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Publisher's Summary

Suzy and her brother, Lim, live with their abusive mother in a town where the stars don’t shine at night. Once the abuse becomes too much to handle, the two siblings embark on a sordid cross-country murder spree beginning with their mom. As the murder tally rises, Suzy’s mental state spirals into irredeemable madness.

©2020 Samantha Kolesnik (P)2021 Samantha Kolesnik

Critic Reviews

"A debut with the power of a nuclear bomb. Ranks alongside Jack Ketchum's The Girl Next Door and J. F. Gonzalez's Survivor." (Brian Keene, author of The Rising)

"...could easily become one of the most talked about novels of 2020." (Waylon Jordan, iHorror.com)

"I’ve taken in a lot of rather dark literature over the years, but I can unequivocally say True Crime is the most disturbing book I’ve ever read." (Jeremy Dick, HorrorGeekLife.com)

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What listeners say about True Crime

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An unsettling story, an incredible narrator

This is one of those stories that you love but you're not sure it's okay to say you love it. The writing is impeccable and unsettling. Suzy is an unreliable narrator in the best possible way. She is not someone we like necessarily, but she does elicit empathy. I was shaken by the story the first time I read it. Listening to it was a wholly different experience. Jennifer Pickens gives an understated performance that seeps into your skin and hair and forces you to live it. I would definitely recommend this to anyone with the stomach for it.

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Amazing story.

What an amazing gripping tale. There are things in this world that happen everyday right under our very noses. Women are kidnapped, tutored, raped and all kinds of other things, and nobody bats an eye. Samantha brings us a story of a brother and sister who escape their abusive mother, and now on the run. While on the run they leave a trail of murder and crime alone the way. This is a page turning book. Since this an audible review this will keep your ears perked with interest. Jennifer Pickens delivers a wonderful performance with her narrative. She keeps the story going handling each character with care and craft. This will story definitely delivers. It won't take up much of your time either, but it'll leave you wanting more.

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Well-told quicksand of misery

It's a bit strange to call a story as dark as this one good, but it is. Samantha Kolesnik takes on an examination of abuse and the breaking of the human spirit in gorgeous form, writing both with and of a stripped-down brutality that constantly shocks. Even despite that, I found myself wishing for the protagonists' redemption, for an end to the abuse and pain both of them suffer from. It's a difficult novel in that regard, but a rewarding one, as Kolesnik never takes the easy road or lets up on the message that there are monsters, and monsters who came before them. Truly a terrific book, and narrated well to boot.

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True Crime is truly dark

Lean and mean True Crime is an origin story in the way that The Witch or Midsommar are origin stories but through a Badlands lens. Like, if Holly from Badlands was the one pulling the strings all along, was a far more willing participant and, by the end, self-actualizes and becomes what she always was, the one to truly be worried about and scared of.

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Brutal and Unflinching

Samantha Kolesnik's True Crime is a gritty deep dive into an abusive household and the horrible consequences of that abuse. It's all the more awful for the plausibility of it.
Suzy's only escape from the horrific emotional, physical, and sexual abuse from her mother--and boyfriend(s)--is reading True Crime magazines that she's fixated on. Her only allies in the cruel childhood she's experienced are her older brother, the emotionally detached Lim, and the unseen girl, Alice, held captive in the basement by Suzy's mother, speaking to Suzy only through the heat registers. Little does she know that she and her older brother, Lim, are soon to create their own story befitting her favorite magazine...as she smashes an ashtray into her monstrous mother's head...and that is only the beginning.
As Suzy evades justice and Lim winds up in prison for the murders no one imagines Suzy could have been involved with, we find ourselves wondering if she can be rehabilitated with a second chance and a clean slate.
The animal freakshow scene was deeply upsetting and made me want to attack the spectators as well, and the later scene where Suzy discovers the dogs made me sad too. Acts of cruelty and violence against animals do more to get under my skin than the same sort of violence perpetrated against people. It seems that Suzy and I have that in common.
Jennifer Pickens expertly narrates the audiobook edition of the story, capturing the equal measures of naivete and cruelty of Suzy's first-person narrative.

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True Crime

brutal, disturbing, but ultimately a very powerful and human story. can't say I would recommend this to everyone, but if you want to explore the dredges of humanity, look no further.

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Ummm... Wow

Brutal from the moment I hit play. Kolesnik takes everything you hold sacred and tosses them in pig slop while she watches you with cold eyes as your heart breaks. The narrator caught that tone and rolled with it. Just wow.

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Extremely Dark and Disturbing

TRUE CRIME is an extremely dark and disturbing story. I consider myself well read in the extreme horror genre and I found TRUE CRIME right up there with the most disturbing fiction I have read. The narrator does an excellent job as well. Excellent quick listen.

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Hell of a debut

Kolesnik published a well-written and polished product through Grindhouse Press, and True Crime marks her debut in the world of fiction. I listened to the audiobook which lent credence to my wandering brain's idea that this could very well be a true story. We get our hands dirty through the eyes of Suzy as she does indeed spiral out of control. Despite the examination of depravity's aspects, we readers get to truly feel for Suzy and her brother, Lim. Empathy was rising in my bloodstream as I kept listening.

This novella is a gut punch and reminiscent of Laurel Hightower's Crossroads. You'll feel grimy, but while you're sitting there in the mud with dirt under your fingernails, your heart will hurt. You'll reflect on why these terrible things came to fruition, what made Suzy and Lim this way. And your head will spin once you realize how close to reality this book is for many youth across the world.

Pay attention to Kolesnik's career. At the moment, she's busy with adapting a story to the screen for Worst Laid Plans: The Movie in the director's chair. And I'm sure we will see some great things in the coming years through the indie press she runs, Off Limits Press.

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  • Andrea Jones
  • 03-05-21

Great story!

Love the style it is told in. Highly recommend giving a read or listen.

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Profile Image for Kristín Mist Sigurbjörnsdóttir
  • Kristín Mist Sigurbjörnsdóttir
  • 02-22-21

A gruesome Thrill

this story is raw and heartbreaking as we follow siblings Suzie and Lim on a bloody road trip. Kolesnik doesn't shy away from the grotesque and you both feel sorry for Suzie and yet you also fear what kind of person she really is, after suffering her whole life.

I loved Jennifer Pickens' narration. She managed to deliver the story's rawness as well bringing each character to life, even though there wasn't much of a change in her voice.

It was almost as if you were looking through the eyes of serial killer through Suzie, which is very unsettling but intrigues a lot of us, even myself. I loved her bleak way of thinking but her logic also made a lot of sense.

Definitely need to read more from Kolesnik!

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  • warren
  • 02-21-21

highly recommend

this story will stay with you.
Excellent, gripping,and pure quality.
5 big stars from me.