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Crime and Missing Persons

Ted Bundy was… Surprisingly Dumb

Thanks to original streaming channels like Netflix, serial killers have been all the rage lately. Shows such as MindhunterThe Ted Bundy Tapes and the most recent drop Killer Inside: The Mind of Aaron Hernandez have really been putting violent criminals in the forefront of public interest. And it’s understandable, right? Humankind has always been drawn to the things it doesn’t understand. We want to know how these people tick; why they choose to do the things that most people wouldn’t even consider. We constantly hear them described as masterminds – as geniuses who play people like a pack of cards, manipulating them into their lairs before tearing them to pieces. Because how could a killer possibly get away with their gruesome crimes for so long unless they knew exactly what they were doing, right? Unless they really were undetected geniuses?

Well, apparently not so much. In fact, some prove to be pretty much the opposite. With ridiculously witless moves and an over-the-top ego to boot, Ted Bundy proved to be hilariously dumb.

ted-bundy-g[1].jpghttps://www.oxygen.com/martinis-murder/debra-kent-victim-ted-bundy-admitted-taking-back-to-his-home

Theodore Robert Bundy

Theodore Robert Cowell was born in 1946 in Burlington, Vermont to 22-year-old Eleanor Cowell. Theodore – shortened to Ted – never knew his father and due to the shame that came with baring a child unmarried in the 1940’s, Eleanor and her parents made the decision to hide Ted’s true parentage. Eleanor was introduced as Ted’s sister, rather than mother, and Ted’s Grandparents took on the role of mother and father. It wouldn’t be until many years later, while Ted was well into his adulthood, that he would discover his true parentage. Ted’s Grandfather, however, had a mean streak, often physically abusing Eleanor and Ted alike. In fact, an old neighbour of Ted, Sandi Holt, went so far as to say that ‘[Eleanor] told [Ted] that yeah, her Dad had raped her’, leading to the belief that Eleanor’s father himself may have been Ted’s real father. Due to this abuse, Eleanor escaped the household with Ted, who was just 5 years old, to live in Tacoma, Washington, with some relatives. Although, strangely, Ted idolised his grandfather as an adult, never mentioning any abuse and never appearing to be upset by the decade-long deceptions by his mother.

d28f7785-5567-448a-a7f5-105d07f6ab60-Conversations_with_a_Killer__The_Ted_Bundy_Tapes_S01E01_19m49s28528f[1].jpghttps://www.usatoday.com/story/life/tv/2019/01/24/conversations-killer-ted-bundy-tapes-netflix-docuseries-revelations-what-we-learned/2655837002/
ABOVE: A Photograph of a young Ted Bundy.

It was in Tacoma that Eleanor Cowell met Johnnie Bundy. Although Ted didn’t appear to be overly taken with Johnnie – calling him unintelligent and expressing his distaste towards Johnnie’s choice of low-income career – Ted still took Johnnie’s last name, turning from Ted Cowell into the now infamous Ted Bundy. It’s also here in Tacoma where a young girl, Ann Marie Burr, went missing in 1961, not too far from Bundy’s place of residence and the residence of his uncle, whom he often visited. This led to speculations that Bundy himself may have been responsible, making the poor 8-year-old Ann his very first victim. This would’ve made Ted only 14-years-of-age at the time.

Ann_Marie_Burr[1].jpghttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Disappearance_of_Ann_Marie_Burr
ABOVE: Photograph of the Missing 8-year-old Ann Marie Burr

As an adult, Bundy went on to attend the University of Puget Law School with dreams of becoming an A-Grade lawyer. In his time studying, he was known for an involvement in local politics and spending his time working alongside the local police force, hence his knowledge of the uncoordinated nature of State Police Forces when it came to sharing knowledge across State borders. He was described as relatively popular, but his grades began to decline, leading to him no longer attending most of his Law classes. It is at University that Bundy also started a relationship with Diane Edwards, who later broke up with him because Ted had a lack of ambition. It is Diane, who many criminologists believe may have been the cause of Ted’s later crime spree due to her striking resemblance to his victims and the apparent devastation this break-up had on Ted.

dianeF[1].jpghttps://www.mamamia.com.au/ted-bundy-girlfriend-diane-edwards/
ABOVE: Ted Bundy and once-girlfriend Diane Edwards

Bundy’s first confirmed victim was 18-year-old Karen Sparks, a student of the University of Washington. Sparks surprisingly survived the 1974 encounter, but unfortunately ended up with a range of injuries, including brain damage and memory loss after spending ten days in a coma. He struck again the next month, taking 21-year-old ski reporter Lynda Ann Healey from her home. This time, the victim wasn’t so lucky, as her skill and jawbone were later found about an hour away from her home in Taylor’s Mountain.

6664381_121766104093[1].jpghttps://www.findagrave.com/memorial/6664381/lynda-ann-healy
ABOVE: Photograph of Lynda Ann Healy, Bundy’s first murdered victim.

For almost every month that year, Bundy took another life. Donna Gail Manson in March, Susan Elaine Rancourt in April (taken from a University campus on the same day that a man in a sling named ‘Ted’ was reported approaching students), and Brenda Carol Ball (last seen talking to a man in a sling outside a local tavern) and Georgann Hawkins (last seen in the same area as a man on crutches, struggling with a briefcase) in June. In July of 1974, both Janice Ann Ott and Denise Marie Naslund were taken on the same day from the Lake Sammamish State Park in Issaquah Main, the same area that many reported a man in a sling named ‘Ted’ asking for help loading a sailboat onto his car.

ted-bundy-sketch-police[1].pnghttps://www.oxygen.com/snapped/time-serial-killer-ted-bundy-almost-caught-luring-women-beach
ABOVE: The Sketch of Ted Bundy, composed after the murders of Denise Marie Naslund and Janice Ann Ott.

This was the event that began Bundy’s demise. Not only did he give his actual first name to his victims – something even rookie criminals would know to avoid – but he introduced many to his car as well, which was identified as a tan VW bug. Since he had approached many people throughout the day, the police were easily able to put together a sketch of the man named ‘Ted’, thrusting their investigation into full speed. It was this sketch that led to Bundy’s long-time girlfriend, Elizabeth Kloepfer, and workmate, Ann Rule (who later wrote the novel The Stranger Beside Me about her experiences with Bundy) to report him as a possible suspect.

img_20190123_1321079[1].jpghttps://www.mentalfloss.com/article/571746/ted-bundy-exhibition-alcatraz-east-crime-museum
ABOVE: Bundy’s tan VW Bug, now on display at the Alcatraz East Crime Museum.

