Book Review – Adnan’s Story by Rabia Chaudry

Goodreads Summary

In early 2000, Adnan Syed was convicted and sentenced to life plus thirty years for the murder of his ex-girlfriend Hae Min Lee, a high school senior in Baltimore, Maryland. Syed has maintained his innocence, and Rabia Chaudry, a family adnans storyfriend, has always believed him. By 2013, after almost all appeals had been exhausted, Rabia contacted Sarah Koenig, a producer at This American Life, in hopes of finding a journalist who could shed light on Adnan’s story. In 2014, Koenig’s investigation turned into Serial, a Peabody Award-winning podcast with more than 500 million international listeners

But Serial did not tell the whole story. In this compelling narrative, Rabia Chaudry presents new key evidence that she maintains dismantles the State’s case: a potential new suspect, forensics indicating Hae was killed and kept somewhere for almost half a day, and documentation withheld by the State that destroys the cell phone evidence — among many other points — and she shows how fans of Serial joined a crowd-sourced investigation into a case riddled with errors and strange twists. Adnan’s Story also shares Adnan’s life in prison, and weaves in his personal reflections, including never-before-seen letters. Chaudry, who is committed to exonerating Adnan, makes it clear that justice is yet to be achieved in this much examined case.

Rating

5 stars

Review

I should start this review by telling you that I’m a huge fan of Rabia Chaudry and her (and Susan and Colin’s) podcast, Undisclosed.  I’ve listened to every episode (some more than once).  I’ve read her blog and tweeted her.  I’m invested in this case.

It was really interesting to read the backstory of the phenomenon that was Serial.  I knew Rabia brought the case to Sarah Koenig, but to read Rabia’s thoughts about the podcast were incredibly enlightening.  Hearing from Adnan was also incredibly interesting.

I have believed from Episode 1 of Serial that Adnan was innocent.  Having listened to Undisclosed and the Truth and Justice (formerly Serial Dynasty) podcasts have proved that ten times over.   After reading this book, I have an even deeper respect and empathy for Adnan Syed.  He’s a genuinely good person.  I don’t believe he murdered Hae.

In terms of the writing, I felt the book was a little long and detail heavy in some places.  I would have liked to hear about Tanveer (Adnan’s brother) and his reconciliation with his family.  I would have liked to have heard more about Jenn Pusateri and Stephanie.

I could hear Rabia’s voice as I read Adnan’s story.  It’s a story that is still continuing, and will hopefully end with Adnan going home to his family.  I would recommend this book to anyone.  A well-written book.

Happy reading.

signature

Advertisements

Book Review – He Killed Them All by Jeanine Pirro

Goodreads Summary

Former prosecutor Jeanine Pirro—the “true hero” (New York Post) of the hit HBO documentary hekilled themallseries The Jinx—offers the transfixing true story of her tireless fifteen-year investigation into accused murderer Robert Durst for the disappearance of his wife Kathleen Durst.

Former district attorney Jeanine Pirro was cast as the bad guy fifteen years ago when she reopened the cold case of Kathleen Durst, a young and beautiful fourth-year medical student who disappeared without a trace in 1982, never to be seen again. Kathie Durst’s husband was millionaire real estate heir Robert Durst, son of one of the wealthiest families in New York City—but though her friends and family suspected him of the worst, he escaped police investigation.

Pirro, now the host of Justice with Judge Jeanine on Fox News, always believed in Durst’s guilt, and in this shocking book, she makes her case beyond a shadow of a doubt, revealing stunning, previously unknown secrets about the crimes he is accused of committing. For years, Pirro has crusaded for justice for the victims, and her impassioned perspective in the captivating HBO documentary series The Jinx made her one of its breakout stars. Featuring Pirro’s unique insider’s perspective on the crimes, as well as her exclusive interviews with many of the major players featured in the The Jinx, this comprehensive book is the definitive story of Robert Durst and his gruesome crimes—the one you didn’t see on television.

Rating

3 out of 5 stars

Review

I recently watched The Jinx on HBO and was transfixed by Robert Durst.  This man was creepy with a capital C.  Jeanine Pirro was on The Jinx – she was the District Attorney in New York and decided to reopen the case of Durst’s missing wife Kathleen.  Durst was from a very wealthy New York family; they had more money than they knew what to do with.  After Durst’s wife disappeared, Durst was suspected in two murders; the murder of his best friend, Susan Berman, and the murder and dismemberment of his neighbor, Morris Black.

I listened to this book (my first audio book).  Pirro spent a lot of time in this book talking about her “Chanel Handbags” and “Manalo Blanc’s”.  She referred to Durst in many derogatory ways (scumbag, little shit) – that didn’t really bother me, because Durst is a scumbag and a little shit, but it seemed a little unprofessional on her part.

Pirro also spent a lot of time talking about how hard it was to be a “woman in power”.  While I don’t doubt that, I wasn’t really sure how it was relevant to this book, as it was supposed to be about Durst.  We didn’t learn a lot more in this book than we did in The Jinx, but I really enjoy this case, and hearing more about it was interesting.

I just wish Pirro would have talked as much about the case as she did about sexism in New York during the 70’s and 80’s.  But this was an interesting story.

Happy reading.

Chasing Justice by Kerry Max Cook

Goodreads Summary

Kerry Max Cook was born in Germany, & spent much of his youth on army bases. He chasing justicereturned to the US with his family in 1972 to live in Texas. In 1977, at the age of 19, he was arrested & wrongly convicted of capital murder, a crime for which he would spend the next 20 years on death row, only to be cleared of all charges in 1999.

Rating

2 1/2 out of 5 stars

Review

I’m going to say right off the bat that I only read this book because of the Truth & Justice podcast.  Bob (the host) asked us to read it relating to a case he’ll be discussing.  I hope the case we’re discussing is good because this book was BORING.

Kerry Max Cook was convicted of rape and murder in Tyler, Texas in 1978.  He maintained his innocence the entire time.  There were SO many plot holes in this book.  Here are a few examples:

  • One of the witnesses against Kerry claimed he was a homosexual and a pervert.  Many people claimed this. Mr. Cook NEVER addressed these claims.  Was he homosexual?  It was a question never answered.
  • Doyle Wayne. Kerry’s brother, who he “spoke” to frequently.  I don’t know if there was mental illness there, but something was off and it was never addressed.
  • Kerry’s alibi.  He maintained his innocence but NEVER said what he was doing or where he was at the time of the murder.

This book was so detail heavy.  I skipped through a lot of detail because it was both cumbersome and boring.  There were so many “characters” that it was hard to keep up with it and very confusing.

In the end, DNA evidence proved that Kerry was not the killer, and it was the person he thought it was all along.

I would skip this book.

Happy reading.