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 (thirteen years ago) link

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

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

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

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

seriously, nobody else?

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

this book is NOT well written but the story is amazing

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

Also Charles Bowden's Down by the River is greeeeeeat

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

person --> personals

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

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

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

*not buying it

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


Oops, sorry about link.

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

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

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

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


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

oh yeah that is incred

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

I still want to read Bruce Robinson’s Jack the Ripper book because I’m such a withnail nerd

covidsbundlertanze op. 6 (Jon not Jon), Saturday, 24 October 2020 15:32 (two years ago) link

three weeks pass...

New book on the Bruce McArthur killings in Toronto:


clemenza, Saturday, 14 November 2020 16:11 (two years ago) link

Another CIA book worth a look, tho I have 0 idea how accurate: The CIA and The Politics of Heroin in Southeast Asia by Alfred W. McCoy, popular among New Lefties in 70,s although it's been updated and superseded by The Politics of Heroin: CIA Complicity in the Global Drug Trade, most recent ed. that I've seen is 2003.

dow, Saturday, 14 November 2020 17:16 (two years ago) link

Prob got the Contras in there, with Noriega playing and plying all sides, incl. various Colombian associates.

dow, Saturday, 14 November 2020 17:18 (two years ago) link

started this yesterday, already nearly halfway done. nothing really new to me yet because i live here and i had read all the articles but may be more interesting to the uninitiated.

superdeep borehole (harbl), Sunday, 15 November 2020 15:17 (two years ago) link

three weeks pass...
four months pass...

i need a new one

superdeep borehole (harbl), Thursday, 15 April 2021 00:05 (two years ago) link

three weeks pass...

Just started this (quote from Jeff Guinn on the jacket):


clemenza, Thursday, 6 May 2021 02:10 (two years ago) link


terminators of endearment (VegemiteGrrl), Thursday, 6 May 2021 02:11 (two years ago) link

I'm always plugging this site--you can get it pretty cheap here.


clemenza, Thursday, 6 May 2021 02:18 (two years ago) link

one month passes...

Chaos seems to be £0.99 on Kindle this month in the U.K.

Scampo di tutti i Scampi (ShariVari), Monday, 7 June 2021 13:16 (two years ago) link

two months pass...

So fucked up, esp. toward the end----and "deathbed confession"=somebody in the newsroom finally heard about the attorney's memoir? I'd like to read it---like, what *else* did he do/not do?? Meanwhile, I assume this is pretty much the same as the NY Times paywalled version: https://www.irishtimes.com/life-and-style/people/kidnapping-what-kidnapping-the-irish-pair-arrested-in-one-of-new-york-s-most-bizarre-cases-1.4648464

dow, Wednesday, 18 August 2021 20:25 (two years ago) link

one month passes...

Interesting piece on how true crime heightens anxiety. I've never engaged in the genre so no idea whether it's true or not.


xyzzzz__, Thursday, 14 October 2021 14:48 (one year ago) link

it's a lot more true in the past decade with podcasts and netflix and stuff. like anything now you need to get clicks and more sensationalism = more clicks = more anxiety about crime. i don't listen to that many of the podcasts and have not heard my favorite murder but from what i know about it i agree with bergquist's thesis. but yeah i am really bothered by how a lot of it plays into very right wing narratives about crime. i am still a true crime consumer but always try to select for...not that stuff.

certified juice therapist (harbl), Thursday, 14 October 2021 15:03 (one year ago) link

i mean a lot more interested in historical, deep dives into like why did this person end up this way, how did the cops/prosecutors screw this up, etc.

certified juice therapist (harbl), Thursday, 14 October 2021 15:04 (one year ago) link

I used to enjoy My Favorite Murder. After listening to their episode about the Vampire of Sacramento, I made a nightly ritual of locking my downstairs windows for probably a year. I'm sure I've taken many other survival tips to heart from them.

Ultimately though, there was a lot to dislike about it. The legion of obsessive fans was not great. This became more prominent when they shifted to doing a greater and greater percentage of live episodes - like, you could hear the thousands of people screaming in excitement as they were about to be regaled by a hometown murder. That was pretty gross.

peace, man, Thursday, 14 October 2021 16:31 (one year ago) link

it’s a good essay but man I also am living in a time where i also get v tired of these essays

i want to go back to when no one cared abt true crime & it was just mass market paperbacks in the weird section of the bookshop & i could engage w it freely via books & news items & a few dorky blogs without raising some wider concern that i am not engaging in other healthier passtimes

terminators of endearment (VegemiteGrrl), Thursday, 14 October 2021 16:51 (one year ago) link


certified juice therapist (harbl), Thursday, 14 October 2021 17:03 (one year ago) link

