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SLENDERMAN – REVIEW

Litercurious Book Review

Slenderman by Kathleen Hale
Slenderman by Kathleen Hale
TitleSlenderman: Online Obsession, Mental Illness,
and Violent Crime of Two Midwestern Girls
AuthorKathleen Hale
PublisherGrove Press (August 16, 2022)
GenreSchizophrenia, Violence in Society, True Crime, Computer History and Culture
Pages363
LanguageEnglish
ISBN #978-0802159809

Anissa later said. The new final plan, at that point, was to lure Bella into the woods, set her loose, and then hunt her down-“like lionesses,” SLENDERMAN, Kathleen Hale

AUTHOR

Kathleen Hale was born and raised in Wisconsin. She graduated from Harvard in 2010. She is now a TV writer and true crime author based in Los Angeles. Her work has been published in Vanity Fair and other outlets.

SYNOPSIS

Just how did an Internet meme of a fictitious Boogeyman, and two pre-teens end up in the tale of an attempted murder? More importantly, why did it happen at all?

It was the crime that shocked the world; every bit as infamous as the first US thrill killers Leopold and Loeb. The two adolescent girls conspired together, to befriended, lure, and stab their mutual acquaintance in a secluded woodland. Morgan and Anissa intended to act as proxies in the crime in order to becalm the Slenderman and save their own lives. In a complex, planned and highly detailed scheme, Morgan and Anissa conspired to kill. Fortunately, fate intervened and whilst terribly injured Bella endured the ferocious attack, but only just; having come within a millimeter of death.

Morgan Geyser, Anissa Weier and Payton “Bella” Leutner all lived in the idyllic Midwestern town called Waukesha, Wisconsin. Back in 2014, the three were peers in the sixth grade at the same local school. Whilst Bella was considered to be a happy well adjusted child, Anissa and Morgan were considered to be a little “strange.”

Morgan had a serious unseen mental health condition that she inherited from her father. No one understood just how ill she was and although she was a highly intelligent girl, she had an uncontrollable dark side; complete with visual and auditory hallucinations. She also suffered periods of manic behavior and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) as well as paranoia and dissociation. Her multiple challenges, noted by her peer group, left her isolated, bullied and derided by her cohorts and marginalized by the school faculty. As a consequence, Morgan Geyser would look for solace and lose herself in literature and the internet. It was on the Web that she first discovered the fantasy character – Slenderman.

Slenderman was a fictional character originally created for a Creepypasta meme by Eric Kundsen in 2009. Morgan, the troubled and lonely 12 year old became obsessed, and so began the fascination that led to the events of 31 May 2014. Soon Anissa was also introduced to the Slenderman, and what had begun with an interest quickly became their shared mutual obsession.

On that fateful day in 2014, Morgan and Anissa led Bella to nearby woodlands on the pretext of playing a game of hide-and-seek. Morgan used this excuse to pursue and eventually stab Bella 19 times. Convinced that Bella was dead Anissa and Morgan followed their plan to travel the hundred miles to join the Slenderman at his reputed home in the Nicolet National Forest.

What followed was a criminal trial that stunned the world, and that decided the futures of two twelve-year old children. So serious was the crime they were tried as adults despite their tender years.

CONCLUSION

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Hale has produced a sympathetic account of a horrific crime; the attempted stabbing murder of 12 year old Payton “Bella” Leutner by two of her classmates in order to appease the fictional character Slenderman. The seriousness of Morgan Geyser’s actions are in no way ignored. Hale acknowledges that illness was one feature of this crime obsession, and she also opines that perhaps there may have been an element of “folie a deux.” 

The author does a great job detailing the chronological events and of the crime itself as well as the the lives of all those directly involved. She covers the length and the breadth of the children from their upbringing, family history, their social interactions, the crime and the punishment. There is a sense that Hale fells some sympathy as she pays special attention to the mental health of Morgan and the lack of treatment she received prior to the crime and afterwards. Morgan was diagnosed with early onset schizophrenia, also known as adolescent onset schizophrenia while in custody.

Despite the significant life long injuries suffered by Bella, Hale prompts us to consider if it was appropriate for children of twelve years to be tried as adults; especially as the children had documented mental health challenges that were not being adequately treated at the time of the offense.

According to Hale, the medical neglect of Morgan prior to the crime and the neglect and clinical mismanagement since she has been incarcerated increased her continuing dis-functionality.

Slenderman by Kathleen Hale was an exceptional work; detailed, concise, informative and respectful. The focus of this book is different from many other true crime books. The interplay between the various individuals was the primary focus, and it made for a more fulfilling and satisfying read.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I would like to thank Kathleen Hale, Grove Press, and NetGalley for affording me the opportunity to review Slenderman: Online Obsession, Mental Illness, and Violent Crime of Two Midwestern Girls.

OTHER BOOKS BY THIS AUTHOR

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WE THOUGHT WE KNEW YOU – Audiobook Review

We Thought We Knew You, by M. William Phelps who also wrote, Murder in The Heartland. In We Thought We Knew You Phelps introduces us to the true crime account of Mrs Mary Yoder. Who collapsed and died. Initially her is death though to be from natural causes until her autopsy reveals the terrible truth that Mary has been murdered.

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Written in bone – Review

“Dark, mysterious at times and enlightening. Written in the Bone is satisfying as it is truly disturbing; with a shocking personal revelation that comes out of no where. ” Litercurious.com

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The Organ Thieves – REVIEW

The Organ Thieves is a compassionate retelling of events that introduced a new and highly anticipated advance in medical science. It’s a real-life drama of a radical new cutting-edge medical procedure, involving esteemed surgeons and a seemingly inebriated, impecunious victim of an accident. The apparent theft of the heart and two kidneys from a decent hardworking man, eventually resulting in a $1,000,000 lawsuit.

