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Old 07-04-2010, 02:08 PM
 
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Please list good books to read on true crime.
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Old 07-04-2010, 04:25 PM
 
Location: in my mind
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Check out books by Jack Olsen and older books by Ann Rule. Both are excellent writers and researchers. Although in my opinion, Ann Rule's books have become more fluffy and formualic in the past several years. Her earlier books had a lot more detail to them.
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Old 07-04-2010, 07:08 PM
 
Location: Texas
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IMO, Small Sacrifices by Ann Rule is the best of the genre. Exceptional book.

I agree that her earlier books, including the one I mentioned, are much better but I still read everything she writes.

Rule worked a suicide hotline in Seattle years ago. She and the fellow next to her became friends. His name was Ted Bundy. The book she wrote about him is exceptional. You might want to read it. The Stranger Beside Me.

Joe McGiniss is another true crime author whom I respect. His work is good. I think the best of his is Fatal Vision. It's the story of Jeffrey McDonald, a Green Beret & MD who murdered his wife and 2 little girls while on a military post. It's a very spooky story. I could not put it down. It was made into a TV movie with Gary Cole as McDonald. Very good.
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Old 07-04-2010, 08:30 PM
 
Location: Elsewhere
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ketabcha View Post
IMO, Small Sacrifices by Ann Rule is the best of the genre. Exceptional book.

I agree that her earlier books, including the one I mentioned, are much better but I still read everything she writes.

Rule worked a suicide hotline in Seattle years ago. She and the fellow next to her became friends. His name was Ted Bundy. The book she wrote about him is exceptional. You might want to read it. The Stranger Beside Me.

Joe McGiniss is another true crime author whom I respect. His work is good. I think the best of his is Fatal Vision. It's the story of Jeffrey McDonald, a Green Beret & MD who murdered his wife and 2 little girls while on a military post. It's a very spooky story. I could not put it down. It was made into a TV movie with Gary Cole as McDonald. Very good.
I liked Fatal Vision, too. That happened in NJ, not far from where I live now. I also like Ann Rule--haven't read her newer books and I'm sorry to hear they're not as good. The one that sticks with me, besides the Ted Bundy one, is the story of the woman who shot her kids, killing one and paralyzing another because her current boyfriend didn't really like kids. (That might be Small Sacrifices?)

A good true crime story is Devil in the White City, about H. H. Holmes, a serial killer who was operating during the 1893 World's Fair in Chicago. The story is juxtaposed with the tale of the men who built the fair and made it happen. It's both interesting from the side of the Fair story and creepy about the murders. Holmes was one sick pup.

Another good book is Cause of Death, by Cyril Wecht. Wecht was the medical examiner for Pittsburgh and is/was considered the foremost authority in his field. He analyzes both Kennedy murders, as well as other crimes that he worked on during his career.

One more is Dead Men Do Tell Tales. I forget the name of the author, but you should be able to find it on a Google search. The author first became interested in medical forensics when as a child a friend of his father's brought over the autopsy photos of Bonnie Parker. He tells some bizarre murder tales, most of which occurred in Florida.

Lastly, there was a murder in NJ in 1992 wherein some suburban kids murdered one of their friends in an attempt to sort of play at being Mafia. One of them garrotted the kid with an electrical cord while they recited the Hail Mary--it was known as the Hail Mary murder. I was an alternate juror on the trial of one of the kids. A reporter from the local newspaper who covered the trials wrote a book about it called Pray For Us Sinners. No book or movie can ever compare to sitting there in a jurors chairs listening to the witnesses describe in detail what occurred that night, and the crime scene photos of the victim will stay in my memory forever.

Edit: Thought of one more I would recommend. Manhunt by James Swanson. It's the story of the tracking of John Wilkes Booth and the other conspirators after the murder of Abraham Lincoln and attempted murder of Secretary of State William Seward. I couldn't put it down.

Edit No. 2: (Can you tell I love reading this stuff?) One of the most famous and most fascinating true crime books of all time: Helter Skelter, about the Tate-LaBianca murders and the Charles Manson family, by Vincent Bugliosi, who prosecuted the case.

Last edited by Mightyqueen801; 07-04-2010 at 08:44 PM..
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Old 07-04-2010, 10:19 PM
 
Location: Texas
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Bugliosi wrote another book that I really liked: And the Sea Will Tell. That book had me on the edge of my chair all the way through it. Bugliosi can really relate his cases well. Helter Skelter scared the daylights out of me.

Yes, the book about the woman shooting her small children, her name is Diane Downs, is Small Sacrifices.
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Old 07-04-2010, 10:38 PM
 
Location: Portlandia "burbs"
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Do multiple-personality cases interest you? I can recommend a very good one that many people don't know about: "The Shoemaker". I don't have the book anymore, so I can't give you the author's name, unfortunately.
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Old 07-05-2010, 01:10 AM
 
3,319 posts, read 5,327,242 times
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Default One that I liked...

