I’d like to keep the spotlight on True Crime in this review, but before I do so, I need to tell you a short tale from my past. It may seem irrelevant at first, but stick with me, as I think it’s important to understanding the effect this book had on me. When I was in college, I overheard a group of students in one of my classes discussing the film “Requiem for a Dream”. One guy said, “Man, I felt so depressed after seeing that movie. You’ve got to watch it.” Well, that’s all I needed to hear to pique my interest, and I rented the movie shortly after. I watched it, and sure enough I felt some kind of way afterward. Call it depression, melancholy, whatever you will—all I know was that it had a major effect on me. I found that story impactful because I felt like I had gone through it with the characters, experiencing the highs and the lows, and ultimately arriving at an end with no hope. There were times I wanted to turn away, but I couldn’t tear my eyes from the screen. I’m telling you this because I often think of that film when I’ve finished a book that hit me like a ton of bricks. True Crime is one of those books.
To me, some of the best books are those that leave an impact—you’re left feeling something, no matter the emotion. Samantha Kolesnik has created this type of story with True Crime. The writing in this novel puts you inside the main character’s physical and mental experience, and it leaves a mark. I felt so much empathy for these characters, especially Suzy, despite never going through the same trauma myself. The descriptions of Suzy’s abuse and of its effects on her mind really got under my skin, especially when it came to her feelings of worthlessness.
There are no words wasted in this book. It’s less than 150 pages, without added fluff. To-the-point, but never bland. The writing is so well done that I could fill at least a page of this review with profound quotable lines from this novel. I’m not going to lie, this story is bleak, but that’s part of what makes it so impactful on the reader. Each time I thought there might be a ray of sunshine about to peak through the clouds, that moment of hope or redemption never came.
The story within these pages is a shining example of the horror found in humanity. There are no supernatural monsters here, nor are they necessary to make this tale frightening. Sometimes the scariest stories are those based on the evil found in everyday life. True Crime is a powerful debut—a punch to the gut that left me in stunned silence by the end. I’ve seen so many 5-star ratings for this one, so I trust that I’m one among many who anticipate this author’s next release.
Publisher: Grindhouse Press
Release Date: January 15, 2020
Thank you to the author and publisher for providing me with an advance copy for review consideration.