Melvin Lindsey

Silver Spring, Md. United States
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Beware of staring into the abyss,it stares back

5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 08-18-10

Normally I pass on true crime genre, and I wouldn't have pick this one if I hadn't heard a fascinating interview on NPR's Fresh Air featuring the author, Michael Capuzzo, forensic psychologist and profiler Richard Walter, and learning of the origins of the Vidocq Society. Capuzzo's work walks us through an American nightmare of psychopaths, sadists, killers, serial killers and more. There are names here we're familiar with from the news, and some we're only dimly aware of from myths, fairy tales, and from our nightmares. All of them true.This is not the typical true-crime drama or quickie csi adventure with neat solutions and families finding hope and closure at the end. Solutions are a long time in coming if at all.
Always gripping, I'd find it hard to describe this as entertainment. This is information disturbing and horrifying for the most part but there is also hope, thanks to the Society. This is knowledge that helps us discover what drives certain individuals; that informs us as to why some people do what they do,such as the members of the Vidocq Society who labor for the dead in order to provide them a voice,in many cases restores an identity,and provides the relief their families longs for.
At fourteen plus hours I found this excellent production much too short and immediately had to listen again. Initially I thought I would be put off by Adam Grupper's sharp, just-the-facts reading but seconds into the audio I found myself swept away into this history of the origins of expert crime analysis. His voice and intonations were perfect for this book.He would make an excellent Sherlock Holmes.This is a book for all the cynics and skeptics who, like I, long to find the goodness buried deep in the the human soul only to find ourselves horrified by the potential for the extreme evil that is buried in us all; that allows us to annililate each other in ways unimaginable, but still providing hope for those who've lost loved ones to murder.
This is an excellent find.

19 of 19 people found this review helpful

Terror from all sides.

4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 06-20-08

One amazing aspect I found in Smiths first novel is his ability to draw the reader into the personal lives of its many differing characters,to draw out empathy from the reader for the main actors situation,and feel the paranoia and fear
of living under a Stalinist regime which is just as frightening as having a serial killer roaming at will.
The characters on its surface might seem stock;each one in place, each doing what's expected in such a novel,but on deeper reading a whole other world of resourceful people come together to try to protect themselves and each other against a killer and their government that says he couldn't exist.
Dennis Boutsikaris is the perfect reader for this novel. Usually I'm distracted by a narrator affecting a foreign accent,but Boutsikaris has an evenhanded way of telling this story.His accent conveys a sense of fatalism in the characters lives,but also ,extremely(to me),the love for and between parent and children,as well as conflict between husband and wife.
This is a great book.Tom Rob Smiths experience as a script writer shows through,for good or ill.
This would be a great movie if the right director and actors could be found;or maybe we should just leave well enough alone.

88 of 89 people found this review helpful