Then followed the brutal murders of Nancy Wilcox, Melissa Ann Smith and Laura Aime in October 1974. The following month of November, however, marked another of Bundy’s downfalls, a woman named Carol DaRonch. Bundy had approached DaRonch in a shopping mall, pretending to be a police officer and informing her that her car had been broken into. DaRonch was sceptical, noting his lack of police uniform, and when he’d led her back to her car, asked to see the ‘officer’s’ ID.  He flashed her his ID, barely enough to see, then asked her to ride in his car, a tan VW bug, back to his station. She never arrived at a police station. Instead, Bundy pulled the car over and handcuffed her. However, Bundy, no doubt caught up in his own ego, managed to place both handcuffs on the same hand, leaving DaRonch free to escape and track down a passing car, escaping with her life. A few hours later, he took the life of Debi Kent.

5aa2ec91a4af7894008b458a[1].jpghttps://www.insider.com/people-who-survived-serial-killer-attacks-2018-3#carol-daronch-fled-ted-bundy-2
ABOVE: Photograph of key witness to Ted Bundy’s crimes, Carol DaRonch.

These mistakes apparently didn’t put Bundy off, leading to the January 1975 murder of Caryn Eileen Campbell, the March 1975 slaying of Julie Cunningham, Denise Lynn Oliverson in April, Lynette Culver in May and Susan Curtis in June.

Ted_Bundy_murder_kit[1].jpghttps://thestrangerinsideofme.wordpress.com/2016/06/25/what-is-in-ted-bundys-murder-kit/
ABOVE: Scene photograph of the tools found in the boot of Ted Bundy’s VW Bug.

It was August of 1975 that brought about Bundy by far dumbest mistake. On the 16th at about 2:30am, a police officer by the name of Sergeant Bob Hayward noticed a car slowly patrolling his street. The officer hadn’t seen the car before and thought it seemed suspicious, so turned on his lights to look at the car’s number plate. The Stanger Beside Me continues ‘suddenly the Volkswagen’s lights went out, and it took off at high speed. Hayward pulled out, giving chase. The pursuit continued through two stop signs and out onto the main thoroughfare, 3500 South. Hayward soon was just behind the slower car, and the Volkswagen pulled into an abandoned gas station and stopped. The driver got out and walked to the rear of his car, smiling. “I guess I’m lost,” he said ruefully.”.’ When the police officer checked the car’s boot, he found a range of incredibly suspicious items including hand cuffs, a ski mask, black bags and a range of blunt instruments. Turns out that high speed car chase didn’t exactly work out in his favour. If he hadn’t decided to speed away, it’s likely they never would’ve found those incriminating tools at all. Lucky for Hayward, Bundy wasn’t the brightest thinker.

bundy-lineup[1].pnghttps://www.thecrimemag.com/10-little-known-facts-about-ted-bundy-jeffrey-dahmer-and-richard-ramirez/bundy-lineup/
ABOVE: Police photograph of lineup following Carol DaRonch’s attack (Bundy 2nd from the right).

Of course, these items led to a lot of suspicion among the police. They eventually linked Bundy to DaRonch, discovering that the handcuffs in the back of Bundy’s bug were the exact same type DaRonch had around her wrists when she escaped her attack. Bundy, asked to attend a line-up at the police station, attempted to change his appearance by cutting his hair to put off DaRonch. DaRonch, however, knew exactly who her killer was and identified Bundy, leading to Bundy’s first trial.

rs_1024x759-181023150903-1024-ted-bundy[1].jpghttps://www.eonline.com/news/1007628/inside-the-horrific-legacy-of-serial-killer-ted-bundy
ABOVE: Ted Bundy on trial

Bundy was convicted of the crimes against DaRonch and was given a 1-15-year prison sentence in Aspen, Colorado. It was after Bundy’s capture, however, that the police began to link Bundy to other unsolved murders, and he was soon put back on trial for the murder of a Colorado woman. It was during this trial that Bundy, being Ted Bundy, decided that he was much more capable of defending himself on trial than any other professional lawyer. However, Bundy acting as his own lawyer allowed him provisions that normal prisoners were not given access to, such as the prison law library. It was from here that Bundy made his first – yes, first – escape. While a prison guard was distracted, he managed to leap out the library window, injuring his ankle on the way down. However, Bundy’s impulsive thinking yet again failed him. Realising he’d need resources to survive out in the woods, as he’d planned, and having none, he was left to travel around Aspen, leading to him getting caught after making an illegal U-turn in a stolen car. Yet again, Bundy’s driving had led to his capture.

rs_634x1024-190123152010-634.ted-bundy.ct.012319[1].jpghttps://www.eonline.com/news/1007628/inside-the-horrific-legacy-of-serial-killer-ted-bundy
ABOVE: Ted Bundy after his first escape.

After 6 more months on trial and a range of strange behaviour, such as sticking toilet paper in his cell’s lock so officers couldn’t take him to a court date, Bundy yet again escaped his cell. Trading with another prisoner for a hacksaw, Bundy had hacked at the paster surrounding a vent on his cell’s roof to provide an exit hatch. Spending weeks losing weight, he managed to slip through the hatch and crawl through the vent and into the jailer’s room, where he swapped his prison uniform for normal clothing and simply walked out the prison’s front door. This time, it appeared Bundy was more organised. Using money that his now-girlfriend Carol Ann Boone, Bundy took a flight to Colorado, then moved via a combination of taking the bus and stealing cars, managing to make it to Florida before he began to settle down. This, however, was where another of Bundy’s blunders appears. To everybody but Bundy apparently, Florida was known as the death-penalty capital of the United States. Since 1976, 97 known criminals had been given the death sentence in Florida prisons.

large[1].jpghttps://www.fbi.gov/news/stories/serial-killers-part-3-ted-bundys-campaign-of-terror1
ABOVE: FBI Interstate Flight wanted poster of Ted Bundy

