A Date With Death: Book Review

Woohoo! I am officially half way through my New Year’s Resolution of reading 10 books this year. This latest book I decided to go back to my True Crime roots to read a book from. I mentioned back in March 2015 that I know a lot about True Crime. It’s a subject I find fascinating. Recently I fell back in love with True Crime through podcasts and those podcast’ fan clubs on Facebook. In those fan clubs a lot of members like to toss around different books to read about certain crimes. I took that list of books to the library on base to try and find something to read because it is getting frustrating and expensive to keep ordering new books.

I just had a nightmare of a time trying to get books from Barnes & Nobles recently. Back in January I had The Handmaid’s Tale, Hidden Figures, and trio of Nicholas Sparks books. Barnes & Nobles sent The Handmaid’s Tale and Hidden Figures via priority mail which is great because I got them in about two weeks. The Nicholas Sparks books were sent standard mail so they sat on boat for a while. It can take up to six months for standard mail to get to us. So I called Barnes & Nobles and they agreed to resend it out to me via priority and that I could send the standard shipped one back with a label they would mail me. Two weeks later I got the label but no books. I called them back and they said that the second set would be sent via priority this time. Two weeks later I get three sets of Nicholas Sparks books and another set of The Handmaid’s Tale and Hidden Figures plus another order of stuff I had ordered in the mean time. I have sent all the extra books back. I love Barnes & Nobles and I appreciate them working with me. They have always had phenomenal customer service. I miss their stores so much.

Barnes & Nobles packages.jpg

Sadly the base library has the tiniest True Crime section I have ever seen. It was barely three shelves of books. My tiny collection of True Crime books I brought with me is actually larger than the base library’s selection. It was really hard trying to find something that I hadn’t read yet. I did find one book (the one that this review is about) to read though. When I was checking out I asked the librarian if I could donate books to the library. I was surprised that he said no and that any donated books would be put out on a table for people to just take if they wanted to have a free book. He said that I could request new books if I wanted to. I requested that they get in some Jerry Bledsoe books because I really wanted to read his books. Jerry Bledsoe writes about True Crime books back home in North Carolina. I may be better off ordering them myself and adding to my collection (unless someone wants to send me some).

The book I got is A Date With Death by Michele R. McPhee. It’s about the Craigslist Killer in Boston. This case intrigues me because I remember how much it scared me and long conversations I had with my dad during the hunt for the Craigslist Killer and after his capture. At the time I used Craigslist for almost everything. I was a nanny who found jobs on it. I hunted for apartments and roommates on the website. I even used it for dating for a bit. This case made me more hesitant to depend on the website for so much.

a-date-with-death

HE WAS AN ONLINE PREDATOR… HIDING IN PLAIN SIGHT…

In a luxury Boston hotel on April 14, 2009, police discovered the body of a beautiful young woman- her head battered, a bullet through her heart. The victim, a masseuse named Julissa Brisman, had advertised her erotic services on Craigslist, the popular classed-ads Web site. A twenty-two-year-old medical student name Philip Markoff was her last-known client…

WHY WAS A SOON-TO-BE-MARRIED MAN PROWLING THE INTERNET FOR SEX?

WHAT EVENTS LED UP TO MARKOFF’S MEETING WITH BRISMAN?

WHAT HAPPENED ON THE OF THEIR FATEFUL- AND FATAL- DATE?

The Boston Police Homicide Unit followed a digital trail that led to Markoff’s home, where investigators found a gun, prepaid cell phones, plastic handcuffs, and a stash of women’s undergarments. How many other women did Markoff meet before Brisman? And what happened to them? This is the true story of one woman’s DATE WITH DEATH.

The books was a great read. It followed the events leading up to Julissa Brisman’s murder and the events leading up to Philip Markoff’s arrest. I appreciated how Michele McPhee presented the story for the most part. Quite often she would go off on a random tangent for a page or six talking about the past history of Boston Police, the name of a building, the politics of Boston, etc.. It was really distracting and took me away from the events happening in the book. It got to the point that I started to skip the random stuff to keep my attention on the crime.

I love how McPhee presented Brisman. I hate to admit it but I had thought she was just a hooker from all the news reports talking about the crime. I didn’t know her story. I didn’t know that she was getting her life together or that she was going to school to become a drug and alcohol counselor. I didn’t know she had a sister. I felt bad because I knew more about her killer than I knew about her. This book opened my eyes to her side of the story.

I also appreciated how she set up the other victims in Markoff’s crimes. She made it understandable why they were in that line of business. She made me empathize with them more than I originally had when I was learning about them on the news.

I didn’t however like how she basically made Megan Mcallister as basically a blonde bimbo who was so caught up in the wedding, fancy wedding gifts, and getting the title of wife of a doctor to see what was going around her. I was previously been in a bad relationship where the guy was doing a lot of illegal things that I didn’t know about right away. Yeah I saw red flags but I didn’t want to seem like a paranoid, crazy girlfriend/ spouse that I brushed them off and came up with reasonable explanations for each red flag. I also didn’t want to seem like a failure for another bad relationship. I’m sure Megan felt the same way. Her life goal of being a doctor was in jeopardy because she didn’t get into the medical school she wanted. Also how can you not feel paranoid and crazy when you see random red flags for a person everyone thinks is perfect for you? I would love to her Megan’s point of view of what happened but like me, she has probably moved on from that part of her life.

In general this book was on par with most True Crime books but not one of my favorites. I am willing to try reading more of McPhee’s books but honestly, if they go off track as much as this one did, I probably won’t read too many of them. As always I appreciate your book suggestions. I am trying to get some of those suggestions out here. As I mentioned earlier in this post, it can be complicated sometimes.

3 Comments Add yours

  1. Laura Beth says:

    I love True Crime, too! The most recent True Crime book that I read was Ghettoside: A True Story of Murder in America. I also love Nicholas Sparks – I did my college senior thesis on his books (Studying the perceptions of love and romance of female readers).

    Like

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