Tag: crime

The Crow Girl || Book Review

Processed with VSCO with c7 preset

“It starts with just one body – the hands bound, the skin covered in marks.

Detective Superintendent Jeanette Kihlberg is determined to find out who is responsible, despite opposition from her superiors. When two more bodies are found, it becomes clear that she is hunting a serial killer.

With her career on the line, she turns to psychotherapist Sofia Zetterlund. Together, they uncover a chain of shocking events that began decades ago – but will it lead them to the murderer before someone else dies?”

This is the initial blurb on the back cover of the book I received for Christmas, my first initial thought was, it sounds very generic. But before I go any further I can tell you 100% that that synopsis does NOT give the book any justice at all.

AT ALL.

Judging by the fact you are reading this post I am guessing you’ve had enough of me going on about how much I loved this book on Instagram and just wanted to finally know what all the fuss was about. And you’ll already know that this is one of THE BEST books I have read in a long, long time. I hate starting a book and not being able to finish it, however prior to picking up The Crow Girl I had done just that, I got halfway through the previous book (U is for Undertow by Sue Grafton) and had just had enough, id given it a few hundred pages and it just wasn’t flowing right for me, I found it boring and trying to get through it became more of a chore, so I was apprehensive when I started The Crow Girl in case I felt the same. But I can safely say that was not the case, by the second page I knew this book, despite its healthy length was going to be one I couldn’t put down.

I’m first going to give you a little more of a relevant synopsis of the book (I have based this synopsis from a review written by the guardian, if you want to read the guardian review then click here, but it goes into slightly more depth and could involve spoilers) to give a more detailed account of what the book entails and then I’ll go into the disclaimers I think you should note before you chose to invest yourself in this book.

“First is the discovery of an unidentified young boy’s body , showing signs of having suffered sexual torture after the administration of an unusual sedative and then, after death, a bizarre process of mummification. This murder is investigated by Detective Superintendent Jeanette Kihlberg, a headstrong character who is constantly undermined for being a woman, and continuously challenges the female societal persona at the time. Her viewpoint alternates with that of Sofia Zetterlund, a psychotherapist whose patients include a child pornographer, a woman who suffers from multiple personality disorder and a former child soldier in Sierra Leone.

Between scenes of Jeanette and Sofia at work, there are present-day sections taking place in a house where a psychopath has created a prison for a child. There are also flashbacks to the distressing childhood of someone who identifies herself as “Crow Girl” as well as other characters going about their lives, all carrying their own past secrets that intertwine storylines into a one huge thrilling journey.”

The first thing you’ll notice is the length of the book, it is over 700 pages long and the storylines get fairly complex, so if you aren’t one to delve into a more lengthy, hard thinking novel, then this isn’t for you. It most definitely is not a ‘light read.’

Secondly, you’ll notice the bizarre names and locations, this is because the book has beencrow girl 3 translated into English from its original format, which was actually written as a trilogy in Swedish. The book was originally three individual novels but as it has been translated and republished to be a worldwide phenomenon, they put the three books into one large book, separated into three parts.

Now for a disclaimer (of sorts), this book comes under the genres; thriller, mystery and crime. And most definitely it is aimed at readers who enjoy those genres, however it is not for the faint hearted, it’s not a simple mystery or just a rivetingly fun thriller, it is a fairly complex, dark novel. I have been going through a few reviews to get a variety of opinions and the majority of the low scoring reviews are due to the fact the violence (mainly sexual) is pretty graphic and readers have felt unable to get through the scenes. Likewise they have also found the psychological aspect of the book tricky to keep up with as it is very fast paced and I feel if you have no knowledge of psychological theories, trauma and the human mind, you may struggle to understand parts of the novel as it doesn’t necessarily explain, it is assumed you understand the basic concepts.

I myself study forensic psychology at university and am an avid documentary watcher of all things psychology related (the darker and deeper, the better) so I didn’t find the concepts particularly hard to understand, instead I found the use of the social sciences a positive and enjoyable part of the book. I find the concept of the human mind and the complexity of cause and effect very fascinating and so this only drew me in further. Without explaining the concept, it does cover the general idea of nature verses nurture, aswell as concentrating on the human psyche and how that is affected by certain events and can shape a future.

