Friday, August 31, 2012

'PSYCH 101' .....

Since I write about psychopathic killers, I’ve decided to read several books on the subject.  My current one is Without Conscience” by Robert D. Hare.  The first thing I learned is that ‘sociopaths’ and ‘psychopaths’ are really the same thing.  There’s no distinction.  Researchers and clinicians use the term interchangeably.  Sometimes sociopathy is used because it’s less likely than ‘psychopathy’ to be confused with psychoticism or insanity.  For believe me, sociopaths/psychopaths are NOT insane.  They know exactly what they’re doing and just don’t care.  They're not all killers, though.  They are serious con artists.

Let’s start with one of the traits and continue the subject in another post.   The first one is Glibness and Superficiality.  They can be witty and quite articulate.  They can be funny and great conversationalists.  They can weave stories that cast themselves in a good light.  They’re very often likeable (i.e. Ted Bundy and Jeffrey MacDonald).  You may already know they prey on the weak...those that may not see through their guise.  Others may view them as too slick or smooth and won’t fall for what they’re ‘selling.’  They can hone in on those that won’t question them, bilking them out of money, house, and home, and not even flinch.

Jeffrey MacDonald, the military doctor who killed his entire family, still proclaims his innocence.  Yet, the biggest twist in his tale was the fact that his own biographer, who came to write about HIS side of things, had his eyes opened by the callousness and disregard he gave to his dead wife and three daughters.  All he did was talk about himself.  When he spoke of the murders, he was glib and utterly detached – devoid of emotion or  empathy.  That author wound up writing a book that portrayed MacDonald as he truly is – a cold-blooded killer.  (Joe McGinniss, “Fatal Vision”).

Next time, we’ll talk about another sociopathic trait – Egocentricity & Grandiosity.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Book Review...Lisa Scottoline's latest!

I just finished another entertaining book by Lisa Scottoline.   Her latest is "Best Friends, Occasional Enemies."  It's a collection of essays written by Lisa and her daughter, Francesca.   There are mother/daughter topics and 'every day' topics that everyone can relate to.

I listened to the audio version, so I had the added benefit of listening to each of them tell their own stories.  There's something about an author reading their own book that lends itself to the authenticity for me.  Every inflection, every smile and joke comes through.

I suggest getting ALL of these books for a glimpse into the life of a best-selling author.  She has the same dilemmas as we do.  Personable and approachable, you'll hear about "Mother Mary," which is what Lisa calls her Mom.  She's a character in herself!  And "Brother Frank," her brother.

Whacky and wonderful subjects such as toenail clippings, falling trees, driving in the middle lane, and the love for their dogs (which is ALWAYS a good thing, if you ask me).

My review system goes from 1-5, and this one is definitely a 5!!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Book Review...Ryan O'Neal's book

I've just finished   "Both of Us: My Life with Farrah"   by Ryan O'Neal.

In the audiobook, he narrated himself.  While not the best narrator, tending to pause at the wrong spots in a sentence, it's still nice to hear his book in his own voice.  You can hear & feel the raw emotion.  He's seemingly very candid, and having read both of his daughter, Tatum's, books, I'm sure the truth of their relationship lies somewhere in the middle.

This leaves me with the certainty that his tumultuous love story with Farrah Fawcett outlasted time and even death  For all his faults, the love and devotion he felt for her never wavered.  It seeps through every sentence, every paragraph.

She was much more than feathery hair and a bright smile.  She had such grace and  wisdom.  Her intelligence and savvy were never fully realized to the public.  I also watched her documentary, during her last years, fighting for her life.  She had the guts to insist on filming her struggle to shine a light on the darkest side of cancer and bring it to the fore.

Ryan's story is one of the joys of eternal love laced with the pain of his loss for the one true and constant loves in his life.

In my rating system, I give it a 5 out of 5.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Return of Oscar...or is it Felix??

So, after several weeks of not seeing my little furry, gray companion squirrel, he made an appearance today.  In fact, he always seems to appear in my life to signal a great shift.

I was sitting in my car, turned to my right, and noticed him through my window.  Up at eye level, laying down, frogger-style, on a platform that next to my car.  Oh, how he made me smile.  Just chilling out and relaxing, as if bathing in the sun.

Indeed, once again, he brought with him a sign....I've finally started submitting letters to agents for my suspense novel.  The procedure is usually to email a letter, outlining your book and credentials, along with the first chapter.  

Today, I got my first request for the full manuscript.  A terrific thrill!  At once, my heart sings with promise, while at the same time, bracing myself for a possible rejection.

If all the planets align, I will be heading in the right direction.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Book Review..."Winter Garden"

I've just completed "Winter Garden," another good book by Kristin Hannah.  Anyone who likes the massively talented Jodi Picoult might like Kristin as well.  She writes in a similar style...providing in-depth character development to the reader.

"Winter Garden" tells the story of two sisters that adore their father.  Growing up, he was their main source of love and attention, as their mother was cold and off-putting.  She was Russian born, and the only time she came alive was when she told them a fairytale about a prince and black knight.  It wasn't the kind you could find in a book, but from her imagination...or so they think.

When their father dies, he makes the mother promise to tell the WHOLE fairytale.  On his deathbed, he begs one of his daughters to hold their mother to the promise.  They're both well into adulthood.  One sister doesn't care anymore about the fairytale, as she's accepted the fact her mother never loved them.  However, the other is insistent and continues to press their mother to continue the fable.

It took me a while to get into this, but once they finally got the mother to start weaving her tale, and you realize the story is NOT a story, but rather how her life was in Leningrad during the war, I was swept up in the 'fairytale' as well.

It drew me in, so from that point on, I was hooked.  Out of my 5-star system, I give it a 3.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Do Serial Killers KNOW What They Are?

As I've mentioned before, I write about serial killers, but mine don't even realize they're serial killers.  In one novel, the killer does it for a distorted view of love.  In another, the killer does it for revenge, and also to rid the world of animal abusers...a noble thing, but I digress.

I wonder how many serial killers don't realize what they are either.  People like Ted Bundy must have known, because he was way too smart and crafty NOT to.  Others actually DO it for the notoriety, like the Zodiac killer, who was never caught, even managing to taunt the authorities for decades.   

Another one that comes to mind is the diabolical Henry H. Holmes, who  built a hotel specifically for his murderous deeds, if you can believe it. (Henry H. Holmes)  

This guy knew exactly what he was doing, even taking some of his own employees as victims.

Do YOU think most serial killers know exactly what they are?