A potently rendered chronicle of rape and the clarity and closure achieved even when justice is only partially served.

JANE DOE JANUARY

MY TWENTY-YEAR SEARCH FOR TRUTH AND JUSTICE

The story of a Pennsylvania serial rapist who stood trial two decades after his assault on the author.

Mystery writer Winslow (The Red House, 2015) was a religiously chaste junior studying acting at Carnegie Mellon University in 1992 when she was violently raped in her apartment by Arthur Fryar. Police had few clues and little DNA to compare to the author’s forensic evidence, so the investigation stagnated—though the victim prodded the revolving team of detectives to continue sleuthing throughout the ensuing years. Winslow arrestingly depicts the rape and its harrowing physical and psychological fallouts as well as the undermining effects on her adult life as she struggled to connect emotionally and romantically with men. Though Fryar attacked another girl later that same year, his DNA only entered the criminal justice network after a drug arrest in 2002. After constant prodding, cold case rape kit DNA was reintroduced into the system, and matches were found to provide sufficient evidence to prosecute Fryar in 2013, but Winslow’s case remained unattributed to him. Her adult life as a married mother of two and an American expatriate living in “polite and formal and circumspect” Cambridge, England, was refocused on obsessively investigating Fryar herself and unearthing enough sound, actionable ties linking him to her assault. Winslow doggedly uncovered more about her rapist and prepared for a media-hyped trial with the aid of persistent investigators. Despite legal red tape—including Pennsylvania’s statute of limitation laws, which can only be overturned with DNA evidence—Fryar emerged as the smug prime suspect. Urgently written with forthright prose, the memoir’s serpentine suspense elements resemble the plot points seen in the kind of crime fiction the author writes herself. She doesn’t skimp on the intimate details of the intimidating court case or the mettle necessary to endure what proved to be a winding, mentally challenging, and ultimately disappointing journey toward retribution.

A potently rendered chronicle of rape and the clarity and closure achieved even when justice is only partially served.

Pub Date: May 24, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-06-243480-7

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: March 16, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2016

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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

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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

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