with her but what, exactly, has he given up besides lovers? If anything he's gaining her fortune. She also wants to make Paul jealous so she flirts with Con. She thinks that Paul's jealousy will make him want to take Con back as a lover. What?! That makes no sense at all. I don't find her encouragement of Paul and Con's relationship to be the slightest bit believable. Not at the beginning of their marriage, anyway. I can see her, at a much later date, wanting them to resume their sexual relationship and include her in it, but not at the beginning. I don't even know if she knew Paul was bisexual and leaned more towards men.

Towards the end of the story there was a whole lot of uninteresting drama involving Con and whether or not his wife was still alive. I really didn't care a thing about it.

There are ten sex scenes in the book. Four are just between Con and Paul, five are between Lucky and Paul, and one is a threesome between Paul, Lucky, and Con. All are very graphic so two thumbs up to them. Two thumbs down to the storyline.

I received this from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.




 

SIMPLY SHAMELESS by Kate Pearce



shamelessPUBLISHING INFO: Aphrodisia, 2009
GENRE: Historical Erotic Romance
SETTING: England, 1819
SERIES: House of Pleasure, #3
AUTHOR SITE: link
MY GRADE: D

FROM PUBLISHER: One forbidden weekend years ago, Helene Delornay found herself stranded with a total stranger. Bold, virile, and well-schooled in the erotic arts, Philip Ross opened Helene's eyes to a world of sexual delight she never knew existed. Now proprietress of London's most exclusive house of pleasure, Helene never forgot the carnal bliss she shared with Philip—and she never found another man who could satisfy the insatiable cravings he awakened within her...

When Philip suddenly returns to Helene's life, the physical attraction they share is far too strong for either to deny. Now as they explore their fantasies and take them beyond the limit, Helene discovers that her feelings for Philip run far deeper than that of just a lover...

MY THOUGHTS: This was awful. Nothing at all made sense to me. Helene is French and blonde with blue eyes. When she was a teen her family was captured during the French Revolution. In order for her life to be spared, she had to become a prostitute and service the soldiers. She was not quite fourteen and had a daughter, Marguerite, the following year.

Eighteen years after the prologue she's thirty-six and co-owns a 'pleasure house' with two male ex-prisoners of war that she helped escape when she was a teen. Members pay a yearly fee to have sex there with other members.

She's the mother of a twenty-one year old daughter and mother of eighteen-year old twins, Lisette and Christian. She's a terrible mother. When the twins were one, all the children were sent away to school in Normandy. She lied to them about her occupation and never even gave them her address! I don't think they ever visited her. She seems uncaring and doesn't understand why the twins don't seem to like her, especially Christian.

Philip is someone she'd met eighteen years before, right before she became involved with the pleasure house. They'd only known each other for one sex-filled weekend. He's around forty now, has blond hair and brown-hazel eyes. He's got a nasty attitude and is uptight. Coincidentally he came back into her life. They both said, at different times, that she 'left him' eighteen years before, as if they'd been in a relationship with each other. That comment is so puzzling to me.

There was an unbelievably outrageous sexual incident that happened between Philip, his wife, and her lover years before that had me rolling my eyes, is was that ridiculous. She died after years of declining health but we were never told what was ailing her. Their marriage was a sham and the story behind it was ridiculous and not at all believable.

One thing I didn't understand and found annoying was when her oldest daughter got married without telling her, Helene hired people to track her down. I don't know why the daughter was even brought into the story or why what went down with her husband happened at all. Both were useless characters that didn't do anything for the story.

George, one of Helene's business partners, is obsessed with marrying her, even though he's already married. It was discovered by Philip, who now co-owns the place too, that George has been stealing money from the business. When Helene finds out about it she's not mad and offers to help him out financially!

I really don't have anything positive to say about this book other than the sex scenes were explicit, just how I like them, and there were at least six of them, two of which involved Philip and a man named Adam, which I liked best. The characters were emotionless, except for Christian, and the whole novel just didn't make sense.


house of pleasure blue



PAUL BERNARDO AND KARLA HOMOLKA: The True Story of the Ken and Barbie Killers (Crimes Canada: True Crimes That Shocked the Nation #3) by Peter Vronsky

paulPUBLISHING INFO: VP Publication, 5/2015
GENRE: Nonfiction/true crime/serial killers
PURCHASE: link
PAUL WIKI: link
KARLA WIKI: link
MY GRADE: B

FROM PUBLISHER: Paul Bernardo and Karla Homolka were so perfectly iconic as a newlywed couple that they were dubbed "Ken and Barbie". But their marriage had a dark side involving sex, death, and videotape. The 'perfect couple' first raped and murdered Karla's little sister and then kidnapped teenage schoolgirls whom they enslaved, raped, tortured and killed while gleefully recording themselves on video doing it. Vronsky will take you on the journey from the Scarborough Rapist (Bernardo) to Bordelais (Homolka's current last name) and her return to Canada in October, 2014 from the island of Gaudeloupe where she lived for several years with her husband and three children.


