4 out of 4 stars
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Allison McKinnon is passionate about writing, and true crime is her genre of choice. When she is asked to write the story of Lillian Ross, who is currently on death row, she is surprised but jumps at the opportunity. In the past, Allison has always written from the victim's perspective, but Lillian is a convicted double-murderer responsible for the cold-blooded killings of her father, William Ross, and her pimp, Adam Laurent. So why does she want Allison's help?
As Allison begins interviewing Lillian, it stirs up memories of her own dark past, and she feels deeply connected to her. Substantial evidence was buried during the trial to protect William Ross's reputation. The public regarded him as a successful politician and a loving father, but Lillian's accusations paint another picture entirely.
If Lillian lived such an idyllic life, what would possess her to kill her father?
The Murders of Lillian Ross by Sirena Van Schaik immediately piqued my interest when I saw the haunting cover page. After reading the first few lines, I was quickly immersed in the writing. Secrets, redemption, and shame are common themes that uphold the story. The book is told from the third-person perspective when following Allison but switches to the first-person during Lillian's flashbacks. Readers experience the decline of Allison's mental health as she becomes deeply entangled in Lillian's plight. Every meeting gives the readers a little more insight into Lillian's tumultuous childhood, which led up to the murders.
One of the things that I loved about the book was the robust character development—particularly with Lillian's character. Each time she entered the scene, her presence made me uneasy. From her icy stare to her unpredictable behavior, the author did an excellent job creating a character that made others uncomfortable. The complexity of Lillian's personality made it challenging for me to uncover her motivation. Did she want to tell Allison her story, or did she have something more sinister in mind? Throughout my reading, I was continually trying to decide if Lillian was innately "good" or "bad."
I was also impressed by the author's ability to weave Allison's personal life into the plot. As I began learning about Lillian's experiences through their interviews, secrets about Allison's past were revealed at a similar pace, making the book come to life.
The only time I put the book down was during the scenes where abuse was described in explicit detail. Both sexual and physical violence played a significant part in Lillian's recounting of her childhood. Even though they were critical pieces to the story, the graphic attacks made me sick to my stomach.
Apart from the disturbing scenes, there was nothing that I disliked about the book; I was fully engaged at all times. I have chosen to give it a rating of four out of four stars—for outstanding character development and an enthralling storyline.
The book was professionally edited and formatted; I only found two errors! The writing flowed beautifully and was easy to follow.
Even though the thrilling tale is fictional, I think The Murders of Lillian Ross would be an excellent choice for fans of true-crime stories. The book has an exciting mix of components: the interviews between Lillian and Allison, material from the trial, and a personal look into Allison's life. The book deals with some heavy-hitting issues such as rape, suicide, and abuse, so it is not recommended for young readers or anyone triggered by these topics. There are some explicit sex scenes and numerous instances of profanity, so please be cautious before choosing this story.
The Murders of Lillian Ross
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