Writing Echoes

Delijah's Writing Blog

Tag Archives: review-book

Research book review: DEADLY DOSES: A writer’s guide to poisons

deadlydosesTitle: DEADLY DOSES: A writer’s guide to poisons (The Howdunit Series)
Author: Serita Deborah Stevens with Anne Klarner
Publisher: Writer’s Digest Books
Pages: 298
Year: 1990
ISBN: 0-89879-371-8

Contents:

  • Chapter one: A short history of the dreaded art
  • Chapter two: The classic poisons: arsenic, cyanide and strychnine
  • Chapter three: Household poisons
  • Chapter four: Poisonous plants
  • Chapter five: fragile fungi
  • Chapter six: Snakes, spiders and other living things
  • Chapter seven: medical poisons
  • Chapter eight: pesticides
  • Chapter nine: Industrial poisons
  • Chapter ten: Street drugs
  • Chapter eleven: create your own poison
  • Appendix A: Poisons by methods of administration
  • Appendix B: Poisons by form
  • Appendix C: Poisons by symptoms they cause
  • Appendix D: Poisons by the time in which they react
  • Appendix E: Poisons by toxicity rating
  • Glossary
  • Bibliography
  • Index

I’ve had this book for a few years, and I think I left the review for ‘when I had read it’ because I never got around to doing it. This book is a very useful resource for me, but it is not a book ‘for reading’. It is built as a ‘think of [symptom], [method of administration], [time], etc… and look for the right poison. It is fun, I had completely forgotten that I had not reviewed it until I recommended it to someone else. Funnily enough, I was planning on using a poison in Secrets, and now when I reached the scene related to it, I just grabbed the book and decided to just write the review.

As I said, it is not a’ readable’ book, since it is a compilation of poison information. Each substance has a header with the mainstream name, followed by a small introduction. Then a few epigraphs: name, level of toxicity, form, effects and symptoms, reaction time, antidotes and treatments and notes. For living things other data, like location or deadly parts are added. The appendixes make search very convenient and even for the Age of the Internet it is a very powerful research tool.

This book is recommended for anyone who wants to poison characters. It promises to cut the research time in half and does not exaggerate.

Research Book Review: Shinto: The Kami Way

Title: Shinto: The Kami Way
Author: Sokyo Ono
Publisher: Charles E. Tuttle Company
Pages: 116
Year: 1962
ISBN: 0-8048-0525-3

Contents

  1. The Kami Way: Introduction, mythology, Kami, Scriptures, Types of Shinto, Organisation
  2. Shrines: Shrines and Shrine Paraphernalia , Precincts, Architecture, Priests and Shrine Functionaries, Parishes and Parishioners
  3. Worship and festivals: Worship, Four elements of worrship, Worship in the home, Shrine Worship, Festivals
  4. Political and Social characteristics: Government Policy, the Arts, Economic Life, Relation with other Religions, Everyday Customs
  5. Some spiritual characteristics: Transmission of the Faith, Shrines and nature; World, Man, Salvation and Death, Universality of Shinto

 

I stumbled upon this book quite on accident, and it was not what I was expecting, then again, I am not sure what I was expecting anyway. For the first four chapters of the book Dr. Ono sounds like an anthropologist, describing aseptically, maybe even a bit sarcastically the beliefs of Shinto, while on the last part, he sounds like a fanboy. Neither of them seems very appropriate as he belongs to the Association of Shinto Shrines.

The conclusion one draws from the book is “I was supposed to explain Shinto but as nobody can understand Shinto, I’m going to skip that and describe what you can see of it.” At some points the book is a bit contradictory, classifying Shinto first as a religion, then not, then yes again. Towards the end, Dr. Ono states that Westerners can’t understand Shinto anyway, but it is a universal faith.

Now, I understand that this book was written in the 60s by someone whose first language was not English, so some expressions may be a bit phased out, but I did find some typos that made me chuckle. While interesting, it is a bit of a slow read, that touches many topics but does not delve into any.