So my plumber just tried to kill me

— Lena (@banalplay) October 14, 2021

xyzzzz__, Thursday, 14 October 2021 21:25 (one year ago) link

i just for fun looked up who the top patreon show is these days and this is so fucking bleak pic.twitter.com/uTirxDKEyJ

— venom jason (@jeremythunder) October 14, 2021

Daniel_Rf, Friday, 15 October 2021 08:25 (one year ago) link

the My Favourite Murder people became so smug and cutesy after a while that I did start to feel that it was making light of the horrendous shit they were covering. had to stop listening.

Hmmmmm (jamiesummerz), Friday, 15 October 2021 16:00 (one year ago) link

i feel like there should still be a of shame about the prurient interest we take in this shit, rather than celebrating it like its Star Wars

Hmmmmm (jamiesummerz), Friday, 15 October 2021 16:01 (one year ago) link

I don't think of myself as part of that prurient "we": for one thing, my early experience further encourages me to think of it as a part of life, and I'm always interested in how all the people involved wrap their brains around violent events and the aftermath, and what more this tells me about ongoing problems (incl. fucked-up responses of the police, prosecutors, public, prisoners and guards etc). Reveal is a no-BS deep-dig series in this regard, also Teresa Carpenter's nonfiction Missing Beauty, also xpost Jeff Guin's exemplary Manson bio.

dow, Friday, 15 October 2021 16:16 (one year ago) link

I trust books over electronic media in most cases. I've never seen a short True Crime book---they gotta fill up with *something*---and, however clumsy some of them may be, they're less likely to elide or skip details for reasons of format (like room for all those commercials on ID, Investigate Discovery TV) or style (kewl podcasts)

dow, Friday, 15 October 2021 16:23 (one year ago) link

Also, even good radio and pod can have me missing what they've just said because I'm still thinking about an earlier part, from maybe just a few seconds ago (yeah can download and replay, or re-stream, but not the same as re-reading, real-time-wise.)

dow, Friday, 15 October 2021 16:27 (one year ago) link

three weeks pass...

I recently read "Black Dahlia, Red Rose: The Crime, Corruption, and Cover-Up of America's Greatest Unsolved Murder" by Piu Eatwell (2017)

If like me you gave up on reading anything about Elizabeth Short/Black Dahlia because the whole thing had become a parade of liars and idiots and sentimental weirdos trying to embody Elizabeth herself, I can highly recommend this.

Fuckin FIVE stars for investigative shoe-leather. Not only offers up maybe the only watertight suspect but does so in a very straightforward, journalistic way. The author has a background in documentaries so that clearly helped. Everything's based on newly released files and FOI requests and original case files and interviews where possible, and the suspect she offers up, Leslie Dillon, has always been on the list but the information that seals the deal I guess wasn't released until now because the guy's boss was on the take with the LAPD and they conveniently made everything go away.

Honestly, I'd happily burn everything else I've ever read on this case and just keep this one book.
I mean, there was a time when I thought John Gilmore's "Severed" was legit but it has since turned out to be mostly if not complete bullshit, and don't even get me started on the Steven Hodel nonsense, etc. etc.

terminators of endearment (VegemiteGrrl), Sunday, 7 November 2021 20:11 (one year ago) link

seriously: the abundance of primary source material used in this book is enough to recommend it.

terminators of endearment (VegemiteGrrl), Sunday, 7 November 2021 20:12 (one year ago) link

Looks good, thanks. Every part and chapter seems to be named after a noir.

Exploding Plastic Bertrand (James Redd and the Blecchs), Sunday, 7 November 2021 22:49 (one year ago) link


terminators of endearment (VegemiteGrrl), Monday, 8 November 2021 00:05 (one year ago) link

What did you think of that Wondery podcast from a few years ago that linked a bunch of other murders? I can’t remember all the suspects they looked at.

just1n3, Monday, 8 November 2021 05:43 (one year ago) link

Elizabeth Short is buried at the big Mountainview cemetery in Oakland

Andy the Grasshopper, Monday, 8 November 2021 18:56 (one year ago) link

xpost I didnt end up fininshing that Wondery cast, but it was more just overproduction exhaustion than anything

terminators of endearment (VegemiteGrrl), Monday, 8 November 2021 19:46 (one year ago) link

Just finished the aforementioned Piu Eatwell book. Wow. I had no idea there was this whole dimension of police department malfeasance surrounding the case. I've never read any other Black Dahlia books but up to now I was led to believe that the eccentric doctor George Hodel was a serious suspect; in fact there seems to be next no evidence he had anything to do with anything. Not being a Dahliaphile it's hard to judge how convincing the author's case truly is, but can anyone deny that the LAPD sabotaged the investigation and that there was a cover up? Loads of circumstantial evidence does apparently point to this one tawdry motel the book zeroes in on. I still have some questions about certain odd aspects to the hypothetical scenario laid out here, but the book is absolutely a page-turner.

