The November 2021 Midwest Book Review Bookwatch is in!
The Demon in Disguise by Ashley Elliot with Michael J. Coffino
“The Demon in Disguise: Murder, Kidnapping, and the Banty Rooster belongs in any collection strong in true crime stories. It brings to life Ashley Elliot’s experiences when her father was murdered and her mother kidnapped.
Where other books often address such crimes from an outside investigative reporter’s perspective, The Demon in Disguise stands out in coming from a crime victim’s point of view, and turns a critical eye on the justice system’s failings.
Perhaps the most important reason for pursuing this victim’s experience above others is this perspective. It’s also the reason why some more personally involved with the case might question the need for this book.
Elliot’s own acknowledgement of these attitudes and why the reason for making her experience public supersedes any sense of decorum or the idea that recovery involves moving on and forgetting presents perhaps the most powerful case for not doing either, and for reading her book: “There will be people who won’t be happy I have written this book. Some will say what’s done is done. The criminal justice system ran its course, straight to the hallowed courtroom of the Arkansas Supreme Court. Move on, girl. Others won’t want the dirty laundry of yesteryear aired. Let bygones be bygones. Some family members may roll their eyes and lament – there I go again, stirring up shit, reminiscent of my wilder days. Time to grow up. I’ve heard it all before. When I pressed prosecutors to do their job, people told me, “you need to let this go.” I was warned I risked unleashing a hornets’ nest best left undisturbed and less harmful. I paid them little or no heed. I wanted the justice system to do what it was set up to do.”
She provides not only justification for making these events known to a broader audience, but for the book’s inclusion in criminology and legal justice collections as an example of justice processes gone awry.
As her story unfolds, readers receive a powerful, years-long probe into a mob-style execution that had no witnesses and no resolution that morphs into a kidnapping case when Elliot’s mother then vanishes.
Her struggles with the legal system and her insights and investigations, which traverse not just state boundaries but differing legal systems, includes involving, specific descriptions: “I have no legal training, but even I can see the fundamental distinction between a kidnapping that occurred in two states (Utah and Nevada) – which might compel one jurisdiction to defer to another on a kidnapping charge – and other wrongs that occurred solely in one jurisdiction (Utah).”
The juxtaposition of a victim’s search for truth and justice and her struggles with not just one but competing legal systems and their perceptions of the pursuit and identification of justice provides food for thought beyond her experience alone, offering debate material that legal students should find engrossing.
Her story of how judges treat victims in the courtroom is also eye-opening: “More interesting – to no one probably but me – was the Court allowed Trey to stay in the courtroom when his testimony concluded. Not me, however. I had to stay in the conference room. While I appreciated the judge didn’t want another outburst from me, I also felt I had an absolute right to remain. So what if I lost it on the stand? I was confident it wasn’t the first time a victim let loose some tears in a criminal trial. I had rallied and knew I could hold it together now that I was a mere spectator. They never gave me the chance and, as far as I was concerned, that was flat-out wrong.”
Those who fear that publication of The Demon in Disguise will stir up a hornet’s nest should know that, if all goes well, it should – and will.” —Midwest Book Review, Diane C. Donovan, Senior Reviewer
Ashley Elliott was born and raised in the town of Conway, Arkansas, and was on track to live what was by all indications a traditional life. Then she became a crime victim when her father was murdered and, a month later, her mother raped and kidnapped, entangling her life for more than a decade with the criminal justice system. She has appeared on Primetime and the Oxygen Channel, recounting the events that transformed her life. She is a survivor. This is Ashley’s first foray into the writing world. She is an avid hiker, athlete, and bodybuilder, living in Utah with her husband and children.
Unsettled Disruption by Juana-Catalina Rodriguez
“Unsettled Disruption: Step-by-Step Guide for Harnessing the Evolving Path of Purpose-Driven Innovation is a treatise on global marketing, economy, and business. It represents one of the first books to consider the revised process of doing business on a global scale, post-pandemic.
Many business books center on encouraging innovative processes in traditional business environments, but Juana-Catalina Rodriguez’s focus on the concept and applications of “disruptive innovation” sets her book apart from most others in the business world.
Another difference lies not only in how she creates her framework for change, but in her exploration of real-world, proven processes that already work within this framework.
Successful brands are held up as examples and models of a transformation processes that will offer much food for thought to businesses that base their own approaches on traditional, time-tested models without innovative thinking: “IKEA became the world’s largest furniture retailer with 445 stores worldwide and 41.3 billion Euros global revenue in 2019 due to unique value delivery and customer engagement. Most incumbent businesses may hesitate to transition to an IKEA-like model. They still fear pushing away customers who are unwilling to take on tasks traditionally defined as a supplier’s responsibilities.”
As ‘disruptors’ are identified and their methodology analyzed, Juana-Catalina Rodriguez provides engrossing insights into what works, what does not, and the impact of disruptive approaches on conventional operations: “New generation disruptors succeed by first identifying an unsolved customer problem and then conducting an in-depth analysis of ways to stream the value chain and redefine the business models using modern technologies that others haven’t utilized effectively. The innovative use of technologies and unconventional strategies crushes the incumbents as new disruptors target their mainstream customers even quicker than ever. Often incumbents try to avoid disruption and focus on sustaining what they already have. However, they fail to identify the job-to-be-done…for incumbents to survive the deadly disruptors, they have to focus more on the industry’s unattended sectors instead of flooding resources to create the digital versions of their analog selves, as we have seen in many sectors. In the next chapter, we will review some examples of incumbents that failed to handle disruptive innovation.”
While Unsettled Disruption certainly would have held appeal pre-Covid, its contentions, business review, and global perspectives hold special messages and insights post-Covid as disruptive techniques take center stage and demonstrate the flexibility to adapt to quickly-changing conditions.
The result is a global marketing guide that offers solid alternatives, different perspectives, and new options for those struggling with the current environment and outdated models of business success.
Unsettled Disruption deserves a spot in any serious global business collection as a spot-on guide to changing the business game in a sustainable, purposeful manner.”
—Midwest Book Review, Diane C. Donovan, Senior Reviewer
Juana-Catalina is a serial intrapreneur and entrepreneur. She had developed multiple innovation projects in several industries, including fast-moving consumer goods, retail, financial services, mobile retail, cloud storage, digital identities, digital transformation, and social innovation across Asia-Pacific, Europe, Latin America, and North America.She is a startup advisor, author, and founder of JnC Nova. This company helps startups, intrapreneurs, and other innovators accelerate their development and grow their businesses by streamlining their innovation processes. Juana-Catalina is an executive coach for the Stanford GSB Seed-Stanford Institute for Innovation in Developing Economies and Stanford GSB LEAD for global executives and entrepreneurs.
For access to the full November review, click here.