Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Once Upon A Time by Harry N. MacLean

Once Upon A Time: A True Story of Memory, Murder and the Law, Harry N. MacLean. New York: HarperCollins/ Crime Rant Classics, 1993. 535 pps.



     Susan Nason, fourth grader, went missing in Foster City, California in 1969. She was discovered dead a couple of months later. The homicide went unsolved for twenty years. Some say it remains unsolved to this day.

     George Thomas Franklin had some kids, a wife, a white van, and a sexual attraction to little girls. He beat all his kids-- George Jr., Janice, Eileen, and Diana-- and his wife Leah. He was not a nice man. 

     In 1989, Eileen Franklin began claiming that she had a sudden returning of memories of the murder of Susan Nason. And that her dad George Thomas Franklin had done it. Her retrieved memories involved hypnosis and the use of several therapists. She retrieved other memories of her father sexually abusing her. Later she would claim that her dad killed two other people. But he was cleared of the latter through D.N.A.

     There was a trial. George Thomas Franklin was put in prison as the murderer of Susan Nason.

sapphoq reviews says: I had heard or read bits and pieces of the Susan Nason/ George Thomas Franklin story before [finally] picking up this book. I'd heard that he was in A.A. and that his A.A. buddies had written a slew of letters to the judge. I also located the articles written in 1969 after the Susan Nason murder and some written during and after the trial. 
     George Thomas Franklin and Leah are now divorced. Leah has blossomed and is now an attorney herself. She denies many of the things that Eileen has "remembered." She was astonished to find that there was a claim that Eileen had rubbed a spot on her head bald and bloody. No such spot existed. Eileen's claim is that her mother Leah simply wasn't "there" mentally when she was growing up. This inattention is supposedly why Leah does not recall the spot.
     I had some problems with Eileen's claimed memories. Having read both Lenore Terr and Elizabeth Loftus, I tend to be in the Loftus camp. Eileen's "memories" kept changing as was convenient. Meanwhile, her dad [a creepy guy but perhaps not a murderer] languished in prison.
     Eileen going to the jail before the trial in an attempt to get a confession from her father was one of the reasons why George Thomas Franklin is a free agent today. During that visit, rather than get into the particulars of the case George pointed to a sign that stated that conversations may be monitored. I would have done the same, innocent or guilty.
     The portrayal of Eileen's older sister Janice was most interesting to me. She was bent on revenge. I would have liked to have known more about Janice. Although Eileen was one of the main characters of Once Upon A Time, I wonder about Janice and her rages. Janice was not addicted to being a victim. She simply wanted revenge.
     Harry N. MacLean did an excellent job with this book. Excepting those who object to any talk about the implications of repressed memories going viral in the present time, highly recommended.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Mark, There's a Beagle in My Bedroom! by Michael Ciardi

Mark, There's a Beagle in My Bedroom!, Michael Ciardi. self-published, 2014. e-book, 243 pps.

     Think of talking animals, microchips, drones, and some zany puns and you've got Michael Ciardi. Mark, There's a Beagle in My Bedroom! begins with a divorced guy who is forced to take in a roommate for the money. Mark, the new roommate, agrees to the "no pets" clause easily. But Kip comes home from his ordinary job to discover a beagle in his bedroom. The beagle's name is Bruce 5. Kip is a bit put out.

sapphoq reviews says: The puns in Mark, There's a Beagle in My Bedroom! flow freely and never stop until the very last word. Michael Ciardi has done an excellent job of entertaining me and moving the story plot along. Not for the under-aged set. Highly recommended for adults who enjoy playing with words.

Monday, August 18, 2014

The Magic Castle by Carole Smith

The Magic Castle: A mother's harrowing true story of her adoptive son's multiple personalities-- and the triumph of healing, Carole Smith. New York: St. Martin's Press/ Macmillan, 2014, 1998. e-book, 290 pps.

     Carole and her husband Sam decided to foster a so-called "special needs, emotionally disturbed" child. Alex was the child and he pretty much wrecked stuff. He was given to violent episodes. He was loud and abusive. He had a hard time maintaining himself in school. He was not a "nice" child for sure.

     At some point, Alex is a multiple, not a singleton. Help is called. Alex goes through a bunch of therapy, including hypnosis. Where would the world be without hypnosis? There are pictures included in the book. They are interesting but certainly not conclusive of anything.

     The accusations are made that his birth mother took care of at least one baby for the uh satanic cult that she was also a member of. Alex was allegedly being groomed for leadership, complete with a red robe. Naturally, the five-pointed [and upright] star with a circle drawn around it makes an appearance.

     Babies were killed and buried and stuff. Naturally, the site is no longer a field because progress and urbanization. There is no legal verification of what is offered as factual rather than possible evidence of.

sapphoq reviews says: In fields and parking lots and obscure graves across the United States are a bunch of dead babies allegedly killed by satanists for reasons which no one has ever really explained. Yes, kids get abused in horrible ways and some kids are murdered. I don't deny that. The problem that I have is that there is no actual physical evidence of dead babies anywhere that all the alleged followers of the dark prince left behind them after their blackened ceremonies of filth and stuff like that. I would want just one dead baby dug up that shows evidence of satanic sacrifice. Just one. But there is none so far. After how many years, why isn't there one dead sacrificed baby that can be put on display for the masses? Until such a baby shows up, I remain troubled by memories and recovered memories of figures in black robes killing babies [and possibly cats or other animals] and making snuff films of their own children. 
     While lacking grammatical errors, Carole Smith's writing is far from gifted. Book sounds more like an uneasy come-on to get religion in order to avoid buddies with cloven hooves. Unless you enjoy satanic panic literature, skip this one.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

The Big Exit by David Carnoy

The Big Exit, David Carnoy. New York: The Overlook Press, 2012. ebook, 318 pps.

