Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Cover-to-Cover Commuting: Two books by Ann Rule

Ann Rule is one of the leading true crime authors in America.  I came across her work some years ago, when her book Green River, Running Red needed repair at the small library where I worked.  After fixing the binding, I checked it out and was engrossed in the story of the Green River Killer.  It was at once horrific and absorbing.  Adding to the intrigue of the book is that, as with her more famous work, The Stranger Beside Me (about Ted Bundy), Ms. Rule had unknowingly met the man she'd one day profile as a horrific serial killer.

While I don't care for mysteries, true crime stories and TV shows such as Forensic Files are fascinating.  So as I began my foray into audiobooks, I've gravitated toward this genre of nonfiction.  Two of the first books I listened to were by Ms. Rule, which I shall review here today.

Checkouts (school/public library): 32
Typical reader: Fans of true crime and/or Ann Rule
Source: Checked out from the school/public library

Synopsis: Two children die in a house fire in Prairie Village, Kansas.  The fire was intentionally set - by their own mother.

My Goodreads rating: 4 stars

Checkouts (public library): 60
Typical reader: As above
Source: Checked out from my "home" public library

Synopsis: A Southern belle tears her husband and his family apart with lies, manipulation, deception, robbery, and more.

My Goodreads rating: 4 stars

These two books pair together well.  Both are about strange, conniving women who ruin the lives of those close to them.  The tales are complex and twisted.  And both are abridged in audiobook format, much to my dismay.  (Most audiobook versions of Ms. Rule's books are abridged, it seems.)

Abridgement is when a book is shortened.  Many classics are abridged, including in the kid-friendly Great Illustrated Classics series.  It is also common with audiobooks.  You get the flavor of the book, and most of the story, but without the length and little details.

While Bitter Harvest seemed like a complete story, I felt like I missed something with Everything She Ever Wanted.  Having not read the print version, I'm not sure if there was a chunk left out of the story that could have otherwise enhanced it, or if it was just that confounding.

These books are narrated by different readers.  Before listening to them, this puzzled me somewhat; typically, the books of a particular author will be read by consistent talent, be it one particular voice actor or a full cast (provided that the recording/publishing company remains the same).  However, the change makes perfect sense.  Bitter Harvest is read in a Midwestern accent, befitting the Kansas location, while Everything She Ever Wanted is read in a delicious Southern drawl.  These were excellent choices by the crew at Simon & Schuster Audio.

These books ended up starting my true crime "kick" this summer.  While I'll still be reading and reviewing children's and YA literature, I'll also be highlighting a number of books in this nonfiction genre, both in audio and print formats.

Also coming soon, I'm interviewing an author of local interest.  Stay tuned!

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like good stuff, and worthwhile items in the library. :)