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A HAUNTED ROAD ATLAS – REVIEW

LITERCURIOUS BOOK REIVEW

A Haunted Road Atlas by Christine Schiefer & Em Schultz
A Haunted Road Atlas – Christine Schiefer & Em Schultz
TitleA Haunted Road Atlas: Sinister Stops, Dangerous Destinations, and True Crime Tales
AuthorChristine Schiefer & Em Schultz
PublisherAndrews McMeel Publishing (May 31, 2022)
FormatKindle, Paperback, Audiobook
GenreHistory Humor, Supernaturalism, Internet
Social Media Humor
Pages / Runtime304 / 6 hours and 45 minutes / 473 KB
LanguageEnglish
ISBN / ASINBook 978-1524872106
Kindle B09TVHJLLC
Audiobook B09VYDGBWQ

AUTHORS

Taken from the A Haunted Road Atlas

SYNOPSIS

A Haunted Road Atlas is written and performed by Christine Schiefer and her co-author Em Schultz. There is one word that sums up this insanity; cleverly wrapped up in either the written work or the unabridged audiobook, and that word is – fun. Schiefer and Schultz have created a powerful diversion from everyday irrelevant concerns with their fantabulous journey across the entire Continental United States!

Now back to the review. The book is subdivided into individual geographic locations. The reader joins the trip mentally with Christine and Em, visiting haunted hotels, paranormal tours and strange and weird places. That’s not all; oh no! A Haunted Road Atlas also covers: notorious criminals, murders, mayhem, massacres, and con-men. All these are accompanied by fun facts and opinions. I both read and listened to their productions, and I highly recommend the audiobook version. The narrative is rapid delivered and the staccato humor just blew my socks off.

CONCLUSION

Imagine for a moment the most unhinged but fun person that you know or can imagine. Now add in a touch of Zac Bagin’s of Ghost Adventures fame. Sprinkle in some spooky places with two uproarious, loud and gregarious story tellers, and you have a simple idea of just how deep the rabbit hole goes.

It confounds me just how they managed to cram so much humor into this book. If you enjoy alternative humor, delivered by consummate entertainers look no further.

I sincerely hope that they manage to get to visit Alaska and Hawaii just so that there will be another magical creation.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I would like to thank Christine Schiefer & Em Schultz, Andrews McMeel Publishing, and NetGalley for affording me the opportunity to review A Haunted Road Atlas: Sinister Stops, Dangerous Destinations, and True Crime Tales.

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A Hunted Road Atlas by Christine Schiefer and Em Schultz
A Hunted Road Atlas by Christine Schiefer and Em Schultz

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London A-Z – REVIEW

Be it the times of Pax Romanaus or Pax Britainica always have your trusty and reliable cartographic entertainment on your person, because you never know when you’ll need the London A-Z.

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Norman 2 – REVIEW

Norman 2 is the sequel to Norman: The Doll That Needed to Be Locked Away. An ominous comment from the store owner peaked Lancaster’s interest, and he bought the doll and took it home. Almost immediately, strange and unexplainable things start happening.

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DEAD SILENCE – REVIEW

The crew, alerted to an emergency transmission, reluctantly answers the call and discovers horrors, mysteries, phantoms, and challenges beyond their imagination. Claire Kovalik must conquer her conflicted self, the crew, and the company to find her own salvation in the face of incredible odds. Dead Silence is expertly crafted and the stress ramps up as the story advances. There are shocks, jump scares, and descriptions of horrific encounters throughout.

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THE HUNT FOR MH370 – REVIEW

Litercurious.com

Audio & Book Reviews Site. Why watch when you can read?

The Hunt For MH370: The Mystery. The Cover-up. The Truth, Ean Higgins
The Hunt For MH370: The Mystery. The Cover-up. The Truth
TitleThe Hunt For MH370: The Mystery. The Cover-up.
The Truth
AuthorEan Higgins
PublisherMacmillan Australia (February 26, 2019)
FormatKindle, Audiobook, Paperback
Pages334
GenreAviation History, Commercial Aviation
LanguageEnglish
ASIN #B07K9HPR71

“Good night. Malaysian Three Seven Zero.

The last recorded radio transmission from MH370’s, Flight’s Captain, Zaharie Ahmad Shah spoken to Malaysian Air Traffic Control (ATC) at 01:19. There was no further communication from the aircraft.

AUTHOR

Ean Higgins grew up in Texas and Quebec, before moving to Australia with his Canadian father and Australian mother. He has worked as a reporter, section editor, chief-of-staff and foreign correspondent for Australia’s three national newspapers over nearly four decades. He served his cadetship on the Australian

Financial Review where he was appointed the newspaper’s first New Zealand correspondent, then moved to the Fairfax group’s investigative title Times on Sunday, before joining The Australian in 1988 where among other roles he served as foreign news editor, Inquirer editor, Europe correspondent and Sydney bureau chief. In recent years he has returned to reporting on The Australianfocusing on crime, corruption, politics, aviation and the interplay among them. Higgins holds a bachelor’s degree in international relations from the University of Sussex, and a master’s from the Australian National University. He learned to fly as a young man in Quebec, as a student piloting Cessna 150s on skis in winter. He won a Kennedy Award for Best Online Reporting for his coverage of a bush fire, and a Quebec Grand Prize for Independent Journalism for an opinion piece on language politics published in the French-language national daily Le Devoir.