Bundy hoped to live the rest of his life out in Florida, however, he failed to realise just how difficult life hiding from the law really was. Without ID, Bundy was unable to find a job and without a job, the money he had saved was running out fast. This resulted in Bundy resorting to theft in order to keep up his lifestyle. Two weeks after his escape, Ted Bundy fell back into bad habits. On January 1978, Bundy broke into the Chi Omega Sorority House at the Florida State University Campus and attacked four women within the solitudes of their rooms. The lives of Margaret Elizabeth Bowman and Lisa Levy were brutally taken, and the two remaining victims, Karen Chandler and Kathy Kleiner suffered a range of injuries, but fortunately managed to survive the bludgeoning.

ted-bundy-victims-lisa-levy-margaret-bowman-split-gty-jc-190212_hpMain_16x9_992[1].jpghttps://abcnews.go.com/US/chi-omega-survivor-ted-bundy-murders-asleep-evil/story?id=60894306
ABOVE: Chi Omega murder victims Lisa Levy (left) and Margaret Elizabeth Bowman (right).

Bundy’s last known victim also happened to be one of his youngest victims: twelve-year-old schoolgirl Kimberly Leach. This murder brought great sorrow to Florida communities, with the body of young Kimberly left dumped in an abandoned pig sty.

rs_634x1024-190123151658-634.kimberly-leach.ct.012319[1].jpghttps://abcnews.go.com/US/notorious-serial-killer-ted-bundy-escape-custody/story?id=61032623
ABOVE: Photograph of Bundy’s last known victim Kimberly Leach.

Bundy was caught on February the 15th, 1978, after an officer noticed a car driving suspiciously Pensacola, yet a third time Bundy was caught purely due to his driving. The car was recognised as stolen and Bundy was brought into the police. Bundy did manage to provide identification, the problem, however, was that the identification was of a student named Kenneth from the Florida State University. Florida police obviously knew the ID was stolen – Bundy was significantly older than the man in the ID – but due to a lack of communication between the States as well as Bundy’s new dishevelled appearance, were unable to identify him as the man on the FBI’s top 10 most wanted list. After an unnecessarily long period of confusion, he was eventually identified as Ted Bundy, but due to not only committing crimes, but also getting arrested in the State of Florida, Bundy was kept in the Florida legal system rather than moved back to Colorado.

rs_1024x759-190123152408-1024.ted-bundy.ct.012319[1].jpghttps://abcnews.go.com/US/notorious-serial-killer-ted-bundy-escape-custody/story?id=61032623

Eventually, Bundy was linked to both the Chi Omega brutalities and the murder of Kimberly Leach. Bundy decided to yet act as his own defence attorney during the cases, but of course failed in his attempts to acquit himself on his charges. Bundy was sentenced to be executed via the electric chair and after many attempts to halt the process, including confessing to the murders of thirty women, Bundy was put to death on the 24th of January 1989.

4800[1].jpghttps://www.theguardian.com/global/2019/apr/30/zac-efron-ted-bundy-victims-hollywood-heartthrob-serial-killer#img-4
ABOVE: Ted Bundy on Trial.

Ted Bundy turned out to be not a genius with ill intentions, but rather an animalistic killer with far too much focus on the killings and too little focus on the consequences. From his hilariously bad driving, lack of forward thinking and an ego larger than life itself, it’s clear Bundy didn’t quite live up to the mastermind Brainiac he’d hoped to be. In the end, Ted Bundy will always be known as that guy who got caught not once, not twice, but three times for bad driving. Not the best way to go down in history.

 More Videos

Ted Bundy Takes the Stand – Trial Footage

 

Ted Bundy’s Final Interview

 

Who Was Ted Bundy – Inside Edition

 

References

https://allthatsinteresting.com/ted-bundy-victims

https://www.biography.com/crime-figure/ted-bundy

https://allthatsinteresting.com/ted-bundy

https://www.refinery29.com/en-us/2019/01/222447/how-was-ted-bundy-caught-arrested-story-netflix

Ann Rule – The Stranger Beside Me
Purchase on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com.au/Stranger-Beside-Me-Ann-Rule-ebook/dp/B07F5787CB

https://www.oxygen.com/martinis-murder/what-was-ted-bundys-childhood-like

https://www.msn.com/en-au/news/world/the-little-known-story-of-serial-killer-ted-bundys-first-girlfriend-diane-edwards/ar-BBTZV2g

https://www.msn.com/en-au/news/world/the-little-known-story-of-serial-killer-ted-bundys-first-girlfriend-diane-edwards/ar-BBTZV2g

https://www.news-press.com/story/news/local/2019/05/21/numbers-floridas-death-penalty/3752213002/

https://abcnews.go.com/US/notorious-serial-killer-ted-bundy-escape-custody/story?id=61032623

 

 

 

 

Crime and Missing Persons

The BTK Killer Was… Surprisingly Dumb

Thanks to original streaming channels like Netflix, serial killers have been all the rage lately. Shows such as MindHunterThe Ted Bundy Tapes and the most recent drop Killer Inside: The Mind of Aaron Hernandez have really been putting violent criminals in the forefront of public interest. And it’s understandable, right? Human kind has always been drawn to the things it doesn’t understand. We want to know how these people tick; why they choose to do the things that most people wouldn’t even consider. We constantly hear them described as masterminds – as geniuses who play people like a pack of cards, manipulating them into their lairs before tearing them to pieces. Because how could a killer possibly get away with their gruesome crimes for so long unless they knew exactly what they were doing, right? Unless they really were undetected geniuses?

Well, apparently not so much. In fact, some prove to be pretty much the opposite. With ridiculously witless moves and an over-the-top ego to boot, the BTK Killer proved to be hilariously dumb.

Dennis Rader – AKA The BTK Killer

btk-killer-dennis-rader-1567104104[1].jpghttps://www.goodhousekeeping.com/life/entertainment/a28859869/btk-killer-dennis-rader/

Born 1974 in Wichita, Kansas, Dennis Rader – alias BTK Killer (standing for Bind, Torture, Kill) – seemed like your every day family man. He earnt his wages installing security systems in local homes for a company called ADT Security Systems, and lived with his wife and two children, a son and a daughter. As president of the Christ Lutheran Church Committee and the leader of a Cub Scouts group Rader was the epitome of your average do-gooder Dad. Only, much to the horror of his friends, family and the surrounding public alike, Rader had a hidden alter ego with a disturbing pattern of torture and murder.

