Review: The Little Girl on the Ice Flow: Adélaïde Bon

The Little Girl on the Ice Floe

Adélaïde Bon

Maclehose Press

Hachette Australia

RRP $35

 

Description:

“Life itself is in these pages: in this candid, poetic style there is storytelling of real quality” – LEILA SLIMANI, author of Lullaby

 

A powerful and personal account of the devastating consequences of childhood rape: a valuable voice for the #MeToo conversation.

 

Adélaïde Bon grew up in a wealthy neighborhood in Paris, a privileged child with a loving family, lots of friends and seemingly limitless opportunity lying ahead of her. But one sunny afternoon, when she was nine years old, a strange man followed her home and raped her in the stairwell of her building. She told her parents, they took her to the police, the fact of the crime was registered … and then a veil was quietly drawn over that part of her childhood, and life was supposed to go on.

 

Except, of course, it didn’t.

 

Throughout her adolescence and young adulthood, Adélaïde struggles with the aftermath of the horror of that afternoon in 1990. The lingering trauma pervades all aspects of her life: family education, friendships, relationships, even her ability to eat normally. And then one day, many years later, when she is married and has a small son, she receives a call from the police saying that they think they have finally caught the man who raped her, a man who has hidden in plain sight for decades, with many other victims ready to testify against him. The subsequent court case reveals Giovanni Costa, the stuff of nightmares and bogeymen, finally vanquished by the weight of dozens and dozens of emotional and horrifying testimonies from all the women whose lives and childhoods he stole.

 

My View:

I am ready to call this The Best Memoir of 2019!

 

This is an amazing story – Adélaïde Bon’s childhood was stolen from her by a calculating and despicable man, the dark cloud of his actions remained with her for many years, unconsciously influencing her every decision and mood. Adélaïde is a brave and resourceful young woman who has used her personal story to further the #MeToo discussion.

 

Let me share a scene that I found profound. This is a scene from one of Adélaïde’s discussion with her psychiatrist (p179-180):

Psychiatrist: “Her father may have been violent. Your assailant had carefully chosen that girl. It’s quicker, less dangerous and even less tiring to assault someone who has already experienced violence.   A victim who hasn’t had any therapy disassociates herself almost immediately, assailants know how to identify them, know they won’t put up a fight, and that they probably won’t be able to say anything afterwards.   The fact that you were doing fine, that you lived in a close knit, loving family, where there was no domestic violence or corporal punishment, meant that he had to make more of an effort to make you disassociate. That’s certainly why he went so far with you. To guarantee his impunity. “

 

Adélaïde: “So afterwards, I was easier prey than the others? Is that why I attract all the perverts for miles around?”

 

Psychiatrist: “Yes. Unfortunately, the main risk factor in being the victim of violence is to have already experienced it. But you are recovering.”

 

This explains so much of life.

 

Unbelievably brave, I do not know where Adélaïde found the strength to allow love into her life and to recover from the trauma she suffered and then to write her incredibly haunting journey into the book that is “The Little Girl on the Ice Flow”.  This is a powerful and moving read, written by an incredibly talented and strong woman. I salute you Adélaïde Bon.

 

PS the translation is pitch perfect.

That’s a Wrap – My Last Review of 2018: Evil Has A Name

Evil Has A Name

Evil Has a Name

The Untold Story of the Golden State Killer Investigation

Paul Holes, Jim Clemente, Peter McDonnell

Audible

ASIN: B07H7RYQ5P

 

Description:

The Golden State Killer. The East Area Rapist. The Original Night Stalker. The Visalia Ransacker.

 

The monster who preyed on Californians from 1976 to 1986 was known by many aliases. And while numerous police sketches tried to capture his often-masked visage, the Golden State Killer spent more than 40 years not only faceless, but nameless.

 

For his victims, for their families and for the investigators tasked with finding him, the senselessness and brutality of the Golden State Killer’s acts were matched only by the powerlessness they felt at failing to uncover his identity. To be sure, the chances of obtaining closure—or any form of justice—after so many years were slim to none, at best.

 

Then, on April 24, 2018, authorities arrested 72-year-old Joseph James DeAngelo at his home in Citrus Heights, Calif., based on DNA evidence linked to the crimes. After a decades-long hunt, a suspect was behind bars. Could it be that evil finally had a name?