Because of studying the subject I study, mixed with my obvious choice of films/documentaries/books/etc, I am not effected greatly by particularly horrible acts. I am a bit of a psychopath when it comes to horrific things, they don’t affect me in the slightest, I can watch the most horrendously violent and sickening scene and still sleep very soundly at night. For this reason I didn’t find the graphic content of the book disturbing, I think the severity of the descriptions was essential in building the story and how you are supposed to feel in regards to the characters and the events. But, if you are easily effected by graphic accounts and explicit imagery, (mainly on the topics of rape, child abuse, murder and torture) then you probably won’t enjoy this book.

I realise I’ve now portrayed myself as the most cold hearted psychopath, which I can assure you isn’t the case, i’m just a naturally unaffected individual when it comes to horrible things. I mean, I will cry and have a fit if I drop my pizza on the floor, or when left alone at night will turn into a terrified child who anticipates a burglar breaking in and killing me every time, but on the whole, I can watch a horror without blinking or being frightened and can read some horrific accounts and not be emotionally effected.

My overall opinion on the novel, as you already know, is that it is one of the most thrilling, gripping and fully immersive books I have read. The characters (once you’ve figured out how to pronounce most their names) were all unique and engaging, giving the reader different feelings on each one and captivating you to follow each of their journeys. I often found myself at the end of every character’s narrative, being frustrated that it ended where it ended because I wanted to know more, and yet did the exact same on the next narrative. A major plot twist is revealed fairly early on in the book which I at first thought was unusual and wondered where further plot twists could go, but there is literally plot twist after plot twist. And they are all just as gasp-worthy as the last.

Although the general motives of the plot/characters may seem widely generic to some, I found the book uniquely interesting and portrayed the entire plotline far better than any previous crime thriller I have read, Anyone who even remotely enjoys a dark crime novel, I would suggest reading this before you read anything else, because this one is significantly more enjoyable, interesting, dark, complex and gripping than any previous psychological thrillers I have read. The negative point to that being, I doubt in the near future ill find a book I will enjoy as much as this one and will forever be comparing them to The Crow Girl.

John doesn’t read( I used to wonder, despite his high intelligence whether he could in fact, actually read) , he is a get into bed and put the horror channel on, then fall asleep snoring 10 seconds later kind of guy, but I have forced him to give The Crow Girl a go and so far so good, (it’s only been one night so I will keep you updated and let you know his opinions on the book aswell).

If The Crow Girl sounds like something you’d like to give a go you can purchase the book from Amazon by clicking:

Here for Paperback.

Here for Hardback.

Here for Kindle.

crow girl

 

Advertisements

Introducing…Mind A Moment

Maddie 1

I feel weird introducing myself as the creator of Mind A Moment because, although I am, it feels much too formal and like there isn’t really much to introduce.

My blog was born amongst the chaos of dropping out of university after my first year. I had always loved writing and had shown a real passion for it ever since childhood but had never had anything to write about. Ironically, being so lost in life gave me some much needed direction in my writing. My first ever post  did really well, being shared by hundreds of young people who also felt confused about their future. This gave me the confidence to make my blog a regular thing.

I had wanted to start a blog since I was about 13 before blogging was ‘cool’ so all the positive feedback I was getting helped me to forget about the few people who might be laughing at me. I had written about something that nobody else seemed to be talking about and I had messages from so many people praising me for how relatable my post had been. Riding the wave, I scribbled down more things that I wanted to write about and began regularly posting about another taboo: mental health.

I think I always knew I wanted to discuss mental health on my blog because when coming up with a name for it, I wanted something that related to slowing down and taking a moment out of our busy lives. To me, Mind A Moment means mindfulness, a technique that really helped me during some of my darkest moments.

maddie 2

Fast forward to now, my content has developed with me. I still talk about mental health but in a much broader context. I discuss my (un)luckiness in love, friendship and spiritual healing in a way that I feel hasn’t really been approached before. And through my journey of recovery and self love, my blog has been a creative outlet for me that I am sharing with the internet. My goal has always been to inspire people, to open their eyes and to let them know that they aren’t alone and I hope that I will always continue to do this.

