Tag: murder

5 Authors Who Were Also Murderers

Just because you wrote a good book doesn’t mean you haven’t killed someone. In fact, just because you haven’t written a good book doesn’t mean you haven’t killed someone. Heck, you could not write a book, not intend to write a book, and still kill someone. But that’s not what this site is about. This site is about books, and occasionally the worlds of literature and murder overlap. Here are five authors who murdered someone.

 

5. William S. Burroughs

 

As the story goes, he didn’t mean to kill her, but he did. A key member of the Beat Generation, William S. Burroughs appears in Jack Kerouac’s breakout 1957 novel On The Road. Written on one long scroll of paper so he didn’t have to change pages on his typewriter, Jack Kerouac wrote this iconic piece of literature in three weeks in April of 1951, fueled by coffee. William S. Burroughs was the inspiration behind On The Road‘s character of Old Bull Lee.

William S Burroughs sitting at his type writer, hands folded in lap, looking at camera.

IMAGE VIA FAMOUS AUTHORS

William S. Burroughs had his own writing career long before On The Road was published. In fact, his first novel, Junkie, was released in 1953, a first-person narrative about a man struggling with heroin addiction. This novel was published initially under the pseudonym William Lee.

 

Book cover for William Burrough's 'Junkie'

IMAGE VIA AMAZON

But let’s go back to 1951. While in Mexico City, Burroughs and his second wife, Joan Vollmer, were drunk while she was undergoing withdrawal from a heavy amphetamine habit. Drunk and a little high, they decided to play William Tell.

 

For those who don’t know, William Tell is a game in which one player shoots an apple off the top of another person’s head, usually with a crossbow. However, in this instance, Joan placed a highball glass on top of her head and William S. Burroughs used a pistol to attempt to shoot it off. Unfortunately, he missed.

 

William S. Borrough's wife, Joan

IMAGE VIA OPEN CULTURE

While awaiting trial, Burroughs wrote the novel Queer about a young man looking for Yage, a hallucinogen, in South America. At the end of his trial, Burroughs was given a two-year suspended sentence and in 1959 his magnum opus, Naked Lunch, was published.

 

William S. Burroughs holding a shot gun in a garden, looking at camera.

IMAGE VIA THE TOOLBOX

William Seward Burroughs II, post-modernist author and primary figure of the Beat Generation, died on August 2nd, 1997 at the age of eighty-three.

 

4. Anne Perry

 

Anne Perry with arms folded looks at camera, lightly smiling

IMAGE VIA PENGUIN RANDOM HOUSE SPEAKERS BUREAU

Author of the Thomas Pitt detective series and the William Monk detective series, Anne Perry is an English author whose life story was the basis for Peter Jackson’s film Heavenly Creatures. Released in 1994, the film follows the 1954 Parker-Hulme murder case about two teenage friends, Pauline Parker and Juliet Hulme, who eventually murdered Parker’s mother.

 

Parker was sixteen at the time, while Hulme was fifteen. According to The True Crime Library in Christchurch, New Zealand, the girls bludgeoned the woman to death with half a brick enclosed in an old stocking before running into town and claiming that Parker’s mother had fallen and hit her head.

 

Movie poster for Heavenly Creatures

IMAGE VIA AMAZON

Their story fell apart upon closer inspection and the two were arrested. Too young for the death penalty, the girls each received five years in prison.

At the time of the film’s production and release, it was not known that upon her release from prison, Juliet Hulme had changed her name to Anne Perry.

After the film was released and Perry’s identity discovered, the New Zealand Herald claimed, “…Perry has told the London Times Saturday Magazine that although they were never lesbians the relationship was obsessive”.

On her website, Anne Perry writes, “I began the ‘Monk’ series in order to explore a different, darker character, and to raise questions about responsibility, particularly that of a person for acts he cannot remember. How much of a person’s identity is bound up in memory?”

 

3. Blake Leibel

Not everyone who authors graphic novels with shocking descriptions of murder is a murderer themselves, but this guy is.

Blake Leibel wearing glasses look at camera in black and white photograph

IMAGE VIA NATIONAL POST

In 2015 the graphic novel Syndrome was published, containing unsettling depictions of bloodletting and, straight from CBS Los Angeles, it transpires that Blake Leibel murdered his girlfriend and left her body “drained of all of her blood in a crime that a prosecutor said mirrored the script of a graphic novel he co-wrote.”

