s&d: True Crime! books

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Mikhail Gilmore's Shot Through The Heart & Jon Krakauer's Under The Banner of Heaven = Mormon deathcult awesomeness

Brio, Friday, 12 February 2010 16:10 (ten years ago) link

also those Best American Crime Reporting annual collections! any read the latest?

Brio, Friday, 12 February 2010 16:12 (ten years ago) link

these and big fat sleazy rock star bios are like mac & cheese to me

Brio, Friday, 12 February 2010 16:15 (ten years ago) link

seriously, nobody else?

Brio, Friday, 12 February 2010 16:37 (ten years ago) link

Not sure if it'll be what you're looking for, but As If by Blake Morrison is really excellent. It's not so much about the crime itself (the James Bulger murder in Liverpool in 1991) as about the aftermath, the societal circumstances leading to it, and the darker recesses of the author's own psyche.

Ismael Klata, Friday, 12 February 2010 17:07 (ten years ago) link

Jerry Bledsoe's Bitter Blood is deeply underrated. Went on about it a couple of years back via my blog here, as well as talking about my own interest in true crime stories.

Ned Raggett, Friday, 12 February 2010 17:09 (ten years ago) link

this book is NOT well written but the story is amazing

figgy pudding (La Lechera), Friday, 12 February 2010 20:49 (ten years ago) link

Perfect Victim, the story of Colleen Stan, is one of the absolutely weirdest stories I've ever read.

Also, Ann Rule's The Stranger Beside Me is a must read.

El Poopo Loco (Pancakes Hackman), Friday, 12 February 2010 20:56 (ten years ago) link

I can't remember the exact title, but J. Curtis' book about the murder of Maria Marten is so so so good. The part at the end where you can read letters from girls responding to William Corder's person ad are priceless.

The Mysterious Murder of Maria Marten, maybe?

figgy pudding (La Lechera), Friday, 12 February 2010 20:58 (ten years ago) link

Also Charles Bowden's Down by the River is greeeeeeat

figgy pudding (La Lechera), Friday, 12 February 2010 20:59 (ten years ago) link

person --> personals

figgy pudding (La Lechera), Friday, 12 February 2010 20:59 (ten years ago) link

I'm a sucker for true crime!

it takes a lot to find stuff that doesn't get too...um, 'porny' is the word I'd use. Some of those mass-market pbs are gross, you're halfway through and you're still up to your eyeballs in long descriptions of the mind of the killer and fantasy sequences and 'putting you in the crime scene'... Ick. And it's not so much that I'm squeamish, I just don't want to read a 'how to guide'.

Will definitely rep for Shot Through The Heart - great book.

Severed by John Gilmore -- good non-trashy analysis of Black Dahlia murder, raises some new information that's pretty interesting. Gets a little Robert Graysmith towards the end but otherwise a good revision of a story that seemed like it was overdone. Could have done without the photos though: YEESH.

A Mind For Murder - The Education of the Unabomber & the Birth of Modern Terrorism by Alston Chase -- good background on Harvard experiments, also some interesting detail about his family & his brother.

I'll stan for Zodiac by Robert Graysmith because it's a good first-time read. But Graysmith is kind of a loop-the-loop about the whole thing which makes it more of an account of his obsession than meaty Zodiac analysis.

Mindhunter - John Douglas. His books get a little samey, and he's got ego for days, but his books at least don't have the leering/tabloid/porny feel. The information's often at least useful/interesting, and he does often circle back to talking about victim/the victim's family. He's got a bit of authority to his voice which is at least a little comforting. And you know, he's the real life "special agent Jack Crawford".

OTM re: Stranger Beside Me. I'll rep for some of the older Ann Rule stuff (she's still churning them out but I haven't read her stuff in years)- I feel like Small Sacrifices, STranger, and the Green River Killer book are her best, and the personal aspect of Stranger makes it really intriguing.

Oh and James Ellroy - My Dark Places? That's a good'un.

(Sorry for overdoing it...like I said, I'm a total TC nerd.

VegemiteGrrrl, Friday, 12 February 2010 21:00 (ten years ago) link

Oh, and Dave Cullen's Columbine, which is really much, much more than a true crime book, but is absolutely riveting. And terrifying.

