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Whatcha-Readin-Wednesday: Fall into a mystery

Halloween is just around the corner, and it seems like the time when everyone wants to read or watch something scary.  For me, the scariest stories aren’t about ghosts or make-believe monsters but rather the mysteries that could possibly happen or better yet, the stories of true crimes that took place close to home.

If you are looking for a mystery or true crime story, try one of these.


RevolverRevolver by Marcus Sedgwick

“Even the dead tell stories”. Sig’s father, Einar, has told Sig and his sister Anna this many times and until now Sig hasn’t quite understood what his father meant.

It is 1910 and they are living in a cabin by a frozen lake, six miles outside of the Swedish mining town where Father works. Father had gone into town and but never returned to the cabin alive. Sig found his father’s dead frozen body on the ice and was barely able to bring home the body without falling through the ice himself. Anna and their step-mother Nadya have gone to find help and left 16-year-old Sig alone in the cabin with Father’s frozen body.

An unexpected knock at the door changes everything. The burly, menacing stranger, who calls himself Wolff, claims to know Sig’s father from when they lived in Nome, Alaska ten years before and has come for what Einar owes him. Wolff wants the gold Father stole from him and won’t leave until he gets it. The revolver on Wolff’s hip tells Sig just how serious this stranger is. But Sig doesn’t know anything about gold. He does, however, know where Father’s Colt revolver is hidden.

Why I picked up the book: It had been on my radar due to it being a Printz Honor Book. When it was picked by the teachers group at CY, I finally took the opportunity to read it.
Why I finished it: The first sentence draws you in “Even the dead tell stories.” It is fairly short novel and very well written.
I’d give it to: guys looking for a thriller/mystery/adventure or readers who know a lot about guns. Readers who don’t mind narratives that switch back and forth through time (1899/1900 Nome, Alaska & 1910 Giron/Sweden). The action is somewhat slow to start but the mystery is worth it.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Want to read it? Click here to place the book on hold!


The Rules of SurvivalThe Rules of Survival by Nancy Werlin

Imagine a life gripped with fear, fear of a monster that at any time could destroy your world? A life where your only concern is survival and protecting those you love? For Matt (13), Callie (11), and Emmy (5), that monster is their mother and their life is a constant nightmare. They never know when Nikki, their unpredictable vicious mother, will go on a rampage or leave for days. They are always looking over their shoulder and can never breathe easy. Nikki meets Murdoch and life seems to finally be normal, almost peaceful. But really it is just the calm before the storm. Murdoch soon sees the real Nikki and hits the road. But Nikki doesn’t take no for an answer, from anyone. Matt realizes it is his duty to find a way out, for himself and his sisters, before it is too late.
Matthew’s Rules of Survival:
1. Sometimes, the people who mean you harm are the ones who say they love you.
2. Fear is your friend. When you feel it, act.
3. Protect the little ones.
4. If you coped before, you can cope now.
5. Always remember: In the end, the survivor gets to tell the story.
Read along as Matthew tells the story of their life, of their survival, in a letter to his young sister, Emmy.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Want to read it? Click here to place the book on hold!


What Happened to Cass McBride?What Happened to Cass McBride? by Gail Giles

Suicide, kidnapped, investigation, buried alive. Loser, popular, athlete, a-list. Revenge, cruel intentions, death.

Do words have power? Can a word mean the difference between life and death?

Ben is the lead investigator searching for a kidnapped teenager. Kyle’s brother committed suicide and someone must pay. Cass is an overconfident, it-girl with a secret who awakes to find herself in a cold, dark coffin underground. What happened to Cass McBride? Will Ben find the answer before it’s too late?

Why I finished the book: It is very short but full of suspense. The point-of-view alternates between the three characters which adds to the story.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Want to read it? Click here to place the book on hold!



