October was another busy month, which meant I only read seven books. I assume my reading will pick up pretty soon because it’s getting cold and dark earlier, meaning I’ll just want to be inside.
Of the books I read last month, I gave three (two fiction and one nonfiction) perfect grades. My reviews are below.
I struggled with giving Pure Murder by Corey Mitchell a perfect grade because it is the true story of the 1993 brutal rape and murder of two teenage girls in Houston.
Jennifer Ertman and Elizabeth Pena just happened to walk through the wrong place at the wrong time. The girls were headed home from a friend’s house and took a secluded shortcut so they would make it home on time for curfew. What happened instead is they ran into a gang of six killers.
This book was difficult to read because of the brutality of Jennifer and Elizabeth’s rapes and murders. It also was confusing because it told a brief history of each of the men who killed them. Despite that, I gave the book a perfect score because of what the Ertman and Pena families accomplished for the families of other victims. The girls’ families were the first in Texas to address perpetrators in court and the first victim witnesses to an execution. It’s terrible that these families had to suffer so much, but those two outcomes of their cases live on in service to other victims’ families.
The book is about Josie Buhrman, a woman who has spent the last 10 years trying to escape her past. Josie ran away to New York where her live-in boyfriend, Caleb, doesn’t even know her real name, let alone her history. But Josie can’t hide any longer.
An investigative reporter named Poppy Parnell has launched a podcast about the murder of Josie’s father 13 years ago. Since the murder, Josie’s mother ran away to join a cult and her twin sister, Lanie, married Josie’s high school sweetheart. More importantly, there’s a man on death row for their father’s murder and the reporter is using the podcast to prove his innocence.
I loved this book because it went back and forth between Josie’s life and scripts of the podcast that were affecting it. It was like reading a who dunnit while listening to a true crime investigative podcast. I read so much that it sometimes feels like there are no new stories. This book had a unique style and plot twists too.
The Cleveland suburb of Shaker Heights is a bit Stepford like. Everything is planned and uniform, just like Elena Richardson’s life.
When Mia Warren, a single mother and artist, shows up in town with her daughter, Pearl, life in Shaker Heights becomes a little less perfect, and even the Richardsons aren’t immune.
There they are, my three favorite books of October! I hope you find something on the list to read and love.
As always, happy reading!