El Poopo Loco (Pancakes Hackman), Friday, 12 February 2010 21:05 (ten years ago) link

Not exactly true crime genre, but Homicide: a Year on the Killing Streets is an excellent read. Lots of source material for the
Tv shows Homicide and the Wire.

Super Cub, Saturday, 13 February 2010 19:28 (ten years ago) link

I try to read as much Manson stuff as possible.

Right now I have a stack of these "from the pages of True Detective" books.


They are slee-zee. Some gross stuff.

Last year I read Cruel Sacrifice about this case, that was the last one that I read that was really good.

Until recently there was a bookstore within walking distance of me that had an entire wall of true crime books, I agree that some of them are boring as hell.

Also AWESOME and a must have is this:


kudos, i'm yours! (u s steel), Saturday, 13 February 2010 23:35 (ten years ago) link

a bit dry but extremely well researched: anything by david a. yallop

just1n3, Saturday, 13 February 2010 23:51 (ten years ago) link

Justine, thanks for the reminder about Yallop! I loved his pope conspiracy book (I love conspiracy books & I don't agree with any of them!). After I read that I wanted to read more, but didn't finish.

kudos, i'm yours! (u s steel), Sunday, 14 February 2010 00:01 (ten years ago) link

haha me too!! i love conspiracy theory stuff, even when i'm buying it at all!

the pope one was the first i read too - have you read the one about arthur allan thomas, the new zealand guy falsely imprisoned for murder?

just1n3, Sunday, 14 February 2010 00:08 (ten years ago) link

Not yet. I should read more about non-USA murders but I don't, the only one I LUV is Jack the Ripper, any and all, and a lot of them are bullshit, I think. Good bullshit, but probably bullshit.

kudos, i'm yours! (u s steel), Sunday, 14 February 2010 00:11 (ten years ago) link

I'm telling you -- the murder of Maria Marten is full of juicy parts, including, but not limited to, testimony from a murder trial bound in the SKIN OF THE MURDERER.


figgy pudding (La Lechera), Sunday, 14 February 2010 00:13 (ten years ago) link

*not buying it

just1n3, Sunday, 14 February 2010 00:21 (ten years ago) link

i believe it, but even if it's not true it makes a good story, and that's why we like this shit, no?

figgy pudding (La Lechera), Sunday, 14 February 2010 00:34 (ten years ago) link

no, i was xposting myself - i meant to say that i often don't buy the conspiracy stuff, but that doesn't lessen my enjoyment of it! the thing i like about yallop's stuff is that it avoids being trashy or hysterical; i think his style would make a believer out of anyone.

just1n3, Sunday, 14 February 2010 01:11 (ten years ago) link

That's true, David Yallop had me peeing my pants about the Pope and his heart attack. Then I went through this Vatican Bank phase.

kudos, i'm yours! (u s steel), Sunday, 14 February 2010 03:55 (ten years ago) link

FYI, Laura James' blog has been a gold mine of true crime book recommendations. (and her book is terrific too)

Elvis Telecom, Sunday, 14 February 2010 07:30 (ten years ago) link

Not true crime specifically, but I watched a bit of <a href="http://www.trutv.com/shows/conspiracy_theory/episodes/index.html";> Jesse Ventura's</a> tv show today and it looked pretty good.

kudos, i'm yours! (u s steel), Monday, 15 February 2010 02:37 (ten years ago) link


Oops, sorry about link.

kudos, i'm yours! (u s steel), Monday, 15 February 2010 02:37 (ten years ago) link

I haven't read that account of Andrew Cunnanan, but I really loved "Three Month Fever," Gary Indiana's novelization of the guy's life.

Also, Emmanuel Carrere's "The Adversary" is a true crime favorite.

Romeo Jones, Monday, 15 February 2010 17:29 (ten years ago) link

As mentioned above, "The Stranger Beside Me" is 100% essential. Almost too scary and ominous.

Now, Monday, 15 February 2010 18:52 (ten years ago) link

This piece on a new collection of work by New Yorker crime writer St. James McKelway prompted me to check out an older anthology of his from UCI, collecting a fair number of pieces talked about as being in this new one.

Ned Raggett, Monday, 15 February 2010 19:15 (ten years ago) link

two years pass...