Excerpt from Macmillan, Pan Macmillan Australia website

SYNOPSIS

In the early morning of 8 March, 2014, Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 took off from Kuala Lumpur International Airport. At the flight controls was 53 years old pilot Zaharie Ahmad Shah and his First Officer, 27 years old Fariq Abdul Hamid. Shah was an experienced pilot with and excellent reputation and extensive experience with 18,423 hours flight time; 8,659 in the Boeing 777-200. He was a Type Rating Instructor in the 777-200 airframe and was a Type Rating Examiner for Malaysia Airlines.

The weather that night was good, but for reason known only to Shah additional fuel was added; more fuel than necessary to cover the normal hours fuel contingency. The excess fuel gave the aircraft the ability to fly for almost two hours longer than the required flight time to the destination.

Around midnight the pilots began their normal run-up procedures beginning with the ‘walk around.’ Once complete, the pilots would gather in the cockpit to go through the Preflight Procedures whilst the Cabin Crew began boarding the 227 passengers that were heading for Beijing. The majority of the passengers were of Chinese nationality with an eclectic and diverse mix of other nationalities.

With the Preflight Checklist now complete and the Oxygen Check finished Shah and Hamid performed the ‘Before Start’ Checklist. Hamid requested pushback and engine start clearance from Kuala Lumpur Area Control Center. The time is now 0040 and Malaysia Flight MH370 taxis to runway 32 Right.

The last item on the ‘Before Take-off’ Checklist is ‘Flaps,’ with the response “Set,” Flight MH370 announced to the tower ‘370, 32 Right for Take-Off.’ The pilots pushed the throttles forward. The engines thrust increased, as did the vibration and speed. At V1 they rotated; and at 0042 local time on 8 March, 2014 Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 carrying 239 souls lifted off on a flight into oblivion. 

The Hunt for MH370 is a detailed analysis posited by author Ean Higgins on the various scenarios that may have led to the disappearance of flight MH370. His opines are aided by expert assessments based on the available data of the likely events that lead up to the vanishing of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370. The author digs deep and reveals facts that were concealed; facts that could have helped locate the missing plane. Higgins seeks to clarify the events that may have transpired during the last flight of MH370. He avoids wild speculation in favor of expert opinions, hard facts and available data. The investigative body that oversaw the search are held to account. A rational well conceived, yet speculative, analysis is given of the events that tragic evening.

CONCLUSION

The Hunt for MH370 is a mystery encompassed by an enigma. Higgins carefully explored the many possibilities that may have lead to the loss of MH370. He collected and collated data and accounts from a diverse range of involved persons. He creates a plausible assessment of the likely causes of flight MH370’s disappearance using first person accounts, original documents, and international experts that included those from the fields of: aviation crash investigation, professional pilots with decades of experience, engineers (both aviation and oceanographic), as well as satellite data .

What happened to the passengers and crew of Malaysia Flight MH370?Did Shah highjack his own aircraft, kill the crew and passengers, then fly out into the middle of nowhere and ditch the aircraft into the Indian Ocean killing himself in the process? If he did, why did he do it? What was the evidence and why were essential clues to the disappearance hidden even from those conducting the search? Ean Higgins lifts the lid on the mystery and perhaps one day, if-and-when MH370 is found, his analysis might be proven accurate.

The Hunt for MH370 is a compelling read and is never dry or overly technical. It is captivating from the outset and once your attention is secured you will be in for the flight. The narrative is gripping and Higgins writing style ensures that that grip is vise-like. If you enjoy reading real-life mysteries that have yet to be solved and you gain solace from using your own acumen to forge your own opinion; then reading The Hunt for MH370 is a no brainer.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I would like to thank Ean Higgins, Macmillan Australia, and NetGalley for affording me the opportunity to review The Hunt for MH370: The Mystery. The Cover-up. The Truth.

The Hunt For History – review

The Hunt for History is a cross between a real-life detective story and an Easter Egg Hunt. It is a risky business and the find can sometimes be valued in excess of six figures. If you enjoy the thrill of the chase, the drama of the reveal, or relish the trip through the adventure of the hunt you will love this text.

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ENDURANCE – REVIEW

Anyone who loves: adventure, human struggle, epic survival, suspense, history, extreme seamanship, and great leadership will absolutely love this book.

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DANGEROUS SHALLOWS -REVIEW

This book is thrilling, mysterious, and intriguing. Even if you don’t know much about diving and especially deep diving, this book easily explains the terms and conditions. The stories of the individual wrecks are told in vivid detail. The reader can easily feel as if they are right there with him on this journey of discovery. I heartily recommend this book for everyone.

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OCEAN PLANET – REVIEW

Litercurious Book Review

Ocean Planet by Ben Rothery
TitleOcean Planet: Animals of the Sea and Shore
(Part of The Rothery’s Animal Planet Series)
AuthorBen Rothery
Publisher Tilbury House Publishers (October 5, 2021)
FormatHardcover
Pages80
GenreChildren’s Environment & Ecology,
Children’s Zoology, Children’s Marine Life
Language English
ISBN# 10/130884489167 / 978-0884489160

AUTHOR

BEN ROTHERY

Author and Illustrator of Ocean Planet – A Marine Life Book for children aged 9-12 years. Ben lives in London and works from his small studio in the capital . See more here.

SYNOPSIS

Ocean Planet, by Ben Rothery, is an exceptional work for children. Rothery’s stupendously executed illustrations bring nature to life. Although Rothery’s exquisite masterpiece is meant for children aged 9-12 years, I believe that the book has a much broader appeal.

