Feal the fear and GTFO

the-gift-of-fear

 

Gavin de Becker doesn’t necessarily want you to be afraid. But he does want you to use your fear in a constructive manner. He wants you give that friendly but off-putting stranger a polite but firm “No thank you” and to be persistent in that answer. He’d like you to remove yourself from situations that make you uncomfortable and make any apologies for rudeness later. But mostly he’d like you to listen to your fear instinct. De Becker is one of the nations leading specialists in personal security for both public personalities and private citizens. He knows how to predict whether or not a person will become violent or is simply a nuisance.

Since this book is almost 20 years old, some of is advice doesn’t seem as groundbreaking as it did in 1997. It’s also pre-Columbine, pre-9/11 and pre-social media. I’d love to see an updated version for the modern era. Still his advice is helpful not only as a safety guide but as a study of human behavior. De Becker shows how almost no violet outburst is sudden or unpredictable and how seemingly normal people can be moved to violent behavior. My only major quibble with the book is that de Beckers arrogance (earned though it may be) shows on the page. Many of his case studies should be renamed “If Only They’d Listed to Me.”

I’d advise anyone, not just modern women, to pick up a copy of this book. It’s a great guide for predicting, and possibly preventing violent behavior in human beings.

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There’s truth that lives and truth that dies. I don’t know which so never mind.

in-the-woods

 

In the Woods is dark, complex and twisty but not in a gimmicky sort of way. It is the murder mystery I have been waiting for and I have already added the second and third books in Tana French’s Dublin Murder Squad series to my TBR list. It’s a mystery novel that is more than simply a “whodunnit.” It’s a rumination on memory and friendship with a conclusion that is an emotional kick in the gut.

In 1985, three children disappeared into the woods behind their small Dublin suburb of Knocknaree to play. Only one was ever seen again. Twelve year old Adam Ryan was found by search parties late that night clutching a tree with his shoes filled with his playmate’s blood and no memory of what happened. In present day, Adam Ryan is now Detective Rob Ryan of the Dublin Murder Squad. No one knows about his past aside from his partner Detective Cassie Maddox. Rob is pulled back into his memories of Knocknaree when he and Maddox are assigned to the murder of a twelve year old girl in the area. Rob struggles with the current case and his sparse memories of the 1985 murders as he tries to find the young girl’s murderer.

I did not want to put this book down. I spend almost all of a miserable sick day from work plowing through as much as I could. Meals were and bedtimes were delayed because I kept wanting to read one more chapter. This was that kind of book for me. It had the feel of season one True Detective at its atmospheric best. I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves gritty detective novels and has somehow missed this book published in 2007 to pick it up.

Mentally casting the film version as I read

lies-of-locke-lamora

There’s something deeply satisfying about finishing the first in a book series and loving it. A lot of smart people whose opinions I respect love the Gentleman Bastards series. Still, I am a persnickety reader and started it with some trepidation after a much needed bread from all the horror and true crime I’d been reading for the month of October. Lies of Locke Lamora does not disappoint. It’s good enough to be a stand alone novel but still leaves potential for more stories (of which there are) without any infuriating cliffhangers.

Locke Lamora and his small but loyal gang call themselves the Gentleman Bastards. The rest of the thieving community, which is huge in the city of Camorr, believes them to be low level second story men. In fact, they are talented con men who pull of complicated scams on the cities rich and powerful nobles. Life is good for Locke and the Gentleman Bastards until they find themselves unwitting pawns in an underworld power struggle. Things go from bad to worse in short order and Locke is forced to use all of his wit and bravado to make things right.

Aside from a plot that sucks you in from the beginning, I liked ALL the characters. All of them were well written. Unlike some fantasy series, I was never forced to start skimming when certain characters appeared. They were all great. Eventually I will get my hands on the second book in the series but I am currently on a self-imposed book buying hiatus until after the holidays.