Amazon.com: Cruel Deception: A Mother's Deadly Game, a Prosecutor's Crusade for Justice (St.…

This was a case of Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy and the book had to be renamed because of the ultimate twists and turns in the the case.

I've read so many over the years that it's almost hard to find something I haven't read or rejected. "Helter Skelter" was probably one of the first official true crime books I read and a real page turner! I can also vouch for "Fatal Vision" being a well written and intriguing book. I really like the ones about the "guy next door types" who aren't necessarily serial killers.

I really liked the more recent book Ann Rule wrote on the Green River Killer and a detective from the same case also wrote his own.

John Wayne Gacy is an older serial killer case I can think of. He was especially grusome and has had several books written about his evil deeds. Same with the Hillside Stranglers. There is also a case I don't think has been mentioned, of a serial rapist in Washington. I think his last name was Coe.

I utilize my library, bookstores, and half priced bookstores. If the subject seems to interest me, I always skim the book, to find out if I'm going to enjoy the writing style. I will reject some outright that way, which is why I like to see the selection in person. I also enjoy biographies, including those that have an element of crime.

You could also surf Amazon and other online book sites and read the reviews, picking them that way.

The link below discusses why it is believed women especially enjoy true crime.

Women and Crime Books - Why Do Women Like True Crime Books?

I don't agree with their wishy washy conclusion that reading true crime may leave women more fearful of crime.

Happy reading!

Last edited by gold*dust1; 07-05-2010 at 01:27 AM..
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Old 07-05-2010, 05:38 AM
 
Location: Elsewhere
79,097 posts, read 73,122,165 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gold*dust1 View Post
Amazon.com: Cruel Deception: A Mother's Deadly Game, a Prosecutor's Crusade for Justice (St.…

This was a case of Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy and the book had to be renamed because of the ultimate twists and turns in the the case.

I've read so many over the years that it's almost hard to find something I haven't read or rejected. "Helter Skelter" was probably one of the first official true crime books I read and a real page turner! I can also vouch for "Fatal Vision" being a well written and intriguing book. I really like the ones about the "guy next door types" who aren't necessarily serial killers.

I really liked the more recent book Ann Rule wrote on the Green River Killer and a detective from the same case also wrote his own.

John Wayne Gacy is an older serial killer case I can think of. He was especially grusome and has had several books written about his evil deeds. Same with the Hillside Stranglers. There is also a case I don't think has been mentioned, of a serial rapist in Washington. I think his last name was Coe.

I utilize my library, bookstores, and half priced bookstores. If the subject seems to interest me, I always skim the book, to find out if I'm going to enjoy the writing style. I will reject some outright that way, which is why I like to see the selection in person. I also enjoy biographies, including those that have an element of crime.

You could also surf Amazon and other online book sites and read the reviews, picking them that way.

The link below discusses why it is believed women especially enjoy true crime.

Women and Crime Books - Why Do Women Like True Crime Books?

I don't agree with their wishy washy conclusion that reading true crime may leave women more fearful of crime.

Happy reading!
I don't agree with that idea, either! I am the opposite--probably should be more cautious than I am. I'm just not an easily-scared person. Maybe I enjoy reading true crime because I LIKE the creepy feelings it gives me? It's sort of a way to live adventurously through books.
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Old 07-05-2010, 06:11 AM
 
Location: Prescott Valley, Az (unfortunately still here)
2,543 posts, read 4,603,558 times
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Any book by Patricia Springer, Jack Olsen, Aphrodite Jones, and Ann Rule. My favorite crime writers.

All of Ann Rule books are great. Try them all.

"Blood Rush" by Patricia Springer (about serial killer Ricky Lee Green, who was executed a few years ago, in Texas).

"Della's Web" and "All She Ever Wanted" are great books by Aphrodite Jones. The first, "Della's Web", is about Della Faye Hall (also known as Della Sutorious), who was married about 5 times and killed her last husband. But had a history of violence. Very violent lady.

"All She Ever Wanted" is about Teena Brandon, the lady who posed as a man in Nebraska and was murdered when it found out he was a she. They made a documentary and a movie about it.
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Old 07-05-2010, 06:17 AM
 
Location: Houston, TX
192 posts, read 414,281 times
Reputation: 205
Great idea for a thread. A few suggestions:

Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets by David Simon. The book on which the TV series was based - the author follows Baltimore City homicide for a year. Provides great insight into the workings of a homicide unit. I spent a year in the medical examiners office in Baltimore and often interacted with the homicide detectives - Simon's account is spot on.

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote. "The" true crime classic. The hype surrounding Capote and the story of him writing this book seems at times to overshadow the fact that it is a really great true crime book.

The Death of Innocents: A True Story of Murder, Medicine, and High Stake Science by Richard Firstman and Jamie Talan. A fascinating story of a mother who murdered her own children and the medical professionals who misinterpreted the deaths as SIDS. The authors are journalists, and it is well-written and meticulously researched. It is out of print, but used copies can be easily found through Amazon, etc.
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