A grimly compelling account of multiple murders.

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HIS GARDEN

CONVERSATIONS WITH A SERIAL KILLER

A true-crime story about a lawyer’s correspondence and conversations with a convicted New England serial killer.

William Devin Howell is currently serving six life sentences for ghastly crimes committed over nine months in 2003, in which seven people in and around New Britain, Connecticut, went missing. All were sex workers, and most were drug abusers. Howard, an attorney who wrote a blog called Serial Murders in Connecticut, focused her attention on Howell in 2015, when he was named a person of interest in the New Britain cold cases while already serving a 15-year sentence for one murder. Unlike I’ll Be Gone in the Dark author Michelle McNamara, whose famous obsession with identifying the Golden State Killer was rooted in a grisly cold case from her youth, Howard is hard-pressed to explain why she reached out to Howell other than that she “needed to figure out what made the man tick.” She’s candid about feigning concern for Howell as a ruse to get his permission for an initial interview, and she reveals feelings of sympathy and repulsion during their correspondence and monthly prison visits. Howard shared the manuscript with him, and she includes his objections to her interpretations of events in the book’s endnotes. It’s odd that she describes their relationship as “surprisingly intense”—the man is a convicted serial killer, after all, albeit one who was apparently able to mask the monster within (“He actually sounded kind of nice,” Howard’s paralegal reported after hearing a voicemail). Howard’s book is meticulous, however, and as it explores how Howell became a serial killer, it also does his victims and their families justice; the book not only offers up transcriptions of Howell’s recorded confessions, as well as Howard’s prison conversations and voluminous correspondence with him, it also presents highlights from “thousands of pages of trial transcripts, affidavits, police interviews, newspaper articles, [and] discussions with victims’ family members.”

A grimly compelling account of multiple murders.

Pub Date: June 11, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-947290-71-6

Page Count: 336

Publisher: WildBlue Press

Review Posted Online: Jan. 25, 2019

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MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. AND THE MARCH ON WASHINGTON

This early reader is an excellent introduction to the March on Washington in 1963 and the important role in the march played by Martin Luther King Jr. Ruffin gives the book a good, dramatic start: “August 28, 1963. It is a hot summer day in Washington, D.C. More than 250,00 people are pouring into the city.” They have come to protest the treatment of African-Americans here in the US. With stirring original artwork mixed with photographs of the events (and the segregationist policies in the South, such as separate drinking fountains and entrances to public buildings), Ruffin writes of how an end to slavery didn’t mark true equality and that these rights had to be fought for—through marches and sit-ins and words, particularly those of Dr. King, and particularly on that fateful day in Washington. Within a year the Civil Rights Act of 1964 had been passed: “It does not change everything. But it is a beginning.” Lots of visual cues will help new readers through the fairly simple text, but it is the power of the story that will keep them turning the pages. (Easy reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-448-42421-5

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2000

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WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD

A LIFETIME OF RECORDINGS

Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-19-508629-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1995

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