Restraint Helps ‘Killers’ Avoid Exploitation

There are a few key ingredients to many a good thriller: domestic intrigue, large sums of money, poison, explosions, conspiracies, a sympathetic victim at the center, and a dedicated investigator determined to get to the bottom of it all. And a good twist or two. Can’t forget the twists. David Grann’s Killers of the Flower MoonContinue reading “Restraint Helps ‘Killers’ Avoid Exploitation”

‘Halfway’ Hits Home with Prison Discourse

Crime and poverty are so frequently lumped together, as are race and crime, making a sort of trifecta of bad circumstances that can really hold a person back—or worse, as we’ve seen with so many cases of police violence. But it’s worse than that, argues Reuben Jonathan Miller in his new book Halfway Home: notContinue reading “‘Halfway’ Hits Home with Prison Discourse”

Get ‘Lost’ in These Four Cities

According to the U.S. Census, over 80% of the country’s population lives in urban areas—and it’s even higher for Puerto Rico and other territories, where urban living is well over 90%. It didn’t always used to be this way, but the world is marching toward a far more urban future than our ancestors could haveContinue reading “Get ‘Lost’ in These Four Cities”

‘Two Truths’ Questions Fact and Fiction

I take in a lot of crime-related media. Hours of podcasts, stacks of true-crime novels, loads of documentaries, and although maturity and a growing awareness of current events has curbed my appetite for police procedurals, I still watch a lot of crime TV. All of which is to say I feel that I’m somewhat ofContinue reading “‘Two Truths’ Questions Fact and Fiction”

‘Women’ is Enraging, but in a Good Way

I had a hard time writing this review. Not because I can’t think of much to say about Caroline Criado Perez’s Invisible Women: Data Bias in a World Built for Men—just the opposite. As I’ve read it over the last couple of weeks, I’ve hardly been able to shut up about it. But it’s notContinue reading “‘Women’ is Enraging, but in a Good Way”

Macabre History is a Delight in ‘Monster’

When I told my husband the book I was reading was called Monster, She Wrote, he said, “You’re only reading that because it sounds like Murder, She Wrote,” and then proceeded to describe a whole horror-themed knockoff of the classic 1984-1996 series starring our absolute queen, Angela Lansbury. Which was completely insulting, because the Murder,Continue reading “Macabre History is a Delight in ‘Monster’”

‘Hours’ tries furiously to connect its two halves

Harper Lee is one of those rare writers who managed to cement herself in literary canon with a single novel and a smattering of short stories. A recluse even J.D. Salinger could be proud of, she kept to herself, privately enjoying her earnings from To Kill A Mockingbird, poking her head out just long enoughContinue reading “‘Hours’ tries furiously to connect its two halves”

‘Don’t Want to Die’ Isn’t Poor on Prose

If there’s one thing Michael Arceneaux isn’t, it’s coy. His second collection of essays, I Don’t Want to Die Poor, minces no words as he talks about the dire financial straits he found himself in after college and the various ways debt has made his life harder. Through that lens, he talks in about sexContinue reading “‘Don’t Want to Die’ Isn’t Poor on Prose”

More Nightmare than Dream in ‘House’

I’ve been recommending Carmen Maria Machado’s In the Dream House to people for months. To the classmate trying to find a way of writing a memoir of her time in the Air Force without resurrecting her past too much. To the colleague arguing that  Choose Your Own Adventures weren’t an effective form of storytelling. To theContinue reading “More Nightmare than Dream in ‘House’”

Idea of ‘If Walls Could Talk’ Frames ‘Yellow’

It has always fascinated me how many stories four walls can hold. The mundane and the dramatic coexist on the same stage in a home. A house’s lifespan is not like that of the humans who live inside it; within its years of providing comfort and shelter, it can contain multitudes of stories. This isContinue reading “Idea of ‘If Walls Could Talk’ Frames ‘Yellow’”