Who Killed Little Johnny Gill? by Kathryn McMaster ~ 2016

 He's just eight years old.  He's your son.  You wave goodbye to him one morning as he disappears into the swirling fog.  And then he is gone.

Author: Kathryn McMaster
Publisher: Drama Llama Press; 1 edition (February 9, 2016)
Publication: February 9, 2016
Pages: 250
Language: English
Jacket design: Hayley Faye
Author photographer: A friend who enjoys quite recognition

"This book was provided by Kathryn McMaster in exchange for my honest review alongside my proffered thank-you for asking."

4 Stars

Kathryn McMaster
Since what I felt was Kathryn McMaster setting off to tell me about a heinous crime ~ a gruesome mutilation of a young boy where the pompous arrogant bastard or ... ? got away with the perfect murder ~ personally, I believe Kathryn pulled it off.

The setting, 1888, I had myself mentally prepared for the archaic language of the times and I would like to say thanks Kathryn for making this read 'readable' for today's times.

In the back of my mind I was really intrigued with the thought of reading a true mystery;  I was reading some other material not related to mystery and once I started Kathryn McMaster's book, the first few chapters had me in intrigue.  Now since I'm finished ~ did I set myself up?

Personally, I was looking for intrigue throughout and suspense in a true-life mystery.

This story is about such a horrendous crime with the utmost heart-breaking ending, all around agreed here, because hell, we're all human.  The read was slow for me since it was a bit dry.  Seemed it was like going through documents and transcripts and in a way, felt like someone was telling me the news.  Ms. McMaster reported to me of Johnny Gill's extremely short life in novel form.  No suspense and intrigue, no page-tuner-nerve-endings going off, no I have to finish this chapter.

Her whole point was telling us there is an unsolved murder out there; a perfect unsolved murder is still in the filing cabinets.

William Barrett - the murderer ... ? .  This presumptuous ass could very well have been the one.  And that was not the demeanor I had of him as Kathryn introduced us.  Ms. McMaster is excellent portraying Barrett as nothing more than the milkman doing his rounds.  I felt good character description from introduction then throughout the story.  But  ~  all the focus?   No others.

Now, I believe - and it is because of her writing - she is adept in getting her heart and her curiosity about true crime around the beginning of the twentieth century out and down on pages, but, I needed captivation.

Where was all the focus on suspects?  Building questions elsewhere and building that suspense so the Reader can say Mmm to themselves other than the focus on one under the microscope.  Folks, I do keep in mind researching this murder from so long ago you only have X amount of viable reliable resources, right?  Okay one under the scope, yet, where's the anticipation?  Where was the writing that wanted me to turn the page to 'find out' more.

Tom Gill, Johnny's dad, was a character I felt close to for some reason I cannot pin.  Couldn't start to imagine what he went through as he went to see what they had found was in fact his boy, his Johnny.  Hell, back in that day I wonder why he didn't kill the SOB?  Man, my heart goes to mom, Mary Ann.

After Johnny was so brutally murdered, for me, the story turned into a dusty page turner.  I had a hard time getting back to it as I went about life.  She did depict the times for me nicely and visually the times where there in my head.  There are scenes where you just might shed a tear, scenes where you could agree with Chief Constable James Withers and then of course the adverse, or, make your own conclusion folks. 

What I did enjoy about it was the awareness of Johnny Gill's story.  Brings to question, how many others are there through times past?  Not counting any other alleged victims from William Barrett.

This book was received quite well, yet, I have my issues.  But that's me.  I would read Kathryn's work again because this read was not bad, it was and is good enough to inquire of her next read.  Some debut's are 'knocked-it-out-of-the-park' and some are not, though, this ball is still in and it's live.

Would I recommend?   ~ you into true-crime? ~  sure thing

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Here's where you can get your fingers on Who Killed Little Johnny Gill?:
  •  Amazon ~ Kindle $ .99 ~ Paperback $9.99 ~ Audible, Unabridged $1.99 ~ USD

About the author ~

Kathryn McMaster is an historical crime fiction author of true and unsolved murders occurring during the Victorian and Edwardian eras.  She crafts stories around unsolved murders of the Victorian and Edwardian eras highlighting poor policing practices with a rudimentary knowledge of Forensic Science that allowed the guilty to walk free, and the innocent to hang.

Her debut novel covers the shocking murder and mutilation of an eight-year old boy in Bradford, England, titled  "Who Killed Little Johnny Gill?" was well received and swiftly became a best seller in the free Kindle books for British Historical Fiction.  The murder was so heinous that it was thought, at one stage, to have been the work of Jack the Ripper.  Her next novel, which is in the pipeline, is a maritime triple murder mystery which is set to be released in June, 2016.

Having lived in 5 different countries during her fifty-something years, namely South Africa, New Zealand, Australia, Papua New Guinea and the United Arab Emirates, she is now retired and finally has time to write her crime fiction novels from her 200 year old stone farmhouse in Tuscany, Italy.

She owns 8 hectares in the beautiful Casentino Valley and raises a small flock of sheep and goats.  Having named most of her sheep she finds it difficult to eat any, including an extremely obstreperous and rambunctious ram called, 'Sylvester'.   However, that sentiment could change at any time!

Kathryn graduated from the University of Natal, Durban in 1980 with a double degree in English Literature and Psychology.  The following year she completed her teaching diploma, and later completed a TESOL diploma through Trinity College, London to teach English to adults as a second language.  For the majority of her working life she worked in Education, both in the classroom, and in management.

Kathryn’s books are further enhanced by her in-depth knowledge and training in Psychology, Criminal Profiling and a partial Masters of Forensic Science (Investigation) which she draws on to analyze each crime in the Afterword.

She has long had a fascination with crime and the criminal mind, looking at the ‘why’ rather than the ‘how’.

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Connect with Kathryn McMaster


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