Painstakingly researched, exhaustive and direct; true-crime enthusiasts will not be disappointed.


This debut true-crime book offers a meticulously detailed account of the Original Night Stalker, who terrorized California for years and was never caught.

In the mid- to late ’70s, a man dubbed the East Area Rapist committed a series of rapes in California. He was never apprehended for his crimes, and years later, all DNA testing could do was link the anonymous man to a string of unsolved murders attributed to someone the authorities had taken to calling the Original Night Stalker. Gray’s book discusses the crimes as if they were perpetrated by one person, known as the EAR-ONS, and Gray’s choice to outline the rapes/murders chronologically is a smart one, showing a man’s disturbing descent into progressively more hostile and lethal acts. The EAR-ONS’ assaults are presented in “phases” that reveal his frightening evolution—from targeting female victims to male/female couples; moving to other cities; and developing heightened aggression that featured biting. Gray approaches the material in a dispassionate tone, relaying the events like a report, with phases using subheaders such as Dates and Times, Modus Operandi, and Evidence. This, however, allows the book to focus on the more human qualities of the rapist-murderer; instead of treating the man like a monster, Gray deliberates on the ways in which the EAR-ONS evaded the police, in particular by wearing a mask and stopping his crimes altogether when the media coverage intensified. The book does occasionally become repetitive; at several different points, for instance, Gray notes the possibility that the EAR-ONS learned to conceal his identity from reading and watching detective movies and magazines. His “Personal Theory,” in which Gray essentially dramatizes the crimes from the killer’s perspective, is mostly reiteration made up of speculations that were voiced earlier in the book. The author also includes conjecture on how the EAR-ONS might have spent his childhood years and offers potential lessons, such as increasing citizen awareness via billboards—an approach that, as Gray mentions, has worked. Though not quite as scary as the author suggests—he recommends locking your door before reading the book—it is irrefutably unsettling; the EAR-ONS creeping into a house to unload the homeowners’ gun prior to an attack will make most readers shiver.

Painstakingly researched, exhaustive and direct; true-crime enthusiasts will not be disappointed.

Pub Date: Aug. 26, 2013

ISBN: 978-0615813059

Page Count: 292

Publisher: Freeway Books

Review Posted Online: June 19, 2014

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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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From the national correspondent for PBS's MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour: a moving memoir of her youth in the Deep South and her role in desegregating the Univ. of Georgia. The eldest daughter of an army chaplain, Hunter-Gault was born in what she calls the ``first of many places that I would call `my place' ''—the small village of Due West, tucked away in a remote little corner of South Carolina. While her father served in Korea, Hunter-Gault and her mother moved first to Covington, Georgia, and then to Atlanta. In ``L.A.'' (lovely Atlanta), surrounded by her loving family and a close-knit black community, the author enjoyed a happy childhood participating in activities at church and at school, where her intellectual and leadership abilities soon were noticed by both faculty and peers. In high school, Hunter-Gault found herself studying the ``comic-strip character Brenda Starr as I might have studied a journalism textbook, had there been one.'' Determined to be a journalist, she applied to several colleges—all outside of Georgia, for ``to discourage the possibility that a black student would even think of applying to one of those white schools, the state provided money for black students'' to study out of state. Accepted at Michigan's Wayne State, the author was encouraged by local civil-rights leaders to apply, along with another classmate, to the Univ. of Georgia as well. Her application became a test of changing racial attitudes, as well as of the growing strength of the civil-rights movement in the South, and Gault became a national figure as she braved an onslaught of hostilities and harassment to become the first black woman to attend the university. A remarkably generous, fair-minded account of overcoming some of the biggest, and most intractable, obstacles ever deployed by southern racists. (Photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-374-17563-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1992

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