BOOK REVIEW: Chase Darkness With Me: How One True-Crime Writer Started Solving Murders by Billy Jensen

This review is going to take a look at Billy Jensen’s new book: Chase Darkness With Me: How One True-Crime Writer Started Solving Murders. It was released on August 13, 2019 so it is still relatively new. I was lucky enough to purchase an autographed copy from the Poisoned Pen!

I am a somewhat new listener of the My Favorite Murder Podcast hosted by Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark, and have been binging episodes pretty much everyday. While listening to My Favorite Murder, I learned about the rest of the podcasts on the Exactly Right Network, and have been a proud listener of Jensen & Holes: The Murder Squad since the beginning of the show.

For those of you not familiar with the Murder Squad podcast, it is a true-crime podcast hosted by Billy Jensen, who is a crime reporter and the author of the book covered in this review, and Paul Holes a retired homicide detective who helped solve the Golden State Killer (GSK) murder case. The premise of the podcast is in line with what Jensen has written in Chase Darkness With Me in that they both aim to put the general public to work to help solve cold cases, whether they are murder cases, missing person cases, or something else.

Obviously, for the sake of time they can’t go into too many details on the podcast to instruct listeners how they can help the cause. That is what this book does. It covers some of Jensen’s white whale cases from his career, and how he has worked diligently over social media to help get tips on these cases and more. He goes into depth on how the civilian citizens can help do the same.

One of his white whale cases, known as the Allenstown Four, happened in my home state and I was immediately interested when I heard them cover it on the podcast. I had never heard of the crime before, but since I listened to the podcast I have heard it referred to more and more. And for good reason! Three of the four victims have since been identified by a librarian. It was fascinating to learn more about the Allenstown Four while reading Jensen’s new book.

It was touching to learn about how his relationship with his father trained him to spot crimes, and how he followed up on posting the social media campaigns related to these cases after the death of his close friend Michelle McNamara.

I highly suggest everyone go out and pick up a copy of Chase Darkness With Me by Billy Jensen. It was an excellent read, and really meaningful to connect with readers that can help solve some of these crimes in the future. Also, take a few minutes and check out their website to learn more about some of the cases they are working on and how you can help: The Murder Squad.

Instead of my usual sign off, I’ll use Billy’s–“Don’t be an irony”

BOOK REVIEW: Speaking of Summer by Kalisha Buckhanon

This review is going to cover Speaking of Summer by Kalisha Buckhanon, who is also the author of Upstate. I received a finished copy in lieu of galley from Counterpoint Press. It was released on July 30th.

This was a more difficult book for me to read, not the page turner I was expecting from cover to cover. Although, this book did pick up speed for me as I went on.

Buckhanon tells the tale of Autumn Spencer, whose twin sister Summer has gone missing, and nobody really wants to look for her. Autumn is also dealing with the grief of her mother’s death at the same time.

As the book continues on, Autumn has more and more trouble coping, turning to her sister’s boyfriend, alcohol, and drugs. She also starts researching other murdered women, and their killers, imagining whether they also killed her sister.

Although the book started out slow for me, it did speed up about mid-way through and kept a steady fast pace from there. It spoke to several current social issues, such as race relations, alcohol and drug abuse, and mental health. It’s a hard hitter that will keep you thinking afterwards. I hope some of you head out and pick up a copy!

Happy reading 🙂