Dennis_Rader[1].jpghttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dennis_Rader

Rader started his crimes on January the 15th, 1974 with the murder of 33-year-old mother Julie Otero, her husband, 38-year-old Joseph Otero, and their two children, 9-year-old Joseph Junior and 11-year-old Josephine. It wasn’t until the young Charlie Otero, the 15-year-old son of the slain couple, arrived home alongside his two other siblings that the bodies were found. Later, that year, Kathrine Bright was stabbed to death in her home, Rader having broken in and waited in her apartment for her to return home.
Three years later, in 1977, Rader knocked on the house of Shirley Vian. Pretending to be a police officer, he entered her home, switching off the television and closing the blinds before holding a gun to the young mother and asking her to lock her three children in the family bathroom. He then proceeded to strange her while her own children listened on. Later that same year, Nancy fox also fell victim to the BTK, strangled in her own home.

Otero-Family-ABC-AY-190129_hpMain_16x9_992[1].jpghttps://abcnews.go.com/US/life-changed-instantly-families-victims-murdered-serial-killer/story?id=60686971
ABOVE: A photograph of the Otero family, four of whom were tragically slain in their home. 

After a surprisingly long down period of 8 years, a neighbour of Rader, 53-year-old Marine Hedge, was found deceased on the side of the road not far from her home. Vicki Wegerle suffered a similar fate in 1986. Five years later, the final victim of the BTK, 62-year-old Dolores Davis, was similarly strangled in her own home, her body taken and dumped under a Sedgwick County bridge. He later went back to the scene to photograph her body, much as he did with his other victims.

dolores-davis-ht-jpo-190130_hpEmbed_11x16_992[1].jpghttps://abcnews.go.com/US/life-changed-instantly-families-victims-murdered-serial-killer/story?id=60686971
ABOVE: A photograph of Rader’s last victim, Dolores Davis

So with a good 31 years, you’d think the man dubbed the BTK Killer would be an expert at evading capture, right? Not so much.
The BTK was infamous for toying with detectives and the general public alike, sending a range of letters gloating over his crimes, sending photographs taken at his crime scenes, poems about his victims, and leaving cryptic messages for the police to solve (similar to the Zodiac Killer and Jack the Ripper years before).
However, in 2005, Rader left a message that was just a little bit too cryptic for the public. The police received a post card, indicating there was a parcel left for them on the side of the road, but when police arrived, they were puzzled to find there was no parcel left behind at all. It wasn’t like the brilliant BTK not to go through with one of his tricks, was it?

the-cereal-box-photo-u2[1].jpghttps://www.ranker.com/list/btk-photos-drawings/amandatullos?page=3
ABOVE: Wichita Police Department evidence photograph of the cereal box left in the back of a ute.

It wasn’t. Rader had gone through with his promise. He’d left a cereal box with the word ‘Bomb’ written on the front and the cereal’s brand – Special K – rearranged to spell BTK. Only, he’d placed the box in the back of a random ute. The ute’s owner did end up seeing the box, but it didn’t quite cause the amount of chaos Rader intended it to. Instead, the Ute’s owner simply saw the box, read the terrifying notes on the front… and threw the box in the trash. Turns out Rader’s 14 year break had made him far less of a celebrity in the public eye than Rader had thought. A little bit humiliating, right?

floppy-disk-btk-killer[1].pnghttps://www.oxygen.com/snapped/crime-time/floppy-disk-exposed-dennis-rader-btk-killer
ABOVE: The floppy disk Rader sent to Wichita police, containing details of its previous use

But it wasn’t the end of Rader’s humiliation. After using CCTV footage to track down the ute’s owner, they were able to find the discarded box with all of the documents inside still in tact. Within these documents, Rader posed a simple question: he asked if it were possible for a floppy disk to be tracked. If it wasn’t, he asked for the detectives to place an advertisement in his local newspaper with the words ‘Rex, it will be okay’.
It was possible to trace a floppy disk. Of course, not being complete idiots and all that, the police posted the message in the local newspaper. Rader, in return, sent a floppy disk to the investigators with nothing but ‘This is a Test’ on it; at least, that was all Rader thought the floppy had on it. By going into the disk’s ‘properties’ section, the police not only found out that the floppy had been used in the Christ Lutheran Church – the very same church Rader happened to be council president of – but also found the file was saved under the name ‘Dennis’. It was so easy, in fact, that lieutenant Ken Landwehr, head of the task force in charge of the BTK’s capture, stated: “It’s pretty basic stuff. Anybody who knows anything about computers could figure it out”. Yeah…. not so smart.

gettyimages-53436216-1565881712[1].jpghttps://www.cosmopolitan.com/entertainment/tv/a28709277/mindhunter-bts-killer-dennis-rader-true-story/
ABOVE: Dennis Rader at his inevitable court date where he plead guilty to ten counts of first-degree murder.

Dennis Rader was apprehended on February of 2005, a mere month after he’d sent his last message to investigators, which really isn’t surprising. He was charged with ten counts of murder and sentenced to serve ten life-sentences in prison.
In the end, the moral of Rader’s story is one that all people should probably already know: when you’re on the run from police, you probably shouldn’t ask their advice on how to evade police capture. You’re probably not going to get an honest answer on that one.

Related Videos

Watch: Dennis Rader’s full confession to the BTK crimes.

