PositiveThe New York Times Book ReviewKnoll only refers to the intruder as \'the Defendant,\' which is a canny, important choice, because too often serial killers are portrayed as diabolical masterminds instead of the hideous life leeches they are ... Knoll recounts the night of the crime in a tense but frustrating way. Suspense builds, occasionally at the cost of the story’s flow ... Knoll teases at darker turns in later chapters one too many times, so I found myself keeping track of clues when I should have been experiencing the immediacy of her prose ... As the narrative jumps forward and backward in time, with Pamela and Ruth offering alternating points of view, it’s a testament to Knoll’s skill that you’re never rudderless in the story. The women are distinct and memorable ... Knoll doesn’t make Pamela’s journey (or ours) an easy one, but it ends in a cathartic, long-bottled-up scream that more people need to hear.
PositiveThe New York Times Book ReviewThe premise is a grind house fever dream ... The reality of this case is far more mundane and messy, and far more fascinating ... Both Ness and the Torso Killer are operating in Cleveland at the same time, but Stashower is admirably forthcoming about how these two threads barely intersect ... Stashower demonstrates an ear for the vivid poetry of the era’s tabloid journalism as he resurfaces the outlandish writing that came out of the press’s attempt to cover the Torso Killer ... American Demon is a winding, and sometimes confusing, jaunt.
RaveThe New York Times Book ReviewThis is a spoken, as-told-to memoir of (mostly) everyone who was involved in the making of Linklater’s 1993 follow-up to Slacker. A loose, hormonal slice of ’70s Texas teenage life that’s become a modern coming-of-age classic ... There are hookups and rivalries, oceans of alcohol and forests of weed consumed, cliques and alliances — and everyone has their own side of the story. And everyone, of course, insists they’re telling the truth. It makes for lively, sometimes cringe-y reading (the chapter about Shawn Andrews should be printed as a pamphlet and handed out to young actors with too much hubris). It’s gossipy and funny and sometimes wistful and sad, but it’s page-turning. Yes, you find out precisely where Alright, alright, alright comes from. And in true, Linklater-esque meandering fashion, you find out about odd Texas traditions like moon towers, \'freshmanizing\' and the parking spots to avoid at the Sonic ... For a film lover like me, Alright, Alright, Alright is an endless feast of facts and revelations. I’m gonna guess that for the casual filmgoer (and even someone who’s never seen Dazed and Confused) it will be fascinating just for the thrill of reading older people looking back with joy, bewilderment and sometimes anger at a time when they were not only young, but when their youth blazed. And the fire was caught on film. For better or worse, forever.
PanThe New York Times Book ReviewWe’re in the middle of an upheaval. The paranoid, extremist politics that Biskind wants to trace back to franchise and comic-book properties are far too chaotic and changeable to withstand his schematic dot-connecting ... Biskind’s book is as shaky as a set of surveyor’s tools in the middle of a hurricane. It’s too soon ... For those who agree to take it, the journey in The Sky Is Falling isn’t as propulsive or as fun as in Biskind’s other books ... After a while it feels like being led through plodding, 4/4 time dance steps ... Biskind, despite his journalistic élan, is not as sure-footed a guide through 21st-century nerd culture as he was through the fascinating minefield of cocaine, conflict and creativity in Easy Riders. It’s alarming how many things he flat-out whiffs in these pages ... There are glaring, misremembered details of scenes and plots, which force the reader to go back or, worse, muddle Biskind’s larger argument ... As a country and a culture, we aren’t on the \'other side\' of the extremist upheaval we’re seeing now. To bring flowers before the funeral’s even started feels pointless ... I’d love to see a man of his insights return for a rematch in, say, 10 years. Things should have calmed down by then.
RaveThe New York Times Book Review\"Starve and Struggle. Feast. Bloat. These are the three stages that all artists — with some variation — go through in their careers … So it’s encouraging to read 25 years of David Sedaris’s diaries, and not just because he manages to defeat Bloat. It’s helpful to see that a voice as original, hilarious and sometimes as infuriating as his was put through the same Struggle and Starve meat grinder that most of us go through … No one escapes Bloat, but many survive it. Maybe not with the grace, whining, hilarity and eye-rolling that Sedaris does. But through all 25 years of Theft by Finding, Sedaris’s developing voice is the lifeline that pulls him through the murk.\