Ocean Planet covers a diverse range of wildlife as varied as the marine birds-of-the-air to the bacteria living in hydrothermal vents in the depths of the oceans. The book covers everything from the tiniest of microscopic organisms, also known as plankton, to the largest underwater species – the Blue Whale. Although Rothery primarily focuses on the marine environment, he also includes land animals and their environments and habitats. Polar Bears, Leopard Seals, and Penguins are not neglected; nor are the Wolves of British Columbia or the Bengal Tigers of the mangroves of north-west India.

Rothery shares his enthusiasm for his subjects with large, full color, high definition plates. All the plates are accompanied by comprehensive introductions to the relevant facts, figures, and details about the individual subjects. Rothery’s unbridled enthusiasm for nature and his undeniable skill coalesce into a joyful, engaging, and edifying experience. Ocean Planet is a true work of art in every sense of the word.

CONCLUSION

Ocean Planet is a banquet for the eyes, a stimulant for the mind, and a tonic for the soul. A thing of beauty is a joy forever, and so it is with Ben Rothery’s magnificently illustrated work. It is not an over-statement to say that this book is truly epic.

The illustrations are bordering on hyperrealistic and are so well executed that they move ones soul and strain credulity. That one man could create with his primitive tools such a magnificent panoply of life like, natural subjects is truly an impressive feat.

Do you have a favorite book from your childhood? Does the thought of it even now stir your memory and take you back to more innocent, happy days? Well Ocean Planet, by Ben Rothery could be that legacy for your child. Please do not take my word for it, I encourage you to get a copy and decide for yourself.

This book makes a great gift; but take care, it is such a valuable jewel that you may well claim it for yourself. I have to admit Ocean Planet is on the top of my gift list this year, and I cannot wait to own a stunning copy.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Rating: 5 out of 5.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I would like to thank Ben Rothery, Tilbury House Publishers (October 5, 2021), and NetGalley for affording me the opportunity to review Ocean Planet: Animals of the Sea and Shore.

OTHER BOOKS BY THIS AUTHOR

DEAD SILENCE – REVIEW

Litercurious Book Review

Dead Silence by S. A. Barnes
Dead Silence by S. A. Barnes
TitleDead Silence
AuthorS. A. Barnes
PublisherTor Nightfire January 25, 2022
FormatKindle, Hardcover, Audiobook
Pages352
GenreScience Fiction Adventure, Science Fiction Adventures, Horror
LanguageEnglish
ISBN-13:9781250819994

“Barnes leads us through a spectacular Sci-Fi based phantasmagorical journey into horror in the Communications Web of deep space.”

Nemo 25 October, 2021

AUTHOR

S.A. BARNES works in a high school library by day, recommending reads, talking with students, and removing the occasional forgotten cheese-stick-as-bookmark. The author has published numerous novels across different genres. Barnes lives in Illinois with more dogs and books than is advisable and a very patient spouse.

SYNOPSIS

Dead Silence by S. A. Barnes is a space based tense sojourn into the Schitzo-effected world of Claire Kovalik, Team Leader of LINA – a communications repair space vehicle. Claire, as a child, was the sole survivor of the accident at the Ferris Outpost. An experience that left her traumatized and experiencing the supernatural, or is it just Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)?

The crew receives an emergency transmission from the Aurora; a space liner that disappeared twenty years ago without a trace. They reluctantly answer the call and discover horrors, mysteries, phantoms, and challenges beyond their imagination. Claire Kovalik must conquer her conflicted self, the crew and the company to find her own salvation in the face of incredible odds. Will she be able to put her own demons to bed and rise to the occasion, or will she lose everything by trying?

CONCLUSION

Dead Silence is expertly crafted and the stress ramps up as the story advances. There are shocks, jump scares, and descriptions of horrific encounters throughout. The crew are a disparate group of mismatched characters that are bound by a loose affiliation. As the team begins to be challenged, they pull together in an unholy alliance to combat the growing threats leveled against them.  United in their hate for the Verux Company and the wish to grow rich, they combat the enemies within and without in a fight to the death. 

A truly original narrative, captivating throughout, driven by the psychological complexity and flaws in the lead characters personality; together with the interplay of the small crew. 

Dead Silence is written in a style of the great science fiction writers. It is every bit as consuming and compelling as Alien, Ghost Ship, or Event Horizon. There is a very real recognition of Claire as being a genuine character. We know she is unlikely to circumvent the multitude of challenges she must face and survive, but regardless we are encouraged to stay with her until the end. 

Dead Silence is a must read! It is engaging, exciting, horrific, and surprising. It has been sometime since I have felt the kind of engagement with characters in a book that drive me to yearn for the next time I can pick it up; there is no higher form of praise than that. 

Rating: 4 out of 5.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

I would like to thank S. A. Barnes, Tor Nightmare and NetGalley for affording me the opportunity to review Dead Silence.

WILDCAT – REVIEW

Litercurious Book Review

Wildcat: The Untold Story of Pearl Hart, the Wild West's Most Notorious Woman Bandit Joh Boessenecker
Wildcat: The Untold Story of Pearl Hart, the Wild West’s Most Notorious Woman Bandit John Boessenecker
TitleWildcat: The Untold Story of Pearl Hart, the Wild
West’s Most Notorious Woman Bandit 
AuthorJohn Boessenecker
PublisherHanover Square Press (November 2, 2021)
FormatKindle, Hardcover, Audiobook, Audio CD
Pages385
GenreHistory of Southwestern United States, Criminal
& Memoirs of Criminals
LanguageEnglish
ASIN # B08QZHQZZT

AUTHOR

Author John Boessenecker

True West magazine, in 2011 and 2013, named Boessenecker Best Nonfiction Writer. He received a prestigious Spur award from Western Writers of America and Best Book award from Westerners International. He has appeared frequently as a historical commentator on PBS, The History Channel, A&E, and other media.

