Motherhood is an idea that permeates If You Tell by Greg Olsen by it's absence. Olsen recounts the life of Shelly Knotek, who killed three, and abused countless others, including her own children. Knotek could easily be cast in the role of femme fatal, her good looks attracting many unsuspecting men into her orbit, but that would be too surface a reading of what is a clearly aberant pshycology. Instead Olsen makes his readers the proverbial frog in water slowly begining to boil, as he trace the development of Knotek from a troubled and difficult child and teen into a fully fledged murderer.
It does not appear to matter how many family annihilators wipe out of existance the people they are meant to love the most, shocked colleagues or neighbours still talk about what a nice, quiet man he was. We still do not believe that if we as individuals have judged a person to be safe - that maybe we are not seeing everything - so majesticly omnipresent we consider ourselves to be.
It will not be a surprise to many that the News of The World would be tangled up in this most shady episode as they became a by-word for the absolute worst of tabloid journalism, souring countless lives, with it's underhand tactics.
When Laura Van Whye's body was found close to a highway some people assumed she had been hit by a truck, and some people have choosen to believe that over the last twenty five years. Laura however had friends and family who were willing to continue looking for answers, her mother has spent years trying …
Creature X is ultimately trying to entertain, rather than change the world, and egoistic conceit to begin with, and sometimes, as long as it is done mindfully, and conciously of impact of steriotypes entertainment for it's own sake is enough. And perhapse, while writing a hunt for a mythological creature, Dupuis has managed a few blows in getting rid of other dinosaurs altogether.
This is the strength of the book, the deeply personal decades long reflection of the victims family. However, this is not a piece of investigative journalism. So those who are expecting the rigour of someone with the caliber Gregg Olsen will be dissapointed. Cosgrove is aware of this, and admits that in his journalistic career he gravitated towards upbeat fluff pieces, and there are points where this shows.
Ivy, is very much a woman of her time, and as culture is currently obsessed with rewriting every historical woman as a "badass," there is something refreshing in finding a woman who operates to actively find the answers she needs within her times restrictions rather than creating a fabulist narrative of the ease of societal change.
Mark pays a heavy price for his cowardice, his inability to face up to reality and do the mature, adult thing in a difficult and tense situation. I feel that Mark might be paying this price for the rest of his life, but Meredith pays a heavier price for her involvement with Mark.
If you are looking for the next great literary piece of true crime in the tradition of Capote, then this will not be the book for you, and that is exactly as it should be. True Crime while often tending towards the most shocking, spooky or gruesome does reflect life, thankfully an extreme of life many of us won't experience, but life none-the-less. Burke, who comes across as a down to earth man of the people makes this memoire all the stronger by retaining his authentic voice, which is the books ultimate strength, rather than trying for literary kudos.
Moore, with her highly unique experience is slowly building a podcast which is valuble in the true crime field, it deepens our understanding of the innocents effected by brutal crimes, the ones that all our storytelling forms, news, films, books have neglected. For those who truly seek to understand the most devient crimes, understanding not just what led up to them, but also there half life is equally important, and Moore does so well in giving a voice, to those who had previously been voiceless.