Josefa, Thursday, 11 November 2021 00:30 (one year ago) link

Majority of stuff about the LAPD coverup wasnt released til 2016 i think, which was why it went unreported for so long

terminators of endearment (VegemiteGrrl), Thursday, 11 November 2021 00:36 (one year ago) link

Interesting. Now I'm wondering if there's any serious researcher out there who can dispute the points made in the book. That also would be interesting. Seems that the main point the naysayers come back to is that Leslie Dillon was proven to be in San Francisco when the murder was committed... but this seems iffy?

Josefa, Thursday, 11 November 2021 00:49 (one year ago) link

that was how Eatwell presented it, yeah

it was interesting reading reviews of this on goodreads, there were some averagey reviews that said it was too matter of fact and not empathetic enough towards Short. I was like are you kidding me!?!, that’s been half the problem with the modern writing on this case, everyone falling over themselves to fetishize Short to the point where she stopped being a real person. i think Eatwell’s emotional distance is a plus here.

terminators of endearment (VegemiteGrrl), Thursday, 11 November 2021 01:16 (one year ago) link

eleven months pass...


This is a chilling ongoing case. Without knowing the full details here obv: I just really believe that generally speaking we are largely safe anywhere but there’s a particular horror to perhaps going about one’s life and being ambushed in what seems to be a safe spot. Thinking also about that terrible story a couple weeks ago in NorCal, the family who was grabbed from their store and murdered.

Separately, I read CHAOS after it was gifted to me. I thought it was very interesting, albeit one without any real answers. Lots of defensiveness among the interviewees, which I don’t necessarily chalk up to complicity but more along the lines of people being deeply ashamed they were ever involved with Manson but not wanting to admit it, preferring to forget it instead (Melcher in particular.) The CIA stuff veers towards Oliver Stone territory but there’s some smoke there.

omar little, Saturday, 15 October 2022 19:37 (eleven months ago) link

That story is very weird. It’s still not clear to me if they found dismembered? The articles I read sort of implied it with the wording: “remains” used instead of “bodies”; uncertainty over how many people were found; the descriptions of “limbs sticking out of the water”.

just1n3, Sunday, 16 October 2022 10:20 (eleven months ago) link


without knowing the full details, it seems like they were trying to commit a crime and got caught in the act.

on a reddit thread someone linked this unrelated story, just as an example of a lot of the violence in rural areas of Oklahoma.


two different things obv, for one this recent story could have been a crime borne of economic desperation that ran smack-dab into "stand your ground", but who knows.

omar little, Wednesday, 19 October 2022 16:14 (eleven months ago) link

one month passes...

Has anyone read The Midnight Assassin by Skip Hollandsworth, about the Austin TX “servant girl annihilator” killer (a sobriquet coined by O. Henry)? Grabbed it from the library, going to dig in soon.

Currently in the news: there’s that horrifying murder case in Idaho, which is a nightmare scenario and I hope it’s solved ASAP.

omar little, Sunday, 11 December 2022 15:47 (nine months ago) link

three weeks pass...

so that Idaho case seems to have been solved but boy that is a terrifying case. the reddit/internet sleuths were all over it, in predictably disgusting ways, with lots of casualties of the true crime theorizing occurring along the way (an ex-bf, the roommates, a neighbor, random party guests, etc)

the real standout being the tiktok psychic who implicated a U of Idaho professor, was subsequently sued, and then doubled down on her theory. some real "tell me you want to go broke without telling me you want to go broke" stuff there.

omar little, Friday, 6 January 2023 20:41 (eight months ago) link

yeah. still some pretty big unanswered questions. i’ll be interested to read a full accounting once the details have been pieced together.

werewolves of laudanum (VegemiteGrrl), Friday, 6 January 2023 22:16 (eight months ago) link

I was actually impressed with the quality of the police work, from my POV of internet guy with opinions.

omar little, Friday, 6 January 2023 23:18 (eight months ago) link

one month passes...

so i did finish The Midnight Assassin, which is a really good one. basically, this was the first serial killer in the united states (known serial killer, that is) and this was less a crafty creepy guy who was quietly killing people, and more an unhinged opportunistic type like the Zodiac, and one who likewise remains unidentified and likely always will be. it's an interesting book, very good, tapping into racial tensions in Austin at the time, the effect it had on city life (this case seems to largely be what inspired the city to implement light towers everywhere several years later), and how it cost multiple politicians their careers despite the case being effectively buried by history over time.

omar little, Friday, 17 February 2023 18:27 (seven months ago) link

Thanks I’m downloading that one

realistic pillow (Jon not Jon), Monday, 20 February 2023 21:33 (seven months ago) link

two months pass...