SYNOPSIS

John Boessenecker breathed new life into an old case; the case of Lillie N. Davy known by the noms de guerre of Pearl Hart. Drawing upon his research skills, he’s removed the fallacies, the myths, the lies and revealed in extraordinary detail the life and times of Pearl Hart. She was one of the most notorious late 19th Century female criminals of the old West. Pearl was a cross-dressing female with a flare for making herself incognito when the need arose. Her endless dalliances with numerous men doesn’t mark her as unique however, her need to control situations was unique for a woman of that time. At a period in history where women were meant to be housebound homemakers; meek, submissive, barefoot and pregnant; Pearl railed against the expected norms and challenged the mores of the time. 

What John Boessenecker has presented in Wildcat is the unoccluded view of a female recidivist from child to adulthood. His research is as exceptional as it is detailed and he comingles them into a completely engrossing narrative. Boessenecker artfully recounts Pearl’s story from her parents brief courtship to her birth and on. He details ad infinitum her early years as the daughter of an indigent, semi-literate, workshy child molester and petty criminal in Canada. We follow her itinerant lifestyle across  many years and locations culminating with the pinnacle of her criminal enterprise; a coach robbery. 

Throughout the book we discover Pearl’s life of bitter poverty, abuse, and abysmal parenting culminating in a damaged woman bereft of morals, dignity or honesty. Like many women in those historic days, she was often forced to make difficult decisions just to survive. After viewing her circumstances in the round one cannot help but be sympathetic.

Boessenecker reveals the uncompromising world that Pearl lived in and the uncompromising woman that it birthed. From his detailed accounts, she owned the ‘Wildcat’ nickname. She lived life her own way, loved risk taking and took the punishment where she found it. She was intelligent and ‘street smart,’ a potent combination for an erstwhile career criminal.

Living in a time where women rarely left the home once they were betrothed and were kept in check by societal and socio-cultural norms, Pear turned the world on its head to live her own way. She seamlessly integrates into the criminal underclass not as a woman, but as a boy and later a man. She would alter her outer appearance by cutting her hair and affecting a manly stride. She was often found in the company of the criminal class sharing or gleaning useful information for future criminal activities. Peal, we discover, took things to a whole new level when she began utilizing firearms. Weapons that no doubt added to her sense of safety and security, especially due to the company she would often keep. 

She is such an outrageous character, that it is amazing that her story has been lost in time until now. It seems strange that she is forgotten but characters like Big Nose Kate still hold a semblance of allure for many Western History fans. If I were to compare the two, I would say that Pearl’s story has far more impact than the latter. 

The review of Wildcat would not be complete without mentioning Katy Davy, Pearl’s younger sister. An outrageous character every bit as unique as her older sibling. Katy Davy, who used the sobriquets of Millie Davy has an incredible nerve and was talented physically and mentally. Both sisters were, without-a-doubt, survivors; Katy even more so. At thirty-six-years-old, in the 1890’s, Katy became an ascensionist and a descensionist. She took a rest from being a fille de joie started parachuting from a balloon at a thousand feet. Following a near fatal accident she retired, but not for too long. The many tales of prison escapes, her years as a teenage madam and rescuing her husband from prison, Katy appears to have an unending skill in creative problem solving. They sisters even made it into Cosmopolitan magazine, the nations most popular women’s publication at that time. The sisters were walking contradictions for women of their time.

CONCLUSION

John Boessenecker’s writing style is compelling from the very beginning. His research is second to none, and his narrative is fascinating throughout.

The book is entertaining, inspiring, alarming and touching in equal measure. The main characters are mentally re-created. Boessenecker did an exceptional job in breathing life back into the long dead. He avoided tainting the account with his own opinions and simply reported the facts previously occluded by time, myth, disinformation and lies. Overall, John Boessenecker created a fair illustration of the characters, the time period and the environment in which they lived. He’s managed to inject new life in the antics and life of Pearl Hart and her sister. It is a superior read. Some of the material discussed will remain with you long after you have read it.

I highly recommend Wildcat to all adults and children over the age of sixteen. It is entertaining, heartbreaking, outrageous and so much more in-between. If you enjoy reading about true survivors of extreme circumstances, look no further because Wildcat is the story of two consummate survivors.

Wildcat will resonate with you if you are an avid reader of Western History of the United States, Criminal Biographies or Women in History. This it is a rip-roaring tale. You know that if Pearl were alive today, she would be down at Cancún during Spring Break doing whatever she wants whilst engaging in some nefarious activity. You are left with the feeling that she was mad, bad and dangerous to know, but that she was also probably huge fun. 

Why not give it a read yourself? Be prepared, it’s quite a ride; remember to hold on to your hat!

Rating: 4 out of 5.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

I would like to thank John Boessenecker, Hanover Square Press and NetGalley for affording me the opportunity to review Wildcat: The Untold Story of Pearl Hart, the Wild West’s Most Notorious Woman.

OTHER BOOKS BY THIS AUTHOR

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HOLBEIN: Capturing Character – REVIEW

Litercurious Book Review

Holbein capturing character Ed. Dr Anne Woolett
Holbein: Capturing Character Ed. Anne Woolett et al
TitleHolbein: Capturing Character
EditorDr. Anne Woolett et al
PublisherJ. Paul Getty Museum (October 19, 2021)
FormatHardcover
Page192
GenreIndividual Artistic Monographs, Art Portraits, Calligraphy Guides
LanguageEnglish
ISBN#10/131606067478 / 978-1606067475

EDITOR

Dr. Anne Woollett is curator of paintings at the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, California, USA.

