BLOOD RELATIVE

PORTRAIT OF A MASS MURDER

Using what he calls ``novelistic strategies,'' Milwaukee Sentinel reporter Stephenson vividly recounts events surrounding the July 4, 1987, murder of five members of the bizarre Kunz family of northern Wisconsin. Stephenson opens with the 1905 murder of one Mary Kunz by her ``imbalanced'' son, J. Wenzel. It was Wenzel's nephews and nieces- -Clarence, Irene, Marie, and Helen, all in their 70s and 80s—as well as Helen's 30-year-old son, Randy, who were murdered at the family home in 1987. The bodies—except for Helen's, which was found nearly a year later—were discovered by Helen's oldest son, Kenny, whose father, it was believed, was his own murdered Uncle Clarence, Helen's brother. Kenny told investigators of observing his mother and uncle having sex, and the murdered Randy was known to share his mother's bed as well. Apparently, it was Randy's watching of pornographic videos that prompted Helen to complain to a local merchant that she ``could kill them all.'' At first, Helen was considered a prime suspect, but when Kenny mentioned some teenagers he'd sold old cars to, the information led to the arrest of Chris Jacobs III, an auto thief and ``kind of a troublemaker'' who, the cops believed, murdered the five Kunzes during a robbery gone wrong. Jacobs owned several .22-caliber weapons of the sort used in the murders; at his home, police found shells that matched those that killed the Kunzes; his car's tires matched tracks found near the scene; and Helen's body surfaced near his family's farm. But since the murder weapon was never found and so much of the evidence was circumstantial, a jury found Jacobs not guilty, and the killings remain unsolved. Stephenson intelligently pieces together autopsy and police reports, newspaper accounts, and court testimony to tell his grisly and creepy, but irresistible, story. (Thirty b&w photographs—not seen)

Pub Date: June 15, 1993

ISBN: 0-929387-91-0

Page Count: 220

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 1993

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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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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