Cover Image: True Crime Story

True Crime Story

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Member Reviews

Wildly original and page-turning, this story is one that will make readers forget that it's fiction, and it's a must read for those who follow true crime and those who are hesitant about the genre alike. There are plenty of moments to keep readers guessing and- if they are anything like me- gasping with the cleverly plotted details and reveals. It's always fascinating when authors effectively write themselves into their fictional stories (such as with Anthony Horowitz's Hawthorne and Horowitz books), and I think Joseph Knox handled this brilliantly. With true crime having been having such a major and impactful moment over the last 5ish years, it's interesting to see all the different ways this is being used in fiction, and this story is one of the more effective uses I've seen.
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While I was super excited to dive into this book, I have to give an unpopular opinion and say the style just didn’t work for me. I know others raved about it’s uniqueness, which it was, I guess I just prefer my books a bit more traditional in their presentation. Thank you for the opportunity to give this one a try!
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I'm a big fan of Joseph - the Aiden Waits books are really enjoyable. His world is dark and gritty and full of very engaging writing. So when I saw the latest Knox book, claiming to blend fact and fiction, I was immediately intrigued. 

Unlike a lot of people, I like when authors write themselves into their stories. I find it a fascinating and twisty way to enhance a story - at least, in the hands of a talented writer. And Joseph Knox is a talented writer. I found myself Googling to see what was real and what wasn't and figure out what was going on in this one from the opening gambit. 

It was a thoroughly engaging story and while I don't usually like epistolary novels or a lot of shift in (unreliable) narrators, I found this one to be a heck of a ride from start to finish!
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In the vein of Daisy Jones and the Six, True Crime Story utilizes an interview compilation style to tell the story of the disappearance of Zoe Nolan, who was a 19-year-old college student in Manchester. We hear from Zoe's friends, family, and acquaintances; including her twin sister, Kimberly; her ex-boyfriend, Andrew, and her friends, Liu, Fintan, and Jai. Joseph Knox, the author, is part of the story as he corresponds with Evelyn, an author friend using the interviews for her new book about Zoe.

I'll admit, this took me quite a while to finish, because I really struggled to get into the story initially. Even now, I really think that this story is going to be even better as an audiobook. I had a similar issue with Daisy Jones, which lead to me switching to its audio version. I think audiobooks lend themselves really well to books in interview formats, because hearing different voices for the different interviewees can help distinguish and humanize their characters. 

Initial struggles aside, this ended up being a 5-star read for me. It has been a long time since I've read a mystery/thriller whose 'big reveal' has genuinely shocked me, but True Crime Story did just that. I sat in bed repeatedly saying "what the h*ll" , as everything fell into place. It being the first novel in a while where I didn't predict at least part of the reveal means it's a big win in my book (no pun intended). Also, many aspects of the story were very atmospheric and left me feeling creeped out, which I really enjoyed.

I highly recommend this, especially for those who are fans of podcasts/true crime, or for anyone who wants to be left saying "what just happened" by the last page. Thank you to NetGalley and Sourcebooks Landmark for a chance to read this!
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I admit it; I had to Google whether the Zoe Nolan case was an actual case.  It's  the first time I have ever been duped in this way.  The manner in which the author inserts himself into the narrative is sort of brilliant.  The structure of the novel as a series of interviews also blurs the line somewhat between fiction and reality.  The twists and turns definitely held my interest right up to the end.  I will definitely recommend this book to patrons who want a unique mystery.
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This is my first book by this author and I was pleasantly surprised, this was very unique. I really loved that this was part epistolary novel, from the twin sister of the victim writing emails. I had a hard time at first trying to wrap my head around this one but the further I read the more engrossed I became, reading it in a single sitting. I loved this book because it was believable, compelling, and very different in a good way. The author created a thrilling mystery and built the feeling of authenticity that made the story so believable I had to keep reminding myself I was reading a fictional novel. The only downside, I thought there was a little bit too much detail in some areas of the book that did not seem relevant or add to the story. Highly recommended though and deserving of four stars.
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A one of a kind thriller! Told through emails and interviews this book was a unique surprise.  The author did a skillful job of showcasing all the terrible fates that can befall young women and the way that society so often fails them.
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Wow! Just wow! Joseph Knox, has a talent that I am unable to compare to another. 

True Crime Story is well detailed, complex, and truly makes you feel like you are right in the middle of an investigation. 

Zoe Nolan is a 19 year old college student. In December 2011, Zoe walked out of a party and was never seen again. 