Gordon Burn's two true crime books, Somebody's Husband, Somebody's Son, about the Yorkshire Ripper, and Happy Like Murderers, about Fred and Rose West, are v good, intensely miserable. The one on the Wests really knocked me into a pit when it came out. But a bit literary maybe?

woof, Tuesday, 23 October 2012 18:45 (seven years ago) link

(not 100% what I mean by 'a bit literary'. have to go out anyway)

woof, Tuesday, 23 October 2012 18:45 (seven years ago) link

No I know what you mean. Some are told in a very tabloid way, and some are written in a way that's more about the story somehow.

set the controls for the heart of the sun (VegemiteGrrl), Tuesday, 23 October 2012 18:46 (seven years ago) link

The Wrong Man by James Neff, about the Dr Sam Sheppard Murder case is another one I'd consider very literary in style. and god talk about gripping.

set the controls for the heart of the sun (VegemiteGrrl), Tuesday, 23 October 2012 18:48 (seven years ago) link

I think - I dgaf about 'serious' writers pondering what nasty crime means for society. But then Burn doesn't do that much iirc, is better than that - concrete, precise, observational. But anyway, going out!

woof, Tuesday, 23 October 2012 18:48 (seven years ago) link

intensely miserable

you are SPEAKING MY LANGUAGE! will add to wishlist.

these albatrosses have no fear of man (La Lechera), Tuesday, 23 October 2012 18:59 (seven years ago) link

Slightly OT, but true crime fans may enjoy this little tale:


o. nate, Tuesday, 23 October 2012 19:22 (seven years ago) link

Almost done with the Ressler book (Whoever Fights Monsters)- it's pretty good!

Interestingly enough, even though Ressler and John Douglas worked together in the FBI, Douglas barely rates mention, which I find funny. I guess they're in some kind of ego smackdown these days, lol.

Douglas' Mindhunter covers similar ground to Ressler, since they both interviewed a lot of the same criminals, but the styles are different enough that you could read both and come away with something from each. Douglas is much more narrative-focused, tries to bring you into the stories he tells and definitely has a much more intense focus on the victims and their families. Much more dramatic, and he has a lot of interesting detail about his own life and involvement in the cases.

Ressler's more analytical, he's not as interested in putting you there as he is in giving you facts and data, still very much a case-study kind of guy, you feel like you're more part of a lecture series or a class than fireside chats.

Kinda feel myself going down the rabbit hole again - will have to dig up a few more books to get the curiosity sated again. It seems like once or twice a year I go on a tear. Except I find it starts to mess with my head irl, like I start looking for windowless vans and get obsessed with local missing children reports... :/

set the controls for the heart of the sun (VegemiteGrrl), Friday, 2 November 2012 19:57 (seven years ago) link

One of those two wrote a book called "The Cases that Haunt Us" in which he discusses the Lindbergh kidnapping, Jack the Ripper, JonBenet Ramsey and other famous cases. I think it was Douglas, but in either case it's a really good book.

C-3PO Sharkey (Phil D.), Friday, 2 November 2012 20:06 (seven years ago) link

yeah it was Douglas. It's a good one, you're right.

set the controls for the heart of the sun (VegemiteGrrl), Friday, 2 November 2012 20:07 (seven years ago) link

I got to meet Douglas last year at a speaking event - he's a very nice man! He signed a couple of my books for me. I found his books were more productive (?) than others because he was always at great pains, much as Ressler is too, that the killers don't get too much credit or are not made out to be more than they are. They're always very quick to remind you of their failings as humns vs their successes as killers.

set the controls for the heart of the sun (VegemiteGrrl), Friday, 2 November 2012 20:10 (seven years ago) link

Picked up 'Road Out Of Hell' by Anthony Flacco from the library, about the 1920's Wineville Murders. Hoooolllly fuck. I'm only a few chapters in and it's already more harrowing than anything I've read in a long time. Scary shit.

and I also got Lisa Cohen's 'After Etan'

set the controls for the heart of the sun (VegemiteGrrl), Monday, 5 November 2012 05:04 (seven years ago) link

Not a book but True Crimers should check out the mini-series The Staircase. It's about a murder in Raleigh, NC and it is 100% amazing.