 

Blake Leibel and Iana Kasian

IMAGE VIA NATIONAL POST

The Los Angeles Times also notes that Leibel, “was expressionless. Dressed in a yellow jail shirt and blue scrubs, he uttered only one word, answering ‘yes’ when the judge asked if he would waive his appearance at an upcoming court hearing”.

He was convicted in June 2018.

 

Image Via Los Angeles Times

Before his graphic novel, he worked on 2008’s Spaceballs: The Animated Series, based on the 1987 film by Mel Brooks, as a creative consultant.

 

2. Liu Yongbiao

 

Liu Yongbiao standing next to statue with hand on his foot

IMAGE VIA FOR READING ADDICTS

Back in 2005, Chinese writer Liu Yongbiao broke onto the scene with his story collection, A Film, which won China’s highest provincial critical achievement: the Anhui Literature Prize. In 2010, his novel about a writer implicated in a wave of unsolved murders, The Guilty Secret, was published.

In 2013, he cemented his literary status when he was elected to the China Writers Association.

 

Image result for Liu Yongbiao crime author

Image Via All That’s Interesting

Backtrack to November 29th, 1995, when Liu and a friend, Wang Mouming, checked in a guesthouse. All That’s Interesting states that they had “the intention of robbing other guests” but “when the two were caught stealing by a guest, Wang and Liu are believed to have used clubs and hammers to kill the guest as well as the guesthouse’s two owners (an elderly couple) and their thirteen-year-old grandson in order to completely cover their tracks.”

Twenty-two years later, Shanghaiist reported that blood samples led investors to the fifty-three-year-old writer and the sixty-four-year-old legal consultant.

 

Liu Yongbiao in custody

IMAGE VIA SOCIAL NEWS DAILY

The NY Post states that Liu told the investigators who arrested him that, “I’ve been waiting for you all this time”.

 

1. Mark “Chopper” Read

Chopper with two guns crossed over his chest and two in his waistband

Image Via Pinterest

Have you read Mr. Read’s work? He wrote crime novels and several children’s books, one of which was called Hooky the Cripple: The Grim Tale of the Hunchback Who Triumphs, published in 2002 by Pluto Press and illustrated by Adam Cullen.

According to ABC News, Mark Read spent his early years robbing drug dealers before kidnapping and torturing members of the criminal underworld. Eventually, he was caught and charged with armed robbery, assault, and kidnapping. Perth Now reports that he spent only thirteen months outside of prison between the ages of thirty and thirty-eight. He also cut off his ears in prison.

Later in life, Mark Read found solace in writing.

 

Mark 'Chopper' Read with a cigar in his mouth and sunglasses on standing in front of a wall graffitied yellow and red

IMAGE VIA THE TELEGRAPH

In 1991 he wrote the story of his life Chopper, from the inside: The confessions of Mark Brandon Read and several other non-fiction books, but he has also dabbled in children’s literature.

 

Book cover for Hooky the Cripple featuring a hand holding a bloody knife

IMAGE VIA GOODREADS

There have been several attempts to ban Hooky the Cripple, but the movie based around his life, 2000’s Chopper starring Eric Bana, received critical praise upon its release.

Back in 2013, Read told the  New York Times, “Look, honestly, I haven’t killed that many people, probably about four or seven, depending on how you look at it.”

Featured Image Via kmuw.org

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2020’s Most Exciting Thrillers

As the New Year approaches, it is easy for people to throw away essentials. We live by the phrase, ‘out with the old and in with the new.’ Publishing companies are prepared to present us with this, as the new thrillers have proven to show.  These five novels will scare you straight into the new year!

 

The Night Watchman

Image Via Amazon

A jewel bearing, plant night watchman, Thomas Wazhashk, is a member of the Chippewa Council. The council is in heed of a discussion on the new ‘emancipation’ bill, on its way to the United States Congress. It is 1953 and the council members are aware that the bill has no intention of granting freedom, but rather terminates the rights and identities of Native Americans. With government plans in place, Native American treaties will be broken.