     In this second book of David Carnoy's whodunnit mysteries, Beth Hill returns home to find her husband murdered. For reasons known only to herself, she lawyers up immediately. Suspicion falls upon her and also upon an ex-lover ex-con Frank Sinatra impersonator.

 sapphoq reviews says: Those who have read Knife Music will recognize some characters from that novel who are included in this one. The author once again excels at developing the personalities of his characters as well as realistic cop-speak and physician-speak. I got a real kick out of the Frank Sinatra impersonator. I loved this book and I am looking forward to more from David Carnoy. Once again, a mystery with intelligence behind it and a whopper of a whodunnit factor. Highly recommended.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Knife Music by David Carnoy

Knife Music, David Carnoy. New York: The Overlook Press, 2008. e-book, 292 pps.

     Dr. Ted Cogan is a respected trauma surgeon at Parkview Medical. A sixteen year old by the name of Kristen Kroiter is involved in an m.v.a. [motor vehicle accident] and winds up on his table. She lives. Life goes on. Kristen Kroiter goes home and resumes her life.

      A diary is found. It does not matter that Kristen wanted to do it. She is after all an underage teen living in California. The diary reveals an indiscretion on the part of Dr. Cogan. 

     He loses his job. There is an investigation. Heads roll.

sapphoq reviews says: David Carnoy is a master at whodunnit. [I am currently reading The Big Exit, his next book featuring some of the same characters]. He did an excellent job with the personalities and the conversations of both the medical staff and the police detectives. I did not see the ending coming at all. Sexual assault survivors who are still a bit fragile might stay away. For those of the rest of us who like our mysteries infused with high intelligence, absolutely recommended. 

Monday, August 04, 2014

The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith aka J.K. Rowling

The Silkworm: A Cormoran Strike Novel, Robert Galbraith a.k.a. J.K. Rowling. New York: Little, Brown and Company, 2014. e-book, 481 pps. 

     This is the second book in the Cormoran Strike series. The Silkworm deals what happened to a guy named Owen Quine who goes missing. Mrs. Quine hires Cormoran Strike, private investigator to find out where her husband is. Husband Owen Quine is an author of sorts who has a reputation for one good book followed by some pretty bad ones. His latest was leaked and bunches of people didn't like what the book was about at all. 

sapphoq reviews says: I liked the first Comoran Strike book and I enjoyed this one too. Here there be fancy publishers and A-list parties, weddings and funerals, and bits of traveling about. For those who enjoy murder mystery fiction as good as Agatha Christie, highly recommended.

The Lamb of God and Satan's Hairy Scrotum by Scott Crowder

The Lamb of God and Satan's Hairy Scrotum, Scott Crowder. self-published: r[E]volution Press, 2013. e-book, 23 pps.

This one is not for the faint of heart and not for believers either. Or for anyone who is not a legal adult.

The Lamb of God and Satan's Hairy Scrotum is a pretty disgusting but deeply creative story. To those who object, please note that what various religious groups have perpetrated in the name of their particular chosen deity or deities is far worse.

sapphoq reviews says: A bit of horror for your Sunday morning breakfast. I liked this one. Not safe for Christians but highly recommended for the irreligious.

A Hacker's Life Starter by Benjamin James

A Hacker's Life Starter-- Security Penetration Anywhere & Anytime, Benjamin James. self-published, 2014. e-book, 47 pps.


1.  No one in their right mind uses LOIC anymore since an incident involving the contamination of a LOIC download on pastebin which resulted in some arrests of hacktivists.

2.  Malware Bites is recommended as a good anti-viral tool. It is not. In my opinion, it is malware.

3.  This e-book has some formatting problems interspersed within each chapter.

4.  This e-book in my opinion is useless and offers bad advice.

sapphoq reviews says: Twenty five percent of American hackers have been turned by the F.B.I. into informants. If you want to learn how to hack, learn some code first. Read 2600 magazine. Hang out on Twitter [r] with members of Anonymous and also with the ninjas. Beware of egofags. Don't be a script kiddie and don't fall for what Benjamin James is selling. Totally and absolutely not recommended.

Nobody Comes by Anthony Cleary

Nobody Comes, Anthony Cleary. London?: Crux Publishing, 2014. e-book, 243 pps.

     After finding out the plight of Romanian children who were surrendered to state orphanages by parents too poor to take care of them, Anthony Cleary and his wife decided to adopt one or two of the children. Conditions were [are?] so bad in the orphanages that any child there after the age of three is considered to be permanently damaged/ traumatized and unreachable. Anthony Cleary and his mother flew out to Romania-- the author's wife is unable to tolerate airplanes-- but his mum got sick and had to return to England. 

     Nobody Comes is about what the Clearys went through in order to adopt a child from Romania. 

sapphoq reviews says: The conditions described in the state orphanages in Romania were horrific. I hope that things have gotten better there by now but perhaps not. 
     Nobody Comes was highly readable. Although I admire the willingness of the author and his wife to adopt a child from Romania, I did not appreciate the swipe that the author took at Richard Dawkins in the book. Other than that, a good enough book. Recommended.