A True Crime Writer, In Love with a Dead Girl

by Ben Wolinsky

I’m not sure why I read this book back in 1999. Perhaps I was bored and needed something lurid and tawdry? Did the title Burned Alive get me interested? Either way, I ended up buying the book and not liking it. The whole thing pissed me off for a myriad of reasons. Now if you’re wondering why I’m reviewing a book that I don’t like, the answer is simple; I might as well write one bad review on this journal. If all else fails, at least you’ll learn what I DON’T like. So here it goes…..

Burned Alive is supposed to be about the murder of a beautiful, kind, smart, innocent, divine young woman named Kim Antonakos, who was murdered back in 1994 by the pedophile, ex-convict, drug-dealing, wife-beating boyfriend of a female acquaintance whom she let live in her apartment. Now if you’re wondering why a supposedly “smart” girl let this guy live in her apartment, read on. She dated a black drug dealer who dealt drugs out of an Alphabet City video store, then hung out with a half-crazed Ukrainian wannabe gangster named “Psycho,” who tattooed her name on his neck even after she turned him down, and finally, in her piece de resistance, she let him buy her a plane ticket to Florida. She kept hooking up with sick weirdoes at NYC clubs, attracted by their money (she expected a date to treat her like a princess, only Moet champagne would do), and if this doesn’t prove that Kim Antonakos was a stupid gold digger, I don’t know what will.

Before I go any further, I need to let you know that Kim was RICH! Her father was a millionaire who paid the rent on her Canarsie apartment, bought her two Hondas (the first one she wrecked, the second she drove drunk and lived) and financed all her other escapades. When she disappears, her father doesn’t seem terribly shocked at the number of creepy sickos she has in her social circle. I might also add that she wasn’t really burned alive, as the title says. She was nearly dead from hypothermia when her kidnapper (thinking she’d frozen to death) started a fire and she died of smoke inhalation. Everybody involved in her death goes to jail, but rather than tragic, the story is ANNOYING.

Kieran Crowley obsesses about how beautiful Kim was, how her glorious black hair framed her beautiful round face. She was so smart, so independent, and unseen by the author, so STUPID! This was a spoiled rich girl who wanted to be a trashy low class hood rat. The author seems blind to how much danger this girl was putting herself in. She hung out with a rogue’s gallery of low-life hoodlums, all because they could spend fortunes to pump her full of pricey drinks (come to think of it, who else is going to do that?) and as the saying goes, he who lays down with dogs wakes up with fleas.

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