 

The Glass Hotel: A Novel

Image Via Goodreads

Vincent is a bartender at the Hotel Caiette, a five-star hotel on the northernmost tip of Vancouver Island. One night, Vincent is met by a hooded figure who scrawls a message on the lobby’s glass wall: “Why don’t you swallow broken glass.” The shipping executive, Leon Prevant, reads the message and orders a drink. Alkatis, the owner of the hotel, reads the threat unaware that it was meant for him. Alkatis gives Vincent a hundred-dollar tip and a business card, and they reunite a year later.

 

American Dirt: A Novel

Image Via MacMillan Publishers

In the Mexican city of Acapulco, Lydia, a bookstore owner, lives with her son, and the love her life. Though the cracks of Acapulco are beginning to show through the forming of the drug cartels, Lydia’s life remains comfortable. One day, a man enters her shop, bringing four books to the counter, two of which are her favorites. Javier, although charming, is the jefe of the newest drug cartel. Lydia finds herself charmed by his presence, but once her husband figures out Javier’s lifestyle, their lives will turn upside down.

 

Long Bright River

Image Via Amazon

Two sisters from Philadelphia were once close as… sisters? Once the opioid crisis hit, their lives completely changed. Kacey lives on the streets in the depth of addiction. Mickey finds herself walking the same blocks on her police beat. The two no longer speak. Mickey finds herself in worry when she realizes that Kacey has gone missing. Becoming obsessed with finding the culprit for this and other murders, Mickey determines to find her sister before it’s too late.

 

The Other Mrs.

Image Via Amazon

Sadie and Will Foust just moved their family from Chicago to a small town in Maine. Their neighbor, Morgan Baines, is found dead in her home. The island is stricken with fear, but Sadie continues to worry that the killer is in her own backyard.  After inheriting their new home, due to the sudden death of Will’s sister, Sadie finds herself in distress over the decrepit décor and creepy attic. The troubling past, as the blurb states, “continues to wear at the seams of their family”, keeping everyone suspicious of who this murderer could be.


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Featured Image Via LevelEleven

Five Times SparkNotes Twitter Proved They Get It

Who hasn’t needed SparkNotes at some point? Who else can tell you that one character’s name you forgot? If you don’t know by now, I’m obsessed with SparkNotes‘ twitter. Every tweet is a work of absolute genius. From god-tier memes to incredibly hot takes, SparkNotes’ twitter never disappoints. As we look down the barrel of a new decade, let’s take a look at the most mindblowingly relevant of their recent tweets.

 

And it’s Gender Neutral!

 

Sure, the original context wasn’t explicitly romantic, but it’s really something you can make your own. Who doesn’t want to be cool, feared, and respected? Think about it. And the implication that your very own calamity is a dragon? I’d be incredibly flattered. How could you not be? That way you’re not just saying your lover is great, they know you think they’re great. You’re telling them they’re powerful and feared in the local land. Goals.

 

 

Who’s Who?

 

The only thing that matters – which person in your relationship tries to kill the king and then panics, and which actually just finishes the job? Because listen. It’s important that one of you be able to get things started and set the ball rolling, or you’ll never get things done. At the same time, some people just aren’t great at finishing projects. Conclusions are tough. Momentum isn’t going to get you there. Someone needs to be more detail oriented. Detail obsessed. Wash their hands over and over.

 

 

I Can Relate

 

Okay, so only two of those things are true about me, but all of them are said. Do you love the sea? Are you probably a ghost? Avoid making appearances, especially during the day. Congratulations! You might be the Flying Dutchman, or another legendary ghost ship! Actually, you could be a vampire. Or just English and Victorian. All three? That’s a dream. Maybe THE dream. I’m not a ghost hunter or anything, but I might BE a ghost.

 

 

Red Flags

 

As we approach the decade that has, in advance, been termed the ‘screaming’ 20s, let’s avoid the pitfalls of the roaring 20s. And especially any choice ever made by Daisy Buchanan. Consider her an object lesson, actually. Don’t take up with lying military men. Don’t bail on them to marry guys who suck. Don’t then STAY with those guys when no one even expects you to. Don’t lead said military man on again years later. Definitely don’t commit vehicular manslaughter.

