Welcome to the non-fiction edition of my TBR posts! As I was looking through my next 10 books for this week’s declutter, I noticed that they were ALL true crime books. Actually, the next 13 books books were true crime… so I’ve decided to do all 13 in one go!
Prepare yourself for a long ass post!
Credit, as always, goes to the wonderful Lia @ Lost in a Story for this decluttering idea! I’m 200+ books deep into my TBR now… find out how many books I’ve removed, so far, below!
The aim is to declutter your tbr shelf. To do this:
- Go to your goodreads to-read shelf.
- Order on ascending date added.
- Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books. Of course if you do this weekly, you start where you left off the last time.
- Read the synopses of the books
- Decide: keep it or should it go?
Synopsis: “The tragedies keep coming. As we reel from the latest horror . . . ” So begins a new epilogue, illustrating how Columbine became the template for nearly two decades of “spectacle murders.” It is a false script, seized upon by a generation of new killers. In the wake of Newtown, Aurora, and Virginia Tech, the imperative to understand the crime that sparked this plague grows more urgent every year.
What really happened April 20, 1999? The horror left an indelible stamp on the American psyche, but most of what we “know” is wrong. It wasn’t about jocks, Goths, or the Trench Coat Mafia. Dave Cullen was one of the first reporters on scene, and spent ten years on this book-widely recognized as the definitive account. With a keen investigative eye and psychological acumen, he draws on mountains of evidence, insight from the world’s leading forensic psychologists, and the killers’ own words and drawings-several reproduced in a new appendix. Cullen paints raw portraits of two polar opposite killers. They contrast starkly with the flashes of resilience and redemption among the survivors.
I bought this one way, way back in the day. It’s been sitting on my shelf, a quarter read, for almost a decade now! (About 7 years, I reckon). This is meant to be, as the synopsis says, “the definitive account”, of Columbine so I would really like to read this one.
Synopsis: For thirty-one years, an unremarkable family man stalked, killed, and terrorized the people of Wichita, Kansas. He was a devoted husband. A helpful Boy Scout dad. A reliable, conscientious employee. A dependable church president. And behind it all, the notorious serial killer BTK—a self-anointed acronym for “bind, torture, kill.”
Now that he’s in prison serving ten consecutive life sentences, the whole world knows that Dennis Rader is BTK. But the intricate twists and shocking turns of this story have never before been told by the people who were intimately acquainted with the BTK killer and Rader the family man, or by the dedicated cops who finally caught him. Bind, Torture, Kill: The Inside Story of the Serial Killer Next Door takes readers behind closed doors, revealing the full and horrific tale as seen through the eyes of the killer, his victims, the investigators, and the reporters who covered it all.
I have never read or researched anything about the BTK killer but I would like to add him to my collection of known serial killers, so this one stays!
Synopsis: For weeks in 1993, after the murders of three eight-year-old boys, police in West Memphis, Arkansas seemed stymied. Then suddenly, detectives charged three teenagers, alleged members of a satanic cult, with the killings. Despite the witch-hunt atmosphere of the trials, and a case which included stunning investigative blunders, a confession riddled with errors, and an absence of physical evidence linking any of the accused to the crime, the teenagers were convicted. Jurors sentenced Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley to life in prison and Damien Echols, the accused ringleader, to death. The guilty verdicts were popular in their home state, even upheld on appeal, and all three remained in prison until their unprecedented release in August 2011.
If you haven’t heard about The West Memphis Three then I seriously think you should educate yourself on them. It is the BIGGEST miscarriage of justice in history. There is a documentary on Netflix called West of Memphis, so to all of you who don’t like reading true crime, go watch that instead!
I already know the boys story but I really want to read this book too. This case was full of injustice from the very beginning, and people knew it. People all over the world, including very well known celebs, all rose up to support the three. Johnny Depp, Peter Jackson, and Eddie Vedder actually funded the boys with millions of dollars to get them the best legal help they possible could!
And while yes, they were finally released in 2011 (after almost 20 years in prison), the actual terms of their release is awful and I’m not ashamed to say that I cried a few tears of anger and disbelief on their behalf when watching the doc. (The link above explains their terms of release if ya looking for a spoiler lol)
If you’re going to come away from this list with one new book on your TBR, I’d say, make it this one.
Synopsis: It was a crime that shocked the nation: the brutal murder in Chicago in 1924 of a child by two wealthy college students who killed solely for the thrill of the experience. Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb were intellectualsâ€”too smart, they believed, for the police to catch them. When they were apprehended, state’s attorney Robert Crowe was certain that no defense could save the ruthless killers from the gallows. But the families of the confessed murderers hired Clarence Darrow, entrusting the lives of their sons to the most famous lawyer in America in what would be one of the most sensational criminal trials in the history of American justice.
While I really do want to find out about this case, as I’ve never heard of Leopold and Loeb before, I’m going to do some online research instead as lot’s of people have said this books is really boring lol.
There is a fiction novel based on this story called Compulsion which I’m now interested in reading too!
Synopsis: In February 1994, the bodies of seven women were excavated at the West’s house, 25 Cromwell Street, Gloucester. As the true horror of what happened there unfolded it became clear that this was the most infamous series of murders in Britain in the 20th century.
I actually already know a lot about the West’s crimes after reading magazines, online articles, extracts and from watching documentaries, but I still like trying to get as many facts as I can, so I’m going to keep this on my TBR too!
Synopsis: Award-winning investigative reporter Robert Kolker delivers a humanizing account of the true-life search for a serial killer still at large on Long Island and presents the first detailed look at the shadow world of online escorts, where making a living is easier than ever, and the dangers remain all too real.
