Books for Breakfast #99.5

Book Reviews

The Walls Around Us by Nova Ren Suma & Dead Run by Dan Schultz


I picked up an autographed copy of this book at Book People in Austin, the cover really drew me in and it was on an employee recommended shelf in the YA section, and those are the books I tend to leap for. I’ve never been huge on autographed books, but if it’s there, I’ll grab it!

This is very interesting novel, written from different characters points of view and together they weave a story of a relationship between two young girls, tainted by the ultimate betrayal. The festering pain, the lack of remorse or regret, and how some people’s hearts are just black. It also shows how skewed the public is and how people with money get away with things that they shouldn’t.

As such, I found it impossible to like Violet, the one on the outside. Though I loved Amber, the one on the inside, and I also loved Orianna, the girl who ties everything together. Amber is locked in Aurora Hills, a juvenile detention center for girls. There is a code of conduct there and the girls look after their own. Strange things have happened there though, and with the arrival of Orianna, things seem to change inside the detention center.

On the outside is Violet, a star ballerina that is days away fro realizing her long standing dream, even though there is something biting at her, something that she couldn’t quite come to terms with an has been haunting her for years and that is how her friendship with Orianna was destroyed through one act of rage.

Both girls harbor dark secrets that they don’t want to remember or come to terms with, but Orianna forces their stories together, weaving a dark webs of lies, sadness, and betrayal. It has the supernatural element that I love, along with interesting characters and a twist ending that I honestly wasn’t expecting. I’m so pleased that I picked it up on whim! Sometimes judging a book by it’s cover (and employee recommendation shelf status) really pays off!


So do I have a story about how I got my hand son this book? I sure as heck do. Back when I first moved here, I worked at Barnes & Noble and loved it. Working in a bookstore was a dream of mine, although working in graphic design was an even bigger dream so I had to say goodbye to my bookshop days. Bonding over books with customers and coworkers in a frequent occurrence, and all of us kept to-read lists that spawned from customer recommendations and coworker’s shoving books at us left and right. So, one day I was checking this guy out and he had ordered like five copies of Dead Run from the website to pick up in store, so while I’m ringing them out, he asks if I’ve heard of the book before and I tell him “Nope, never heard of it before.” He follows that up with “Do you like true crime?” And I’m like “Uhm yes! True crime is one of my favorite genres, along with mystery thrillers and horror.” And he starts to tell me about the book and then pulls one out of his bag and hands it to me like. “Then take this and read it!” Like…he paid for five copies of this book and then just gave one to me! It was such a gesture! I was a bit overwhelmed.

Needless to say, I loved it! I mentioned it in my father’s day gift guide last month; it’s the book that I gave to my dad this year since it’s right up his alley. It combines western with crime and eco terrorism and the terror of how people can abuse their second amendment rights all in one. It’s a real story of a horrific crime that happened in 1998 and sub-sequential man-hunt that takes place in the area of four corners, spanning multiple states and thousands of miles of barren inhabitable desert land. The intended crime, completed by para militia survivalists can only be guessed at, but what they actually did: slaughter local cops in cold blood before going on the run, is horrifying. The book takes you on a wild ride through what is known about the criminals lives, guesses about what happened while they were hiding out, guesses about the crime they had intended to commit before getting pulled over by a local cop, and finally the conclusion to the case that ended years and years later when the final bones were found in ranch land.

The story showcases the short comings of law enforcement and how local native american trackers were ignored, even though they had the greatest advantage in the terrain and were the closest to catching them multiple times, before those dumb white bros got involved. (Dead serious here, it’s painfully obvious how much they messed things up) It also shows how horrifying para militia groups can be and how conspiracy theories can take over people’s lives. Also, if recent events haven’t shown how scary it is that people can gather weapons, well, the weapons caches of these wanna be eco-terrorists/para militia desert survivalists are sure to give you nightmares. Sometimes it goes to show that the west is still a little, well, wild.

If you’re interested in true crime, it’s a great read and isn’t written in a way that bores you. The writing is gripping and never feels like it’s dragging. It was honestly hard to put down!


By Jess

A bookworm since the tender age of whenever I stopped chewing on books and started actually reading them. A cat-mom, graphic designer, and introvert originally from Pittsburgh, but now resides in the humid, hot, state of Texas. Cheers!