Obsessed with True Crime discussion

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Archive > Recommend ONE (or two) Book(s)!

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message 1: by Eva Marie (new)

Eva Marie (evamarie3578) I used to be the biggest true crime fan and I kind of faltered a few years ago. I still order/buy true crime books when I see one that looks interesting and I have every bit of three or four dozen sitting here on shelves but besides one I read for a friend recently I haven't read any in the last five or more years.
I wanted to get some recommendations because this was actually my first love when it comes to genres so to speak and I want to get back into it. (I know I have a lot here but if I read a so-so one it may make me stay away and I don't want that.)
If you guys had to pick one (or two if you can't decide! LOL) true crime book to suggest to someone what would it/they be?

message 2: by Eva Marie (new)

Eva Marie (evamarie3578) Thanks Shayne! I probably should have mentioned that I've read all of hers huh? :) The only one I haven't read yet is her latest, Mortal Danger, and I actually bought that when it came out and haven't read it yet. I love Ann Rule, she's definitely a favorite!

message 3: by Eva Marie (new)

Eva Marie (evamarie3578) Now that is one I haven't heard of and I'm on my way to check it out right now!
I got one the other day called Slave Girls that a few people have told me was really good and I want to start Secrets in the Cellar as soon as I can too- that story interested me when it happened. Thanks Shayne!

message 4: by Amanda (new)

Amanda | 1 comments House of Secrets by Lowel Cauffiel was a-maz-ing.

message 5: by Eva Marie (new)

Eva Marie (evamarie3578) Thanks Amanda- I'll go check the listing out right now. I think that last name is ringing a bell so maybe I heard of the author somewhere.
I started reading Shattered Reclaiming a Life Torn Apart by Violence because this happened about ten minutes away from house and knowing the neighborhood and all I figured it might be easier to get into than something more strange. I was a few pages in when I realized I read it before, a few years ago at least.
I'm probably going to keep going I think. I'm about 100 pages in so I want to finish. I obviously didn't remember it so I figure it's worth another read.
Thanks a lot for the recommendation!

message 6: by Carmela (new)

Carmela | 5 comments If you like stories about Manson,The Family by Ed Sanders is pretty good.

message 7: by Eva Marie (new)

Eva Marie (evamarie3578) Thanks Carmela! I'm always on the lookout for a good book! I read one about that Austrian guy who had his daughter in his basement and made a family with her for almost 20 years and it was really good- I forget who wrote it but if anyone wants to know I can look through my shelf.

message 8: by Colleen (new)

Colleen | 1 comments I just finished Ann Rule's Bitter Harvest. Good one, hard to put down. I also loved "Never Enough" by Joe McGinniss.

message 9: by Melissa (new)

Melissa Banaszak (mbanas7) | 9 comments I really liked Bitter Harvest too -I found myself trying to finish my dishes,etc-quickly-so I could get back to it-now THATS a Good Read!

message 10: by Eva Marie (new)

Eva Marie (evamarie3578) I love all of Rule's books- I think there is only one I haven't gotten to yet and that's the latest. I bought it when it came out but I've been in a rut when it comes to t.c. lately.
House of Secrets was the one I read that I mentioned- I want to say the last name of the author was something like Cauffield. I can't find it with the add author/book feature. I definitely recommend it though!

message 11: by Melissa (new)

Melissa Banaszak (mbanas7) | 9 comments I picked up "Dead and Buried" by Corey Mitchell,it's a good read, but if you have daughters that are young teens-it might be a little tough to read-my thing is I love
to see the PERPS get what's coming to them so it drives me to the end-allsaid-this
is a good one.

message 12: by Eva Marie (new)

Eva Marie (evamarie3578) Ugh...I have a toddler daughter and I'm always sitting in bed terrified of everything. I don't know why I keep reading them sometimes. I read a lot of mis-lit books too sometimes and it drives me nuts. I can find it anywhere though because I just finished Motley Crue's The Dirt and the lead singer had a four year old daughter that got suddenly sick- she had cancer and no one knew. The little girl died months later. I just laid in bed praying.....It's so scary.

message 13: by ♥ Marlene♥ (last edited Sep 19, 2009 01:50PM) (new)

♥ Marlene♥  | 65 comments ♥Eva♥ wrote: "Thanks Carmela! I'm always on the lookout for a good book! I read one about that Austrian guy who had his daughter in his basement and made a family with her for almost 20 years and it was really g..."

Yes I would like to know please.

There will also probably be a book out on the Phillip and Nancy Garrido case.

message 14: by Eva Marie (new)

Eva Marie (evamarie3578) Marlene wrote: "♥Eva♥ wrote: "Thanks Carmela! I'm always on the lookout for a good book! I read one about that Austrian guy who had his daughter in his basement and made a family with her for almost 20 years and ..."