MY THOUGHTS: Though this book is condensed, just 161 pages, I feel like all the pertinent information was given and I don't really feel like I missed out on much. Though I know what Karla's been up to since her release from prison in July 2005, I think a bit more information should have been given about it. It wasn't even mentioned that she'd had an online children's clothing line until 2012/13.

The author is very unprofessional in his language. He used the word 'shit' to describe something, called another female serial killer 'stupid', called three other female killers 'trolls' when talking about how he doesn't think they're as attractive as Karla. He said Karla was a Facebook 'slut' before there was a Facebook. He called something a 'cluster-fuck', talked about 'blow jobs', 'licking ass', and 'sick, horrific shit'. Said Karla's husband was 'troll-like' and called Karla a 'homicidal bitch'.

He incorrectly stated that the three murdered girls would be 'in their forties'. Wrong. Only Karla's sister Tammy would be 40 this year, the other two, 39.

I've read many a nonfiction book, have since 1995, and have never seen an author sound so unprofessional. That would never have been allowed in a book being published by a major publisher. I'm embarrassed for him and don't know why the publisher allowed it. That's the type of language you read on blogs, forums, ect., not in professionally published books.

I think the book is well written, though lacking a bit in information in some areas. For someone who's never read about this case before, I don't recommend that you start with this. I think you need to start with one that has more information, such as Deadly Innocence (which has interviews with their friends), Invisible Darkness, or Lethal Marriage. I'd never read anything by this author again because of his lack of professionalism.

Other books about Paul and Karla:

Karla's Web by Frank Davies (published before Paul's trial in '95, I bought this in 2002 but never finished it)
Deadly Innocence (My favorite. I've read it three times and even wrote to Alan Cairns in 2002.)
Lethal Marriage by Nick Pron (read once)
Invisible Darkness by Stephen Williams (read twice)
Paul's Case: The Kingston Letters by Lynn Crosbie (not interested in reading)
Karla: A Pact with the Devil by Stephen Williams (read once)
Finding Karla by Paula Todd (not interested in reading)
Behind Every Successful Psychopath by Patricia Pearson (not interested in reading)
The Masks of Karla Homolka: My Interviews with Karla Homolka - The Ken and Barbie Sex Killer! by Dr. Paul Dawson (I bought this the other day. It's a gigantic paperback.)

Lori (now married and goes by Logan Valentini) Homolka's Facebook page is here. Her father, Karel, is the man in the photo wearing the green shirt and holding a beer. Lori is married with three (?) children.

Anything you want to know about Paul, Karla, and the trial can be found on the Watching Karla Homolka forum.

I've been reading about Paul and Karla since February 2001 and have seen three or four documentaries on them. My favorite is MSNBC Investigates 'To Have and to Kill' episode from 2000.

I purchased this book myself.



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THE BUNDY MURDERS: A COMPREHENSIVE HISTORY by Kevin M. Sullivan

bundyPUBLISHING INFO: McFarland
GENRE: Nonfiction/True Crime
PURCHASE: link
AUTHOR SITE: link
MY GRADE: A-

FROM PUBLISHER: Theodore Bundy was one of the most infamous, flamboyant American serial killers on record, and his story is a complex mix of psychopathology, criminal investigation, and the U.S. legal system. This in-depth examination of Bundy's life and his killing spree that totaled dozens of victims is drawn from legal transcripts, correspondence and interviews with detectives and prosecutors. Using these sources, new information on several murders is unveiled. The biography follows Bundy from his broken family background to his execution in the electric chair.

MY THOUGHTS: This was pretty informative and would be a good book for someone to begin with if they've never read about Ted. For the most part the murders are in chronological order but the story does jump around a bit.

I wish the author had gone into Ted's childhood/parentage a whole lot more and maybe discussed past interviews that his mother had given to the press. I wanted to know more about his wife, Carole Boone. He never mentioned Carol having Ted's child or how she could have gotten pregnant by him while he was in prison, since they had no conjugal visits (that we know of). But this book is titled 'The Bundy Murders' so murders are the primary focus of the book.

I don't like how, instead of using the word 'rape', the author says Ted either 'made love' or 'had sex' with the victim, during or after death. You can't do either to a kidnapped victim.

Ted confessed to over thirty murders and I wish there had been a list of names and dates in the book.

Overall I found this to be pretty detailed in some ways, every interesting throughout, and totally lacking in details in some places.

I received this from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. You can order a copy by calling them at 1-800-253-2187 or visiting their website, www.mcfarlandpub.com.