Twisted Confessions: The True Story Behind the Kitty Genovese and Barbara Kralik Murder Trials Hardcover – Apr 2008
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
I was expecting the usual bland, from a notebook, kind of drab recital of events usual in such books. Instead Mr. Skoller's narrative reads like a John Grisham novel, but with far more interesting detail of just how murder trials are conducted by the prosecuting attorney. The details of just how Kitty Genovese was murdered are the most horrific I have ever encountered, even including the Manson massacre. The animal that stabbed her nine times in the course of a 30 minute attack, was in the process of raping her after stabbing her as the girl lay dying. It is hard to fathom a more horrific death.
I could not put the book down even when the sun was coming up through my window.
Yet I do have a couple of material complaints.
First, his coverage of the Genovese case ends before the book is half way through. The much less famous Kralik case takes up most of the pages, though in the final outcome the incidents had nothing in common whatsoever, outside of the prosecutor assigned to the cases. I wish Mr. Skoller had spent more detail on the Genovese case. Since the Kralik information is so well-done and riveting, perhaps a longer book would have been in order.
My second complaint is really serious. There are NO pictures and NO diagrams of any kind in the book. I am sure this is the publishers' call and not Mr. Skoller's. This deficiency is really irritating. A diagram of the layout of the Genovese outrage is critical to understanding who saw what when, and from where etc. But the lack of photos is even more serious with the Kralik case. We have no idea what this girl, her house, her murderer, or anyone or anything connected to the case looks like. There are no pictures of Barbara Kralik or the murder scene on the internet. I simply cannot understand how Mr. Skoller could allow his book to be published with such a paucity of super-relevant material. It is tantamount to an art book without illustrations. Imagine trying to visualize the paintings the author is talking about without pictures of them.
Fortunately, there are diagrams of the Genovese murder scene, and a few pictures of the poor girl available through a Google search. Nada on Kralik, and nada on the other murder case included in the book. Be sure to look the Genovese maps and pictures up before starting the book. Skoller's book does not even have the mug photo of her murderer, who is still alive and kicking by the way.
Despite the glaring insufficiency of no photos, Mr. Skoller's narrative is so well done, that it shouldn't be missed. There is not a dull moment, with a lot of surprises along the way.
Mr. Skoller gets 5 stars. His publisher Bridgeway Books gets my dirty socks. Their cheapskate lack of photos is unforgivable. What's next, no ink?
The book contains no photos of the individuals who played roles in these two dramas, not even a photo of Skoller himself at that time. This is a disappointment. Photos could have been obtained if Skoller had extended the effort to do some searching of newspaper archives.
The bulk of the book's text is devoted to describing Skoller's prosecution of Alvin Mitchell for the murder of Barbara Kralik. At the denouement of the trial, Skoller reports Mitchell's sentence but nothing more. Skoller did not do the small bit of research it would have taken to find out just how many years Alvin Mitchell served for his murder of Barbara Kralik or if Mitchell was rearrested for other crimes. If justice for Kralik was so important, then why didn't Skoller find out what happened to Mitchell? To me, these lazy omissions make the book less than great.
Take, for instance, the Kitty Genovese and Barbara Kralik murder trials, which are both covered in "Twisted Confessions" by Charles E. Skoller. Both instances were particularly gruesome, and both had a bizarre twist. The most bizarre thing about the Genovese occurrence is that no one came to her aid, in spite of numerous neighbors hearing her screams for help. With the Kralik case, two people confessed to the murder, which sort of makes it difficult to prosecute either one separately.
Skoller, who was the prosecutor for both of these cases, tells the story of the cases as he lived it. There's no need for him to create a fictitious story line because it is intriguing enough as it occurred. I finished the book on the same day I started, and although I didn't read it straight through, I kept wondering exactly how the mysteries of whodunit would be solved.
I would recommend this book to anyone interested in high profile crime court cases. "CSI" isn't bad, but why settle for that when you could read about cases that actually did occur?
Kitty's killer confessing subsequent to someone else also admitting guilt.
The author weaves these two crimes so that even though you might suspect the outcome you're still anxious to get to the next page.
Skoller is a dedicated professional whose concern for the victims' families is balanced with his hand on "LADY JUSTICE".
This book should be required reading for aspiring law students AND those already admitted to practice. "True Confessions" shows the system works and Charles Skoller is the "turn key".