All in all, it’s not a must-read, but a nice-to-have-read if you’re a little bit of a geek, I guess.

Research book review: Criminal Psychology

Title: Criminal Psychology
Collection: Topics in applied Psychology
Author: David Canter (Editor)
Publisher: Hooter Education
Pages: 304
Year: 2008
ISBN: 978-0-340-92892-9

I bought this book out of sheer geekiness and although I won’t say it was a mistake, I probably overestimated myself. The book is an actual manual thought for university students, and unfortunately it rounds up a little dull. Okay, more than a little.

The book contents as described in the index are:

  • The basis of criminality
    • Psychology and the criminal process
    • Individualistic explanations of crime
    • Social explanations of crime
    • Mental disorder and crime
  • Varieties of crime
    • Burglary
    • Domestic Violence
    • Rape
    • Homicide and serial killing
    • Criminal groups and networks
  • Dealing with crime
    • Interviewing and testimony
    • Detecting deception
    • Psychology and investigations
  • Areas of application
    • Police psychology
    • Psychology in court
    • Psychology in prison
    • Concerning victims
    • The future of psychology and crime

 
Each chapter is dealt by a personal author, and that’s why many concepts end up being defined more than twice – and sometimes under different lights. The book falls in one of the science publication traps, too: over-referencing oneself, or at least the editor of the book. Even if Mr. Canter is an obvious expert in the topic of criminal psychology, it is clear that his school of thought is not the only one – considering other books on the topics and different approaches.

It sheds an interesting light on the whole criminal process, and I read it (although I own up: I skipped the domestic violence chapter) with interest, but it is not an easy book. It is quite dry, and it does give that ‘study’ feeling that takes away the pleasure of reading sometimes.

I found few examples to draw from, which made it tough. However, I rarely encountered undefined technical terms or jargon, which eased the reading along. A chapter on cybercrime and not just a passing reference would have been great, too.

As it is a UK book, there was little reference to the mafia in general and the yakuza in particular, focussing on gangs. I also missed non-violent crimes and a clearer distinction between what the authors consider “crime” and what just “illegal”. Sometimes it gives the impression that the only focus provided is the one that agrees with the general theories defended by Canter.

The best of the book? How to defeat a polygraph: “The polygraph can be beaten by intentionally eliciting stronger responses on the control questions than on the relevant question. The way to do this is by changing your blood pressure and heart rate by doing maths in your head, thinking of something frightening or squeezing your buttocks during the control questions” (Canter et al., 2008). The worst: Not a friendly and easy read.

In conclusion: While it is a very interesting topic, this is not good good writing-research material unless you are really familiar with textbook-writing style. In the end, it becomes dull and takes long to read, although some of the authors are easier to read than others. Finally, it focuses only in one perspective of criminal psychology, which may or may be not ‘on spot’ as it is very difficult to make science with human behaviour.


On a non-related note: Happy Birthday, Akira!.

Research Book Review: Butterflies of the Night

Title: BUTTERFILES OF THE NIGHT – Mama-sans, Geisha, Strippers and the Japanese Men They Serve
Author: Lisa Louis
Publisher: Tengu Books
Pages: 214
ISBN: 0-8348-0249-X

Contents:

  1. Job Hunting in the Water Trade
  2. A High-Class Affair
  3. The Geisha World
  4. A Special Kind of Sleaze
  5. Customers
  6. Outsiders: Token Whites
  7. Women at a Discount: Japayuki-san
  8. The gangster element
  9. Mizu Shobai, Past and Future

Butterflies of the Night deals with the issue of night entertainment in Japan, mainly hostesses (club-based companions that mostly chat, flirt, and pour drinks), mama-san (female club managers), prostitutes (funnily enough not in the title, is a “bad” word I guess) and geisha. It dedicates a few pages to the customer angle, but not enough to warrant the presence in the title, I’d say. The woman-based entertainment for men is called “water trade” (mizu shobai) in Japan, and there are many theories of why – it is not important for this post, anyway.