Struggling writer, Evelyn Mitchell becomes consumed with what happened to Zoe. Seven years later, Evelyn sets out to uncover the truth about that night. Evelyn begins to interview Zoe's friends and family. As Evelyn digs deeper she seeks out Joseph Knox, a true crime writer, to help her piece together Zoe's story. 

Nothing is adding up, it seems as though those closest to Zoe, and Zoe herself have secrets. 

Pick up True Crime Story on December 7, 2021 to find out what happened to Zoe Nolan .
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This. Just wow. This book pulled me in from page 1. It was written in such an engaging way - I thought the continuous individual commentary versus a true narrative would have been jarring and difficult to read but somehow it’s what made this amazing. The author did an excellent job bringing this book to life in lieu of the craziness described within. 10/10 recommend. 

Thanks to NetGalley for this ARC in exchange for a fair and honest review
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This one was odd, but thatś what kept me reading. Told as a true crime story, it tells the tale of Zoe Nolan who goes missing and the investigative reporter who is writing her story. However, another part of the story involves the author and his emails with the reporter...who is recently deceased. All in all, both stories were intriguing. Recommended.
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“True Crime Story” is my first by author Joesph Knox.  Part true crime, fiction, and mystery, it’s told in a metafictional style about the unsolved disappearance of a 19 year-old Uni girl, Zoe, about 10 years ago.  The cold-case is now being investigated by fictional writer Evelyn, presented as a friend to Knox himself, who then picks up the case upon her passing.  On first glance, I should have really loved this book - I do like this new mystery/thriller trope of authors inserting themselves into the novel (looking at you Horowitz & Chizmar) as exposition. I think it was probably the interview format that I did not care for, as I have felt similarly about others in this style (i.e. Daisy Jones). Also, it seems a bit long, and I struggled around the half-way mark. I do still think that the concept presented here is intriguing.  My thanks to NetGalley, and the publisher for generously providing me with a complimentary DRC of this book upon request. The rating and opinions shared are my own and were not affected by this exchange.
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At the risk of over-hyping this book: I am obsessed.  This book was insane in the best way possible.  If you are someone who loves true crime podcasts (shout out to my fellow murderinos and crime junkies) or Investigation Discovery documentaries, I can confidently say this book is worth picking up 

This book is crime fiction pitched as an actual true crime story.  Author, Joesph Knox picks up where his friend, Evelyn, left off investigating the disappearance of Zoe Nolan from her university.  The true uniqueness of this book is in the format.  The entirety of the book is a combination of email exchanges between Joseph and Evelyn, as well as interviews from Zoe’s friends and family recounting the events before and after her disappearance.  

If you made a Dateline Secrets Uncovered episode into a book, this would be it.  This definitely makes the list of my most memorable reads this year!
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Zoe Nolan is a college student in Manchester and vanishes from her dorm one day back in 2011. Like many other missing girls, her case unfortunately went cold and she was not found. Joseph Knox is a crime writer that decides to write about Zoe’s story. Together with his friend, Evelyn, they investigate the case thoroughly. What they uncover is shocking and unimaginable!

An interesting “fiction” novel written in the style of a true crime documentary. I enjoyed this book which was in a very different style than I typically read. I found it engaging and plenty of twists and turns to keep you on your toes. The dark writing style works here and I would recommend TRUE CRIME STORY to any thriller fan looking for something a little bit different.

Many thanks to Sourcebooks Landmark and NetGalley for my ARC in exchange for my honest review.

