Second Look: Dr. Vincent Di Maio’s MORGUE

Found in my favorite section of Barnes & Noble (True Crime!), I was ecstatic to find this book.  MORGUE: A LIFE IN DEATH is by retired medical examiner, Dr. Vincent Di Maio (and Ron Franscell) about some of his most intriguing and famous cases.


Dr. Vincent Di Maio and Ron Franscell’s
St. Martin’s Press, 2016

There’s not really a “synopsis” of this book.  I could retype the book jacket, but what’s the point?  Since it’s more memoir and true crime, there’s not really much to spoil, either.  So I’m just going to tell you WHY this book was awesome. :D


Di Maio is an experienced medical examiner.  (His father was also a medical examiner, fun fact!)  He’s worked on cases like George Zimmerman/Trayvon Martin, the exhumation of Lee Harvey Oswald, and the mystery of Vincent van Gogh’s suicide.  In this memoir, he talks about some of these amazing, and puzzling, cases.  He also talks about society’s “obsession” with death, and how different life is for a real forensic pathologist, versus what you see on TV.

Di Maio and Franscell tell each case in a narrative structure.  They open well before Dr. Di Maio is called to examine the case, setting the scene and giving background information for the readers.  I think this was one of the best parts of the book, because it draws you in without giving you a lot of medical jargon.  It’s obvious that Di Maio has done trial testimonies, because he explains things clearly for the layman.

The cases are what really sucked me in — from Trayvon Martin’s shooting to Martha Woods and Genene Jones to West Memphis Three.  According to Di Maio’s findings and conclusions, it definitely changed how I viewed some of these cases.  (He also talks a lot about how the media and public make assumptions and then disregard scientific findings when they don’t fit into that assumption, which was fascinating.)

I’d highly recommend this to any murderino, only because I’m not sure someone who doesn’t like true crime would really enjoy this.  (Unless you’re into science and forensic pathology, or like TV shows like Bones and want the true side of Kathy Reichs’s books…)

Definitely 10/10 stars for me!

Second Look: ALL THE CROOKED SAINTS by Maggie Stiefvater

Disclaimer: I received a galley of this book for an honest review at BEA 2017.


October 10, 2017

Maggie Stiefvater’s ALL THE CROOKED SAINTS
Scholastic Press, 2017

From GoodReads:

Here is a thing everyone wants:
A miracle.

Here is a thing everyone fears:
What it takes to get one.

Any visitor to Bicho Raro, Colorado is likely to find a landscape of dark saints, forbidden love, scientific dreams, miracle-mad owls, estranged affections, one or two orphans, and a sky full of watchful desert stars.

At the heart of this place you will find the Soria family, who all have the ability to perform unusual miracles. And at the heart of this family are three cousins longing to change its future: Beatriz, the girl without feelings, who wants only to be free to examine her thoughts; Daniel, the Saint of Bicho Raro, who performs miracles for everyone but himself; and Joaquin, who spends his nights running a renegade radio station under the name Diablo Diablo.

They are all looking for a miracle. But the miracles of Bicho Raro are never quite what you expect.

I’ll be honest.  I haven’t read a Maggie Stiefvater book since SHIVER first released (way back in 2009.  And it’s not because I don’t like her, it’s just that I got sidetracked, and SHIVER was so…depressing.  And then I wasn’t really interested in any of her other titles.  Until, CROOKED SAINTS.

I loved the premise of this book, and I was super excited to see that she was going to be signing at #BEA2017.  However, Katie & I didn’t get to stand in line for her.  LUCKILY, Scholastic was giving out galleys.  So, of course we waited!  And man, I’m glad I did.  This book was…amazeballs.

Stiefvater is a master storyteller, really.  I mean, that’s what it’s always been.  She doesn’t just tell a story for 300 pages, but she creates the entire WORLD of the story.  Her language is poetic.  She really grabs you and pulls you into the story.  And SAINTS was no exception.

What I Loved:

  • The characters.  They were real and authentic.
  • The plotline.  It was terribly unique (I think) for a YA novel, but also accessible for YAs.
  • The ending.  (Hopefully there won’t be a sequel.  I think she tied things up nicely.)

I loved the relationships between characters and how complicated they were.  I loved how the characters were all so different from each other, but still were connected by family.  And I really loved that the ending is about finding a truth about yourself and being able to “deal” with it.

And honestly?  There’s nothing I didn’t like about this book.

As a librarian, I’d be careful who I’d recommend this to.  Not because of the book, but because of the reader.  This isn’t for reluctant readers, and it’s not for those who prefer realistic fiction.  This book definitely falls in the MAGICAL REALISM realm.


8.5/10 Stars


Little Monsters Sleuthers Mission #2!

Kara Thomas — the amazing woman that she is! — is hosting a GIVEAWAY to promote her new book, LITTLE MONSTERS.

What you can win:

  • Signed paperback of THE DARKEST CORNERS
  • Audiobook of THE DARKEST CORNERS
  • Swag from LITTLE MONSTERS and (vintage swag!) from PREP SCHOOL CONFIDENTIAL
  • A candle scented especially for LITTLE MONSTERS from NovellyYours
#Monsters Monday (1)

Click to Enter!