The Crime Buff's Guide to the Outlaw RockiesThe Crime Buff’s Guide to the Outlaw Rockies by Ron Franscell

Written by author Ron Franscell, who is originally from Casper, this book is a guide to Colorado and Wyoming crimes scenes of the past and present. He gives GPS coordinates for crime scenes and grave sites. He also refers readers to books and resources that provide more information on particular people and crimes.

Why I picked up the book: My husband and I both loved his book Fall.
Why I finished it: I wish it had more about the some of the crimes, but he does a good job of referring the reader to other books. I learned a lot about crimes in this region. I’m a huge fan of the tv shows Unsolved Mysteries and Disappeared, even though they still scare me whether I watch them in the light or the dark.
I’d give it to: I would recommend this book to fans of shows like Unsolved Mysteries and Disappeared and especially to readers who like to hear about local crimes, past and present. I would probably recommend it for high school and up, just because some of the crimes are pretty brutal.
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Want to read it? Click here to place the book on hold!


The Murder Of Lil MissThe Murder Of Lil Miss by Sheila Kimmell

In March 1988, Lisa Marie Kimmel left Denver, CO, driving alone at night in her black Honda CR-X car (Montana license plates “LIL MISS”), headed for Cody, WY. But she never made it. The last time anyone saw her alive was when she received a speeding ticket near Douglas.  A week later, a body was discovered in the North Platte River east of Casper and police were able to identify that body as Lisa and that she has been thrown off of Old Government Bridge.

For over fourteen years, the case was cold and her car was never located. All along, police had DNA evidence from Lisa’s killer but no way to match it to anyone. Then in 2002, modern technology solved the case by finding a match in the FBI’s database of convict’s DNA: Dale Wayne Eaton, who had lived in Moneta at the time of Lisa’s disappearance. When the police investigated his property, her car was unearthed. Her killer, Dale Wayne Eaton, is Wyoming’s sole death row inmate.

Why I finished the book: I remember hearing about this case when I was a child and seeing it on Unsolved Mysteries. It was scary to think something like this happened so close to home. The police suspect Lisa was kidnapped when she stopped at the Waltman rest area, which is about halfway from Riverton to Casper.  The book also includes theories as to other crimes Eaton may have committed, such as the disappearance of Amy Wroe Bechtel in 1996. Police and psychologists suspect that Eaton is a serial killer, although he has not admitted to anything.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Want to read it? Click here to place the book on hold!


Fall: The Rape and Murder of Innocence in a Small TownFall: The Rape and Murder of Innocence in a Small Town by Ron Franscell

In 1973, two sisters were kidnapped from a grocery store parking lot after finding their car had a flat tire. The girls were brutally abused by the two men who had offered to help them and then thrown off the bridge at Fremont Canyon. The younger sister Amy hit her head and died instantly. The older sister Becky survived the fall, was able to crawl out and survive the brutal night, get to the road and later identify the men. But she never really recovered. Years later, Becky, visited the bridge and lost her life. No one knows whether she slipped accidently or on purpose.

Author Ron Franscell grew up in Casper, knew the girls, and remembered the event. His book traces the history of the killers and looks into some dark parts of Casper history.  The paperback edition of the book was renamed The Darkest Night: The Murder of Innocence in a Small Town. I prefer the hardback title and cover.

Why I finished the book: When the book was originally released, it seemed like everyone was reading it. It is one thing to read about true crime, but another entirely to look at something that happened in your community. Even though it happened before I was born and before I lived in Casper, people who I know and work with remember it like it was yesterday.  After my husband and I read the book (which he loans often to anyone who hasn’t yet read it), we drove out to the bridge. It blows my mind that Becky was able to survive the fall and had enough willpower and adrenaline to survive the cold night climbing out of it. And it breaks my heart that she wasn’t ever able to recover from the horrors that those men inflicted upon her and her sister.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Want to read it? Click here to place the book on hold!

Reviews by Jenn, YA Librarian (View all my Goodreads reviews)

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