I have mixed feelings about the book. While I found it quite interesting, it took me ages to read, and it did not give me as much new information as I was hoping for. The style is plain, and the formatting is lacking at times, which I think put me off reading somehow. Regarding the “lack of information”, I need to note down that the book was written in 1992, probably being one of the first resources on the topic.

I am not sure whether this is a pro or a con, but it has to be said that the book is completely subjective – it is built from the author’s personal experience and an extensive interviewing job. This makes it interesting as it is a first-hand source of information. Unfortunately, it made me miss some hardcore objective data – which however would be terribly outdated anyway after 20 years. An interviewed Yakuza estimates that the gangsters have hold on about 20% tops of the sex trade in Japan, while recently the Polaris Project has been giving much higher numbers. I can’t tell whether that is subjectivity or twenty years of evolution.

In the Internet era, the book is not a must have, as most of the information it provides can be found online (see an example here), as well as sprinkled in other resources such as Tokyo Vice or Yakuza , both much more up-to-date. While it is a good topic-focussed book built on first-hand impressions that gives a glimpse into the softer side of the mizu shobai‘s world, it lacks an exhaustive study of the hardcore sex-trafficking and slavery that goes is part of the prostitution rings. Quite obviously, I doubt sex traders would sit down for a cozy interview.

Summing up: not a bad book on first hand softcore experiences, with a few interesting anecdotes. A nice add to an specialized library, but not indispensable.

Research Book Review: Yakuza Moon

Title: YAKUZA MOON – Memoirs of a gangster’s daughter (普及版 英文版 ヤクザ な 月)
Author: Shoko Tendo
Publisher: Kodansha International
Translation: Louise Heal
Pages: 197
ISBN: 978-4-7700-3042-9

Although this was one of the first yakuza books I bought, a couple of years ago already, I had not get around to reading it until now. I blame it on my zero capacity to sympathise with women, and Yakuza Moon is above everything the autobiography of a woman. The gangster’s daughter factor is secondary sometimes.

In her book, Tendo tells how she went from bullied kid to juvie delinquent and speed addict, how she kept falling in love with the wrong kind of men and paying high prices for every bad decision she made. Her father was a yakuza who fell into debt and went bankrupt, which of course caused one hell of trouble for her family. She accepted to be a salaryman’s mistress and a yakuza debt-collector’s lover, her sister fell in love with a gambling addict, her brother’s marriage was ruined because of the family connections.

It is interesting how at some point in the book she makes the connection “I was looking for my father in every man I dated”. From the insider’s point of view the reader travels through the sordid world of Japanese affection and consideration for women – at least four times she is offered to become a “kept woman”, some of them she accepted, some other times she refused. Tendo also describes how she got her full-body yakuza-like tattoo, and what it means for her – discovering her very own power and personality.

The book is not grand – and I for sure don’t share many of Tendo’s points of view -, but I think it has a tremendous human load. The narrative is direct, naked, and relates the ugly reality the way the author felt it – raw pain, self-denial… It is a chilly book at times, dealing with human nature first and yakuza nature second, but a good view of the dark hostess, criminal subculture and gender discrimination in Japan, from an insider’s point of view.

Sourcing: Adelstein, Jake

Do you guys remember the Eyjafjallajökull volcano thingy? I do. March / April 2010. In May it was the unofficially official reason I started my first ebay dispute. See, I had heard of this bloke who had this book on yakuza and I happened to buy said book from a friendly bookseller on ebay (Didn’t know about the Book Depository yet [link]. Whoops. Sorry for the commercial break). First the book was delayed. Then it was delayed again. Three months after buying it and two weeks after the ash cloud was dissipated the book was not here (and not even marked as sent in the ebay page although the seller kept telling me they had sent it). I wrote a slightly peeved email, threatening with opening a dispute. The next day the item appeared marked as sent and the book was here in a week. Oh, joy.