Watch: Dennis Rader’s daughter discusses horror of finding out her father was the BTK Killer on NightLine

A&E Video about the BTK Killings

 

References

https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/life/entertainment/a28859869/btk-killer-dennis-rader/

https://www.biography.com/crime-figure/dennis-rader

https://www.ranker.com/list/btk-photos-drawings/amandatullos?page=3

http://www.abajournal.com/magazine/article/how_the_cops_caught_btk

https://survivingbtk.weebly.com/shirley-vian.html

https://survivingbtk.weebly.com/marine-hedge.html

https://survivingbtk.weebly.com/dolores-davis.html

Watch BTK: A Killer Among Us on Amazon at:
https://www.amazon.com/BTK-Killer-Among-Us-Season/dp/B07NSH698C

Movie Reviews

BBC’s Dracula: Series 1 Episode 1 – Review

So, I guess I’m a pretty big fan of Dracula. He’s a blood-sucking nightmare of a vampire with a charming demeanour and a dark, unsavoury sense of humour… what’s not to love? However, no matter how many Dracula adaptions we get – and we get a lot – there never seems to be a really loveable characterisation. I mean sure, we’ve had some great Dracula adaptions. Christopher Lee’s Dracula will always be in our hearts and Gary Oldman certainly did a brilliant job but, when it comes to capturing the essence of the Dracula lore itself, something always seems a bit off. From your romantic, overly-sensual historic lord to your hilariously cliched evil villain, Dracula has had a pretty rough time lately.

netflix-bbc-dracula-first-look-image-239942299m[1].pnghttps://deadentertainment.com/2019/07/05/heres-your-first-look-at-the-titular-vampire-in-netflix-and-bbcs-dracula/

So, when Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat announced their 2020 Dracula adaption, I was instantly intrigued. With a reputation for brilliant characterisation and witty dialogue, the writing and directing duo were bound to throw Dracula back on the map, right?

e2ccd9f1-d2b9-454c-a6d6-12158e1b87d7-19148717-low_res-dracula[1].jpghttps://www.bustle.com/p/where-was-bbcs-dracula-filmed-19640101

BBC’s Dracula starts us off in the Victorian age, introducing us to the reputable Mr Jonathan Harker (John Heffernan), a lawyer interested in the residence that is home to the Count himself (Claes Bang). Of course, to poor Mr Harker’s discovery, Count Dracula isn’t quite the man he appears to be. But Dracula certainly isn’t without his adversaries. Facing off against the witty and exceedingly determined Nun Agatha (Dolly Wells), it soon becomes a terrifying cat and mouse game for the ages. _110368509_dracula1_976[1].jpghttps://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-50972189

Claes Bang oozes with charisma as the title character Count Dracula from the very moment he shows up on screen. He embodies the exact kind of monster horror-fans have all been waiting for – a truly frightening and yet somehow lovable mix between elegance and complete animalistic cruelty. With all his quirks, quips and horrifyingly hilarious puns, Claes Bang plays probably the best version of Dracula we’ve seen to date.

5908383_1200x[1].pnghttps://spectator.sme.sk/c/22249367/dracula-was-filmed-in-slovakia.html

Full of action, gore and wit, Dracula was everything I expected to see from a Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffit adaption of Bram Stoker’s classic. With stunning cinematography, Dracula’s castle comes to life in a new dark, gritty style, adding a true dread to this ninety-minute horror. Although there’s definitely room for improvement when it comes to special effects, it’s never unbelievable enough to take away from the story and manages to make the episode just that little bit more unsettling.

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And unsettling is certainly a great way to describe this episode. As Johnathon Harker delves deeper and deeper into this sensational castle, he begins to unravel a chain of terrifying secrets that are bound to, quite literally, change his life forever. With vividly gruesome twists around each corner and a brilliant use of psychological dialog, Dracula constantly leaves you on the edge of your seat, just waiting for the next reveal.

19004901-high_res-dracula-5e81981[1].jpghttps://www.radiotimes.com/news/tv/2020-01-01/dracula-episode-1-questions-theories/

Overall, I had a lot of fun with this episode. With a brilliant cast, fantastic direction and witty writing, BBC’s Dracula manages to be one of the best horror shows on TV. 

 

Check out BBC’s Dracula on Netflix Now!

 

 

writing advice

Writing and Publishing Workplace Information

At your workplace, you will come across a range of different information. As a staff member of your company, it is your job to ensure that the information you receive is transferred into a document of the appropriate format.
Understanding the format your information must take and how it must be published or sent to others can often be confusing. However, there are a number of steps you can take to make you pick the write format and publishing method for your information.

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

The Who, What, Where, When, Why, and How

When writing a document, consider:

Who does the information apply to (eg. all staff members within the workplace)?
What
information is the document sharing (eg. there is a BBQ lunch held on Friday)?
Where is the event/subject of the message held (eg. The BBQ lunch is held in the lunchroom, the new photocopier can be found in the administration office)?
When does the message apply (eg. The BBQ is on Friday at 12pm, the new photocopier is to be installed Thursday at 10am)?
Why are you writing this document (eg. To inform all staff members of a BBQ lunch this Friday, to let all relevant staff know there will be a new photocopier installed)?
How is the message meant to be conveyed (eg. the BBQ message must be sent to all staff members and received over the few days)? Some messages may be urgent and require a fast response from the receiver.

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Photo by energepic.com on Pexels.com

Formats and Their Uses

There are a range of different formats that can be used to convey a message and many of these formats can be used for multiple different types of messages. However, it is up to you to find the format that is best suited for the tone of the message, purpose of the message and the audience who will receive the message.

Email – Use email when you need to send a short-to-lengthy message. Emails are best used for queeries – as they are easy for receivers to respond to – and to pass on information – as they allow for lengthy peices of information to be added and can be sent to multiple different receivers.

Letter – Letters are used when non-urgent information must be sent (as emails can take a long time to send), and it usually best used for thank-you letters and updating customers/clients and other businesses. Bills and statements are also often sent in letter form, as they allow clients to physically bring their bill into banks, post offices or the business the bill originated from, in order to pay them. Patients may also wish to pay the bill via a check, cash, or by listing their credit card details on the bill itself so the original supplier of the bill can follow the procedures to pay it. In this format, the letter can be returned to the sender with the payment details enclosed and this returned letter is often free of charge via the biller.

Fax – Faxes are used to convey relatively short messages that must be received relatively quickly, similar to email. A cover sheet must be attached to the front of the fax message, containing the area the message must be sent to (eg. Reception, Dr Kahn’s office). Faxes are being quickly replaced by emails due to the speed and efficiency sending emails provides over faxing.

Memo – Memos are used to convey very short messages, usually containing information or other one-way messages (messages that do not require a response). Memos, similar to faxes, are being quickly replaced with emails.

