Dead MountainIn February of 1959, in the old Soviet Union, nine college students departed for a challenging hiking excursion and never returned. What rescue workers found has been the subject of more than 50 years of speculation and debate. It’s one of Russia’s greatest unsolved mysteries.

The hikers’ bodies were located in random spots away from their camp, as if they’d scattered in a panic. Some were not wearing shoes, there were various causes of death, and one was missing a tongue. Also, there was evidence that their tent had been slashed with blades from the inside-out.

What circumstances could lead to such a scene? All nine students were elite hikers, with years of experience. Of course, there have been no shortage of theories. The most interesting involve a secret military exercise gone awry, and/or visitors from outer space.

There are several books about this incident, but Dead Mountain appears to be one of the few serious ones. The author traveled to Russia several times, where he examined original documents from the investigation, interviewed relatives of the deceased, and even spoke with a hiker who started out with the group but had to turn back because of illness. He also ventured into the mountains and visited the spot where the hikers set up camp.

I read this book a few months ago, and loved it. You get to know the students and their personalities. You travel with them by train at the beginning of their doomed excursion. Then you take part in the rescue mission. It’s the kind of thing that’ll stick with you. I recommend it highly, at any price. But today it’s $1.99 for Kindle. You simply can’t go wrong.

Please note: At the end of the book the author presents his own theory of what happened. I don’t know if I buy it, but it’s interesting. It also doesn’t detract from the overall story. This is a good one, my friends.

dead wake coverI’ve read several of Larson’s books, and enjoyed them all. In fact, The Devil in the White City is one of my all-time favorites. Holy crap, that book’s great!

Larson writes non-fiction historical books almost in the style of novels. Meaning, they’re fun to read and will transport you to another place and time. They’re often as suspenseful and engrossing as any thriller.

Dead Wake is his latest, and is about the sinking of the Lusitania — a British passenger ship — by those delightful Germans. Almost 1200 innocent people died, and the incident led to the United States getting involved in World War I.

Today the book is priced at $3.99 in the Kindle Store. I haven’t gotten to this title yet, but have no doubt it’s a great read. I recommend it without hesitation.

Man Who Killed Kennedy coverI heard the author of this book on Coast to Coast with George Noory a few months ago. Many of the guests on that radio show are deep-dish kooks, but this dude sounded legit. Oh, I’ve been fooled before, but he struck me as a serious and grounded journalist.

His thesis: LBJ arranged for the assassination of JFK. You know, as a career move. It’s not a unique theory, many people have suspected that Johnson was involved. But Stone had a fleshed-out scenario, backed with some new information. I was intrigued, all the way home from my job, listening to the details of this conspiracy theory unfold.

When I got home, I added the book to my Wishlist and it’s remained there for a long time. Until today… when I noticed it’s priced at $1.99. So, I snagged it. There are a lot of positive reviews, and it’s continued to cause controversy. Looking forward to it!

manhunt coverThis is a good one. I read this book years ago, and it’s history written like a novel. Meaning… it’s entertaining, and not just dry data.

To be honest, I didn’t even really know that John Wilkes Booth escaped and was on the run for so long. I’m not sure I should admit it, but that was all new information to me. I also didn’t know that Lincoln wasn’t the only person targeted for murder that night.

There are several scenes that remain vivid in my mind, even years later. It’s very well-written, and highly recommended.

Today it’s on sale in the Kindle Store, for $1.99. It’s a great book, worth every cent — even on days when it’s full-priced. I bought the hard cover when it was a new release, and considered it money well-spent.