True Crime Book Review · Uncategorized

Review: The Hillside Stranglers by Darcy O’Brien

It’s taken me a while to finish this one, seeing as I started it at the beginning of my final semester. But I’ve finished it!.

Goodreads Blurb

Based on the bestselling book, Darcy O’Brien–author of Murder in Little Egypt–tells of the savage spree of rape and killing in Los Angeles and Buono’s and Bianchi’s resulting trial.

The Hillside Stranglers – Kenneth Bianci and Angelo Buono

The Hillside Strangler, later the Hillside Stranglers, is the media epithet for a serial killer who terrorized Los Angeles between October 1977 and February 1978, with the nickname originating from the fact that many of the victims’ bodies were discovered on the sides of the Hollywood Hills. The police, however, knew because of the presence of multiple distinct DNA traces and the positions of the bodies that two individuals were killing together, but withheld this information from the press. These two individuals were discovered to be cousins Kenneth Bianchi and Angelo Buono, who were later convicted of kidnapping, raping, torturing, and murdering ten females, ranging in age from twelve to twenty-eight years old.[1][2]

The Hillside Strangler murders began with the deaths of three prostitutes who were found strangled and dumped naked on hillsides northeast of the city between October and early November 1977, but it was not until the deaths of five young women who were not prostitutes, but girls who had been abducted from middle-class neighborhoods, that the media attention and subsequent “Hillside Strangler” moniker came to be.[3] There were two more murders in December and February before the Hillside Strangler murders abruptly stopped, an extensive investigation proved fruitless until the arrest of Bianchi in January, 1979 for the murder of two more young women in Washington and the subsequent linking of his past to the Hillside Strangler murders. The most expensive trial in the history of the California legal system at that time followed, with both Bianchi and Buono eventually being found guilty of these crimes and sentenced to life imprisonment.

Info provided from Wiki

My Review

I think firstly, I’ll get what I didn’t enjoy about this book, out of the way.  I wasn’t a fan of the ‘fictional’ feeling I got from the writing. There were times when it felt more like a fictional story, than a non-fiction book.  I’m quite picky when it comes to authors reading transcripts and interviews, and the likes, and then constructing a reenactment of sorts.  I feel like there’s a little too much room for dramatisation in that respect and it has me wondering if that really happened the way the author described it.  Secondly, the court scenes (which are generally my favourite parts) was slightly hard to get through at times because it was dry, in my opinion.  In unnecessary parts, too much time devoted to, and the book could have done without. Although, I have to admit, I loved the way the author wrote about the judge, giving us a little look about him as a person. I really liked the Judge and the way he handled the case.

While I had an issue with the interpretation of the author at times, I did enjoy the information he provided us by his thorough investigation into the case.  Although it happened some years ago, it’s still one that many remember and refer to often.  I’m fairly familiar with this case, although there were times when the author made some information seem brand new.  I think it was the fact that he had a more personal view, being privy to specific information and talking to those who worked on the case, that did give his writing at times a special spark.  I enjoyed the respect he paid to those who worked on the case, especially to the victims and their families. This is an important part to get right, in my opinion, when you’re writing on a topic such as this.  I appreciated the fact that the author also managed to stay mostly neutral throughout.

So overall, I enjoyed it. Did it bring anything new to the table for me? No. But it might for you.  If you don’t know anything about these two offenders, then do a little google search, or even watch a documentary on youtube there’s tonnes of information out there.

I give this book: *** stars / 5

You can purchase the ebook version via amazon

Happy buying and reading!

Nat

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