If you like the sound of any of this or want to know more then head over to Mind A Moment or follow me on Instagram

Maddies Blog, Mind a Moment:

maddie 5

Maddie’s Instagram:

 

To read the previous Introducing… article featuring Our Beautiful Chaos, Click here

 

[Written by Mind a Moment | Edited & Published by Dawson.xo | Photos by Mind a Moment, Maddie Jennings | Subject to copyright]

The Bell “Apparently”

So back when I became the boring adult age of 22, where no birthday is ever worth the rave until you reach 30 (which is a terrifying concept), me and john spent a few nights in Ticehurst at The Bell ‘Apparently’.

Processed with VSCO with m5 presetProcessed with VSCO with m5 preset

We booked two nights in their lodge called ‘between the lines,’ each lodge is completely unique and has a different themed design. Between the lines was centred around literature and classics, the country life of sitting by a log fire playing old board games, (John is going to kill me for not being able to name an old fashioned game he played back in the dark ages when he was a child) and reading a romantic novel. The theme is evident throughout along with a cosy romantic vibe, the place was just immaculately beautiful and I can’t wait to book another trip. If you want to book a night or two at The Bell click here, you can book a room in the main hotel or a private lodge, like the one we stayed in.

Processed with VSCO with m5 presetProcessed with VSCO with m5 presetProcessed with VSCO with m5 presetProcessed with VSCO with m5 presetProcessed with VSCO with m5 preset

IMG_65653IMG_65673IMG_65713

On the first day, after 4 hours of praying that kitty (or Jon snow as I like to call it to piss john off) – the car by the way – don’t ask – didn’t break down (very ironic, but that’s for a different day) we spent the time drinking in their bar and retiring to chill out in the lodge. We started up the log fire and john nipped to the shop to get a bottle of whiskey whilst I ran a bath. Anyone who knows us will know that baths are like the number one on our list of luxuries and one of the reasons we ended up together (besides Craig David – again, don’t ask) and seen as john left his copper, roll top, mother-of-all-luxurious bathtubs in the world behind in Kings Heath this was the best bath experience and we were making the fucking most of it. Like parents who have escaped the children for a night, we enjoyed not having Luna cry every time we kiss, or wipe her dirty arse across the carpet, or sit on our heads whilst trying to watch a movie. I lay in the bath and john sat on the balcony beside it, smoking a cigar (Mostly johns part, sorry mom), drinking whiskey and chatting beside the log fire. (As well as fighting over who’s music to listen to as the lodge had built in speakers all around.) It was perfect.

Processed with VSCO with m5 presetProcessed with VSCO with m5 presetProcessed with VSCO with m5 presetProcessed with VSCO with m5 presetProcessed with VSCO with m5 presetProcessed with VSCO with m5 preset

When it started to get too chilly we ordered a Chinese to the lodge. I made john do the shame walk into the restaurant to ask for plates and cutlery and turns out beside the fact Ticehurst is the most aesthetically pleasing and beautiful, tiny country village, they also do the BEST chicken in black bean sauce dish I’ve ever had the pleasure of tasting, (and in 22 years ive had a lot). BUT they didn’t do yuk sung so y’know, point down to the beautiful village we wanted to move to. The village was so ‘British,’ the kind of country village that is portrayed to the rest of the world as what England is actually like, amazing architecture, 70’s cars, farmers delivering eggs fresh in the morning, fish mongers weighing out their fresh fish and a butcher on every corner. Instead of the pouring rain, vomit clogged drains and left over Chicken Balti on the pavement with bottles of bud and empty plastic packets of cocaine that is Birmingham.

Processed with VSCO with m5 presetProcessed with VSCO with m5 presetProcessed with VSCO with m5 presetProcessed with VSCO with m5 presetProcessed with VSCO with m5 presetProcessed with VSCO with m5 presetProcessed with VSCO with m5 presetProcessed with VSCO with m5 preset

On the second day we took a trip to Hastings, where we took a basket of smoked cheese biscuits and selection of pates intending to eat it on the beach like a 1950’s couple, but instead we found a true crime museum and spent hours sitting in an electric chair, marvelling at preserved evidence from big crime scenes and learning how to make weapons out of plastic spoons. So again another perfect day. (More on Hastings another time).