The book in question was Tokyo Vice – An American Reporter on the police beat in Japan. I talked about that book back at the beginning here [link], although some day I will re-read it and write a proper review (you can tell that’s my copy in the picture, though. Just look at all the post-its) For now, have the basic data:

Book: Tokyo Vice – An American Reporter on the police beat in Japan
Authors: Jake Adelstein
Publisher: Pantheon books, NY
ISBN: 978-0-307-37879-8
Number of pages: 335

Tokyo Vice follows a few years in the life of Adelstein, told by himself as he worked as a reporter for the Yomiuri Shinbun [link], mostly covering crime (thus being in the police beat. Dead giveaway). During his time there he became involved in quite a few investigations, and… okay, let the publicity guy from Pantheon books tell you:

For twelve years of eighty-hour workweeks, he covered the seedy side of Japan, where extortion, murder, human trafficking, and corruption are as familiar as ramen noodles and sake. But when his final scoop brought him face to face with Japan’s most infamous yakuza boss—and the threat of death for him and his family—Adelstein decided to step down… momentarily. Then, he fought back.

Basically, the guy pissed off half of the yakuza, and is on relatively good terms with the other half. The book is a bit on the self-depreciating side, but let’s be honest – out of yakuza books? This one is probably the best one focused on the recent years. The best part is that it comes with online updates. Not really, but one of Adelstein’s side projects is the Japan Subculture Research Center [link] gets more than regular updates.

The JSRC was founded in 2007, its goal is, according to the authors, to expose the hidden side of Japan: underground economy, sex trade, and everything that a Japanese would consider ‘scandals’. Lately they are having a big coverage on TEPCO and what is being called the ‘nuclear mafia’. You know, for someone who grew up 40km away from a nuclear powers station with a crack on the tower… hm.

At the moment Adelstein works with the Polaris Project Japan [link], whose mission is “combating human trafficking and modern-day slavery in Japan through advocacy work and by building relationships with victims of sexual and labor exploitation.”. Adelstein had / has contact with the sexual trade ‘volunteers’ in Japan. He was personally involved in the Lucie Blackman case [link] and one of his friends / informants was probably killed by a gang for feeding him information (officially he went missing).

Currently he also writes for the Atlantic Wire [link] and might be the most active person on my TL [link]. He participated on 2:46: Aftershocks: Stories from the Japan Earthquake [link] and Reconstructing 3/11: Earthquake, tsunami and nuclear meltdown – how Japan’s future depends on its understanding of the 2011 triple disaster [link], both of which are chilling tales of the Great Tohoku Earthquake and its aftermath for Japan.

That’s all for today. I just thought that considering how often I quote the guy here, a short post about him and his work was in order.

Also, thinking of changing the blog header / looks. Any suggestions?

Book Review: Yakuza Pride

Book: Yakuza Pride
Author: H.J. Brues
ISBN13: 978-1615819522
Number of pages: 350

Matsunaga Shigure is a yakuza who has risen from being a social outcast to be the visible head and underboss (Wakagashira) of the Shinayawa gang. Kenneth Harris a.k.a. Kenshin is an America children stories illustrator, son of a senator, rejected by his parents and has heterochromia (each of his eyes are a different colour, see how I like to throw in fancy terms?). They meet. Sparks flow around and sex ensues. Then there’s conspiracies, jealousy, art comments and a yakuza wakagashira acting like a hysterical cheerleader, more sex, non consensual sex, kidnappings and shibari (rope bondage).

All in all I had a lot of fun reading this book, I really did. However, there are a few things that mess the fun up.

First. Grammar: -est suffix, also known as superlative. If you go ‘deepest’ you can’t go deeper than that. No matter what position you change into, nor how hot and bothered you are. Pesky thing, grammar. Loopholes in it can kill, especially if you are a Nazgul [link].

