Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Book Review: Monster City: Murder, Music and Mayhem in Nashville's Dark Age by Michael Artnfield

Media Type: Ebook (ARC)
Title: Monster City: Murder, Music, and Mayhem in Nashville's Dark Age
Author: Michael Arntfield
Publisher: Little A
Pages: Paperback; 352
Release Date: September 4, 2018
Source: NetGalley / Publisher
Genre: Nonfiction / True Crime

HDB Rating: 3 Keys to My Heart

Recommended to: Readers who enjoy a real life look into the spree of serial murders in Nashville in the 1980's and 1990's.

Add it on: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N
The never-before-told true account of the serial killers who terrorized Nashville’s music scene for decades—and the cold-case Murder Squad determined to bring an end to their sadistic sprees.

Nashville—a haven for aspiring musicians and a magnet for country-music fans. By the time Pat Postiglione arrived there in 1980, it was also the scene of an unsolved series of vicious sex slayings that served as a harbinger of worse to come. As Postiglione was promoted from street-beat Metro cop to detective sergeant heading Music City’s elite cold-case Murder Squad, some of America’s most bizarre, elusive, and savage serial killers were calling Nashville home. And during the next two decades, the body count climbed.

From Vanderbilt University to dive bars and out-of-the-way motels, Postiglione followed the bloody tracks of these ever-escalating crimes—each enacted by a different psychopath with the same intent: to murder without motive or remorse. But of all the investigations, of all the monsters Postiglione chased, few were as chilling, or as game changing, as the Rest Stop Killer: a homicidal trucker who turned the interstates into his trolling ground. Next stop, Nashville. But Postiglione was waiting.
I'm kind of an odd duck in that I'm not always a huge fan of true crime novels, but I have this deep seeded fascination with stories about serial killers. I thought I'd get that out of the way before I start this review in earnest, so that you'll know where I'm coming from. My interest in this book was purely driven by the fact that Michael Arntfield was taking an in-depth look at a spree of serial murders. The fact that it was set in Nashville, which has such a rich tapestry of people and history, just made it that much more intriguing to me. Unfortunately, it didn't quite live up to what I expected.

While I absolutely understand that this is a work of non-fiction, and therefore simply compiling facts, the problem with Monster City was that it didn't really come together in a way that felt coherent. This book focuses on Pat Postiglione, a detective that really brought everything he had to the team that tracked down these killers. He ran through cold cases in a way that baffled his coworkers, and impressed them at the same time. In that respect, this book is utterly fascinating!

However as the book makes its way through the series of cases that Pat pulls from the archives, it really rambles and jumps around. There were portions of this book where I was so confused by which case was being discussed at any given time, that I had to flip back a page or two and reorient myself. Pat's cases, while brutal and interesting, all had similar aspects to them. Which meant that at a certain point all of them meshed into one another and left me confused. I really just wanted a clearer path to follow.

I can definitely say that, despite my gripes about cohesion, the content of this book is compulsively readable. That's why I decided to go ahead and award it the rating that I did. Arntfield did a lot of research, and you can absolutely tell. This book probably could have benefited from a bit more structure though, to keep the reader on a solid path forward.

FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion.


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