 

 

Awareness is Key

 

Hey. We know better than to call him foul creature. We’re beyond that. We have to be. But the rest of these are real. The Kids use them all the time. I mean, I’ll double check with my baby sister, but I feel pretty confident. it’s the sort of thing The Kids would definitely text about. Especially the last one. See? SparkNotes is always relevant. This is the cutting edge.

 

 

All images via SparkNotes on Twitter

 

 


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Top Picks: Fantastical Sci-Fi and/or Sciencey Fantasy

Each week, Bookstr gives you a look at some of the best novels in a particular genre for your continued reading list.

Today we’ll be recommending 5 books that are either fantastical Sci-Fi and/or Sciencey Fantasy. Hey ho, let’s go!

 

 

5-The Vine Witch by Luanne G Smith

 

Image result for luanne g smith
Image Via Amazon

Luanne G. Smith gives us her debut novel, The Vine Witch, and it’s, shall we say, fantastical.

 

The Vine Witch by [Smith, Luanne G.]

Image Via Amazon

 

For centuries, the witches of Château Renard have helped the townsfolk create their world-renowned wine, but when sorcière Elena Boureanu is blindsided by a curse, the well runs dry.

After breaking the spell, Elena struggles to return to her former life, but that proves next to impossible as the vineyard she was destined to inherit is now in the possession of a stranger.

This name is Jean-Paul Martel, a man who favors science over superstition. He doesn’t believe in no witches and won’t accept help from any either. But Elena knows a hex when she sees one, and to help the vines recover she’ll have to hide her identity to destroy the evil powers that threaten to wipe out her, Jean-Paul, and the legacy of the Chanceaux Valley.

Taking advantage of the paradoxical nature of France, this fantastical tale weaves betrayal and vengeance with beauty and self-discovery to create something to marvel. Plus, the discussion of science and magic makes this October 1st release a sciencey-fantasy, a term I totally didn’t just make up.

 

 

4-Star Wars: The Ultimate Pop-Up Galaxy by Matthew Reinhart and illustrated by Kevin Wilson

 

Star Wars Saga

Image Via Amazon

 

How could we not put this on the list? With The Rise of Skywalker just around the corner, we’re here to tell you about the perfect holiday gift for all you Star-Wars-fanatics out there.

 

Star Wars: The Ultimate Pop-Up Galaxy by Matthew Reinhart and illustrated by Kevin Wilson
Image Via Amazon

 

Brought to us by famed New York Times best-selling paper engineer Matthew Reinhart and illustrator Kevin Wilson, this pop-up books explodes in front of your eyes, showcasing the very best scene from the entire Star Wars saga. All eleven movies are here in three-dimensional glory, including a sneak peek at The Rise of Skywalker.

A fitting tribute, this October 22nd release will make the perfect early gift. Get on your friend’s/significant other’s/family member’s good side while you can!

 

 

3-Salvation Lost by Peter F. Hamilton

 

Image result for peter f hamilton
Image Via Youtube

Author of The Evolutionary Void, Fallen Dragon, and the acclaimed epic Night’s Dawn trilogy, Peter F. Hamilton is going back into the pages of space.

 

Salvation Lost (The Salvation Sequence Book 2) by [Hamilton, Peter F.]
Image Via Amazon

A sequel to Salvation, the second book in Hamilton’s sprawling Salvation Sequence brings us to the 23rd Century. Food is 3D printed, money backed by generated kilowatt hours, and aliens are sharing biotech with us. But these aliens, the Olyxix, are religious fanatics who want to bring humanity’s souls to their god—literally.

Humanity isn’t going without a fight.

With weird technology, an ensemble cast, and intricate politics, this is a sequel for the ages. Want to go to space? Good thing this book came out October 29th, you can up this little rocket ship at your local bookstore.

 

 

 

2-Sisters of the Vast Black by Linda Rather

 

Her stories have appeared in a ShimmerFlash Fiction Online, and Lightspeed, and now I’m proud to say that Linda Rather is bringing us something wonderful, something amazing, something godly…

 

Sisters of the Vast Black by [Rather, Lina]
Image Via Amazon

NUNS IN SPACE!