Text – Texting is usually used when the message must be conveyed urgently and can be used to receive a quick answer to an inquiry or contact clients and other businesses. Texting is always informal, and must only be used when the matter is urgent.

business businessman close up commerce
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

How Should Information be Written?

Although different formats will often differ in their writing style and tone, they will usually all contain the same basic structure. This includes:

  •  A greeting.
  • An introduction.
  • The main body of the message (main points/main paragrahs).
  • A conclusion.
  • A sign off

In letters – also some faxes and memos – a letterhead will be used. A letterhead will usually include the name of the person sending the email, the name of the business the sender works at, the sender’s position at the business (eg. manager, assistant supervisor) and the sender or business’ contact details (address, phone number, email etc.).
Emails contain a similar feature, only the details are usually featured below the main body of the email rather than above it.

Emails, Letters, Memos and Faxes may also include a signature after the sign-off. The document may be printed and physically signed, or may be uploaded using an image of the signature. The signer of the document is usually the sender, but could also be the manager or supervisor of the staff member who sent the document.

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Proofreading and Editing

Once a draft of the document has been written out, it will often require a round of editing or proofreading.

Editing is done when the first draft has been constructed and includes substantive (structural) changes. This may mean swapping paragraphs around, cutting out any unimportant or repetitive details or completely changing the format used to better suit the message being expressed.
A supervisor, manager or staff member more experienced with writing documents may be asked to help edit your document and provide valuable feedback as to how it can be improved.

Proofreading is done when the document is believed to be structurally sound, and includes changing, adding or omitting words or sentences and fixing incorrect grammar and spelling.
Another staff member may also be required to proofread the document, as other staff members will often be able to spot mistakes you have looked over.

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Publishing Your Document

When you are satisfied your document is clear of grammatical, spelling and structural errors, you will need to publish it. This sounds simple enough, but there are some things you will need to keep in mind during this process.

Check the address. Whether sending texts, emails, letters, memos or faxes, always check the address (email address, street address, fax number or phone number).

  • Addressing Emails – Emails are addressed using the email address of the intended receiver (eg. jodi.Carls@live.com.au), and include short subject line that summarises what the email is about (eg. Friday Staff BBQ). When emailing, you may find it handy to use the CC (carbon copy) or BCC (blind carbon copy) feature. This allows you to address multiple people, meaning you can send the document to multiple people who might need it. The BCC feature allows you to add multiple addresses without the primary receiver (the ‘to’ address) seeing the other email addresses.
  • Addressing Letters – When addressing letters, ensure the address is written correctly on the envelope. This ensures the correct person/business receives the document.

Eg.  Caroline Adams,
Adam’s Pharmacy,
23 Wilkes Street,
VIC AUS 3219

To include a unit or lot number, write it before the street address (eg. Unit 5, 23 Wilkes Street).
It is also important to make sure the correct amount of stamps is placed on the envelope. This will be a $1 stamp for local postage in Australia (soon rising to $1.10). If there is an insufficient amount of stamps, or the ‘to’ address in incorrect, the letter will be sent back to you (‘return to sender’).

  • Addressing Faxes – When sending a fax, you will need to include the name of the receiver, their landline phone number and their fax number. Faxes are usually sent using a fax machine or a general photocopier which includes a faxing feature. If faxing a business, make sure to include the area the fax is being sent to (eg. Administration).
  • Addressing Memos – Memos are usually sent in either an online (via email or another similar program) or printed and sent or handed out. Memos should contain the receiver’s name, the sender’s name, the date the message is being sent and a ‘subject’ line containing a short summary of what the memo is about.
  • Addressing Texts – Texts are addressed using the phone number of the receiver. You may add multiple recievers in the ‘to’ section, meaning that multiple people will receive the message. When writing texts on behalf of your business, ensure that you include the name of the receiver, a greeting, a main body of text and a sign off.
    eg.  Hello Karen,
    I have organised the BBQ for 12pm Friday.
    Thank you,
    Chase
    Texts are usually kept short and to-the-point, but must still be kept formal as you are still representing your business.

Keep a copy – When sending a message, make sure that you still have a copy of the message sent available to you. You will usually be able to easily access a duplicate of text messages, emails and faxes as these are kept either in their original form, or are available through your ‘sent’ messages folders.
Ensure you photocopy any memos or letters that have been written directly onto paper. This ensures that you are able to properly reference your sent material if it is ever questioned. It also ensures that a copy can be re-sent if a letter happens to get lost in the mail.

Date it – Whenever you send a message, ensure that you write the date on the very top. This means that if the integrity of the document ever comes into question – such as through a court case – the date the letter was written and sent will be readily available for proof of integrity. This can also be useful if you have to look back on previous messages to put together a time line (eg. to remember the last time you sent out a business report).

Summary

As an employee, you need to make sure all information you send is put into the correct format, edited to ensure it is free of grammar and spelling mistakes, and published using the correct method. If you are unsure as to how a specific piece of information is to be published, it is best to look over your workplace’s Policies and Procedures Manual, or to ask your supervisor, manager, or a staff member experienced in document writing.

 

References

Movie Reviews, Uncategorized

‘Keeping Faith’ Season One Review

When it comes to English crime shows, I’m pretty much always in. If there’s anything that ‘Broadchurch’ and ‘Luther’ taught us, it’s that the British sure as hell know how to make a damn good crime show. So, as soon as this show called ‘Keeping Faith’ popped up on ‘ABC iView’, I brought out the popcorn. But, just how faithful is ‘Keeping Faith’ (Get it? Faith… ‘Keeping Faith’… never mind…) to England’s brilliant crime show record?

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‘Keeping Faith’ is an English thriller staring Eva Myles as Faith, a lawyer and mother of three who’s life gets thrown upside down as her husband fails to return home from a seemingly normal day’s work at their shared law firm. It’s soon discovered there’s more to this disappearance than it seems, and Faith becomes determined to discover her husband’s whereabouts. However, with a rag-tag band of clients and a police officer hot on her back, finding her husband becomes harder than she’d ever thought.

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Overall, I was actually a little disappointed with ‘Keeping Faith’. The acting was excellent, especially from the gorgeous and equally as talented Eva Miles, and the plot did drag me in enough to watch an entire season, but in the end, it just didn’t feel like it paid off. The characters were relatively shallow, the dialogue was pretty average and the plot was all over the place to say the least. At times, it looks like its about to go somewhere and in the next scene, it’s forgotten all together. Overall (spoiler alert), we end up with more questions than we do answers.