carl agatha, Monday, 5 November 2012 13:16 (seven years ago) link

oh yeah that is incred

johnny crunch, Monday, 5 November 2012 13:23 (seven years ago) link

And if you do decide to watch it, which you should, avoid reading anything about the documentary or the case before hand. It is so much better if you go in cold.

carl agatha, Monday, 5 November 2012 14:22 (seven years ago) link

Happy Like Murderers, about Fred and Rose West

think the prob I had w/ this book - which is esp good on the way that fred and rose's home became a manifestation of their banal evil - is that the high quality of the writing turns the whole thing into an aesthetic experience, somehow - that burn had given his subjects a better book than they deserved, maybe?

Ward Fowler, Monday, 5 November 2012 14:31 (seven years ago) link

Any recs for definitive books on the Night Stalker or Hillside Strangler cases? Those are two I've always wanted to read more about. (Is Ramirez unique among serial killers in being apprehended by people on the street?)

C-3PO Sharkey (Phil D.), Monday, 5 November 2012 14:32 (seven years ago) link

thanks for the rec, carl -- I'm def gonna look up the Corridor!

no shit, that Wineville book gave me bad dreams last night, I've never had that happen before. Think this is a 'read in the daytime only' book.

It's not that the details are any worse than anything I've read, I think it's just that this acccount is written really WELL, and written as a firsthand account of events as they are unfolding by the nephew who was on the ranch & endured almost as much as the victims themselves. Being part of his thought process, and feeling like you're witinessing everything right along with him...it's a lot to handle.

set the controls for the heart of the sun (VegemiteGrrl), Monday, 5 November 2012 17:29 (seven years ago) link

Wait, the Wineville murders were the ones that figured in that Angelina Jolie movie, right?

C-3PO Sharkey (Phil D.), Monday, 5 November 2012 17:34 (seven years ago) link

I just recently finished Norco '80, about the 1980 Norco, CA bank robbery/shootout that involved a 25-mile chase through Riverside and San Bernardino countries, 35 wrecked law enforcement vehicles and a dead state trooper. A fascinating read if for no other reason than a) the four perpetrators were dumb as hell, and b) their defense attorneys had pure brass balls.

Oh wow! Had no idea there wa a book about that

Elvis Telecom, Sunday, 7 July 2019 18:33 (nine months ago) link

three weeks pass...

Thanks to an unidentified neighbor on my block who left a copy of it on the sidewalk, I just plowed through A Wilderness of Error by Errol Morris. This is about the Jeffrey MacDonald/"Fatal Vision" case, but Morris pushes completely contradictory conclusions to the ones Joe McGinness espoused in Fatal Vision. Morris basically suggests that MacDonald was railroaded by the government, got an unfair trial in 1979, and perhaps is completely innocent.

I've admittedly never read Fatal Vision but this book certainly makes a lot of eye-opening points, while throwing a bit of critical shade at McGinniss and other journalistic sources. It appears that Morris did a good amount of legwork and was able to interview many of the people involved in the case. A lot of Amazon reviewers aren't impressed with the book's findings or hypothesis, but it seems that people have strong opinions about this case, which is a pretty inexplicable one any way you look at it. Anyway, the book's an addicting read and gave me the creeps.

Josefa, Friday, 2 August 2019 21:40 (eight months ago) link

Now I see A Wilderness of Error was discussed in this thread back in Feb. 2013 (I missed this because I thought the book was more recent)

Josefa, Friday, 2 August 2019 22:43 (eight months ago) link

i finally finished fatal vision and wasn't sure if i wanted to read wilderness of error maybe just because of internet reviewers. i was left convinced that mcdonald is an awful person and i don't want to hear that he's innocent. but perhaps later.

forensic plumber (harbl), Friday, 2 August 2019 23:44 (eight months ago) link

Of this family of products I have only read Janet Malcom's The Journalist and the Murderer lol

president of deluded fruitcakes anonymous (silby), Friday, 2 August 2019 23:45 (eight months ago) link

lol. next thing i was gonna say is one of mcginness's afterwords responding to malcolm convinced me she was rong, but i haven't read that either. i'm just in the mood to believe what i read, i guess.