SYNOPSIS

HOLBEIN: Capturing Character was edited primarily by Dr. Anne Woolett. Her collaborator’s include: Ulrich Hans BirkmaierAustėia MackelaitėPeter van der Coelen, and John T. Qillen. This work is a comprehensive monograph of the work of Hans Holbein The Younger (1497/98–1543). This compact Gallery Book was published to accompany the exhibition of the 16th Century renaissance Master Hans Holbein The Younger. The exhibitions at the J. Paul Getty Centre on October 19, 2021, – January 9, 2022; and continuing at the Morgan Library & Museum from February 11, 2022, to May 15, 2022. 

HOLBEIN: Capturing Character, although petite at just 9×12 inches, contains a genuine treasure trove of ultra high quality plates that depict:

  •  a selection of Holbein The Younger’s most valued paintings, 
  • blockcutts, 
  • woodcut illuminations,
  • chalk illustrations “Trois Crayons” (three chalks), 
  • oils on panel, 
  • engravings, 
  • jewelry, 
  • hat badges, 
  • medallion designs on paper, 
  • arabesque ornament designs on paper, 
  • silverpoint by Hans Holbein the Elder (1460/70-1524), 
  • designs for a stained glass window, 
  • cartouches
  • paintings from tempera and oil on panel, 
  • oil on canvas, 
  • oil on paper glued to panel, 
  • mixed technique1,  
  • a selection of ornamental lids,
  •  page drafts, 
  • tempera on unprimed canvas, 
  • an example of a rundel portrait, and 
  • studies pen and brown ink, brown and black ash ink wash and highlights of white gouache and black chalk on paper. 

Anne Woolett and her associates have produced a invaluable asset for anyone who wants to study Holbein or those who simply enjoy his amazing talents.  

Each listing is individually numbered and contains essential details relating to the image containing information on:

  • the artist, the subject where available, 
  • the date, the material used, 
  • the dimensions of the original, 
  • its current location, and 
  • the current owner if known.

Hans Holbein was an artist with unsurpassed levels of observation and the ability to translate his vision to oil on panel or many other mediums.

Additional information included in the book are:

  • an impressive Forward that sets the context for the reader
  • a detailed list of Illustration Credits
  • a list of short biographies covering the most notable figures who sat for Holbein
  • a chronology of each of the more significant works
  • an extensive bibliography
  • a list of Lenders to the exhibition, and 
  • acknowledgements 

1(a method originally accredited to Leonardo da Vinci. It involved tempera and oil, called tempera grassa, to try and extend the limitations of the medium. He would use one part egg yolk mixed with one part linseed oil to form the binder for his pigments.)

CONCLUSION

The plates in this work are exquisite in their reproduction being large, high quality, full-color images of the Master’s works. They are accompanied by comprehensive pertinent details relating to each work of art. The Editor and her collaborators excelled at the presentation, format, and underpinned these with exquisite insights to the zeitgeist of the times.  

Holbein: Capturing Character is a catalogue that is engaging, entertaining, informative and an accomplished illumination worthy of the Great Master. The subject is handled masterfully and is impeccably researched. There are extensive and detailed notes for each chapter, and in addition a short comprehensive Bibliography. Holbein: Capturing Character proved to be an addictive read.    

It is often said that a thing of beauty is a joy forever and so it is for this pocket-sized library of perfection. 

Rating: 5 out of 5.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I would like to thank Editor Dr. Anne Woolett, et al. , J. Paul Getty Museum, and NetGalley for affording me the opportunity to review HOLBIEN: Capturing Character.

OTHER WORKS FROM J. PAUL GETTY MUSEUM

RELATED POSTS

THE KING’S PAINTER – REVIEW

Litercurious Book Review

The King's Painter: The Life of Hans Holbein by Franny Moyle
The King’s Painter: The Life of Hans Holbein by Franny Moyle
TitleThe King’s Painter: The Life of Hans Holbein
AuthorFranny Moyle
PublisherAbrams Press (October 5, 2021)
FormatHardcover
Pages400
GenreArt History, Artist & Architect Biographies, Great
Britain History
LanguageEnglish
ISBN 10/131419749536 / 978-1419749537

#Artist & Architect Biographies, #Art History (Books), #Great Britain History (Books)

AUTHOR

Granny Moyle Author of The King’s Painter Author Section

Franny Moyle is the author of The King’s Painter. She is a Cambridge educated art historian and biographer.

SYNOPSIS

The King’s Painter: The Life of Hans Holbein written by Franny Moyle is a long-awaited full biography of the great German Artisan. Moyle presents her research and analysis into his life, times and work. Moyle posits that Holbein was arguably the greatest renaissance Master painter in Northern Europe with a wide repertoire during the 1530’s until his death. Holbein was exalted by his peers as comparable to the German artist Albright Dürer and indeed there are some similarities in their style of painting. Nicholas Bourbon compared him to Apelles of Kos. Others have described him as a multifaceted genius, humanist, political propagandist and a satirist. A man who’s deft work consisted of loosely concealed symbolism and allusion, hidden in plain sight. Moyle’s focuses upon the period of Holbein’s life from the 1520s until his death and the administration of his will. 

The King’s Painter begins with the unique and close relationships that Hans Holbein enjoyed with King Henry Vlll of England. Holbein is at the height of his power, and his talent was known around Northern Europe. He was arguably the most notable painter in Europe during the Reformation and the Dissolution of the Monasteries in England.  

Moyle’s research puts flesh on the bones of Hans Holbein the Younger. He was the son of Hans Holbein the Elder, also a painter famed for creating The Martyrdom of Saint Sebastian. Holbein the Younger earned his accolades through his skill, commitment and hard work. He aligned himself with wealthy patrons, principal amongst them: Erasmus of Rotterdam, Thomas Cromwell, Anne Boleyn, and King Henry Vlll of England.