It's this one-

Secrets in the Cellar

I liked it a lot. What was the Garrido case? The last name sounds familiar but I can't think of it.

message 15: by Eva Marie (new)

message 16: by Eva Marie (new)

Eva Marie (evamarie3578) Paralegalwerewolf wrote: "Hi Evereyone:

From reading your "introduce yourself" comments, I guess this is how it should go. My name is Michael Kevin DuPont and I am the best winning career criminal paralegal on the plane..."

I'll read a few chapters if you'd like- I probably won't be the fastest because I'm not used to reading on-line but I am a true crime buff so I'll read some.

message 17: by Heather (new)

Heather | 2 comments I really like anything by Harold Schecter.

message 18: by Eva Marie (new)

Eva Marie (evamarie3578) Heather wrote: "I really like anything by Harold Schecter. "

I'm glad to hear that! I know I have at least two of his laying around here, maybe more. I think I have one or two others wishlisted. Thanks Heather!

message 19: by peg (last edited Sep 24, 2009 06:40AM) (new)

peg (mcicutti) | 50 comments I recently discovered books by Greg Olsen. Starvation Heights and Abandoned Prayers are both well-researched page turners. I highly recommmend them both. Starvation Heights is coming out as a motion picture in the near future.

message 20: by Eva Marie (new)

Eva Marie (evamarie3578) I've read Olsen before but not either of the two you've mentioned. I forget which I've read or if it was more than one but I seem to remember being impressed with what I did read. Thanks for the titles!

message 21: by Sheryl (new)

Sheryl | 49 comments I loved Starvation Heights .... fascinating, chilling...

message 22: by Eva Marie (new)

Eva Marie (evamarie3578) Marge wrote: "I just read Blood and Money by Thomas Thompson. It was one of the best written true crime books I have ever read (second only to In Cold Blood). Great writing!"

Thanks Marge! I don't think I've ever heard of that one or the author but I'm going to check out the listing right now. Thanks for the info!

♥ Marlene♥  | 65 comments Evidence of love by john Bloom. It is out of print but if you can get a copy buy it!

I also very much enjoyed Corey Mitchel's Pure Murder. I liked that he wrote in chronological order. i always hate it when the authors start with the crime cause I do not want to be spoiled. Mostly I skip the prologues.

On amazon I have a list which is called Serial killers, Teens and Mothers who kill. Great books. So far there are 34 books on there.
Those are the books I prefer. I collect books on serial killers and I am also very intrigued by mothers who kill. Moms who suffer from Munchhausen by Proxy syndrome for instance. Gregg Olsen also wrote a good book about it.

Here is my list: http://tinyurl.com/yfmoky5

message 24: by Eva Marie (new)

Eva Marie (evamarie3578) Thanks Marlene! That is such a huge help! I'm so out of the genre that the two you mentioned I've never even heard of which wouldn't have happened a few years ago. But I am also very interested in the mothers who murder their own children. That and women who kill another woman who is pregnant to get the unborn child. I think your list will help me a lot- thanks again!

message 25: by Eva Marie (new)

Eva Marie (evamarie3578) Thanks Marge! I've read all of Ann Rule's, with the exception of her latest one. I forget the title. I actually bought that when it came out and haven't read it yet. Which I normally wouldn't do with her books, I always got to them right away, but I bought it in the middle of my true-crime drought. I need to get to it soon.
Small Sacrifices was fascinating. I totally agree with you. I think she's an exceptional writer- above the average for sure.

♥ Marlene♥  | 65 comments I am not a big fan of Ann Rule's short stories, maybe except for the first couple of them. I did enjoy her last book (well the last one I bought which was just 1 story) Too late to say Goodbye. This book I lend to my mom because she had nothing to read while we were in The UK on vacation and guess what, she is hooked on true crime. Right now she is reading all my serial killer books and I have loads of those cause I try to collect them. lol

On shelfari I constructed a list with all my serial killer books and the names of the killer.
This can also help if people like to read these kind of books to find a new read.
Stupid me. I released a book which I am now so sorry about. Rites of Burial comes to mind. I released or sold it. Same with a Karla Homolka book. Must put them back on my wish list.