forensic plumber (harbl), Friday, 2 August 2019 23:48 (eight months ago) link

'who killed garrett phillips?' by liz garbus on hbo was p good, reminded me vaguely of the steve avery case

johnny crunch, Saturday, 3 August 2019 00:01 (eight months ago) link

I read Mark Bowden’s “The Last Stone” and man, it is a trip. and so Infuriating! they spend 3 years interrogating a compulsive liar, and even when they get conviction they still cant get all the details out of him. The self-preservation these assholes have where they withhold so much info & barefaced lie because they think it will be better for them, “aw i dont want to do more time, i need a deal” and its like YOU KNOW HOW TO FIX THAT? MAYBE DONT RAPE & MURDER CHILDREN YOU GODDAMN CREEP


Squeaky Fromage (VegemiteGrrl), Saturday, 3 August 2019 00:24 (eight months ago) link


Squeaky Fromage (VegemiteGrrl), Saturday, 3 August 2019 00:24 (eight months ago) link

re Jeffrey MacDonald, just reading the Morris book I couldn't make sense of why so many people think he's a psychopath (unless obv you first presume he did the killing), but I guess one of the criticisms of Morris is that he downplays or ignores the evidence of his psychopathy... still not sure exactly what that evidence is, I assume it's to be found in Fatal Vision.

Josefa, Saturday, 3 August 2019 02:07 (eight months ago) link

one month passes...

Not a book, but police in Korea apparently just solved the 30-year-old serial killer case on which "Memories of Murder" was based: http://www.koreaherald.com/view.php?ud=20190918000889

I don't get wet because I am tall and thin and I am afraid of people (Eliza D.), Thursday, 19 September 2019 14:26 (six months ago) link

About 3/4 through Casey Cep's Furious Hours--Murder, Fraud, and The Last Trial of Harper Lee. Good start, with the usually downlow Lee, unrecognized by others in the courtroom as she watches:

The defendant was black, but the lawyers were white, and so were the judge and jury. The charge was murder n the first degree. Three months before, at the funeral of a sixteen-year-old girl, the man with his legs crossed patiently beside the defense table had pulled a pistol from the inside pocket of his jacket and shot the Reverand Willie Maxwell three times in the head. Three hundred people had seen him do it. Many of them were now at his trial, not to learn why he had done it---everyone in three counties knew that, and some were surprised no one had done it sooner--but to understand the disturbing series of deaths that had come before the ones they witnessed.
One by one, over a period of seven years, six people close to the Reverend had died under circumstances that
nearly everyone agreed were suspicious and some deemed supernatural. Through all of the resulting investigations, the Reverend was represented by a lawyer named Tom Radney, whose presence in the courtroom that day wouldn't have been remarkable had he not been there to defend the man who killed his former client. A Kennedy liberal in the Deep South...
and kind of a post-modernist, fearlessly case-by-case Atticus/WASP WASPJose Baez pistol of a defender--who had first met Lee at the kind of NYC party she rarely attended, but it wasn't near a typewriter and there was free booze---so we get how she, with all her chronic insecurities, and now without the agent and editors (all dearly departed)who had steered her through Mockingbird, yet still with the talent and skills she'd developed when Capote talked her into being his investigator---also with her misgivings about what he did with her results---also with her knowledge of legal research and procedure--she'd dropped out of law school six weeks before graduation---came to this case...

Main prob: overly detailed backstories--right off, we get the whole process of a populated area becoming a man-made lake and reservoir--it took a lonngg time---during which the black Reverend was born to a life of toil, for which he was overqualified, overachieving, and overdressed. There's also a history of insurance in general, and of how blacks were exploited by it---the last part of which is relevant only by contrast, since the Rev. and his attorney were adept at gaming the system, as plaintiff and defendant: anybody could take out a policy on anybody, so he did, and then they would be found dead. The author makes some good, sometimes obvious points, but tends to take a while.

