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Reel to Real: The Video Store Murders

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No one was supposed to get hurt. But in March 1996, the robbery of a Hollywood Video store went horribly wrong, ending in a hail of gunfire and the worst mass murder in the history of Albuquerque, New Mexico. This book is based on the true story of three ex-cons who met through the New Mexico Community Corrections early release program. One was obsessed with movies and gu No one was supposed to get hurt. But in March 1996, the robbery of a Hollywood Video store went horribly wrong, ending in a hail of gunfire and the worst mass murder in the history of Albuquerque, New Mexico. This book is based on the true story of three ex-cons who met through the New Mexico Community Corrections early release program. One was obsessed with movies and guns, another was hopelessly in love, and the third double-crossed them both. Initially, all hoped for a new and better life, but in this modern tragedy, the ex-cons' self-destructive impulses ultimately led to their doom and that of their innocent victims. An entire city was left to mourn.


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No one was supposed to get hurt. But in March 1996, the robbery of a Hollywood Video store went horribly wrong, ending in a hail of gunfire and the worst mass murder in the history of Albuquerque, New Mexico. This book is based on the true story of three ex-cons who met through the New Mexico Community Corrections early release program. One was obsessed with movies and gu No one was supposed to get hurt. But in March 1996, the robbery of a Hollywood Video store went horribly wrong, ending in a hail of gunfire and the worst mass murder in the history of Albuquerque, New Mexico. This book is based on the true story of three ex-cons who met through the New Mexico Community Corrections early release program. One was obsessed with movies and guns, another was hopelessly in love, and the third double-crossed them both. Initially, all hoped for a new and better life, but in this modern tragedy, the ex-cons' self-destructive impulses ultimately led to their doom and that of their innocent victims. An entire city was left to mourn.

30 review for Reel to Real: The Video Store Murders

  1. 4 out of 5

    Gena Koehler

    I am fascinated by true-crime and can usually devour a 400+ page book in less than three days, but I found this book so boring, it was a chore to finish.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Jody

    The only thing keeping this book from four stars is the lack of pictures. I would have liked to see what Shane and Esther looked like then and now, some photos of the video store with employees and some crime scene photos. I am assuming all of these are available because other true crime books have them. That being said, this is still a good book. Joyce Nance writes quick and to the point. There are no extra words or thoughts included, she just tells the story as it happened. This is probably on The only thing keeping this book from four stars is the lack of pictures. I would have liked to see what Shane and Esther looked like then and now, some photos of the video store with employees and some crime scene photos. I am assuming all of these are available because other true crime books have them. That being said, this is still a good book. Joyce Nance writes quick and to the point. There are no extra words or thoughts included, she just tells the story as it happened. This is probably one of the better true crime books I've read and the only thing keeping it from four stars or higher is the lack of photos.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Jenn Swanson

    I received this through Goodreads First Reads. Reel to Real is a story based on the robbery/murders at a Hollywood Video store in Albuquerque, New Mexico in 1996. The author got her information for the book from trial transcripts and interviewing Esther Beckley, one of the people involved. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It was quick paced and very detailed. It also made me wonder what would have happened if the people involved would have changed one thing about their routine that day. Would the o I received this through Goodreads First Reads. Reel to Real is a story based on the robbery/murders at a Hollywood Video store in Albuquerque, New Mexico in 1996. The author got her information for the book from trial transcripts and interviewing Esther Beckley, one of the people involved. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It was quick paced and very detailed. It also made me wonder what would have happened if the people involved would have changed one thing about their routine that day. Would the outcome have been the same? Could this unnecessary crime been prevented? I feel horrible for the victims and their families and the trauma and heartache they had to endure. I also feel pity for Esther as well. To me it seemed like she was a pawn in this whole ordeal. I did not care for Shane and feel like he deserved more than he got. I didn't care for John either. I feel like he had more to do with this than what is shown. What I mean by this is the fact that he manipulated both Esther and Shane. He kept demanding money because he was too lazy to go out and earn it on his own. If he would have quit stringing Esther along earlier, maybe this crime and the one previous to it would have not even been committed. I would recommend this book to people who are interested in true crime stories or to people who are interested in wondering how people tick. This book shows just that.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    ** Received free copy through Goodreads First Reads giveaway ** I gave this book 3 stars not because it is a mediocre story but because it is told in a mediocre way. "This book is based on the true story ..." It is based on the true story as told by one ex-con. Not that the story is less legitimate because it is an ex-con's story but because it is very hard to imagine it being true when only one story/viewpoint is reflected. Just because the author believes this version to be true does not make i ** Received free copy through Goodreads First Reads giveaway ** I gave this book 3 stars not because it is a mediocre story but because it is told in a mediocre way. "This book is based on the true story ..." It is based on the true story as told by one ex-con. Not that the story is less legitimate because it is an ex-con's story but because it is very hard to imagine it being true when only one story/viewpoint is reflected. Just because the author believes this version to be true does not make it so. I liked the story but would have liked it more if more research was done. I was disappointed by the fact the author chose to only interview one of the subjects in questions. Also, the use of commas should be reviewed. The writing style could have been cleaned up a bit more. Overall, a decent story but not something at the top of my recommend to others list.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Beverly Laude

