A deeply researched reclamation of a series of unfairly forgotten, gruesome crimes.

LAST CALL

A TRUE STORY OF LOVE, LUST, AND MURDER IN QUEER NEW YORK

The grisly account of a serial killer’s stint of murders in Manhattan in the early 1990s, unknown to many true-crime fans because his victims—older gay men—were viewed as dispensable.

It’s not until nearly halfway through this gripping book that Green cites the name of the killer, Richard Rogers Jr. That approach allows the author to expertly direct the suspense, leading readers to speculate about the background and personality of someone who was capable of dismembering a victim and placing the remains in trash bags. Those bags in particular—Rogers had a penchant for stuffing his targets in bags—were discovered by a maintenance worker at a rest area along the Pennsylvania Turnpike in 1991. Born in 1950 in Plymouth, Massachusetts, Rogers was a “gangly, awkward teenager” teased for his effeminacy, and he had few friends. Eventually, he developed into a bland, fanatic neatnik who commuted from his apartment on Staten Island to his job as a nurse at Mount Sinai Hospital in Manhattan. Rogers liked to chat up patrons of the Townhouse, a gay bar in Midtown that catered to professionals and had a “famous tendency for generous pours.” Green focuses on five of Rogers’ victims, though there is speculation he may have killed more. In addition to bestowing humanity and dignity on the victims, Green demonstrates impressive reporting chops. For example, he unearthed Rogers’ earliest killing in Maine even though the trial ended in an expunged record. The author also provides substantive documentation of the New York media’s and New York Police Department’s callous neglect of the murders. Only occasionally is the text marred by insipid writing—e.g., “Dead bodies tend to smell bad after a while.” Even though Green made dogged, repeated attempts to interview Rogers, who refused, the narrative would have benefitted from an analysis of the abnormal psychology that compelled Rogers, a gay man, to choose other gay men as his prey.

A deeply researched reclamation of a series of unfairly forgotten, gruesome crimes.

Pub Date: March 9, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-22435-4

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Celadon Books

Review Posted Online: Nov. 17, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 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?

A conversational, pleasurable look into McConaughey’s life and thought.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

GREENLIGHTS

All right, all right, all right: The affable, laconic actor delivers a combination of memoir and self-help book.

“This is an approach book,” writes McConaughey, adding that it contains “philosophies that can be objectively understood, and if you choose, subjectively adopted, by either changing your reality, or changing how you see it. This is a playbook, based on adventures in my life.” Some of those philosophies come in the form of apothegms: “When you can design your own weather, blow in the breeze”; “Simplify, focus, conserve to liberate.” Others come in the form of sometimes rambling stories that never take the shortest route from point A to point B, as when he recounts a dream-spurred, challenging visit to the Malian musician Ali Farka Touré, who offered a significant lesson in how disagreement can be expressed politely and without rancor. Fans of McConaughey will enjoy his memories—which line up squarely with other accounts in Melissa Maerz’s recent oral history, Alright, Alright, Alright—of his debut in Richard Linklater’s Dazed and Confused, to which he contributed not just that signature phrase, but also a kind of too-cool-for-school hipness that dissolves a bit upon realizing that he’s an older guy on the prowl for teenage girls. McConaughey’s prep to settle into the role of Wooderson involved inhabiting the mind of a dude who digs cars, rock ’n’ roll, and “chicks,” and he ran with it, reminding readers that the film originally had only three scripted scenes for his character. The lesson: “Do one thing well, then another. Once, then once more.” It’s clear that the author is a thoughtful man, even an intellectual of sorts, though without the earnestness of Ethan Hawke or James Franco. Though some of the sentiments are greeting card–ish, this book is entertaining and full of good lessons.

A conversational, pleasurable look into McConaughey’s life and thought.

Pub Date: Oct. 20, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-13913-4

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2020

Did you like this book?

more