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And before you say anything: yes, I am aware there’s a second season. It hasn’t turned up on Australian shores yet – we’ve actually just finished the first season over here – but I’m sure we’ll be getting it sooner or later. The problem is, I just don’t know how invested in a second season I really am. From what I got in the first season, this show is one of those types of shows that’s essentially designed to keep going season after season until it ends up getting canned. If it had’ve just ended with some kind of resolution to the whole mystery, maybe I’d be interested in a second season, but it seems like all shows these days are terrified of loosing their audience if the mystery isn’t still dangling in front of them. All it takes is a quick look to shows like ‘Broadchurch’ to see how viewership still rallies for finalised shows if they’re still done well, but ‘Keeping Faith’ seems far more interested in dragging it’s viewers along by the hairs in some slight hope of a conclusion than it does in making a great show.

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Overall, ‘Keeping Faith’ is by no means a bad show. It’s got excellent acting, good cinematography and a story interesting enough to keep you watching each episode, but in the end, I was left disappointed. Whether or not the second season picks up the plot, I’ll have to wait and see.

Find Season One of ‘Keeping Faith’ at:
https://iview.abc.net.au/show/keeping-faith

Crime and Missing Persons

William Tyrrell – The Case of the Boy in the Spiderman Suit

Unless you’ve been living under a rock – or outside of Australia – for the last few years, you’ve probably heard of the case of William Tyrrell. Maybe you’ve seen his photo in the news; that iconic image of the young boy dressed in a Spider-Man suit caught mid-roar, beaming with joy. But what exactly happened to this missing boy on that fateful September day in 2014? How could a three year old boy completely disappear from his grandparent’s home without a single trace? And how is he still missing?

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New Beginnings

On the 26th of June, 2011, William Tyrrell was born. Unfortunately for young William, his family life was far from simple. Both parents – who remain unnamed for legal reasons – suffered from substance abuse and were described as having a ‘troubled’ marriage. His older sister – who also remains unnamed – had already been taken away due to these family difficulties and had been living in different foster homes ever since. Not much has been said about this family’s ‘troubled’ behaviours, but whatever had been occurring appeared to have a profound effect on the life of William. Before long, authorities had begun speaking about placing William into care.
Terrified at the thought of loosing yet another child, William’s biological parents took William and ran. After six weeks of hiding, William was found safe with his parents at his grandfather’s home in Sydney.
In March of 2012, when William was not even a year old, both him and his older sister were placed into the care of the same foster parents. These two foster parents, alike many in this story, remain unnamed due to the complications of the fostering process. Both William and his sister took a relatively fast liking to their new parents, with William developing an especially close bond with his foster father.
The biological parents continued to spend time with William once a fortnight under the watch of authorities. According to all involves, the biological parents themselves included, William’s biological parents had never spoken to the foster parents, nor attempted to seek them out. William’s foster parents also never harboured any hard feelings towards William’s biological parents, insisting that he keep up routine visits to uphold the bond with his biological family.

6cbe837c16e82210e0d6241fb9c40361[1](Pictured) William Tyrrell’s foster parents

The Day Of

On Thursday the 11th of September, William’s foster parents made the last-minute decision to take a surprise drive up to the country town of ‘Kendall’ to visit William’s Grandmother, picking up both William and his sister from school on their way. The two were overjoyed, never having known about the family’s plans. The drive itself took around three hours from Sydney to Kendall, including one stop at a Caltex service station and another at a McDonalds. It was late, about 9pm, when the family arrived at the Grandmother’s home in Benaroon Drive, Kendall. William’s grandmother, having only been informed of the visit the moment the parents left, was reportedly ill and hadn’t been able to prepare for the family’s visit. The parents set up two separate rooms for each of the children, then set them off to bed.

17447d980ace23519a4b13951f5f372b[1](Pictured) William’s Grandmother’s Kendall home.

The next morning, William woke up early with his father. They both turned on the television and watched a children’s show, attempting not to wake the rest of the house. However, it didn’t take long before William’s sister, mother and grandmother were also awake. Excited about their new bicycles, the two siblings were adamant to go outside. William, dressed in his Spider-Man suit (the same costume pictured in William’s iconic missing person’s photos, dubbing him ‘The Boy in the Spider-Man Suit’) and his sister then rode around their grandmothers’ spacious backyard.
Between 9 and 9:30am, William’s foster father found himself having to make the drive to Laurieton to make a business call via Skype, escaping Kendall’s notoriously bad internet connections.
During this time, William had raced back outside with his foster mother and grandmother, bursting with energy. William and his sister had begun playing a game of dice, each sibling jumping the amount of times the dice commanded. Once that game was over, William had begun playing a game of tigers, racing around the yard ‘roaring’ with his mother. William, still full of energy, ran out into the grass to continue his games.

imagev1e8e7a4ced7f0fa99b8daf861b13aad74-j7w5k6fwjjxzfh3kmp2_ct1880x930[1]After a short amount of time, only a couple of minutes, had passed, William’s foster mother noticed she hadn’t heard William for a little while. She went out to look for him, panicked. She held hope that William’s foster father might’ve dropped by, picking him up to take him for a drive. Maybe William had run down to greet his father, something both him and his sister had a habit of doing. Unfortunately, this wasn’t the case.
William’s foster father arrived home to hear his son was missing. Both himself and Williams foster mother began a search for him, visiting the houses of nearby neighbours, who also agreed to look for the young William. About 20 minutes later, William’s foster mother called the police, announcing William’s disappearance.