    Just as disturbing as I thought it would be. I was living in Albuquerque when these horrific murders happened & I remember the fear & disbelief that gripped the city. The thing that always amazes me about true crimes is the stupidity of the criminals & how most are caught because of their stupidity. How a woman could allow herself to become involved in something this horrible is beyond me. Too bad that Shane Harrison wasn't convicted for the murders of the three young employees & that he wasn't Just as disturbing as I thought it would be. I was living in Albuquerque when these horrific murders happened & I remember the fear & disbelief that gripped the city. The thing that always amazes me about true crimes is the stupidity of the criminals & how most are caught because of their stupidity. How a woman could allow herself to become involved in something this horrible is beyond me. Too bad that Shane Harrison wasn't convicted for the murders of the three young employees & that he wasn't given the death penalty..the killing of the McDougalls definitely earned him that punishment!

  6. 4 out of 5

    Glenda

    It was a Bookbub .99 book about a crime in my home state. I think it was more interesting to me because I could recognize some of the named places. It was engaging enough to keep your interest, and the writing was kept somewhat simplistic. Clearly there's a bias - or so I felt - toward one viewpoint, which opens the question of "what's the other side of the story".

  7. 5 out of 5

    Heather

    In March 1996, Shane Harrison and Esther Beckley set out to rob a Hollywood Video store in Albuquerque New Mexico. It went terribly wrong and resulted in the deaths of five innocent people. Reel to Real: The Video Store Murders is the story of how it happened and the aftermath. As with many true crime books, the timeline can occasionally be difficult to follow and the number of characters hard to keep straight. It is well-written, however, and attempts to make the timeline as easy to follow as p In March 1996, Shane Harrison and Esther Beckley set out to rob a Hollywood Video store in Albuquerque New Mexico. It went terribly wrong and resulted in the deaths of five innocent people. Reel to Real: The Video Store Murders is the story of how it happened and the aftermath. As with many true crime books, the timeline can occasionally be difficult to follow and the number of characters hard to keep straight. It is well-written, however, and attempts to make the timeline as easy to follow as possible. I recommend this book to true crime fans.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Yvonne (It's All About Books)

    Finished reading: May 5th 2015 “It is always the best policy to speak the truth — unless, of course, you are an exceptionally good liar.” (view spoiler)[ When I saw this non fiction story as a free Amazon kindle deal last month, I was immediately intrigued by it and had to order it straight away. Reel Or Real: The Video Store Murders is based on a true story and tells us what happened before, during and after the brutal Hollywood Video store murders in Albuquerque back in 1996. Joyce Nan Finished reading: May 5th 2015 “It is always the best policy to speak the truth — unless, of course, you are an exceptionally good liar.” (view spoiler)[ When I saw this non fiction story as a free Amazon kindle deal last month, I was immediately intrigued by it and had to order it straight away. Reel Or Real: The Video Store Murders is based on a true story and tells us what happened before, during and after the brutal Hollywood Video store murders in Albuquerque back in 1996. Joyce Nance does a great job of getting inside the head of the killer and his accomplice. There is quite a lot of swearing involved, but I wasn't bothered by it because it was used properly to give an impression of the character. The author decided to write this book based on the trial and interviews with Esther (the accomplice) and therefore it represents her side of the story, but it feels like it's the truth. It's an interesting read and definitely recommended for those who enjoy reading non fiction and (true) crime novels. Based on the true story of the Hollywood Video store murders, we read about three ex-cons who got released early from prison and meet each other through an early release program. Esther falls hopelessly in love with John, who in turn similates affection so she pays everything for him. He hangs out with another ex-con Shane, a man that smells like trouble and is obsessed with movies, violence and guns. John tries to stay away from trouble and warns Esther to do the same and stay away from Shane as well. But when John is forced to run after a misunderstanding, Esther sees no other way... Shane asks her to help him with a robbery of a restaurant. Esther isn't sure about it, but she would do anything to help John. The robbery was a success and John gets his share of money, but Shane doesn't want to stop here... He has bigger plans that involve real guns and a video store. Esther doesn't want to help him, but Shane is able to convince her in the end by abusing her love for John. They decide the time and place: a Hollywood Video store on a Saturday night. Unfortunately, on that terrible night in March 1996, the robbery went horribly wrong and turned into a bloodbath and the worst mass murder in the history of Albuquerque... The way Joyce Nance is able to portray the three ex-cons and main characters of the story is impressive. All three were looking for a better life, but trouble got into their path and the consequences left an entire city behind to mourn the victims. In my own eyes all three of them are guilty in a different way, and if you decide to read Reel Or Real: The Video Store Murders for yourself, you will probably understand why. This is not a pleasant read, mostly because the many swear words and graphic images, but it makes for a very good true crime novel. (hide spoiler)] P.S. Find more of my reviews here.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Pamela Kay Vaughan