If this is your one-stop for the early-to-prime-to-twilight of Lee and Capote, personally and and professionally, and for the Age of Wallace, and all sorts of Southern Gothic historical tidbits, if you know nothing about any of that, and really want to binge, you've come to the right place. If you like to edit as you read, ditto ditto ditto ditto ditto ditto ditto ditto.

dow, Thursday, 19 September 2019 20:02 (six months ago) link

The main storyline is clearly presented, and could make a good movie (w backstories in compressed flashbacks)

dow, Thursday, 19 September 2019 20:06 (six months ago) link

According to the Criminal Procedure Code at the time of the crime, the statute of limitations for the last of the serial killings ran out in 2006.

uh, wow

Muswell Hillbilly Elegy (President Keyes), Thursday, 19 September 2019 20:11 (six months ago) link

xp yea i read the cep book and found it somewhat disappointing overall

johnny crunch, Thursday, 19 September 2019 20:29 (six months ago) link

Guess these texts, being written, could also be considered true crime as True Crime and thus literature, Your Honor:

dow, Thursday, 19 September 2019 20:32 (six months ago) link

she was a gr8 texter, deserves release

johnny crunch, Thursday, 19 September 2019 21:43 (six months ago) link

Word. Oh I went on and finished Cep book---last 100 pages are pretty solid, esp. since I now know when to leap past her tangents. Yall might better wait for the screen or Reader's Digest version though.

dow, Friday, 20 September 2019 05:45 (six months ago) link

after hearing about it on My Favorite Murder i got a used copy of Gregg Olsen’s “Starvation Heights”.
just started today, looking forward to digging in.
er. as much as one can “enjoy” such a awful story.

Squeaky Fromage (VegemiteGrrl), Monday, 23 September 2019 03:46 (six months ago) link

Just read The Man From The Train, written by sabermetrics baseball dude Bill James with his daughter Rachel McCarthy James. In what seems like a pretty amazing instance of historical detective work, they find connections between more than 20 axe murders of entire families that had mostly gone previously unlinked in late 19th/early 20th century America. Their case seems rock solid on at least a dozen of them, and pretty likely for most of the rest. They managed to dig up a lot of details about the investigations at the time and the innocent men who were sometimes put to death for the crimes. It's pretty impressive!

☮ (peace, man), Wednesday, 25 September 2019 12:38 (six months ago) link

four weeks pass...

WBUR's On Point has posted audio and some text of today's interview with the co-author of a new book about the or a child-snatching-selling biz in Memphis, from the 1920s-1950 (some rich folks were customers, incl. big Hollywood names, which added to very eventual tumult). Also phone interviews with survivors and descendants.

On how Georgia Tann, of the Tennessee Children’s Home Society, would kidnap children:

Lisa Wingate: “She would take children off the street, off front porches. She would canvas poor parts of town, shanty towns along the river. If she saw availability, she took advantage of it. And, it was a different time. There was no air conditioning. People used to leave children out to sit in the yard, or put a crib out on the porch. Children played outside. That was before the day and time, ‘Don't talk to strangers’ and, ‘Don’t get in a car with anybody.’ And, so, it was very easy for her to roll up. Many children had never been in a car, during those years. And, so, it was very easy for her to roll up and say, ‘Hey, would you like a ride in my nice car?’ And she's this grandmotherly looking woman. And in the children would go.

dow, Wednesday, 23 October 2019 02:12 (five months ago) link

three weeks pass...

just reread mikal gilmore's shot through the heart (praised in the O/P), first reread in a while, spurred by lending it to a friend bcz i thought it might chime with her (she has big family problems) and she handed it back after a few pages saying "their problems were way worse, i'm not sure i can handle it"

anyway it's still very strong writing, abt being gary gilmore's brother, in a family carrying terrible secrets, many never revealed (bcz MG fails to uncover them) -- and the ghastly physical abuse and self-loathing and self-destruction that came with this, which wrecked the lives of all his brothers, not just gary's (and those gary murdered), and nearly wrecked his also. i never really rated him as a rockwriter: too much knock-off greil marcus -- but this is rockwriting also and very strong. MG casts it (lightly, but this is definitely there) as a case of being rescued by rock'n'roll, precisely bcz it was a music that faced up to and played with darkness (as of the mid-90s lou reed was his favourite artist): born 1951, when his dad was 61, MG was a decade younger than his brothers and unlike them was able to spin off into the counterculture as a way of saving himself. saving himself in part via elements we maybe look really quite askance at these days? (such as a commodification of rebelling against yr parents; and attitudes towards sex and shame just massively changed from those of his parents times -- and his parents had been rebels and, in his dad's case, worse-than-petty criminals when younger, unknown crimes he was always on the run from)

it's pitilessly grim though, haunted and ghost-ridden, and intensely complicated morally (which is why it's strong: i think MG faces up to a lot and faces down a lot): so much declared love, in all directions, from hateable abusive ppl for hateable abusive ppl. this time through i was more sceptical perhaps than i've been before -- nightmarish as it all, it sometimes felt more pat than it did formerly (i'd have to reeread i think to pin down why i felt this tho, maybe i'm just getting old and cynical myself). a quarter century on i wonder what mikal gilmore now thinks are its strengths and failures.