 

The sisters of the Order of Saint Rita travel on their ship, Our Lady of Impossible Constellations, offering spiritual guidance and assistance to all they come across. The Universe needs it, seeing as the Earth Central Governance (ECG) ceased contact with the human colonies in space following the Great War.

Led by Sister Faustina, who took her vows despite a lack of faith and who is still haunted by her experiences during the Great War, the ship responds to a distress signal, and what they find is truly distressing, for all humanity in fact.

Fantastical sci-fi at its finest. The book came out October 29th, so what are you waiting for? NUNS IN SPACE!

 

 

1-The Last Dance by Martin L. Shoemaker

 

Image result for martin l shoemaker
Image Via Lawrence L Schoen

 

Martin L. Shoemaker’s novella Murder on the Aldrin Express was reprinted in The Year’s Best Science Fiction: Thirty-First Annual Collection and in The Year’s Top Short SF Novels 4, and he’s received the Washington Science Fiction Association’s Small Press Award for his Clarkesworld story “Today I Am Paul,” which continues in Today I Am Carey, published in March 2019.

So he knows his stuff when it comes to sci-fi.

 

The Last Dance (The Near-Earth Mysteries Book 1) by [Shoemaker, Martin L.]
Image Via Amazon

And now we have Inspector General Park Yerim taking on a case that seems cut and dry, but the mystery proves more complex as it goes on.

Let’s start the beginning: Captain Nicolau Aames, Commander of the Earth-Mars vessel Aldrin, is accused by the vast System of disobeying orders. He disobeyed them and is now accused of mutiny, a capital offense.

But his crew swears on their lives that he’s in the right.

Corruption, conflicting loyalties, and clashing accounts make it nearly impossible to see the truth in fifty million miles of darkness. As she goes on, and her findings prove to have astronomical implications, Park faces danger from the dark.

This November 1st, will you be able to find the truth shining out in the dark?

 

 

 

 

Featured Images Via Amazon

How ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ Is Causing Trouble in UK Courts

In a bizarre turn of events, some killers in the UK are getting reduced sentences by using what lawyers are calling “the Fifty Shades of Grey defence.” A few lawmakers are trying to change that.

 

 

The film adaptation of E. L. James best-selling Fifty Shades series caught some serious flack when it came out for its less-than-stellar portrayal of the BDSM subculture. In particular, critics of the series pointed to its shallow, one-dimensional understanding of consent and safety in BDSM contexts. Now, these concerns about James’ erotic series are having real-word, legal consequences.

 

image via the spectator

 

Harriet Harman, a member of parliament and former Labour party leader, called for a change in order to stop abusers who kill their partners from dodging murder charges by claiming their partners perished during consensual rough sex.

During a debate in the House of Commons, Harman dubbed this strategy “the Fifty Shades of Grey defence” and said:

It used to be the case that men used to routinely get away with murder and only be charged with manslaughter because they could say that, although they had killed her, it was not his fault, it was her fault because she provoked him. And that was the provocation defence which led to a charge being reduced down from murder to manslaughter.

 

 

Harman argued that defendants using the Fifty Shades defense are essentially doing the same thing in a different way. The precedent in the law is especially chilling because it allows the killer to control the victim’s narrative:

[The victim], of course, is not there to say otherwise. So, in the witness box, [the accused] gives lurid, unchallengeable accounts of her addiction to violent sex, and explains that the bruises that cover her body were what she wanted. The grieving relatives have to listen to his version of her sexual proclivities and see them splashed all over social media and in the newspapers. He has killed her, and then he defines her.

Ms. Harman brought up the example of Natalie Conolly, whose killer was sentenced for manslaughter rather than murder after he testified Conolly had died during “rough sex.” In order to get justice for women like Conolly, Harman argued the law needs to be changed.

 

image via Express & Star

 

Ms. Connolly’s constituency MP Tory Mark Garnier also spoke in support of the Domestic Abuse Bill, back Ms. Harman:

What we can do is we can make sure that somebody who really understands this can make the decision, so in the event of this type of injury and homicide under a domestic abuse setting that the Director of Public Prosecutions is the one that is consulted if a change is going to be made and that way those families get the support…If there’s any way that we can remember her, we have to do something to make sure this can never happen to anybody ever again.

 

 

 

Featured Image via The Telegraph