The book begins in the 1530s; Holbein was an exalted artist enjoying the fruits of his labors. He had a wealthy clientele, fame and riches; all forged on his talent of creating realistic likenesses for his patrons. Such was his success that he was one of the few who could engage with King Henry Vlll in private, a very rare honor indeed. 

The gravitas of Holbein’s fame as Northern Europe’s most heralded painter comes into stark contrast when one considers his contemporaries. His peers during the period were: Leonardo da Vinci who was working in France at the time; Michelangelo who was painting the Sistine Chapel for Pope Paul lll; and the Venetian artist Titian da Cadore, also know as Tiziano Vecelli,, who was creating work for King Charles V The Holy Roman Emperor and Archduke of Austria.

Hans Holbein the Younger worked during some of the most tumultuous times in history. Times that were resplendent with great artists. His work was held in the highest esteem due to the verisimilitude of his portraits. He was respected and valued by the political elite, religious, and other connoisseurs.

It is difficult for us to imagine today just how popular Holbein’s art was during the late 16th Century’s European Renaissance period. When he released a new work, there was a frisson of excitement so powerful it was palpable. Holbein’s projects were considered to be a luxury. At a time before modern photographic processes, his paintings were seen as a way of passing down your visage to history and your decedents. At no time since Apelles had an artist been so able to depict his subjects with unfettered verismo.

By the end of Holbein’s life, he had accrued wealth and notoriety. Moyles posited that his sad demise was due to the plague. However, the absence of an identifiable resting place or his remains leave us with an enduring mystery.

CONCLUSION

The King’s Painter is a detailed history of 16th Century England, the Monarch Henry VIII and a testimony to the verisimilitude of the portraits painted by Holbein. Moyles book will be popular with those interested in; Hans Holbein the Younger, art history and those who wish to understand Holbein’s work through the context of his life and times. The King’s Painter is an authoritative dive into Hans Holbein’s past. It enlightens those of us who are fortunate to still enjoy the great artists work today. 

The King’s Painter is not a gallery book filled with images of either the artist or his works. Instead, Moyle has produced an academic examination of Hans Holbein, his associations and challenges. Moyles writing is exceptional and she maintains the readers attention with her deft narrative.

The King’s Painter is engaging, entertaining, informative and accomplished. The subject is handled masterfully and is impeccably researched. There are extensive and detailed Notes for each chapter and in addition a short, Selected Bibliography. The King’s Painter proved to be an addictive read.    

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I would like to thank Franny Moyle, Abrams Press, and NetGalley for affording me the opportunity to review The King’s Painter: The Life of Hans Holbein.

OTHER BOOKS BY THIS AUTHOR

Turner: The Extraordinary Life and Momentous Times of J.M.W. TurnerBy Franny Moyle
Turner: The Extraordinary Life and Momentous Times of J.M.W. Turner By Franny Moyle

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ENTANGLED LIFE – REVIEW

Litercurious Book Review

Entangled Life By Merlin Sheldrake

“If you only take one thing from Entangled Life take this; Mycorrhizal Relationships are the bedrock of life on earth.”

— DR. C. A. Hampson Ph.D.
TitleEntangled Life: How Fungi Make Our Worlds, Change
Our Minds & Shape Our Futures
AuthorMerlin Sheldrake
PublisherRandom House; Illustrated edition (May 12, 2020)
FormatKindle
Pages352
GenreMushrooms in Biological Sciences Ecology Biology
LanguageEnglish
ISBN 10/130525510311 / 978-0525510314

AUTHOR

Meet Dr. Merlin Sheldrake Ph.D.

SYNOPSIS

Entangled Life abounds with astounding facts about fungi. Sheldrake’s seminal work is densely packed with a plethora of scientific research, amazing facts and humor. Sheldrake has created a revolutionary narrative and is a must read for all ages.

Through Sheldrake’s eyes you will discover how mycelium networks manage to have such a superior ability to communicate over great distances at incredible speeds. Sheldrake describes how the communication methods include not just mushrooms or fungi, but insects, animals, plants and codependencies that are so eco-dependent that they become life and death. You will learn how mycelium computers could be in our foreseeable future.

The author explains how the very ground we stand on only exists because of fungi dating back into ancient history. Your forest walk will be forever changed when Sheldrake explains how ubiquitous the vast mycelium network is below ground. You will learn how fungi can assist urban rail architects in designing the most efficient routes. 

Sheldrake provides the historic context of fungi across eons of time. He explains how, from an experts perspective; the interconnectedness of mycelium has literally been central to earths evolution. In addition, he covers a myriad of practical applications and uses for mushrooms. Entangled Life covers every aspect of the importance of fungi from scientific advances in research that include the development of mycelium based neural computers. Then there are the revelations of fungi based medical advances that may provide improved treatments for depression and anxiety. The examples don’t end there; Entangled Life also contains detailed information relating to the complexity and quotidian nature of mycelium networks and structures. There isn’t a forest on the planet that doesn’t hum with activity of mycelium in epic underground networks across endless spaces of our global arboretum. 

Sheldrake further discusses the Wood Wide Web Labyrinth – AKA Mycorrhizal Relationships (the original WWW – Fungi, plants, bacteria, and trees). He details how fungi use chemicals to control or alter behaviors in plants, animals and insects. Zombie Ants are prime examples of how Ophiocordyceps, the zombie fungus, became totally dependent upon the Carpenter Ant. Even more exciting, is the possible environmental impact of fungi. Sheldrake reveals how in a process of mycoremediation, fungi are being used to decontaminate the environment.