Finally read David Grann's Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI: screwed out of their ancestral homelands for chump change, a deal you really can't refuse, they buy land in rocky, barren hills of the Oklahoma backside, going cheap and to Indians because white men don't want it and prob never will, so at least they can subsist peacefully, finally. Then: Oil, and what many, not all, white men consider consider to be crazy rich Indians (actually, the "headrights," mineral rights, of each share are held in collective trust by the tribe, so it's really mostly a matter of being able to afford new clothes, jewelry, store-bought liquor if that's your pref, housing, cars, albeit often sold at significant profit by whites)(one of whom is satisfied to report that Osage spend no more foolishly than whites)
The reaction reads like a slow-mo, much more "rational" improvement on the Black Wall Street massacre, with local interests prevailing on D.C. to create "guardianships" for each adult Osage, dispensing funds, also, in some cases, marrying into and decimating their families, including their own resulting off-spring, to inherit as much as possible---but in any case, many white law men are at least pliable (coming from an ill-educated professional tradition established via recruitment of gunslingers), also signif involvement of other officials, lawyers, undertakers, aforementioned merchants of various kinds, doctors---for quite a few years, despite increasing headlines and even real pressure, also a countervailing force of whites, though many of these are also killed, made examples of.
(J. Edgar balancing everything on fulcrum of career interests duh)
Pulled me along but Osage tend to get overshadowed by battlin' white people in most of the book, though they keep reappearing for good scenes, quotes---the last section is its own countervailing force, as Grann talks and travels with descendants of the Osage victims and of their white murderers, in several cases. There are still personal and professional (privately funded) investigations ongoing, including of killings and historically significant death rates that have never been dealt with by Authoritahs: they got a few good convictions and moved on to other matters.

dow, Sunday, 23 April 2023 22:10 (five months ago) link

Is that a spoiler? omg the details though.

dow, Sunday, 23 April 2023 22:13 (five months ago) link

Also some of the worst baddies, of those detected, live obscenely long lives duh)

dow, Sunday, 23 April 2023 22:21 (five months ago) link

Not into podcasts, but this is still a fave TAL, in its latest rebroadcast (stream/download/transcript)(it's worth hearing for the voices of family members)

Ira Glass plays the song "Mystery of the Dunbar's Child" by Richard "Rabbit" Brown. It describes Bobby Dunbar's disappearance and recovery and the trial of his kidnapper, all of which was front page news from 1912 to 1914. Almost a century after it happened, Bobby Dunbar's granddaughter, Margaret Dunbar Cutright, was looking into her grandfather's disappearance and found that the truth was actually more interesting than the legend. And a lot more troubling. (1 minute)
...Margaret Dunbar Cutright and Tal McThenia co-authored a book about the Bobby Dunbar story called A Case For Solomon. Tal discusses his experience with creating the radio and book versions in this article in The Huffington Post.


dow, Sunday, 30 April 2023 20:20 (four months ago) link

four months pass...

Finally read “Acid King” by Jesse P Pollack, about Ricky Kasso

The level detail & research is excellent, and he really goes to great lengths to contextualize Ricky, and Gary Lauwyers thr murder victim. So much better than that plagiarized Say You Love Satan piece of crap by St Clair.

I will say style-wise it’s a bit lacking, but that’s maybe just a personal preference. He’s synthesizing a lot of transcripts & reports and it’s hard to make that artful at the best of times - certainly not a knock on the author.

Saddest detail to me was how ~young~ these kids were. Also Ricky’s parents, how how poorly they handled his behavior & how obviously ill-equipped they were. I’ve seen versions of that growing up. fear-based tough-love parenting can really backfire in terrible, unintended ways

Highly recommend the book if you have any knowledge of the case or interest in 80’s teen dirtbags

werewolves of laudanum (VegemiteGrrl), Sunday, 17 September 2023 22:38 (one week ago) link

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