Anyways, back to Ann Rule. Mortal Danger (2008) is one story? then I have to buy that one.
and I see a new one will be out: (O scratch that. damn it is a true crime case file book. sigh)and the new one is another one like those:
But I Trusted You: Ann Rule's Crime Files #14
Easy money for her. Come on Ann, give us some good books again please and not just the short stories.

message 27: by Eva Marie (new)

Eva Marie (evamarie3578) I read one or two on Karla Homolka and still remember that story - that's one of the ones that stick out in my mind.
I'm surprised you don't like Rule's short stories but you probably like the more filling stories huh? I totally get you there. I think my love for Ann Rule comes from her being one of the first t.c. authors I ever read. So I've been very loyal. lol
ooooh- I just pulled Rites of Burial up and saw that this might have been what inspired Dahmer?! I'll get that one for sure. I read Dahmer's fathers memoir - (I can't find the listing but I know it's on here) and it was pretty good. I thought it'd be so-so at best since, as far as I knew, he wasn't really an author, but learning about how Jeffrey Dahmer grew up was pretty fascinating - knowing what we know now and all.
The Rule book about Tom Capano was the only one I could read about the case. It was around here so I was totally bored with it really (I hate saying that but you know how the media is) and the others I tried just were no good. But that one of hers I gave 5 stars.

message 28: by Eva Marie (new)

Eva Marie (evamarie3578) Blood Secrets is the name of the 2010 one and Mortal Danger is the most recent one I think. I did buy Mortal Danger when it came out but didn't read it. That might be one of the ones I pull from storage soon actually. Now I'm wondering if it's any good. (I didn't even know a new one was coming out....)

♥ Marlene♥  | 65 comments Yes you are right. I prefer her more substantial stories and the shorter ones are too short to have that :) I also read the book from Jeffrey's father. Weirdly enough Dahmer is the only serial killer I pity. I've read 2 books about him and one was very against him but the other one showed he tried to get help and I do not know I just pity this guy.

O and the serial killer that most intrigue me. Okay I am going to make another topic!!!

message 30: by Christopher (new)

Christopher | 3 comments Read The Death of Innocents. It's riveting. And a can't put down.

message 31: by Christopher (new)

Christopher | 3 comments Also, read Fatal Vision by Joe McGinnis. Another absolutely riveting read, and one you will want to read in one sitting.

message 32: by Eva Marie (new)

Eva Marie (evamarie3578) That's what I like to hear! Thanks a lot Christopher! The first one you mentioned sounds familiar but that doesn't mean I read it so I'm going to go look at both right now.

message 33: by Eva Marie (last edited Nov 22, 2009 07:12AM) (new)

Eva Marie (evamarie3578) Christopher wrote: "Read The Death of Innocents. It's riveting. And a can't put down."

Is this by Firstman?

The Death of Innocents A True Story of Murder, Medicine, and High-Stake Science

If that's it I haven't read it, didn't even have it listed.
These both look good. I just added Fatal Vision and am going back for the other - thanks a lot!

message 34: by Christopher (new)

Christopher | 3 comments ♥Eva♥ wrote: "Christopher wrote: "Read The Death of Innocents. It's riveting. And a can't put down."

Is this by Firstman?

[book:The Death of Innocents A True Story of Murder, Medicine, and High-Stake Sc..."

Yes. That's the one.

message 35: by Maya (new)

Maya | 4 comments Gary C. Kinghas this great book called Butcher he is an excellent writer.

message 36: by Stacie (new)

Stacie | 8 comments Eva, since all the Ann Rule books have been covered I would most highly recommend The Monster of Florence by Douglas Preston and Columbine by Dave Cullen. These are easily the best true crime i have read in the last 2 years.

message 37: by Maya (new)

Maya | 4 comments I have found that Ann Rule tends to add to much information in her books that no one cares about...basically page fillers...she writes alot about history and geography and how the sky was blue and the grass was green..anyone else?

message 38: by Maya (new)

Maya | 4 comments I have also looked for the fathers memoirs and couldn't find it, didn't you just feel for the man?

message 39: by Dave (new)

Dave Cullen (davecullen) | 8 comments Hey Stacie. Thanks for recommending my book (Columbine). That made me smile.

message 40: by Stacie (new)

Stacie | 8 comments Dave, thank you for bringing us Columbine. I look forward to your next one though I hope I don't have to wait 10 years.

message 41: by Dave (new)

Dave Cullen (davecullen) | 8 comments Stacie, thanks. I hope so, too. (And my agent, my editor . . . hahaha.)

I'm sorting out possibilities now. Depending which project(s) I go with, it could be out 2-5 years from now.

message 42: by Susan (new)

Susan Howard (suecadence) | 3 comments Dave, what a thrill to see you on here! Columbine is the best book (true crime or otherwise) I have read in years. Absolutely enthralling and moving. I have been recommending it far and wide. Thanks for bringing it to us!

message 43: by Dave (new)

Dave Cullen (davecullen) | 8 comments Susan, I love you for that.

(And it only took me ten years. haha. I went through three publishers, and several one-year extensions and learned the hard way that it's not ready until it's ready. I knew when it was ready. I thought my agent might strangle me, but she always stood by me and kept the faith. (Mostly. haha.))