Processed with VSCO with m5 presetProcessed with VSCO with m5 presetProcessed with VSCO with m5 presetProcessed with VSCO with m5 presetProcessed with VSCO with m5 presetProcessed with VSCO with m5 preset

Processed with VSCO with m5 preset

Processed with VSCO with m5 preset

 

Processed with VSCO with m5 preset

 

Processed with VSCO with m5 preset

That night we ate at The Bells Restaurant and it was like a Michelin star, they really pay attention to detail and the décor of the place is just incredible. Morning, Afternoon and evening they have a centrepiece filled with suitable foods. In the morning is a spread of continental goods, pastries, cereals, fruit, and in the evening is a huge meat joint ready to be carved surrounded with various tapas. The menu’s they offer are ever-changing with the seasons and in pure autumnal country fashion we shared guinea fowl, mushroom arrancini, beetroot soup, braised leg and butter poached breast. It was completely different to what I would usually pick, I’m more of a frutti de mare kinda gal but it was divine and I will definitely be ordering it again. As for breakfast, i’m sure judging by my Instagram it was obvious I was going to have the eggs benedict or royale (I can’t remember which is which – the one with the smoked salmon) as that is my go to brekkie and john being john went with the biggest breakfast he could find…every morning.

Processed with VSCO with m5 presetProcessed with VSCO with m5 presetProcessed with VSCO with m5 preset2017-11-14-12-10-47-1.jpgProcessed with VSCO with m5 presetProcessed with VSCO with m5 presetProcessed with VSCO with m5 presetProcessed with VSCO with m5 preset

The hotel and lodges themselves are honestly phenomenal and well worth the money, the attention to detail is incredible, every document, tour guide, wine list and lodge guide was addressed personally to me, every day they served homemade cookies in bell jars and loose leaf tea of every single variation possible. The quirkiness of the lodge was so intricate I don’t think we even uncovered all of its magic and I cant wait to book again and try a different lodge out as every one has its own secret. Between the lines had a headboard made from novels and hand drawn images from notebooks. It also had a mezzanine floor with chaise lounges and crates full of records. The artwork throughout the hotel is all one off individual pieces with a story behind them and all the rooms boast their own poetry fitting with the ‘storytelling’ theme they have created. It was like the whole of Alice in Wonderland was compressed into a building.

I can’t really say anymore because i’d be here all day waffling on about how amazing this place is. So with The Bell’s motto “I will always love you, my friend” I bid you farewell.

Processed with VSCO with m5 presetProcessed with VSCO with m5 presetProcessed with VSCO with m5 presetProcessed with VSCO with m5 preset

My Penpal, The Murderer

Once again, the title explains itself, and this post is definitely going to rattle and confuse a few people, if you do disagree with this controversial topic id politely ask you refer from the hate comments and just swear to yourself or something, either way, don’t aim it at me because this is just one person’s opinion.

I first joined Death Row Support Project (DRSP) after i enrolled on my Uni Course when someone i know posted their experience and i found it mostly intriguing. From there i did my own research in what i could do, despite being housebound for periods of time, in order to gain some kind of work experience   in relation to my chosen qualification which is Forensic Psychology. Fittingly, i decided to get involved in the Death Row Support Project seen as my career will (hopefully – if i ever pass) be picking into the minds of some deranged psychopathic killers and unfortunately watching Netflix crime documentaries I don’t think will quite cut it. DRSP is a christian charity (you don’t have to be a christian or religious to join, i myself am an atheist and i still found this eye-opening) that pairs you with a death row inmate. You become pen pals with a convict in America and speak to each other around once a month, establishing a relationship over pen and paper. You sign up for a minimum of a year and can talk about whatever you like, you can be as open or as private as you want and are able to even send your penpal certain gifts like stamps and money – just to add, I don’t mean like a few grams of coke or anything because the prisons do thoroughly check, they aren’t stupid. Also they do go through your letters first so if sending nudes to your inmate is something that’s up your street, do keep in mind a whole load of prison officers will also get that luxury. (Again, just to clarify I have never sent anything, I’m just being open-minded here). The DRSP is pretty much as clean-cut as that and I’ve attached a link if anyone wants to take a further look at their website. Also, check out my friend Heidi’s post on her experience with DRSP, her post is what inspired me to write mine.

