“Chaos: Charles Manson, the CIA, and the Secret History of the Sixties” By Tom O’Neill Review

A journalist’s twenty-year obsession with the Manson murders brings shocking revelations about the most infamous crimes in American history: carelessness from police, misconduct by prosecutors, and even potential surveillance by intelligence agents. What really happened in 1969?

If you want to get into true crime books then this book is probably one of the best choice to begin that journey with. Because the language here is very basic, its easy to understand because the author really is connecting the dots here. This book is interesting from beginning to end which a handful of the crime books fail to do that. And the author of this book really had done the proper work on his investigation and have shows us some hard evidence and not just half-evidence or his opinion and speculation about the case. Which I really appreciate. 

I wanted to read this book for a very long time because I’ve been interested in the Charles Manson and his cult for couple of years now and ill always thought that there were something more into it than what the book to Vincent Bugliosi were telling us. And this book is the answer if there is something more into Charles Manson, his cult, Helter Skelter, the 60s and CIA back in the day.

The writing style in this book is completely amazing, you can see that the author of this book really have a passion for this case and that he is really good at writing. The writing style felt like Stephen King and George R R Martin together wrote a nonfiction book about a crime case. And if you know me, you know that I don’t compare an author to Stephen King and George R R Martin unless the author really deserves it. And Tom O’Neil really deserves it, because he really didn’t an incredible job on this book. 

The author of this book really puts Charles Manson’s case in a brand new light. Which I thought wasn’t possible because this case was covered a million times before in every way possible. So when Tom O’Neil is presenting this case in a brand new light really had surprised me because it gives us new perspective on this case, new ideas about this case and makes us form new opinions about Charles Manson, his cult, The 1960s and CIA back in the day. And I’m all about that. 

The fact that the author of this book also points out some of the inconsistencies to Vincent Bugliosi’s book about this case and supported what he is saying with evidence makes me give the book extra points.

However what have annoyed me about this case is that almost the entire book seemed not like a true crime book but rather a journey to a man who was truly obsessed with this case for 20 years. Which really disappointed me when it came to that aspect of this book. 

Another problem which I have with this book is that Tom O’Neil gives us too many theories of what might be the truth. Every time a true crime book gives us too many theories really pisses me off because its almost like the author goes like “I don’t know, solve the case yourself”. 

The third things which really annoyed me here is the segment of this book where the authors was talking about then secret programs to CIA in the late 1960s. These parts really felt to me at least very boring and like the author really didn’t want to talk about them. And when the author was talking about these secret programs to CIA all I wanted was to throw the book in the trash because it was so goddamn boring. 

I give this book 3 / 5

“I’ll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman’s Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer” By Michelle McNamara Book Review

A masterful true crime account of the Golden State Killer—the elusive serial rapist turned murderer who terrorized California for over a decade—from Michelle McNamara, the gifted journalist who died tragically while investigating the case. “You’ll be silent forever, and I’ll be gone in the dark.”

Since this book was released back in 2018 I wanted to read this book so badly that I can’t even explain it, and finally this year I read it.

To be honest I had low expectations for this book, but oh boy I was wrong with setting these small expectations. This book was not full pot book but it was close to it.

If you are interested in true crime and cold cases you should definitely read this book if you haven’t so far. 

I need to say that so far this book is my favourite true crime book I’ve read. 

This book was super interesting and I couldn’t stop reading this book at times. Which doesn’t happen a lot in true crime books, because most of the true crime books happens to be boring because of the amount of details they provide and zero room for personal thinking.

This book not only covers the details about the case but also it covers all the people which have helped Michelle McNamara coming closer and closer to solving this case. It also involves the journey which lead Michelle McNamara becoming obsessed with cold cases.

This book gives you a lots of details about the Golden State Killer and all of his rapes and kills. But these details which this book provides you aren’t overwhelming which happens in a lots of true crime books now on days.

Michelle McNamara was an incredible true crime writer and investigator which both hers blog (which you can find here) and this book.

This book also provides you with a lots of details about the police investigations and all the wrong things the police have done during the investigations. But this one also shows that the Golden State Killer was much more smarter than a lots of people thought he was. 

I personally also have a huge obsession with true crime or to be more specific with cold cases so when I’ve heard that this book was coming out I just knew that I’ve got to read it. 

After reading this book I’ve understood why this book won Goodreads Choice for best nonfiction book in 2018. The reason behind why this book won this is because this book is amazing and fucking good.

This book is one of the few books where you wish it could have been longer, which doesn’t happen a lot. 

I give this book 4 / 5

“Hjertet mot steinen” By Adrian Pracon Review

On July 22, 2011, AUFs and Norwegian Pole Adrian Pracon will face Anders Behring Breivik on Utøya. Pracon prays for his life, but realizes deep down that he is going to die. For a few long seconds, he waits for the shot that will end his life. But the mass murderer lowers his weapon, turns around and walks away.

At the time of writing this book is only available in Polish and Norwegian so keep that in mind. 

This book is a nonfiction book about the July 22, 2011 Norway attacks written from the survivors perspective.

This book was much better than “One of Us” by Åsne Seierstad which was reviewed on the blog somewhen in 2020. (LINK HERE.) But it wasn’t so good to get 5 stars. Because there were various errors which didn’t go so well with me at least. 

The writing style was pretty decent but there were parts where the writing could have been better than it was. 

The whole book is pretty closed-off, and the author sort of tells you how you should feel about things you read in this book. Which shouldn’t happen in books especially when it comes to nonfiction books because everyone will more or less react and feel differently about the same things. And by doing this the author will make it super hard for many readers to like or even relate to what they are reading. 

