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A Question Mark: The Reviews Are Coming

A question mark
A Question Mark

When you write a book, you have to expect reviews, positive and negative. This is especially true when you write a “controversial” book questioning an idea that has been cemented into some people’s minds for 18 years now, i.e. Elliott Smith’s alleged suicide by two deep stab wounds in the chest.

Fortunately, I have already received very positive reviews, and I am very grateful for that. This one is particularly interesting and goes right to the point:

“Intelligently written, honest, and courageous research countering a frustratingly simplistic popular narrative about the life and death of Elliott Smith. The writer sheds a much-needed light onto the dark and reductionist view many have adopted: sad sack guy = sad-sack music = death by suicide. I have to believe that Elliott and those who loved and knew him would be/are sickened by this cartoonish rendering of his complex and beautiful life. There is a phrase used frequently in law enforcement that is not widely known: “hinky”– acting suspiciously; strange, unusual; acting in a manner as if having something to hide, or seemingly crooked. Can’t prove it, not complete evidence for it, just hinky. The writer demonstrates this phenomenon well with many many accounts and discrepancies. Even as I was familiar with many of the articles and references Ms. Camus has written about, I still had to admit my own hinky feeling reading the passage “sharpening a new set of knives”–Who sharpens a NEW SET OF KNIVES??!! Seriously?”

And I can only blush after reading these two other ones:

“I found the book, A Question Mark, An Investigation into the Mysterious Death of Elliott Smith, by Alyson Camus, to be a fascinating delving into Elliott’s last few years on Earth, with commentary by folks who knew him including notoriety surrounding some of his relationships, culminating in his gruesome death in 2003. This book invites controversy and offers food for thought. If you have a penchant for Open Cases such as Elliott’s then you may find this a page-turner. Others may have some curiosity on the commentary contained within. Just read it, you may learn something.”

“A very enjoyable read and an extremely well-researched book by Alyson Camus. 18 years after his death, and we still don’t know what happened to Elliott Smith. This book explores the questions many of Elliott’s fans have always had. I recommend it to everyone but especially those who have always had questions about the death of one of the greatest singer-songwriters/musicians of all time. Rest In Peace, Elliott, and thank you for this work, Alyson.”

Reading what people think about your work can be intimidating especially when you have spent so much time, effort, and passion researching something. I understand that I am disturbing a few people with this book since a certain crowd has always had a strange emotional attachment with the suicide narrative, something I will never understand. I have been accused to disrupt people’s peace of mind and revive old wounds. As foolish as it seems, some people prefer some sort of peace of mind even though it has been established on a pile of lies, and as soon as someone questions a narrative they are used to, they point the finger at the “troublemaker.” This is what I am for some, a rude troublemaker who dares to disturb their morbid suicide fantasy. Then, the insults come, from “crazy” to “disrespectful to the memory of Elliott Smith” to “invasive and toxic” … but these ones come from people who haven’t read the book, will probably never read it and have been hostile to what I have been doing from the beginning. The fact is that you will never please everyone and that a controversial subject like this one was sure to trigger extreme reactions. I am ready for that and have been for a long time. I have decided to ignore the internet trolls and focus on the positive feedbacks that, hopefully, will prevail. Disturbing people has never been my intention, but if the search for the truth deranges a few there is nothing I can do. This only confirms that I am doing the right thing.

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