An urgent, highly readable work of crime swiftly committed and justice long delayed.

THE DEVIL'S HARVEST

A RUTHLESS KILLER, A TERRORIZED COMMUNITY, AND THE SEARCH FOR JUSTICE IN CALIFORNIA'S CENTRAL VALLEY

Most contract killers view their acts as a job. BuzzFeed News West Coast investigations editor Garrison portrays one who took pleasure from murder.

Jose Manuel Martinez killed nearly 40 people in a 30-year period, sometimes for pay, sometimes simply because, in one case, someone parked in his driveway. He was finally convicted in three different states, but it took the police more than three decades to catch up to him even though they suspected him. There were a couple of reasons for the lag; Martinez claimed it was because he was “so damn good,” but Garrison has a different take: Of the Golden State Killer, who killed mostly white women, some 2,800 stories were written, whereas in the case of Martinez, “there were fewer than fifty.” The author ventures that Martinez, whose victims were mostly Mexican Americans and immigrants presumed to live in crime-ridden places with no advocates in law enforcement, “had found an ideal place to ply his trade” in California’s impoverished Central Valley. Garrison constructs a horrifying portrait of a man who began to kill when a relative was raped and murdered, found he was good at it, and made it a profession alongside drug-dealing and other crimes. The police caught up with him time and time again but could never make the charges stick beyond short sentences—as when he killed “a rat” and failed a lie-detector test on the matter but soon walked away because polygraphs aren’t admissible evidence in California courts. Garrison’s story involves a lot of personal back and forth with the now-imprisoned Martinez, who called her during his Florida trial to ask, “What is a sociopath?” “When I told him it referred to someone who had no conscience and lived outside the rules of society,” she writes, “he responded, ‘Huh,’ as if he wasn’t quite sure what to make of that.”

An urgent, highly readable work of crime swiftly committed and justice long delayed.

Pub Date: Aug. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-316-45568-8

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Hachette

Review Posted Online: April 26, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A handful of pearls amid a pile of empty oyster shells.

THE COMFORT BOOK

Bestselling author Haig offers a book’s worth of apothegms to serve as guides to issues ranging from disquietude to self-acceptance.

Like many collections of this sort—terse snippets of advice, from the everyday to the cosmic—some parts will hit home with surprising insight, some will feel like old hat, and others will come across as disposable or incomprehensible. Years ago, Haig experienced an extended period of suicidal depression, so he comes at many of these topics—pain, hope, self-worth, contentment—from a hard-won perspective. This makes some of the material worthy of a second look, even when it feels runic or contrary to experience. The author’s words are instigations, hopeful first steps toward illumination. Most chapters are only a few sentences long, the longest running for three pages. Much is left unsaid and left up to readers to dissect. On being lost, Haig recounts an episode with his father when they got turned around in a forest in France. His father said to him, “If we keep going in a straight line we’ll get out of here.” He was correct, a bit of wisdom Haig turned to during his depression when he focused on moving forward: “It is important to remember the bottom of the valley never has the clearest view. And that sometimes all you need to do in order to rise up again is to keep moving forward.” Many aphorisms sound right, if hardly groundbreaking—e.g., a quick route to happiness is making someone else happy; “No is a good word. It keeps you sane. In an age of overload, no is really yes. It is yes to having space you need to live”; “External events are neutral. They only gain positive or negative value the moment they enter our mind.” Haig’s fans may enjoy this one, but others should take a pass.

A handful of pearls amid a pile of empty oyster shells.

Pub Date: July 6, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-14-313666-8

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Penguin Life

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2021

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Not an easy read but an essential one.

Reader Votes

  • Readers Vote
  • 19

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2019

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

HOW TO BE AN ANTIRACIST

Title notwithstanding, this latest from the National Book Award–winning author is no guidebook to getting woke.

In fact, the word “woke” appears nowhere within its pages. Rather, it is a combination memoir and extension of Atlantic columnist Kendi’s towering Stamped From the Beginning (2016) that leads readers through a taxonomy of racist thought to anti-racist action. Never wavering from the thesis introduced in his previous book, that “racism is a powerful collection of racist policies that lead to racial inequity and are substantiated by racist ideas,” the author posits a seemingly simple binary: “Antiracism is a powerful collection of antiracist policies that lead to racial equity and are substantiated by antiracist ideas.” The author, founding director of American University’s Antiracist Research and Policy Center, chronicles how he grew from a childhood steeped in black liberation Christianity to his doctoral studies, identifying and dispelling the layers of racist thought under which he had operated. “Internalized racism,” he writes, “is the real Black on Black Crime.” Kendi methodically examines racism through numerous lenses: power, biology, ethnicity, body, culture, and so forth, all the way to the intersectional constructs of gender racism and queer racism (the only section of the book that feels rushed). Each chapter examines one facet of racism, the authorial camera alternately zooming in on an episode from Kendi’s life that exemplifies it—e.g., as a teen, he wore light-colored contact lenses, wanting “to be Black but…not…to look Black”—and then panning to the history that informs it (the antebellum hierarchy that valued light skin over dark). The author then reframes those received ideas with inexorable logic: “Either racist policy or Black inferiority explains why White people are wealthier, healthier, and more powerful than Black people today.” If Kendi is justifiably hard on America, he’s just as hard on himself. When he began college, “anti-Black racist ideas covered my freshman eyes like my orange contacts.” This unsparing honesty helps readers, both white and people of color, navigate this difficult intellectual territory.

Not an easy read but an essential one.

Pub Date: Aug. 13, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-50928-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: One World/Random House

Review Posted Online: April 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2019

Did you like this book?

more