Elevate Difference

Reviews tagged crime

Winter’s Bone

In my review of 2009’s Oscar-nominated film Precious I stated that it was incredibly difficult to objectively review the film because the realism that is presented is so detached from my own circumstances.

The Red Riding Trilogy

Movies about rape, murder, and child abuse should not be photographed this beautifully. Channel Four Film’s Red Riding Trilogy, shown as a miniseries in the UK but as three movies in the U.S., is one larger story connected by characters, place and the unrepentant horror of Yorkshire, in the northern England. In the north, as the characters say, they do what they want. The three films are set in three years, 1974, 1980, and 1983, respectively.

Hello Kitty Must Die

To many, Hello Kitty is a mouthless cat in blue overalls who’s never spotted without her signature red bow, but to twenty-eight-year-old Chinese-American Fiona Yu, the feline is an embodiment of everything she hates and willing to kill for. Author Angela S.

Secrets of Eden

Like Midwives and The Double Bind, Chris Bohjalian's newest suspense novel, Secrets of Eden, was (no exaggeration) nearly impossible for me to put down.

Justice for Girls?: Stability and Change in the Youth Justice Systems of the United States and Canada

In Justice for Girls?, Canadian researchers Jane B. Sprott and Anthony N. Doob provide a comprehensive and concise overview on girls and juvenile delinquency in these two North American countries. Sprott and Doob address the misconception, fueled by media reports and newspaper articles circulating in the U.S. and Canada, that girls are committing more crimes, and more violent crimes.

Thicker Than Water: A Kit O'Malley Mystery

When I took creative writing classes in college, our professor always said, “Show, don’t tell.” Meaning, let the reader see the story without articulating every detail. Well, Lindy Cameron, author of Thicker Than Water, tells everything through wordy dialogue, detailed facial expressions, and exhaustive character descriptions.


Bloodborn is captivating from start to finish, keeping me reading from cover to cover. Not only was the plot intriguing, Kathyrn Fox kept you wrapped in the victims lives as if you were really there. You felt her emotions with every word you read. Without a dull moment in the story, this book has the mystery and suspense that will keep you guessing until the very end. Work driven, Dr. Anya Crichton has a lucrative career as a forensic pathologist.

Dispatches from Juvenile Hall: Fixing a Failing System

As depressing as they can often be, I’m generally interested in books on social justice issues. It’s essential to know the facts about issues before getting into a spirited debate about them. As an Urban Studies grad student, I’m especially interested in books on social justice as academic material, particularly ones on youth issues.

One Scream Away

One Scream Away is the book equivalent of a CBS crime drama: barely dangerous, slightly obscene, with an expected level of crazy for the villain and a suitable amount of romance to balance the ugliness. The book is edgy only to the level that is appropriate, which, of course, is the point. It skirts the line of being nice. The plot is simple: after surviving an attack seven years earlier, Beth Denison is stalked by her attacker, now a serial killer.

All the Dead Voices

I have always been drawn to a good crime story. When I was given the opportunity to read a writer previously unknown to me, a book that sold itself as a cross breed of modern American noir and Irish culture, I was excited at the prospect. I should have opted for a love story. All the Dead Voices is a strange mix of modern American urban gangster style with an Irish bent and a distinct dislike of the female in all her forms.

Portland Noir

Noir is easier to recognize than to define. The best dictionary definition I found was, “crime fiction featuring hard-boiled cynical characters and bleak sleazy settings.” Portland Noir, then, has a self-explanatory title: it is a collection of short, dark stories that take place in Portland, Oregon.

My Soul To Take: A Novel of Iceland

Set in Iceland, My Soul To Take centers around attorney and single mom Thóra, whose chaotic personal life gets even more complicated after a client is suspected of murder. A badly beaten body is found on the beach near her client's new age resort, shattering the peaceful idyll it is known for—or is it? The deeper practical Thóra digs into local lore, the less she is sure that the place is not cursed.

Twisted Triangle: A Famous Crime Writer, a Lesbian Love Affair, and the FBI Husband’s Violent Revenge

“Stranger than fiction” is the most accurate way to describe the premise for this book about married FBI agents. The wife has a lesbian affair with a crime novel author, and the husband kidnaps and later tries to kill his wife. And yet, it’s a true story!

Erased: Missing Women, Murdered Wives

When a crime is committed, the public wants to know why.

Fed Up

Given the strained and perilous relationship I have with my own mother, I have a lot of admiration for any mother-daughter pair that get along well enough to successfully negotiate the writing of a novel. That said, Fed Up could have been a lot better than it was. I give the authors points for creating a strong and opinionated female character, Chloe, who solves the mystery of a poisoned woman on her own through a rough mixture of luck and logic.

When Mothers Kill: Interviews from Prison

Perhaps predictably, _When Mothers Kill: Interviews from Prison_ is not a fun or heartening read; it is a somewhat scholarly book featuring in-depth accounts of women who have murdered their own children.

The Enigma Woman: The Death Sentence of Nellie May Madison

In her astonishingly well-written account of California’s first female death row inmate, Kathleen Cairns weaves the story of domestic violence and the influence of the media into her telling of one woman’s life. Nellie May Madison shot her husband in their Southern California apartment in March 1934. During this time period, the media easily conflated Nellie with the film noir femme fatal image that was popular at the time.

Girls in Trouble with the Law

“I was like four or six when my babysitter molested me... I would just freeze... Like I thought if I froze it would not have happened.” This 16-year-old girl’s memory is an all too familiar one for Laurie Schaffner.


Norwegian Aud Torvingen was born into a life of wealth and privilege. The former police officer gives back to the community by teaching women self-defense. The new women in her latest course cross all social and financial lines so that a southern society belle is on an even footing with a housewife. The women savor each other’s triumphs until one day one of them has to put into practice what she learned. After dealing with officials following the woman’s act, Aud flies to Seattle where she owns property that she must clean up as her property manager violated OSHA and EPA rules.

The Lookout

Before the accident, Chris Pratt (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) had a beautiful girlfriend and was his high school’s star hockey player. Four years later, the victim of a serious head injury, he works as a night janitor at a bank and tends to forget things he’s told unless he writes them in his notepad. All he wants is to be who he was.