Tyrrell-search2[1](Pictured) Police search Bushland for evidence of William Tyrell.
Image taken from: https://www.nbnnews.com.au/2018/06/27/police-expand-bushland-search-for-william-tyrrell/

The Investigation

New South Wales police were quick to respond to William’s disappearance. Although they had originally suspected it was merely a case of a wondering boy, no sign of the youngster after hours of searching had lead them to believe there were far grimer forces at work, and an Amber Alert was released.
Due to the size of Kendall and the last-minute nature of the family’s decision to drive to Kendall, police began to look into William’s family – his biological family specifically.
William’s biological family had already run off with William once previously at the thought of their son being placed in temporary foster care and the biological family appeared to be again fearful of losing their son after recent talk of William’s foster family looking to permanently adopt William and his sister. However, police appeared to rule the biological family out as suspects. Not only were the two in Sydney at the time, but they had been kept away from William’s foster family and had no idea where William was being housed, let alone where William’s Grandmother lived.
William’s biological parents and Grandmother were also ruled out as suspects. They were extensively questioned and all alibies, including the foster father’s Skype call, had checked out. However, there was one line of inquiry that appeared to take the media by storm.
William’s Grandmother had mentioned a broken washing machine to William’s foster mother. William’s Grandmother had said she had made a call about the problem, but that there still hadn’t been any repairs made. The repairman finally arrived a few days before William’s disappearance.
Although it appeared to be a meaningless visit to police at first, it was later discovered that this repairman, Mr Bill Spedding, was previously accused of historical sex crimes (although these charges were later dropped). Police had searched the Spedding’s Laurieton home, but to no avail. Nothing of William’s was reportedly found. Although Spedding’s name would continue to plague media reports, falsely stating he was a convicted paedophile (an accusation proven to be false), Spedding has appeared to be dropped by police as a suspect in the case.

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(Pictured) ‘Strike Force’ Officer (left) alongside suspect Bill Spedding (right). Photo from: News Corp Australia.

So What Really Happened?

To this day, the fate of the gorgeous youngster in the Spider-Man suit still remains unknown. Most have come to the conclusion that William had been abducted, but the mystery of who still continues to baffle everyone involved. With family all ruled out as suspects, it appears that the only option could be that William was a victim of an opportunistic abductor. William’s foster parents have since described a serious of cars, two which were parked out the front of their street and one which had driven into the street by an unknown person. Being a small country-town, any cars driving past the house that didn’t belong to the family could’ve been suspicious, but they also could’ve just been confused visitors – all a big coincidental passing. There have been reports of a man asking for directions to a road that passed the Grandmother’s home at a local pub – perhaps explaining the car that had ‘suspiciously’ passed the house before William went missing, but as of yet, that driver has not been publicly identified.
On the 5th of August, the inquest into William Tyrrell’s disappearance will continue.
We only hope – we all hope – to find answers for the mourning biological and foster families, and to bring justice to the cheerful, giggly William Tyrrell.
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For more information, I highly recommend the podcast recently released by Chanel 10 titled ‘Where’s William Tyrrell’. It describes in-depth the family life, disappearance and investigation.
Link: https://play.acast.com/s/wheres-william-tyrrell

References:

http://www.whereswilliam.org/

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-03-28/william-tyrrells-parents-hid-him-from-authorities-court-hears/10949458

https://www.news.com.au/lifestyle/parenting/missing-boy-william-tyrrells-doomed-life/news-story/38baa59f1db54e441f01cc11a6af6eba

https://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/lifestyle/parenting/missing-boy-william-tyrrells-doomed-life/news-story/38baa59f1db54e441f01cc11a6af6eba

https://www.msn.com/en-au/news/australia/axed-top-cop-expected-to-be-grilled-at-the-william-tyrrell-inquest-over-his-intense-interest-in-washing-machine-repairman-bill-spedding/ar-AADyaqb

https://www.news.com.au/national/courts-law/paedophile-to-testify-at-william-tyrrell-inquest/news-story/551d485fd59bb6f513d630c6ec9ea7c3

If you have any information relating to the disappearance of William Tyrrell, please contact Crime Stoppers at: 1800 333 000
Reports can be made anonymously.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Book Reviews

Closer Than You Think by Lee Maguire – A Review

As far as I’m aware, I don’t think I’ve ever read a published debut novel. I mean, being an editor and all, I’ve come across my fair share of first novels, but a published debut just isn’t something I come across very often. I usually stick by the well-known authors, the well-known type with a history of popular reads, so this was a little bit out of my comfort zone. However, the promise of an exciting crime drama with a psychological crime thriller undertone swayed me, and I’m glad it did.

Closer Than You Think is the first novel in a developing crime series featuring Doctor Bryce Davidson, a psychologist at a ‘Children’s Agency’. When a strange set of threatening messages arise, it’s up to Davidson to use his wits, intuition and psychological expertise to find the culprit. But with relationship drama getting heavier, work getting tougher and threats getting more and more terrifying by the day, can he catch them in the act before it’s too late?

So, what’s the verdict? Well, as far as debut novels go, Lee Maguire’s Closer Than You Think was surprisingly good. With drama on every page, a frightening stalker and a search for answers, I just couldn’t put the damn book down! For a first-time author, Maguire does a brilliant job at keeping descriptions short and drama central, making it a breeze to read – the perfect ‘air-port read’, so to speak.

That isn’t to say this book doesn’t have it’s flaws, of course. With quite a few noticeable spelling errors, clunky dialogue that seemed a little too formal for normal human conversation and a main character who’s just that little bit too perfect, there’s a lot for Maguire to improve on. The first few chapters were chocked full of strange exposition and description that really could’ve been cut out. But the more I read, the more I found the writing flowed. If it found it’s rhythm earlier on, it could’ve been an excellent read, but from an author with no public writing-style developed and a little experience in the published world of books, I have to give Maguire the benefit of the doubt here. It takes a lot to be a good writer and, as many people say, a first novel is never going to be a great novel. Luckily for Maguire, his ability to keep intrigue saved the day.

Sure, there are going to be people who tear apart this book, but for a debut author and a small publishing team, I have to say, it’s a good start. It did keep me on edge, which is everything in a crime-thriller, and (although it dragged on a bit at the start) its brief, punchy style of writing kept me glued to each page. With a few more improvements, some guidance and a tad more experience, Maguire really could have what it takes to pull off a successful crime series. 

Grab your copy of Closer Than You Think now!:
http://geni.us/closerthanyouthinkm

 

Follow Lee Maguire at:
https://www.facebook.com/Dr-Bryce-Davison-Thriller-Series-1497309670567574/

Find TCK Publishing at their site:
https://www.tckpublishing.com/

TCK Publishing’s Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/tckpublishing/

TCK Publishing’s Twitter:
https://twitter.com/TCKPublishing