Review by Abigail R -- Cold Serial: The Jack the Strangl...

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Abigail R
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Review by Abigail R -- Cold Serial: The Jack the Strangl...

Post by Abigail R » 14 Aug 2018, 21:23

[Following is a volunteer review of "Cold Serial: The Jack the Strangler Murders" by Brian E. Forschner.]
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3 out of 4 stars
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Cold Serial: The Jack the Strangler Murders details the brutal rapes and murders of five women: Mary Forschner, Ada Lantz, Dona Gilman, Anna Markowitz, and Elizabeth Fulhart. Readers are taken to Dayton, Ohio in the early 1900s and join the horrifying journeys of each murder and the investigations that followed.

Brian Forschner began writing the story of these women after discovering his great-aunt, Mary Forschner, who had been missing from his family history. After discovering this long-kept family secret, he decided the women of these tragic murders deserved to be remembered and brought to life once more. Using narrative nonfiction, each chapter tells the different stories of the young women. Forschner describes the families of each victim, their murders, and the investigations.

It is obvious that Brian Forschners' mission in writing this book was to bring the memories of Mary, Ada, Dona, Anna, and Elizabeth back to life. In each chapter, he discusses how each woman was treated by the media in this town. At this time, it was important to show that these women died with dignity and "fought hard" against their attacker. The media focused on their purity and the women who were described as being "more experienced" were often accused of provoking such an attack. Reading his words, it felt as though Forschner wanted to show that the fate that befell these women was no fault of their own. I appreciate the respect for these young women Forschner demonstrated through his writing. He successfully brought justice to each of their stories!

The author used a lot of the criminal jargon that would have been used during the investigation. He explained each terminology well and this added an interesting aspect to the story. He highlighted the difficulty of solving such a case given the limitations at the time. With each murder, the readers feel the frustrations of the detectives and the fear of the townspeople.

It is obvious that Forschner spent a great deal of time researching these murders and searching for accurate information. He includes real pictures from the newspapers and, when possible, he includes dialogue that had been recorded.

Given that each chapter told the story of a different woman, the pacing of this book was very up and down. Parts of the investigation could become repetitive and slow. Though it is important in the telling of this story, much of the scenes in the courtroom and interrogations felt as though it dragged on unnecessarily.

Brian Forschner wrote a heartbreaking narrative and brought justice and remembrance to these women. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes true crime and is not too faint of heart. Because of its inconsistent pacing, I would give Cold Serial: The Jack the Strangler Murders 3 out of 4 stars.

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Cold Serial: The Jack the Strangler Murders
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Ruba Abu Ali
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Post by Ruba Abu Ali » 17 Aug 2018, 09:55

Thank you Abigail for drawing my attention to your lovely review. Having reviewed the same book recently, I agree with your point on the fluctuation in the pace of events amongst the different chapters. It has been a good read, and the noble message behind this book is heart-warming. Thanks for the comprehensive and captivating review.

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Abigail R
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Post by Abigail R » 17 Aug 2018, 14:16

Ruba Abu Ali wrote:
17 Aug 2018, 09:55
Thank you Abigail for drawing my attention to your lovely review. Having reviewed the same book recently, I agree with your point on the fluctuation in the pace of events amongst the different chapters. It has been a good read, and the noble message behind this book is heart-warming. Thanks for the comprehensive and captivating review.
Thank you so much! I am glad you appreciated this book as much as I did!

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Post by Nma26 » 18 Aug 2018, 21:20

I don't enjoy brutal stories like this.Thanks for the review.This book is certainly not for me.

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Abigail R
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Post by Abigail R » 19 Aug 2018, 12:45

Nma26 wrote:
18 Aug 2018, 21:20
I don't enjoy brutal stories like this.Thanks for the review.This book is certainly not for me.
I appreciate your comment and I understand completely! I would skip this one if I were you!

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Post by Eileen R » 21 Aug 2018, 10:38

Having also reviewed the book recently, I am glad that someone else enjoyed it as much as I did. Thanks for the review.

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Post by teacherjh » 21 Aug 2018, 11:17

It sounds like the stories of the women are tragic not just for their deaths but for how the public treated them after.

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Post by joycechitwa » 21 Aug 2018, 13:02

I commend the author for choosing to tackle such a bloody and difficult topic. He chose to be the voice for the the ladies who perished in cold blood, with no-one to honor them or recount their tales. Personally I am not that strong-hearted to read about such grizzly occurrences so sadly I may have to pass on this read. Still, I am awed at the book and your review. Thanks!

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Abigail R
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Post by Abigail R » 21 Aug 2018, 19:38

Eileen R wrote:
21 Aug 2018, 10:38
Having also reviewed the book recently, I am glad that someone else enjoyed it as much as I did. Thanks for the review.
Yes, it is a great book! I appreciate your comment!

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Abigail R
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Post by Abigail R » 22 Aug 2018, 23:49

teacherjh wrote:
21 Aug 2018, 11:17
It sounds like the stories of the women are tragic not just for their deaths but for how the public treated them after.
Thank you for your comment! The women definitely were not treated as they deserved. Some placed blame on the victims for their murders and others tried to use their death to gain reward money. This is why I appreciate the respect the author shows the women!

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Post by prospero360 » 23 Aug 2018, 10:35

I appreciate the author showing that rape isn't provoked by the victim as many people used to think and still do till today. I'm looking forward to reading this book. Nice review.

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Abigail R
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Post by Abigail R » 23 Aug 2018, 13:03

joycechitwa wrote:
21 Aug 2018, 13:02
I commend the author for choosing to tackle such a bloody and difficult topic. He chose to be the voice for the the ladies who perished in cold blood, with no-one to honor them or recount their tales. Personally I am not that strong-hearted to read about such grizzly occurrences so sadly I may have to pass on this read. Still, I am awed at the book and your review. Thanks!
I understand wanting to skip out on this one. But thank you for reading and commenting!

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Post by kwame1977 » 24 Aug 2018, 06:03

I'm not too comfortable with stories involving rape and murder. Though I like your review I'm a bit scared to read this book.

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Post by jcoad » 24 Aug 2018, 07:17

Very cool. I had never heard of this book but I do enjoy these "real-life" crime stories. Thank you for the review and will add this book to my list.

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Abigail R
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Post by Abigail R » 24 Aug 2018, 23:43

prospero360 wrote:
23 Aug 2018, 10:35
I appreciate the author showing that rape isn't provoked by the victim as many people used to think and still do till today. I'm looking forward to reading this book. Nice review.
Thanks for the comment! Yes, the author is very respectful to the women in this book.

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