A truly visceral read that will not let readers look away.

MAGNETIZED

CONVERSATIONS WITH A SERIAL KILLER

In his second book, Busqued unnerves and entertains readers with this forensic tale synthesized from more than 90 hours of dialogue with a serial killer.

The author’s interviews with Ricardo Melogno detail not only his crimes, which took place during one week in 1982, but also his motivations—or lack thereof—and the killer’s fascinating, disturbing psyche. When asked by the narrator, Melogno readily admitted to shooting four taxi drivers at point-blank range. However, when pressed about why he did it, he was unable to offer a satisfying answer. According to the court investigator who arrested Melogno, he waited until “something indicated ‘that one’ to him. He could sense it, but he didn’t know how or why. He couldn’t say why he killed them, or how he chose them.” From there, readers embark on a dark journey into Melogno’s childhood, when he was largely neglected but occasionally accompanied his abusive mother to spiritual and healing ceremonies. “My mother used religion as a weapon: she beat the living daylights out of me, but she’d say it wasn’t her who was beating me, it was God punishing me through her.” Due to his upbringing, Melogno developed superstitions and beliefs in certain dark arts: “In all those places my mother took me…well, everyone said that I had this strong ability for channeling that I had inherited from her.” Due to his presence and his behavior, described by some as an “evil streak,” many inmates and guards feared him, a situation Melogno describes with particular intensity. Though this book is short, it packs a hard punch, from the first page—Busqued’s first comment to Melogno: “I was told that someone saw you levitate”—through the artfully rendered interview process with criminal, arresting officers, and psychiatrist. The narrative is perfect for anyone fascinated by the criminal mind, the distinctions between mental illness and possession, or the concept of predestined evil.

A truly visceral read that will not let readers look away.

Pub Date: June 2, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-948226-68-4

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Catapult

Review Posted Online: Feb. 7, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

THE 48 LAWS OF POWER

The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

Did you like this book?

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

NIGHT

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

Did you like this book?

more