 

Delivering all-new details about the investigation and a stunning final act to the events of Michelle McNamara’s haunting bestseller, I’ll Be Gone in the Dark, this is the true story of how the suspected Golden State Killer was captured, as told, first-hand, by those closest to the case:

 

Paul Holes—the forensic criminologist and retired Costa County detective who spent 20 years trying to crack the Golden State Killer case, and finally did.

 

Jim Clemente (Host)—a retired FBI profiler and former New York City prosecutor who has investigated some of the highest profile criminal cases in U.S. history, including the Unabomber.

 

**Please note: This work contains descriptions of violent crime and sexual assault and may not be suitable for all listeners. **

 

My View:

Listening to this audio book was like watching a well-made documentary. The cast is outstanding – investigators, police, criminologists, a genealogist, a journalist, a profiler and the poignant voices of some of the victims and family of the victims. The narration was perfectly delivered.

 

This is a narrative that will remind you that crime, violent crimes in particular, have a heavy impact not only on the victims but on the friends, family, the first responders, the investigators and the community the victim lives in. So many carry the pain, the hurt, the fear. So many repercussions.

 

Despite numerous warnings regarding the explicit nature of some of the content I was not offended or horrified by the said content; it was not gratuitously presented, it was not sensationalised, it was honest. It was, at times, difficult to listen to the pain the survivors and their families carry with them, but their voices were integral to the completeness of the story. The only person we did not hear from, and of that I am relived, is the voice of the perpetrator. There is no justification for his actions. I do not need to understand his motivations. I am glad he has finally be called to account for his actions.

 

This is a remarkable true story. I applauded at the ending.

 

 

 

 

Sneak Peak – True Crime: Evil Has A Name – Audible

Evil Has A NameAre you a fan or true crime or audio books? If so this new release audio book is for you. Narrated by the Paul Holes ,the forensic criminologist and retired Costa County Detective who spent 20 years trying to crack the Golden State Killer case, and who finally did. And Jim Clemente who is a retired FBI profiler and former New York City prosecutor who has investigated some of the highest profile criminal cases in US history, including the Unabomber.

I love books narrated by the authors or those involved in the narrative, there is so much more the narrator can bring to the reading including authenticity and personal insights/point of view.

 

EVIL HAS A NAME

THE UNTOLD STORY OF THE GOLDEN STATE KILLER INVESTIGATION, ONLY FROM AUDIBLE

Audible Original | 16 November 2018 | Audible.com.au | Free with a 30-day trial, or one credit with your $16.45/month Audible membership

The Golden State Killer. The East Area Rapist. The Original Night Stalker. The Visalia Ransacker. The monster who preyed on Californians from 1976 to 1986 was known by many aliases. And while numerous police sketches tried to capture his often-masked visage, the Golden State Killer spent more than 40 years not only faceless, but nameless.

For his victims, their families and the investigators tasked with finding him, the senselessness and brutality of the Golden State Killer’s acts were matched only by the powerlessness they felt at failing to uncover his identity. To be sure, the chances of obtaining closure—or any form of justice—after so many years were slim to none, at best.

Delivering all-new details about the investigation and a stunning final act to the events of Michelle McNamara’s haunting bestseller, I’ll Be Gone in the Dark, this is the true story of how the suspected Golden State Killer was captured, as told, first-hand, by those closest to the case.

Evil Has a Name: The Untold Story of the Golden State Killer Investigation is free for new members with a 30-day trial from Audible.com.au.

Please note: This audiobook contains descriptions of violent crime and sexual assault and may not be suitable for all listeners.”  Audible

Check out the book trailer from Audible here

 

 

Review: Unnatural Causes – Dr Richard Shepherd

Unnatural Causes

Unnatural Causes

Dr Richard Shepherd

Penguin

Michael Joseph

ISBN: 9781405923545

RRP $34.99

 

Description:

A gripping memoir by one of the UK’s most prominent and experienced pathologists. His work has turned cases on their heads and put murderers behind bars. But his obsession with trying to learn what the dead are telling us began in medical school during his first autopsy. Holding the heart of the patient in his hands, he thought of his late mother, who’d died young from coronary heart disease. He wanted to help the living by learning about death. And, in the case of his criminal work, he wanted to see justice.

 

Intelligent, insightful, chilling – sometimes bizarre – and always unputdownable.

 

Unnatural Causes is the true crime book of the year from an expert who’s opening his records and sharing his casebook for the first time.

 

 

My View:

For a pathologist this author makes a wonderful wordsmith!