Second, third, and a bunch more. Refractory periods. I really doubt you can stand inside a closed-roof Mercedes. A guy who never laughs should not spend the book cracking up. It is really difficult for one man to control two hostages and tie them up with pretty knots. Obvious clues are obvious. Bruises linger. Broken bones do not heal in a day. A hard-boiled yakuza does not bitchslap his underlies. He would not let anyone defeat him in the dōjō either. Characters that switch personalities like a random person would switch underwear. Leaving the yakuza behind is not like quitting your bowling club.

And last but not least… sex is not the answer to sexual trauma, especially when the person who has suffered the trauma says ‘no’ and the other goes on anyway. Remember the wisdom of the Internet, children, No always means No, unless there has been several hours of discussion and a safeword in place. Then ‘Purple fuzzy unicorn’ means no.

Would mention a few more things, but I don’t want to spoil the ending for anyone who might want to read the book. I was reluctant to read it at first because having done so much research on yakuza lately I worried about it being really disappointing. To my delight it was rather well-researched (a couple of slippery terms might have been misused) and did leave me with a general good vibe and a laugh or two. Not the most serious work ever though. General good use of Japanese honorifics, too, and typical Japanese terms like ‘losing face’ and yakuza slang.

The epilogue kinda kills lots of the mood after an ending that did not manage to convince me, but telling more would be spoilery, and thus I shall remain silent

London Trip Outcome

While I owe you a couple of posts about Victim #14 (how exactly did we get to 80,000 words over there?? I mean… oh, well, we’ll leave it for that post), I am going to talk about something completely different now. As some of you know, I made this little parabolic jump to London for about 46 hours to attend a L’Arc~en~Ciel concert [link] (hey, look who learned the html code to open links in new tabs!), and aside coming back with a lot of merch and shiny things from the concert itself, my bookworm self got a few rewards out of the trip.

The first one I found while I was rummaging a bookstore in Glasgow airport. It is a booklet about the McFarlane Clan. Actually it is an overpriced 30-pages brochure that does not even talk about the McFarlanes until page 15, but I just had to get it. I chose David McFarlane’s name for Victim #14 from a list of common Scottish names and as a little bit of an inside (okay, private) joke, and I really laughed when I realised that there is a monument to some Duncan McFarlane in Glasgow Necropolis, but according to the book, Loch Lommond area is exactly the area in which the ancient McFarlane clan thrived. Who knows, David could be the descendant of a chieftain or something!

The second one I went hunting for (and well, I don’t know if I have ever mentioned? Sense of directions of mine? None. My ability to get lost should be a superpower or something). Anyway, after taking the wrong turn a couple of times I managed to find my way to Ripping Yarns [link], a lovely little bookshop in Highgate. Yes, they had bookshops in Greenwhich where I was staying for my two-day trip, they probably even had the book I was after, but that was not the point. The point was that in Ripping Yarns I could get what I wanted directly from the source, Weird things that customers say in bookshops by the lovely Jen Cambpell [link], who was kind enough to sign it for me ^^. Weird things that customers say in bookshops [link] is a collection of scary but terribly funny quotes of customer / bookseller interaction. You can get a sample here [link] and here [link] and then go buy the book here [link] unless you can be lucky like me and go meet her ^^

Cause this copy is mine and only mine, has my name on it (even if you don’t see it ^_~) and almost made miss my underground stop XD

Research Book Review: Killer Catchers

Book: Killer Catchers [link]
Authors: Andy Owens and Chris Ellis
ISBN: 978-1-84454-503-2
Number of pages: 293

Not sure where to start with this one, so I shall quote the back cover description first:

The murders in this book will chill you to the bone, but the techniques used to solve them will astound and reassure you in equal measure.

These murders are described separately, in 14 chapters with… interesting names. Consider that the tagline of the book is “Fourteen true stories of how Britain’s wickedest murderers were brought to justice”.