This review will be posted to my Instagram Blog (@coffee.break.book.reviews) in the near future.
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What a captivating, twisty read!  Well written, unique, fast paced, and tense!  Had a hard time putting it down, which I loved!  Uniquely written, with such a charismatic style that really engaged me!  What else can I say, but read it!  Highly, highly recommend!
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I didn't expect to like the meta-meta-narrative, but as the meta-narrative grew on me, so did the story about the story telling a story. Extremely good twists. The ending of the narrative was eye-popping, but the ending of the meta-narrative fell a bit flat. Still. I was totally hooked; making every single character, including the meta-narrator (who is also sometimes the narrator?) and the meta-meta-narrator (same), totally 100 percent unreliable and yet still compelling enough to want to listen to and understand and use their interviews — molded into narratives by two unreliable narrators! — to make sense of the mystery was pretty clever. It really does your head, changing your trust in characters from chapter to chapter, making one and then another seem suspicious. Messing about with the timelines so you never feel like you fully grasp what's happened. Very well done, and I never though, you know, ugh, another Rashomon-in-[random location/time] while reading it. Oh and the atmosphere! Totally creepy and horrible the entire time, like the constant fog? The hideous building? The timeframe! Just really good. The sort of epilogue is a little pat, a little "congratulations on your happy ending, I guess?" But never mind that, it doesn't at all detract from a really unsettling, brain-bending crime thriller. It rewards a close and critical read, but it also puts you off with its pacing and the mounting certainty that you're nearly at the Big Reveal, so if you can at all resist that pull, read carefully, think critically, and enjoy the engaging, upsetting story.
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ABSOLUTELY BRILLIANT! This is in my top 10 ever for sure and tied for best book this year. What a creative way to tell a story and boy was it effective. My heart was pounding the whole time. Just when you think you know what’s happening everything shifts. This book preyed on my darkest fears being female. The players were complex and so well developed. I am literally at a loss for words. The realism was phenomenal. The storytelling was some of the best I’ve read. This is hands down the most creatively written novel I have ever read and it made this book simply astounding. 
Fiction and Non Fiction crime lovers, read this book. It’s amazing. Bonus stars for sure.
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When I first started the book, I had to double check that it was a fiction book. It definitely reads like it is a true crime story. If you are looking for troubled characters, you will for sure find them here.
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I had not read the first version of this book when it was released, but I was keen to try this one. 

I tried to get through it, but I gave up after four chapters. There were several reasons why I couldn't continue reading. The first is that, frankly, it felt to me like the author stole this book. He talks at great length about how the idea, a huge amount of research and a partial first draft all belonged to his friend who is dead and doesn't have her name on the book. That does not endear me to the author at all.

Secondly, I don't like his 'voice' in the book. He comes across as arrogant and condescending.

Lastly, the interview format throughout the book, which is supposed to be direct quotes from numerous people involved with the case is irritating and lazy. Either write a book or don't, but don't expect your readers to do all the work by slogging through hundreds of pages of characters snarking at each other or going off on tangents.

In sum, I am really disappointed in this book, and I do not recommend it at all.
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This book is completely engaging and full of twists and turns that slowly draw you in until you’re firmly clenched in the story’s grasp. It’s the type of book where you read a few chapters and then you look up and you’re suddenly sitting in a dark room with a gross, cold mug of tea sitting on the table in front of you because somehow hours past without you noticing.

Told primarily in the format of interviews and emails between characters (think, a murdery ‘Daisy Jones & The Six’), this is a quick read. It was a bit slow to start, but I was drawn in just from the prologue to the point where I actually googled ‘Zoe Nolan missing’ because I wasn’t sure if she was just a character or if she was actually a real person who had been adapted into novel form.
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If you loved the way that “Daisy Jones and the Six” was told-you MIGHT love this one too. 

Struggling writer Evelyn Mitchell becomes obsessed with “girls who go missing” and decides to focus her book on one in particular-Zoe Nolan, who walked out of her shared accommodations at Tower Block and was never seen again. 

In this fictional story, Evelyn turns to crime writer, Joseph Knox (actual author of this book) for help. The entire book is told through the words of those she interviewed-what they remember-misremember-and flat out lie about, (Daisy Jones style) as well as through her emails to Joseph. 

So, why is he the one to publish the story, instead of Evelyn? 

There are Publisher’s notes and Editor’s notes-added I think-to have this fictional story read as true crime-but I just found them to be confusing. 🤷🏻‍♀️ 

Perhaps, because I recently read and loved “Chasing the Boogeyman” by Richard Chizmar, (5⭐️ for me) this one just didn’t compare.  That story was also a blend of True Crime and Fiction, with the author inserting himself into the narrative, but as I read that one, I had to stop and Google the crime, several times, convinced that it was true.

 I did not find myself doing that here. 

In addition, once the “perpetrator” was revealed-I just could NOT buy into the motivations behind the things taken from Zoe’s room (you will know what I am referring to when you get there-Ick! 😖) or what was done. 

The author has many fans from his Aidan Waits thriller series, and this book has mostly positive reviews, so you may want to read a sample before deciding if this one is for you.  

But, it just wasn’t for me.
 2.5 ⭐️ rounded up

Available December 7, 2021 from Sourcebooks Landmark 

Thank You to the Publisher for my gifted copy provided through NetGalley. It was my pleasure to offer a candid review!
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