*I want to say that I think the reason this has okay ratings on some of the sites I've checked is because of the crime. The crime is so horrendous that I think most people aren't thinking about the actual book. I think people have looked past or not ...more *I want to say that I think the reason this has okay ratings on some of the sites I've checked is because of the crime. The crime is so horrendous that I think most people aren't thinking about the actual book. I think people have looked past or not noticed the lack of research, the contradictions, the horrible writing structure, etc. Even hard-core true-crime readers will be appalled and I think the okay ratings can be explained in that way. Frankly, there IS NO other way.*
I usually don't start to review a book until I'm finished but I've been more forgetful lately so with books like this, where there is a number of things I want to mention, I'll have to start little by little.
Number one, it's very obvious that De Noux is not a true crime writer like most. Specific Intent is what I would probably expect from my first true crime book if I were to right one, minus the editing mistakes. It's written in a very stiff, boring way and there are mistakes all over the place. Spelling, run-on and fractured sentences, you name it and you can find it here. Things are repeated for no reason at all with one case in point being on pages 79 & 80. The very last paragraph on pg. 79 reads (and I quote the authors words): "Crimestoppers, the anonymous informant reward program in New Orleans, released a press release to the local media under the caption: "Crimestoppers offers $1,000 reward for clues in Nichole Lopatta case." (Is Crimestoppers only in New Orleans?)
The very first paragraph on the very next page, pg. 80: (quote from the authors words again) "Crimestoppers, which had received some success in past cases, offered $1,000 cash for information leading to the arrest and indictment of the person responsible for the death of eight-year-old Nichole Lopatta."
Was that necessary? And if so for what reason? That's not something that can be easily passed without noticing so why wasn't it caught?
pg. 74 - Apparently the spokesperson for the Sheriff's Office said Lopatta had been found ".... clothed only in her shirt and it was pulled over her head. There was no face left. It was horrible, absolutely horrible."
Now, for one thing, that sounds to me as if the spokesperson was there for the intial investigation of Lopatta when she was found. Is this common practice? I never thought so. Secondly, I've heard many statements from police spokespersons and I have never, in all of my 32 years and some odd months, heard a statement like this. I have real doubts that this quote is correct.
pg. 72 - (this is the author's words himself - no quotes from an outside source) "With the Juvenile Division handling the intial investigation, Wood was certain it was handled properly." Well, which one was it? Was it "handled properly" or is it "handling"? What a simple, and stupid, mistake to make. The sentence doesn't even sound like something most people would come up with.
That's about all the gripes I have with the author at the moment but the way things are looking more are soon to come. I also want to note that Lopatta was 8 years old when she was kidnapped, raped and murdered. Lopatta was not only left home alone with her sisters (none of them were old enough to babysit in my opinion), she was given free run of the apartment complex and allowed to go to the pool alone. Her "Mother" (and like in many cases like this I use the term loosely to say the least) was upset when the officers set up a mobile command post in her apartment so they moved into an empty unit to conduct their work. Now, personally, if my daughter were missing (which probably wouldn't happen because I do this little thing calling watching her, the police, or aliens, could set up shop in my fucking stomach if it would help bring my baby back. So, in essense, at the moment I think the "Mother" is a big, fat piece of shit and I doubt that will change during the course of the book.
(I'm going on order of how the book is written, if it can be called "in order" so bear with me people.)
There are a few "little" things that bother me and many bigger things. The author states that one of Nichole's sisters, the 11 year old, was "faced with the nightmare that she would never see her little sister again." The next sentence? "And it was her fault."
Now, where I come from kids who are 11 years old are NOT babysitters. Explain to me how this could be anyone other than the molestor/rapist/murders fault, along with the disgusting piece of shit so called Mother that Nichole and her sisters had the poor fucking luck of being born to. Very poor choice of words from the author in my opinion. As if this girl hasn't been through enough she know has a book available to the world with a gruesome picture of her murdered baby sister, complete with details, AND a claim that it was "all her fault." Kudos De Noux, kudos.
Another smaller item - if I see the world "homicide dick" one more time in the rest of book I cannot be held accountable for what I do to it. Was this the authors lame attempt at sounding like he's "in the know" when it comes to police jargon? I must have read these words, so far, about every single male detective mentioned and it was old before it even started.
On pg. 97 the second to last paragraph mentions the agencies the investigators are from. The second paragraph relists these agencies. I'll have to assume it was in case anyone missed it the first time around.