  • Ten minutes of madness
  • An imperfect murder
  • Psycho-trap
  • Life after death
  • Ashes to ashes
  • Will the real Mr. Platt…?
  • No place to hide
  • 96 hours of carnage
  • Murder for money
  • The Saturday night strangler
  • Guilt on a slide
  • False confession
  • Murder in Jersey
  • Murder Inc.

Now that I’ve been thinking about it, I know where to start. Let’s see, there are 14 chapters, each describing a murder. Well, out of those 14, seven could just been written as: ‘DNA techniques developed and the guy was caught’. The average crime in the book takes about 10 years to be solved, needs hundreds of detectives and in the end nothing happens except that DNA techniques identify the culprit. The actual investigative techniques are… lacking. It’s like watching an episode of the Forensic Files [link], but the thick Brit English makes you feel that it is being narrated by David Attenborough [link].

I bought the book hoping to catch a glimpse into the actual Great Britain investigative process. Police in the UK is rather different to the police anywhere else – for starters, regular cops are not even armed. As a source it proved not to be as useful as I hoped, but I had a good time reading it. I was very amused with something that the authors kept repeating: first, they would describe the murder, and leave out an important detail; later, they would reveal that detail as if it was already known to the reader. For instance, you get told that a victim was strangled and burnt at the beginning of a chapter, and only halfway through the fact that she was sexually assaulted is mentioned. This happens a lot through the book, with suspects having to be tracked down when they had never fled, sexual abuse occurring during the crime, or robbery on top of the murder. All told about a page or two after the main event was described. I own up to having backtracked a time or two to check if I had missed something. I was also amused at how much the words ‘lesbian affair’ were repeated when the victim of one of the murders was bisexual.

For a book written in 2008, however, I missed a mention or a chapter about the recently-deceased Colin Ireland, who in the early nineties murdered gay men in London [link] in a murder spree that looked right out of a horror movie script. Instead, it focused on sixties and seventies’ murders that got solved many years later – DNA again. It makes you think that no crime was ever solved before the ‘invention’ of DNA profiling. Thus, the techniques used to solve the cases seem to be either “advances in DNA” or “plain luck.”

I did enjoy the book though, a lot. I am not completely sure why. The style was more that of a yellow press article after another than of a serious journal research. I would have loved more focus on the actual policemen and detectives’ point of views, which was what I was after when I decided to get this book. It did give me pointers for bumping Victim #14 up a couple of times and that was good enough (is fun, though, I hoped to have it for the early stages of planning, and got lost in the post, so I needed to contact a very helpful Amazon seller who sent another one. Thank you, helpful seller). It shows how doggedly determined some detectives are and how sometimes their will alone manages to trigger the solving of the case.

All in all, true crime in a naïve style that takes down the impact of the events a notch or two. Only one complain, and that is a 100% personal appreciation. I really really hate the expression “Murder Inc.”. It should be staked through the heart and buried. End of story.

Webcomic attribution: xkcd [link]
Disclaimer: I don’t care much for Star Wars. I however love the Rocky Horror Picture Show.

Research Book Review: Malicious Intent

Book: MALICIOUS INTENT: A Writer’s Guide to How Murderers, Robbers, Rapists and Other Criminals Think [link]
Author: Sean P. Mactire
ISBN: 0-89879-648-2
Number of pages: 240

I knew this book was going to be a challenge when I came across the word “dieing” instead of dying. “Hoodlems” was another word that caught my attention, and there were a few more amusing typos, which at the very least denounce a rather careless editor. Let’s first cover its contents before going on what I thought about it.