I really appreciate you spreading the word. It is so hard. My book got a lot of coverage, but I've found that it also has a high resistance factor. SO many people find the idea of a book on Columbine more than they want to swallow. The book is not at all what they are expecting, but it takes people like you that they trust convincing them. I'm sure I'm not telling you anything new. But I so appreciate the people out there spreading the word. I know you're out there.

And BTW, I want to thank anyone listening who voted for me for the Goodreads Choice Award. I was shocked to win that. (I'll be honest: I wasn't shocked to be nominated (one of ten). I was grateful and a little surprised by not shocked.) But I thought I had zero chance of beating those other, much bigger names. I am really touched by the people on this site who voted for me. That was my first award for the book, and will always be dear to my heart.

message 44: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer (jennifersternberg) | 16 comments I've been reading a lot of true crime this summer. I just finished "A Poisoned Passion" by Diane Fanning. It was very sad, but an excellent book. I also really liked "Perfect Poison" and "Murder in the Heartland" by M. William Phelps.
Also, I agree, if you have not read "Columbine" you need to. it is also a favorite among my older high school reading students.

message 45: by [deleted user] (new)

I love this thread... as I live in South Africa I love to read about crimes in other countries... I would recommend some true crimes here in SA, but maybe you have not heard of it.
Life without Liesl is a good one. Also the stories behind the Van Rooyen kidnappings. In South Africa there are many unsolved kidnapping stories... sadly some of the girls were never found.

I also enjoy reading anything about Jack the Ripper.

You guys have given me loads of great reads to put on my reading list! Thanks...

I've also read A Boy called It, not sure if its totally a crime book, but its about a boy who was abused by his mother, a true story...

message 46: by Dave (new)

Dave Cullen (davecullen) | 8 comments Thanks, Jennifer. I love hearing that high school students are reading it, much less loving it.

I was surprised by how they took to it at the high schools I toured this spring. It seems to read like a YA novel to them: like their life. Is that what you have heard from them?

I think we've spoken earlier, but what school/area do you teach?

We created an Instructor Guide this spring which you/others may find useful:


Please spread the word among teachers, if you think it's worthwhile. (And/or suggest changes. We're planning to add much more soon.)

I also made a page for students here:

message 47: by Susan (new)

Susan Howard (suecadence) | 3 comments Hi Dave,

Do you think the "resistance factor" relates to a fear that the book will be exploitive of the victims or perhaps attempt to explain away the behavior of DK and EH?

I've told people that while they think they may have an understanding of what happened at Columbine, there are many myths and falsehoods that have taken root and taken on a life of their own. Your book does an amazing job of unpacking it all, particularly the media's role in the narrative (the TCM stuff, the image of DK and EH as bullyed outcasts when in fact the truth is much different).

But more than anything, your book is so *human*. It is about Columbine sure, but there is so much more to it...the role of religion in young people's lives, family dynamics, what life is like in a bedroom community turned metropolitan sub-region, the nature of grief, the complexity of violence and its reach.

I could go on and on. I'll just stop and say thank you again!

message 48: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer (jennifersternberg) | 16 comments Very cool!! Thanks for the info!! I teach reading at Badger High School in Lake Geneva, WI. Many of our English teachers also have "Columbine" on their shelves. I used to use "She Said Yes" as a class novel, but the kids found it too repetitive. Have you read the book by Brooks Brown (I think that is his name)? I am wondering if that one is worth adding to my library, or is it too biased and exaggerated?

message 49: by Dave (new)

Dave Cullen (davecullen) | 8 comments Thanks, Susan. No, I don't think those are major reasons for resistance (though there are minorities with each of those).

The main thing I hear is people saying they just don't want to plunge in for 400 pages of an event that's so sad/horrible/depressing/etc. I often hear (and see on blog comments), the question "Will I cry?"

People have bad memories of the event, and many expect the same from the book. Most also seem surprised that it will read like a novel, and/or be a page-turner. They do not foresee getting sucked in and actually relishing the read.

That's are all reasonable/rational assumptions. They don't turn out to be true for most readers I've spoken to, but they make sense as preconceptions.

I appreciate the help shattering them. I like the description of it as human. That's exactly what I was going for.

message 50: by Dave (new)

Dave Cullen (davecullen) | 8 comments Thanks, Jennifer. I'm so glad to hear teaching having read it.

Interesting about "She Said Yes." I actually enjoyed it, despite the problem with the title event. But kids have much shorter attention spans--I sure did--so I can see that. I think it resonates more with moms than being about kids, too.

Brooks' book has lots of useful bits of info in it, but it is very problematic. It's one kid's opinion, and it's a kid with an incredibly bleak view of existence. No, I would not recommend it at all.

I don't know if films would work, but there are two really good ones:

- Zero Day (or is it Zero Hour?), on the killers.
- April Showers, on the survivors.

I'm not a fan of Elephant (at ALL!), and Bowling for Columbine was barely about Columbine.

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