Damn, this is getting boring.... Alright, pg. 100, last paragraph. Author is talking about the FBI profile and he mentions some "added remarks such as that the killer was supposedly "religious" because of how the body was laid out. (I'm no FBI profiler but I wouldn't hesitate to assume he also got this twisted because she was laid in the woods, on her side. Where is the religiousness in that? Nothing is mentioned of course, nothing to give the reader any idea why one would said such a thing so....) He mentions that the profiler thinks the killer wanted to be found. All things that *could* seemingly go along with a profile right? Yeah. The next two sentences are about the amount of time that passed between her being taken and her being killed and that cherry skin was found in her stomach. What in the living hell does that have to do with the profile? Did the author need the paragraph to be longer and didn't feel like talking about his back problems? Are these last two items not more along the lines of autopsy items?
(By the way, I take back my earlier statement that this would be similiar to my first attempt at writing true crime - my first draft would be a masterpiece compared to this.)
Pg. 108 - (does it ever end? I'm not even halfway through the book at this point.) I quote, "Gibbs was never alone with any one of the children." Next sentence and I also quote, "On several occasions he was with Nichole and Samantha only." Hmmmm.... That was definitely not a mistake that could be easily caught. Did the author even check any of the facts surrounding this case? Did he even know anything about it besides what was porbably written in newspapers? The police featured in this book have to be absolutely livid about this book. He's managed to portray them all as idiots.
Okay, Gibbs took a polygraph test. He was asked 4 relevant questions and 4 non-relevant questions according to the author. The 4 relevants are listed, only 3 of the non's are listed, 2 of which are "Have you ever engaged in any unusual sex act?" and "Before 1984, did you ever engage in any sex acts with a juvinile?" This makes no sense to me at all. Again. I'm not employeed as a polygrapher but I've been around a little and this just seems strange to say the least. A better author, if this is fact, would have commented extensively.
It's mentioned that the "Mother's" (sorry, can't stop with the quotes as this is a sore spot with me) family's friends "never let Jodee Bee and little Samantha out of their sight as mourners expressed their sadness....." (Both are Nichole's sisters.) Well, to the baby carrier that gave birth to these girls and then failed them as a Mother I say this - TOO FUCKING LITTLE TOO FUCKING LATE. You should have started that YOURSELF when they were BORN. THAT is what MOTHERS - REAL MOTHERS - DO.
The "Mother" told a girlfriend of hers, who told police when she was interviewed, that "it was possible that Gibbs "touched" her daughters." No elaboration of course. So basically, a man you think might have "touched" your babies, a man YOU let into their lives and YOU have an opportunity to "touch" in the first place, is allowed free fucking rein with your kids even AFTER you suspect him? Totally understandable! Yes! Isn't this the manner in which a good Mother acts? Sure! So the author writes in a way that is supposed to make the reader feel sorry for her. She belongs in prison right next to the murderer and the ones that helped him. I feel sorry for Nichole, Jodee Bee, and Samantha and THAT'S IT.
Okay, I'm back. Again. I only checked the bigger items since this is already four miles long. Pages 140, 141, and half of 142 are not needed. At all. Those two and a half pages consist of an itemized list of evidence. Two and a half pages. Who told him this was the proper way to write true crime?
Pg. 145, 234 and other pages - None of these police know what the others are doing. Places are being searched, people being questions, suspects let go without being fingerprinted, etc. You name it and if the author is right then they screwed it up. I've never come across anything like this in my entire 32 years.
Pg. 232 - first sentence of third paragraph - "Judith went on to elaborate about a Penthouse magazine which contained an article on Henry Lee Lucas." Last sentence of the VERY SAME PARAGRAPH - "Judith wasn't sure, but there may have been a copy of the Penthouse with the Lucas article among the material." Well which one is it damnit. I'm tired of the work I'm putting into this supposed "book".
I may have already touched on this but I forget - what is with the Spade character? Giving a true crime book a "touch of fiction" doesn't work out. That has to be what happened here because, like so many others aspects of this book, there is no other reasonable explanation.
Do yourself the biggest favor of your life and do not read this book. I'd suggest it to real true crime readers who want to see how bad it is and no one else. I honestly cannot believe the author has other books published and I also can't believe that Pinnacle published this. I can't reiterate it enough - this is so, so, so, so sub-standard that I'll probably never come across anything like it for the rest of my days. I'm really ticked off that I have to focus so much on the damn writing and lack of writing and that I don't have the time and/or room to concentrate on the actual victim and crime.