There were many times in this book where it felt like you are just reading someone’s letter to his / hers therapist and not like you are reading a nonfiction book. It might have been the authors way of dealing with the trauma after the attack but still it didn’t feel like something which should have published for many people read. 

Half of the book was about days and events which the author have done in days leading to July 22, 2011 and pretty much of the topic which this book was about. The whole topic of what it was like to be on the island when the shooting happened tok maximum 10 pages. And then the book went to the criticising and bitching about the predator and the court trails which happened. 

If you want to read something which really will make you think and still is about the July 22, 2011 Norway attacks then you should much rather choose “One of Us” by Åsne Seierstad than this one because 60% of this book is about the authors life before the shooting massacre on that island, 5% is about the shooting and 35% is about the court trails. 

The author could have used more time on it and plan it out much more. It would have been so much better if the author would have written bigger book than what it is (only 170 fish pages) and focus much more on what happened on the island and the court trails than about his life pre July 22, 2011.

I give this book 3 / 5

“Talking with Serial Killers – A chilling study of the world’s most evil people” By Christopher Berry-Dee Review

97An investigative criminologist, Christopher Berry-Dee is a man who talks to serial killers. Their pursuit of horror and violence is described in their own words, transcribed from audio and videotape interviews conducted deep inside some of the toughest prisons in the world. Berry-Dee describes the circumstances of his meetings with some of the world’s most evil men and reproduces, verbatim, their very words as they describe their crimes and discuss their remorse — or lack of it. This work offers a penetrating insight into the workings of the criminal mind.

This book is said to be a book where the author is talking with serial killers but in my opinion this book isn’t about talking with serial killer as much as it was talking about the serial killers.

This book would be better if the author would have given us information about these serial killers or the crime scenes which we couldn’t find anywhere on the internet. But the author gives us the same fucking information which we can find on Wikipedia or somewhere else on the internet

This book is not as much about the interviews which the author has with the serial killers in this book than it is about the author telling us about them. The author could have at least given us some fragments of the interviews at least.

This book isn’t good nor bad, it is pretty much up to you to decide it. But the same information which the author is telling us in this book can be found on the internet for free and it will only take 3 seconds to find it.

There were chapters where the author basically went like “he / she did this, then that and she / he drove somewhere”. There were also moments where it seemed that the author tried to write fiction but without any success. Because every time it was feeling like this the chapter was going down hill.

There are some confusing involving this book. Because there is some small distinction between confessions, real facts, reliable, the logical and the pure form of speculation.

The writing style is pretty poor. There are couple of grammatical errors in the book and there are times where the author goes tells us over and over again something similar to “he / she did this, then that and she / he drove somewhere”.

I will say that you are not missing out on anything if you don’t read this book.

I give this book 2 /5

"One of Us: The Story of Anders Breivik and the Massacre in Norway" by Åsne Seierstad Review

100On July 22, 2011, Anders Behring Breivik detonated a bomb outside government buildings in central Oslo, killing eight people. He then proceeded to a youth camp on the island of Utøya, where he killed sixty-nine more, most of them teenage members of Norway’s governing Labour Party. In The Island, the journalist Åsne Seierstad tells the story of this terrible day and what led up to it. What made Breivik, a gifted child from an affluent neighborhood in Oslo, become a terrorist? 

This book is of course about 2011 Norway massacre. It was written by a journalist. And in the end it is an okay book.Of course it is a nonfiction book which gives us a step by step following on what happened in Oslo and at Utøya on July 22nd, 2011.

In the end 65% of this book is about the life and childhood story of Anders Breivik. So if you are fine with reading 65% about the killer, 10% of what happened on the island and 25% about what happened after he was arrested then feel free to read it.

If you have followed the case from the beginning like I did, you will know that this book involves the unwholesome journey. It is an unwholesome journey because it doesn’t involve the whole story of the intersection of paranoid politics, social awkwardness, and something else, something darker which allows one person to murder another. This book is over 500 pages long, so it should involve a little more in it then it did.

But after all we get a lots of details which you might not know about Anders Breivik or the whole case. However as you can expect there are a lot of jumps in the timeline. This book begins with Anders Breivik being on the island of Utøya and shooting, but then in the next chapter in goes all the way back to when his mother was still a child. And again the next chapter is about the pregnant and giving birth to Anders. But it sort of gives us the vibe, because it males you imagine first moment of life of someone who would 30 years later kill over 80 people. I personally didn’t got yet across a book which does something similar.

This book doesn’t fail to show that not every monster throughout the history began with killing or harming animals. Anders Breivik didn’t harm animals but he was in constant trouble while he was growing up.

This book fails on explaining some questions and things which are in this book. Just as how can Anders Breivik managed to get weapons shipped to a country which claims “is one of the safest countries”. Well apparently it isn’t a safe country if you can ship weapons into it without having police at your door.

However there is two big issues with this book.

The first issue is that if you don’t know how the Norwegian system works and all that, you will have a lot of problems with understanding this book. Because this book was in my opinion written for people who lives in Norway or people who knows very well the Norwegian system.

The the second big issue is that author is telling us what people who are about to die thinks. It’s a nonfiction book so you can’t write it as a fiction. I don’t think that she is Professor X from X-men who can read minds and all that.

There are times when this book repeats itself couple of times, and it kind of gets boring if you read the same thing like 5 times in a row.  But of course I need to give this book points. for diving deep into the life, actions, and mind of Anders Breivik.

I give this book 3 / 5