Perhaps the most gratifying section of the book is the discussion on how mycelium networks manage complex communications in the absence of a central nervous system. Including the possibility of fungi based complex computer networks in the future.

If you are currently watching the latest Star Trek show then you know the Starship Discovery has a Spore drive. It allows the starship to instantly transport to any place along the mycelium network. A theory taken from some of the research described in Sheldrake’s book.

Zombie Ants and Ophiocordyceps

CONCLUSION

Entangled Life by Merlin Sheldrake is a stupendous publication. It is engaging, awe-inspiring in its breadth and span, and it challenges the reader’s world-view with every turn of the page. It is less of a book and more of a journey that once you begin, you have to complete. If you want to expand your knowledge of our world from the edge of space to the depths below, Entangled Life is a work that will thrill you. 

To write exciting and interesting prose takes a special kind of academic writer. We find such a scrivener in Merlin Sheldrake. It is even rarer to find an author that doesn’t dumb down the science. Sheldrake doesn’t patronize his audience, but through his expert knowledge and communication, he elevates the reader to the appropriate level of comprehension. The reader gains more from Entangled Life than a mere text book, the reader gets a whole new weltanschauung or world view.

If you are the kind of reader who wants to learn while you have fun reading, then this is definitely the book for you. A thoroughly enjoyable sojourn into the alien world that is just below our feet.

I am already looking forward to re-reading Entangled Life again in the near future. I was saddened and reluctant to put it down. 

Rating: 5 out of 5.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I would like to thank Merlin Sheldrake, NetGalley, and Random House for affording me the opportunity to review Entangled Life: How Fungi Make Our Worlds, Change Our Minds & Shape Our Futures.

OTHER BOOKS BY THIS AUTHOR

ADDITIONAL READING

The Mycelium as a network

City of death – review

Litercurious Book Review

City of Death, Scott McEwen & Ephraim Mattos
TitleCity of Death: Humanitarian Warriors In the Battle of Mosul
Author Scott McEwen (#1 Best selling Author of American Sniper) & Ephraim Mattos (Former US Navy SEAL)
PublisherCenter Street, Illustrated edition (October 23, 2018)
Pages 305
GenreHistory of Iraq, Philanthropy & Charity, Iraq War History
LanguageEnglish
ISBN/ASIN1546081828 / B079L5QNM3

#HistoryofIraq #PhilanthropyandCharity #IraqWarHistory

AUTHOR

Scott McEwen (#1 Best selling Author of American Sniper)

Ephraim Mattos (Veteran) United States Navy, Sea, Air, and Land (SEAL)

SYNOPSIS

City of Death by Ephraim Mattos and Scott McEwen is the recollections of Mattos’ time with the Free Burma Rangers (FBRs) in Mosul, Iraq, during April-July 2017.

Ephraim Mattos, a U.S. Navy Seal veteran and deeply spiritual man, becomes disenchanted with the military. Seeking a way to utilize his training and combine it with his spiritual beliefs he decides to invest himself in more philanthropic endeavors by joining the FBR. He wanted to use his skill set to help the FBR in their quest to provide humanitarian aid and record war crimes in high conflict areas of the world. 

The Free Burma Rangers (FBRs) are comprised of an eclectic mix of characters. They are a diverse multi-cultural, multi-denominational dedicated team of men and women. They share a unified mission to provide aid and comfort to those who require it the most in conflict areas of the world. 

Collectively, Mattos and the FBR quickly commingle to form a tight nit team. They unite spiritually, mentally, and emotionally in their commitment to provide medical aid to the Iraqi soldiers and citizens; whilst recording war crimes committed by The Islamic State a.k.a. ISIS/Daesh. The international melange manages to forge close bonds with the Iraqi Army during their efforts to retake Mosul. Although the FBR is mainly there to provide medical aid and comfort to the Iraqi soldiers and the fleeing citizens, they are targeted by ISIS and forced to fight for their own lives. Equipped with worn out AK-47’s and inferior equipment, the FBR continuously expose themselves to enemy fire while trying to evacuate the wounded soldiers and civilians. With bullets flying, bombs exploding and suicide bombers charging, the FBR set about their daily routine business. They witness horrific war crimes, bloody battles, and refugees trying to escape being gunned down by ISIS; victims that include small children. 

In an environment where alms meet arms, the FBR might be the civilians last best hope of help. 

CONCLUSION

City of Death is as gripping as it is gritty. It is action packed from beginning to end. The descriptions of daily life have a visceral intensity not normally present in works of this kind. The Author recreates the chaotic and unpredictable nature of modern urban warfare. The book describes the horror and humanity in the war to retake Mosul from ISIS in 2017. 

City of Death is, at times, deeply disturbing and infinitely inspirational. The synergy of Ephraim Mattos’ graphic reminiscences and Scott McEwen’s stirring prose provide a captivating read for lovers of real-life action adventure and war stories. 

Scott McEwen’s skill in writing top selling literature and his unique style combine to produce a breath taking look at humanitarianism meeting a merciless and unrelenting foe. The result is a deep dive into catastrophic effects on the lives of those souls living in Mosul during April-July 2017. 

City of Death is a compelling and heart breaking look at asymmetric warfare at its worst in the early years of the 21st Century. The climax of the book is unbelievably breath-taking; involving life and death decisions. The account is all the more intense because it was visually documented and is available online.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I would like to thank Scott McEwen and , Ephraim Mattos, and Center Street for affording me the opportunity to review City of the Dead: Humanitarian Warriors In the Battle of Mosul .

OTHER BOOKS BY SCOTT MCEWEN