mark s, Sunday, 17 November 2019 12:05 (four months ago) link

one month passes...


omar little, Thursday, 16 January 2020 17:47 (two months ago) link

That was a really tough book to read but this looks like it could be good.

Pete Swine Cave (Eliza D.), Thursday, 16 January 2020 17:55 (two months ago) link

Sweet Beadie Russell!

☮️ (peace, man), Thursday, 16 January 2020 17:56 (two months ago) link

oh wow, def on board for this

terminators of endearment (VegemiteGrrl), Thursday, 16 January 2020 18:43 (two months ago) link

Liz Garbus is directing and I just realized she directed Who Killed Garrett Philips? which I’m in the middle of watching

just1n3, Thursday, 16 January 2020 21:30 (two months ago) link

Just started this:


Story may only be familiar to Canadians: in 1959, Steven Truscott, 14 at the time, was convicted of raping and murdering 12-year-old Lynne Harper. He was sentenced to hang, that was reduced to life imprisonment, in 1969 he was paroled, and in 2007 the verdict was overturned. Truscott is still alive and living in Vancouver.

I primarily bought the book because I found a newish hardcover dirt-cheap, but when I started reading and learned how close all this happened to where I recently moved, I've become fascinated. I'm in St. Marys, between London and Stratford; the murder was in Clinton, about an hour away. Two highways I use, 8 and 4, both take you right into Clinton, and it's even part of the school board where I'm just about to apply for supply/substitute work.

I love where I'm living, all small towns and country roads, but there is a weird Ed Gein vibe when I drive around at night.

clemenza, Saturday, 18 January 2020 04:34 (two months ago) link

Okay this story:


I mean the end result seems grimly obvious and awful and boy these two are real pieces of work.

omar little, Tuesday, 28 January 2020 04:04 (two months ago) link

Something v weird going on with cult/religious stuff

just1n3, Tuesday, 28 January 2020 05:16 (two months ago) link

yeah that whole story is deeeeeeply fubar

terminators of endearment (VegemiteGrrl), Tuesday, 28 January 2020 06:01 (two months ago) link


valet doberman (Jon not Jon), Tuesday, 28 January 2020 12:44 (two months ago) link

insane story. i am interested in mormons, cults, and doomsday preppers. venn diagram isn't it.

i am reading american predator by maureen callahan

forensic plumber (harbl), Thursday, 6 February 2020 00:20 (two months ago) link

law enforcement seems to be giving them a surprisingly long leash...i mean the kids are nowhere to be found and they still haven't taken them into custody.

omar little, Thursday, 6 February 2020 00:22 (two months ago) link

Yeah I’d really like to know if there are particular legal reasons for that. It seems v weird to not be demanding they produce the kids immediately

just1n3, Thursday, 6 February 2020 03:44 (two months ago) link

what the actual


New information continues to surface in the bizarre case of Joshua “J.J.” Vallow and 17-year-old Tylee Ryan, two missing children from Rexburg, Idaho.

Before the family’s move to Rexburg, JJ attended Lauren’s Institute For Education (also known as L.I.F.E. Academy) in Gilbert, Arizona.

Margaret Travillion, the co-founder & CEO of L.I.F.E., has released a statement outlining the timeline of the little boy’s enrollment — as well as the news that his mother, Lori Vallow, has repeatedly continued to sign into the school’s classroom monitoring system using a special app, even though JJ has not been a student at the school since September 2019.

“It would appear that an application or phone identified as Lori Vallow has been continually monitoring JJ’s classroom communication system we use between the classroom and the parents, in addition to our organization as a whole,” Travillion says in the statement, which was provided to PEOPLE. “Upon discovering that Lori’s name was used to sign on to this app, the name Lori Vallow has been tracked multiple times since JJ was unenrolled.”