Table of contents:

  • Introduction – the face of evil
  • The history and hallmarks off violent crimes – a review of criminal history to eliminate misconceptions
  • Understanding human behaviour – some basic principles on how the human mind works
  • Profiling the criminal – developing a criminal portrait by evaluating behavioural characteristics
  • Crime fact, crime fiction – examining the relationships between crime and the entertainment of popular culture (Crime fact. Crime fiction)
  • Serial murder – The new source of gothic horror
  • Cult-related murder – exploring the crimes attributed to the spiritual and paranormal realms
  • Sexual predators – Dealing with the complex and sensitive issues of sex crimes
  • Child molesters and child murderers – Dispelling the myth that these offenders are “non-violent” criminals
  • Victims – portraying victims of violent crimes objectively
  • The career criminal – examining the different types of criminal vocations
  • Wise guys and hitmen – The multifaceted world of organized crime
  • Drug abuse – Understanding the most pervasive influence on criminal behaviour
  • Terrorists – The ultimate predator, the great white shark of criminals
  • Women who kill – profiling a recently increasing group of killers
  • Psychology in the Courtroom – Dealing with the relationship of mental health and crime

I was tempted of actually putting up the whole complete index because as I was typing this, I felt ‘uh? I read this?’ more than a couple of times, but it cluttered the blog entry and was unnecessary information. Let’s start by clarifying that this book was published in 1995 and the world has changed a lot since then. I was reminded of that when the author made a remark about oral sex being aberrant sexual behaviour. It is also that the book was written that long ago that gives some perspective. The author makes a few predictions about the evolution of the world as he knows – one related to terrorism, one related to paedophiles and computers that have not really been fulfilled. Although maybe nobody could predict the boom of paedophilia on the internet and 9/11 back in 1995, the tone in which the predictions are made hold the same security as other claims along the book, and makes one… doubt about the accuracy of many of his statements.

Then again, the book can be flagged for a few other blaring holes, or poor choice of examples. The author lists the common characteristics of a type of criminal and then chooses a real life example that completely disagrees with what he has just explained in several occasions. In more than one page he contradicts himself in just a paragraph or two! The author also abuses the name of historical serial killers without giving any explanation about them, somehow thinking that all of them have the same “celebrity-status” as Jack the Ripper and are cited just as casually without any background. He also seems to harbour a bit of animosity against Christianity and a dislike for homosexuality

Furthermore, while the theory of crime as social disease (medical ecology issues) might be supported by a number of psychiatrist as well as the author, he seems to both claim that the criminal is sick and at the same time that he is not. The criminal is unable to resist the criminal sickness but at the same time he or she is responsible for his or her actions. This viewpoint confuses me. The author seems to have a very set opinion though, even if he does not really transmit it.

It has greatly amused me how he is completely USA-centric. It is not an USA focus like I have found in other Howdunit before, it is an USA-Is-The-Centre-Of-The-World way that goes as far as to even claim the invention of Organized Crime. In that chapter in particular, I was close to yell “Godwin’s Law!! [link]” when he compared J. Edgar Hoover [link] to Hitler. Sometimes he extends the States’ view to the rest of the world without any qualm about it (Let me hear again about Europe having Satanism hysteria or not having any terrorism problem during the 90s).

The chapter on victims is an advocacy for the innocence of most victims with which I totally agree, but then the only thing the author offers is a retelling of the stages of grief. At times I was reminded of Criminal Minds cast [link] repeating facts for the clueless viewer, and I even think that CM was more informative (and remember that I am highly sceptical about the truthfulness of CBS shows XD).

All in all I don’t think this is a too well-written book, too many typos and unfriendly grammatical structures that at times make you misunderstand sentences. As a writer’s reference or guide… I don’t think it does too good of a job of that either, but it is an interesting read for a starting point to do some real research and consider getting an actual Criminology book (Eyeing this [link] at the moment and hoping the second-hand drops price when the new edition comes out).

All in all a fun read that might have some research application, but with lots of caution. Lots, lots of caution.

P.S. I pointed out two typos by someone lese, by the Laws of the Internet, this post should have at least six of them. I apologise for them. You can’t fight destiny XD

Webcomic attribution: xkcd [link]