 

This is an intriguing narrative, a creative memoir that discusses the changes in society and attitudes to policing, medicine and science in an easy to read format that is engaging and illuminating. The discussion around autopsies, mass shootings/acts of terror and suspicious deaths are handled sensitively and considerately, the writer’s humanness shines through these sections of the book.

 

The author is open, honest and empathetic.  This is a sensitively and intelligently written book that will appeal to lovers of memoir, history, true crime and social science.

 

 

 

Best True Crime Read of 2016

I didn’t have to think twice when I was deciding which book deserves this accolade. I think this is a book that all people should read –  yes it might make you feel a little uncomfortable at times, yes it is sometimes brutal and it is hard to believe that this sort of thing is happening in modern Australia ( and this issue not endemic  to Australia – it is world wide.)

 

This narrative is exceptionally well written. It is emotional, it is challenging, it is heartbreaking and it shares shocking life altering truths.  Thank you to all the brave women and families who shared their painful intimate stories. Thanks you to Megan Norris for revealing these stories with candour and without sensationalism .  Education is the key. Awareness is needed.

 

The most moving book I have read in such a long time:

 

Megan Norris

Look What You Made Me Do, Fathers Who Kill

Megan Norris

 

 

Doesn’t Time Fly?

Here it is December 2016 already.  I cant believe it – this year has flown by, life has been busy; a grandson was born and he is now 8 months old.  Recipes have been tried and tested and many books have been read and reviewed – around the one hundred seventy mark thus far.

I am enjoying sharing the joy of reading with my grandson (with  appropriate titles) – it is never too early to encourage a love of reading.

Recently I invited a couple of ardent readers to share some of their favoruite reads on my site – to broaden the type of book reviews available here.  I hope you find some new favourite books and authors.  Thank you Bec and Brenda.

 

The reading year has not yet wound up – there is a blog tour ahead; the launch of Rachel Amphlett’s new police procedural series, Scared to Death. There is a   Q & A with debut Perth writer Anthea Hodgson, a Christmas menu to compile and share and a series of “best of 2016 reads” for you to comment on and…more reviews.

scared-to-death-blog-tour4-19-23-dec

 

Seasons greetings to you.

Christmas pavlova

 

 

Dedicated to the Covert Operatives – Kate Kyriacou – Guest Post

The Sting

The Sting: The Undercover Operation That Caught Daniel Morcombe’s Killer

Kate Kyriacou

Echo Publishing

ISBN: 9781760067427

kate-kyriacou_1

Welcome Kate to my blog.

Kate Kyriacou is the Brisbane Courier-Mail‘s chief crime reporter. She has won awards, both at a state and national level, for her work as a crime writer.
 Dedicated to the Covert Operatives 

You see and hear a lot of things as a journalist. You sit in court, you stand at crime scenes. You talk to investigators, lawyers, witnesses. You talk to families, grieving families who have lost someone.

 

So many things stay with you. I once walked into a house set up for a kid’s 18th birthday party. There were balloons and streamers and presents. But he’d died that morning – along with two of his mates – in a car crash on a country road.

 

But there is nothing quite like the total immersion that comes with writing a book. Day after day I sat reading through research, court transcripts and articles on an eight-year investigation into the kidnapping and murder of a 13-year-old boy. Thousands of pages. Many, many phone calls.

 

I wrote The Sting after sitting through the trial into Daniel Morcombe’s murder. Covert police had spent months posing as members of a criminal gang, convincing their suspect, Brett Peter Cowan, that he was on his way to being one of them. Soon he would be earning big money, living a life of fast cars and parties – a brotherhood. He’d never been part of anything, so by the end, he was hooked.

 

It was incredibly rare to get such an insight into the workings of a covert operation. In court we heard recordings, testimony from covert officers and had access to pages and pages of transcripts. Later, I was given access to one of the covert officers and gained more insight through my own research.

 

It’s a horrible thing to enter that world. To listen to the things a man like Brett Cowan likes to talk about. It’s hard to imagine what it would have been like for those covert officers. I know they hated him, hated having to laugh along every day, join in on his jokes. And the secrecy of the operation meant they had nobody to talk to at the end of each day. The judge talked about it in court before some of the recordings were played. Just be aware, she told Daniel’s partners who sat in the public gallery, that these covert officers are saying things and responding to things in order to further the investigation. They don’t really find him funny. They don’t really mean the things that they say. This is not who they are.

 

I dedicated the book to those guys. Because of the work they do, their identities can’t be revealed. And that means they can’t get the public recognition they deserve for the incredible work they did.

 

But we can read about it…