airbrush_20161130193929

With that said, I know a lot of you will be completely against this and think why the f**k would you ever give someone the time of day who has committed such horrific crimes, they deserve to be punished. Which, quite frankly I agree with, these people need to be punished for what they do and so they have been sentenced to death and I must admit that the reason I first applied to write to someone on death row was not out of compassion or empathy or even sympathy, it was out of pure interest and curiosity into what goes on in that person’s head. What is life like for them now they’ve done the unforgivable? And what do they think about dying? Are they just like a normal person? Do they feel remorse? There are a billion questions I wanted to know the answers to and so honestly i began writing to my inmate purely to gain knowledge and kind of poke into his vulnerable mindset (in the nicest way possible). It was from then on I got paired with my inmate and we began forming a relationship, and now I can say I look forward to hearing from him, not just out of curiosity because he is very open and tells me a lot about his experiences but because I now like to hear what he’s doing and how he is feeling and each time I get to know more about him. I do not and will not ever forgive him for what he has done but I compartmentalise him into the man I speak to and the man who committed the crimes in which he will be dying as a result of. Which I can say is fairly easy because if you read his letters and didn’t know what he had done, you would never think that it would be the same person, he writes with such emotion and passion you wouldn’t ever expect such a heinous crime to come from the author. And yes, I know some do it on purpose in the hope you might feel sorry for them and help them out with money etc but im not an idiot im not gonna be one of those crazy women who fall madly in love with their penpal, fly over to America, get married behind bars and dedicate my life earnings to getting him off death row.

I have since got permission to talk (briefly) about said inmate as his case was a fairly high-profile one in america back in 2008 and so is traceable on the internet anyway. However despite him being public knowledge, i still cannot say his name and so I shall refer to him as ‘A’ for the remainder of this post, although I will be brief with the information about him. A was born in 1969 and has served the majority of his life behind bars, he tells me that his parents are both deceased and he has 6 other siblings but he doesn’t see them, he thinks if he had a better childhood and hadn’t gone through certain trauma (i cannot mention) he wouldn’t have committed crimes and would’ve had children and a happy marriage which he has always wanted. In 1993 he was charged for kidnap to commit or facilitate commission of felony and sexual battery with the use of a weapon to incapacitate the victim and then charged again in 1994. I am utterly disgusted and horrified that a person would do this sort of thing to a person so me and A refrain from talking objectively about the crime and more about his mentality in regards to the crimes. He was serving a life sentence for these crimes where he became a skilled metal worker within the prison facility of Tomoka and often tells me how much he loves to play chess and basketball and reads all sorts of literature. In 2008 A was working at the facility when he waited in the storage room, jumped out and strangled, and then stabbed the prison officer to death. I don’t want to go into detail as I have read the entire court manuscript and it isn’t pleasant, out of respect to the victim and their family I would rather not publicly share these details although if you really wanted to know you can find them online. A knows that I know what he has done and that I cannot forgive him for that but will continue to talk to him until he is eventually killed. He was in solitary for 23 hours a day untill 2012 where he filed a civil law suit against the court for illegal confinement and now is allowed contact and outdoor recreation. Like I said, I don’t want to talk much about A in a personal manner because a lot of what he says is private and i also don’t want to make him out to be someone he isn’t. At the end of the day he committed those crimes and words cannot take that back.

Processed with VSCO with hb2 preset

In regards to myself I have found it eye-opening talking to A, learning about him as a person and about the lifestyle he lived/now lives. It not only helps with my course (although at the moment it’s boring af) as I know a fair amount of people on the course use it as experience for their future profession but it also gives me something to do in the days aswell, it is exciting when you see a letter arrive in the post and i’m eager to read what’s changed in the past few weeks. It also brings me comfort to know that someone who is lonely, desperate and in need of some form of hope (whether they deserve it or not) is getting that from me. It feels nice to think that someone looks forward to hearing from me (Sounds like i have no friends and so trapped someone who literally cannot escape me), and that that is all they have to hold onto before they die. Dying is a terrifying thing and whatever you’re opinion on capital punishment or convicted criminals, i don’t think anyone deserves to die alone and terrified.

As I said at the start, I know that this will divide opinions and everyone is entitled to their own opinion but I ask you not to be offensive in regards to my own opinion.

If you are interested in talking to a death row inmate then click the link above and just sign up, there is a waiting list at the minute but pen pals are always needed, it takes around 1 – 3 months to be matched with an appropriate inmate and receive your first letter. Once again thank you for reading and making it to the end and if you want, click here to read my previous post!

Chloe

Xxx