Travillion says some of these log-ins occurred around Thanksgiving, as well as around Christmas, when the news about JJ and Tylee’s disappearance took the media by storm. She also said someone using Lori Vallow’s name continued to access the school’s app even as recently as last week, after which administrators removed her access. “We cannot speculate as to why Lori or someone using her accounts or electronics would continue to follow the classroom or our organization during this time frame,” Travillion says.


No criminal charges are pending against either Lori or Daybell, although authorities previously said that her refusal to produce the children last month as ordered by an Idaho court would risk civil or contempt of court citations that have not been issued.

^^^wow call me crazy but seems like a harsh punishment for two missing kids

omar little, Friday, 14 February 2020 20:56 (one month ago) link

i finished american predator. it was ok. low grade reading level, the author is a new york post critic, which i didn't realize until the acknowledgments. i'm not a big serial killer person, but it was interesting enough. i need another book now.

forensic plumber (harbl), Saturday, 15 February 2020 00:32 (one month ago) link

yeah i need some fresh recommends too

terminators of endearment (VegemiteGrrl), Saturday, 15 February 2020 02:39 (one month ago) link

Has anyone read Chaos by Tom O’Neill?


It’s as much about journalistic obsession as it is about the weird links between the Manson family and a whole host of government agencies, and is inevitably inconclusive, but it’s pretty wild.

ShariVari, Saturday, 15 February 2020 04:18 (one month ago) link

I finished Grace Will Lead Us Home by Jennifer Berry Hawes, about the Charleston Mother Emanuel church shooting. author is a Local journalist, which lately I have found is usually a good sign of a sensitive telling. Really, really good. Mostly devoted to the survivors, does a great job of telling their stories. the details of the shooting itself were even more awful than I knew, and I knew it was beyond awful

terminators of endearment (VegemiteGrrl), Saturday, 15 February 2020 21:33 (one month ago) link

sharivari i was looking at that. my library has the kindle so i will queue it. i started the last stone by mark bowden.

forensic plumber (harbl), Sunday, 16 February 2020 02:03 (one month ago) link

it’s a good one. harrowing though.

terminators of endearment (VegemiteGrrl), Sunday, 16 February 2020 04:16 (one month ago) link

–Kaua‘i police arrest Lori Vallow on $5 million warrant from Idaho– pic.twitter.com/n2ghadtfal

— Kaua'i Police Department (@kauaipd) February 21, 2020

forensic plumber (harbl), Saturday, 22 February 2020 00:47 (one month ago) link

i am a little entertained watching her bail hearing because i do this irl like every day and it's equally mundane. i like people's accents.

forensic plumber (harbl), Saturday, 22 February 2020 02:05 (one month ago) link

the guardian review of the o'neill book abt manson and mk ultra (weirdly not mention: call it by its name dude) is shockingly crappily written, given that its author peter conrad "is an australian-born academic specialising in english literature" (and also that the guardian has good sub editors some of whom we know on ilx)

mark s, Saturday, 22 February 2020 11:16 (one month ago) link

two weeks pass...

"chaos" was interesting but exhausting

TIL that mari gilbert, the mother of one of the "lost girls" of the book of the same name, and whose tenacity lead to the investigation of those deaths, was murdered by her other daughter. gilbert is being played by amy ryan in the new "lost girls" movie based on the book but apparently they don't include her murder in the movie either. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2016/07/26/the-tragic-tale-of-a-daughter-accused-of-stabbing-her-own-mother-to-death/

na (NA), Wednesday, 11 March 2020 14:38 (four weeks ago) link

oh god that is awful. that poor family :(

terminators of endearment (VegemiteGrrl), Wednesday, 11 March 2020 17:23 (four weeks ago) link

two weeks pass...

I never read the book -- and obviously won't, now -- but the FX series about The Most Dangerous Animal of All is pretty good. I think "guy desperately wants to believe his dad was the Zodiac killer and deluded himself into believing it" is actually weirder and more interesting as a show

absolute idiot liar uneducated person (mh), Wednesday, 25 March 2020 19:58 (two weeks ago) link

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