October Round Up

Monthly Mini Review

picture of a murder scene (a body covered in a sheet maybe?) and a photo of Ted Bundy affixed with orange tape to itThe Stranger Beside Me by Ann Rule, narrated by Lorelei King – B I picked this audiobook up via my library. Lorelei King is a favourite narrator (she does the Mercy Thompson series) but I admit it threw me a little when Ted Bundy sounded like Adam Hauptmann!

I admit I knew little about Ted Bundy before this. (Hello. Australian.) I knew of him of course and that he was a serial killer but beyond that, not much else. Wow. What an animal he was. Cruel, vicious and manipulative. Ugh.

There’s an extra layer to this book though. Ann Rule was his friend. They met when they worked together at a crisis helpline. As I was listening there was a kind of meta layer to it and I spent a bit of time thinking about her relationship with Bundy and trying to put myself in her place. I think I would not have stuck by him or sent him money for cigarettes and postage stamps in jail. I think I would have washed my hands of him. That she did not was… a choice.

There are a number of afterwords which update events beyond the original ending of the book and take the story to Bundy’s execution in 1989. That last one seemed to shift in tone to more condemnation of Bundy than the original book did. I wondered about why that was.

May Round Up

Monthly Mini Review

Sepia toned picture of a big explosion. There's a 1980 vibe to the picture.A Thousand Pounds of Dynamite by Adam Higginbotham – B When I was buying Higginbotham’s audiobook on Chernobyl, I saw there was a short (just about 2.5 hours) audio by the same author. The author reads the story, which was originally a longform article for The Atavist (which I’d not heard of before). Then Audible had a sale and I picked it up at 50% off – about $3.00. A Thousand Pounds of Dynamite tells the true story of Big John Burgis, who tried to extort $US 3 million from a casino in Lake Tahoe in 1980. He stole a thousand pounds of dynamite and made a bomb in his shed, delivered it to the casino and threatened to blow everything up if the money wasn’t delivered to him. The story is extraordinary and all the more interesting because I’d never heard of it before. I gather that folks in Lake Tahoe still remember it and that current FBI trainers use the case as a teaching tool but the story hasn’t really sunk into the collective consciousness.

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