    Fast-Paced This book grabs you from the beginning and is hard to put down. It is a page turner and the development of the characters is excellent. A must read for true crime lovers.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Jamii

    I received this book for free through goodreads first reads. I'm a bit of a true crime fan so I was excited to read this book since it's based on a real crime. I thought it was well written in terms of story. I really liked the way the the characters were written. I know she only talked to one of the criminals involved, however she did read transcripts and such. If the transcripts conveyed what is in her book, I feel bad for Esther, in a sense of she got pushed in way over her head and was invol I received this book for free through goodreads first reads. I'm a bit of a true crime fan so I was excited to read this book since it's based on a real crime. I thought it was well written in terms of story. I really liked the way the the characters were written. I know she only talked to one of the criminals involved, however she did read transcripts and such. If the transcripts conveyed what is in her book, I feel bad for Esther, in a sense of she got pushed in way over her head and was involved in murders she hadn't planned. That being said, she still planned and executed a horrible crime and wanted people convinced they were gonna die. That is truly awful. I really enjoyed this book and the story it told. Also written on my copy was a note from the author apologizing for taking so long to send it, she had been in a car accident and I really hope she is okay and recovered/covering nicely.

  11. 4 out of 5

    M.T. Bass

    The novelization of this true crime kept the story of petty criminals committing a major crime moving along smartly — and by smartly, I mean the narration, not the criminals. The most disturbing aspect of the story is that these characters were real and that folks like them walk among us, though there is not much that would surprise even a casual viewer of any of the iterations of Law & Order. The novelization of this true crime kept the story of petty criminals committing a major crime moving along smartly — and by smartly, I mean the narration, not the criminals. The most disturbing aspect of the story is that these characters were real and that folks like them walk among us, though there is not much that would surprise even a casual viewer of any of the iterations of Law & Order.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Bettye McKee

    High-profile case in Albuquerque The story begins with the perpetrators in prison and brings you forward to the present. The focus is the robbery of the Hollywood Video store in Albuquerque which resulted in the murder of five people. The story is well-written, well-researched and well-presented. It is as easy to read as a good novel. However, if I had proofread this book, I would have made 52 corrections.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Tere Fredericks

    Told as if the Author Was There Sadly, five murders rarely get books written about these days. Sadly, I believe this version. This is told in the manner of Helter Skelter, and other books of the genre, which again mostly do no warrant books written about them as five murders at one time are just too common these days. However, this is well researched and written. Four stars for using thoughts she could not possibly know.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Bob

    A different true crime story I don't usually enjoy true crime stories. This one was written as a novel. You'll end up, like I did, and stay up very late to finish this book. A very eerie, disturbing and interesting story.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Charles Mooney

    Intriguing Story The book is very enjoyable and seems to present a fairly balanced view of the crime. I would have liked some more follow up on what happened to some of the other characters involved such as John Lausell (assuming he is a real person).

  16. 4 out of 5

    Deb Thompson

    Four star Succinctly, the ending preamble was simply redundant...and the Finale, a bit contrived... the beginning and middle, quite an enthralling build.... Initial captivation rating would be five-star!

  17. 4 out of 5

    Jessica H

    Interesting case but I do not like this author's writing style at all. Seemed very juvenile to me.

  18. 5 out of 5

    janie kerr

    Profanity An other book that is unreadable due to profanity. Removed from device. No more Joyce Nance over use of profanity for me.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Sharon Riley

    Hard to Put Down I read it on my breaks and was addicted. Great ability to describe events in a clear concise manner. Read it!

  20. 4 out of 5

    Beth Rodriguez

    Excellent Excellent read. The author did a great job bringing me into the minds and the actions of these killers. Love this book.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Richard Malmgren

    Heinous Crime Very good story about this heinous crime and what led up to it. Mr Harrison got lucky, if you can 258 years is lucky. Better than the Death Penalty

  22. 4 out of 5

    George & Debbie Hebert

  23. 5 out of 5

    Debra L. Miles

  24. 4 out of 5

    Julia Llorens

  25. 4 out of 5

    Dave

  26. 5 out of 5

    DANA BAKER

  27. 4 out of 5

    Larry Eugene Chodur

  28. 5 out of 5

    Larry

  29. 4 out of 5

    Leanne

  30. 5 out of 5

    Stacy Padilla

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