Another Monday, another new week. Unfortunately, a five day working week for me (boo) but at least we have yet another bank holiday next week. I am of the strong opinion that this working life is not the life I’m supposed to be living. My fiancè disagrees with me for some bizarre reason.
Thank you to @threadbooks_ and @EJGreenBooks for this advanced audio copy of Murder in the Neighborhood in return for an honest review. Murder in the Neighborhood is due to be published on 28th April 2022 and you can get a copy here.
On September 6th 1949, Howard Unruh shot thirteen people in under twelve minutes. This was the first recorded mass shooting in America. This book tells the true story of what happened via Howard’s friend and neighbour as well as his mother.
General Thoughts 🤔
It’s been a while since I’ve read a true crime book so I was really looking forward to getting into this one. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that the book read more like a piece of fiction than non-fiction which I think helped to make it really engaging and made me feel somewhat closer to the individuals in the story.
I hadn’t heard of this case before getting this book (which is unusual for me as a bit of a true crime junkie). The whole thing made me feel so very sad. Not only for the victims and their families but for Howard too. He was obviously very troubled and I wonder how much of what he did was due to him having had enough of the torment and bullying.
I say characters. These were real life people, not fictional characters for me to rip apart. But I did want to touch upon a couple of them.
Firstly Howard. I think he came across as quite a sensitive soul and the crimes that he committed, didn’t match with the Howard from his diary entires in my opinion. I couldn’t help but think how differently his life could have been if it had been a different time with better mental health support and awareness.
Raymond was the sweetest little kid and I fell in love with him. He was the epitome of innocence. He saw Howard differently to everyone else, even after the shootings. I imagine what happened probably had a huge impact on his entire life.
Writing Style ✍️
As mentioned above, I loved the fact that this book felt like reading a piece of fiction. It was written in such a way that didn’t feel like I had facts and timelines and figures being thrown at me, yet I didn’t feel like I missed out on any details.
The author cleverly told the story of the shootings via diary entries, police evidence, psychiatric reports and interviews with surviving family members. The amount of research that must have gone into writing this book must have been so overwhelming and then to turn all of that into something that was easily consumable by a reader was the cherry on top.
Conclusion & Scoring 🎖
I really enjoyed listening to this book. It was written brilliantly, narrated brilliantly and rekindled my love for reading true crime. This was a heart breaking story that provoked lots of thoughts and emotions for me. If you’re a true crime fan, I think this book will do the same for you and you will like it as much as I did.