I fear that I sound like a complete bitch when I say this, but I don’t want to read this one. It almost sounds more like a social study than a true crime investigation type novel. Plus, things about escorts / prostitutes being murdered really depress me so I don’t think I could deal with this one…
Synopsis: Lucie Blackman – tall, blonde, and 21 years old – stepped out into the vastness of Tokyo in the summer of 2000, and disappeared forever. The following winter, her dismembered remains were found buried in a seaside cave.
The seven months in between had seen a massive search for the missing girl, involving Japanese policemen, British private detectives, Australian dowsers and Lucie’s desperate, but bitterly divided, parents. As the case unfolded, it drew the attention of prime ministers and sado-masochists, ambassadors and con-men, and reporters from across the world. Had Lucie been abducted by a religious cult, or snatched by human traffickers? Who was the mysterious man she had gone to meet? And what did her work, as a ‘hostess’ in the notorious Roppongi district of Tokyo, really involve?
Richard Lloyd Parry, an award-winning foreign correspondent, has followed the case since Lucie’s disappearance. Over the course of a decade, he has travelled to four continents to interview those caught up in the story, fought off a legal attack in the Japanese courts, and worked undercover as a barman in a Roppongi strip club. He has talked exhaustively to Lucie’s friends and family and won unique access to the Japanese detectives who investigated the case. And he has delved into the mind and background of the man accused of the crime-Joji Obara, described by the judge as ‘unprecedented and extremely evil’. With the finesse of a novelist, he reveals the astonishing truth about Lucie and her fate.
I have been wanting to read this one for aaages now! I know nothing about the case but what initially drew me to the book was the amazing title.
It sounds like a morbid yet fascinating book!
Synopsis: Fatal Vision is the electrifying true story of Dr. Jeffrey MacDonald, the handsome, Princeton-educated physician convicted of savagely slaying his young pregnant wife and two small children, murders he vehemently denies committing. Bestselling author Joe McGinnis chronicles every aspect of this horrifying and intricate crime, and probes the life and psyche of the magnetic, all-American Jeffrey MacDonald, a golden boy who seemed destined to have it all. The result is a penetration to the heart of darkness that enshrouded one of the most complex criminal cases ever to capture the attention of the American public. It is haunting, stunningly suspenseful—a work that no reader will be able to forget.
Right, so these next three books are all about the same person / case… just thought I should mention that! The next one is quite interesting tho, so don’t skim over it as it actually relates back to this book and this author!
Anyway, I want to read this one because I love these cases where the killer seem like super normal people and then turn out to be cold hearted killers!
Synopsis: In The Journalist And The Murderer, Janet Malcolm examines the psychopathology of journalism. She delves into the always uneasy, sometimes tragic relationship that exists between journalist and subject.
In equal measure famous and infamous, Janet Malcolm’s book charts the true story of a lawsuit between Jeffrey MacDonald, a convicted murderer, and Joe McGinniss, the author of a book about the crime.
So yes, the author of the last book was sued by the killer he wrote his book about… and lost. This book explores that and journalism as a whole.
I like the sound of this one. I think it will be even more interesting if I read Fatal Vision first!
Synopsis: Early on the morning of February 17, 1970, in Fort Bragg, North Carolina, Jeffrey MacDonald, a Green Beret doctor, called the police for help. When the officers arrived at his home they found the bloody and battered bodies of MacDonald’s pregnant wife and two young daughters. The word “pig” was written in blood on the headboard in the master bedroom. As MacDonald was being loaded into the ambulance, he accused a band of drug-crazed hippies of the crime.
So began one of the most notorious and mysterious murder cases of the twentieth century. Jeffrey MacDonald was finally convicted in 1979 and remains in prison today. Since then a number of bestselling books—including Joe McGinniss’s Fatal Vision and Janet Malcolm’s The Journalist and the Murderer—and a blockbuster television miniseries have told their versions of the MacDonald case and what it all means.
Errol Morris has been investigating the MacDonald case for over twenty years. A Wilderness of Error is the culmination of his efforts. It is a shocking book, because it shows us that almost everything we have been told about the case is deeply unreliable, and crucial elements of the case against MacDonald simply are not true. It is a masterful reinvention of the true-crime thriller, a book that pierces the haze of myth surrounding these murders with the sort of brilliant light that can only be produced by years of dogged and careful investigation and hard, lucid thinking.
By this book’s end, we know several things: that there are two very different narratives we can create about what happened at 544 Castle Drive, and that the one that led to the conviction and imprisonment for life of this man for butchering his wife and two young daughters is almost certainly wrong. Along the way Morris poses bracing questions about the nature of proof, criminal justice, and the media, showing us how MacDonald has been condemned, not only to prison, but to the stories that have been created around him.
Yup, another book about the same criminal… I think we’ve had enough of him after two books… plus, people say this one is rubbish.
Synopsis: Celebrated writer and contrarian Bill James has voraciously read true crime throughout his life and has been interested in writing a book on the topic for decades. Now, with “Popular Crime, “James takes readers on an epic journey from Lizzie Borden to the Lindbergh baby, from the Black Dahlia to O. J. Simpson, explaining how crimes have been committed, investigated, prosecuted and written about, and how that has profoundly influenced our culture over the last few centuries even if we haven t always taken notice.
Exploring such phenomena as serial murder, the fluctuation of crime rates, the value of evidence, radicalism and crime, prison reform and the hidden ways in which crimes have shaped, or reflected, our society, James chronicles murder and misdeeds from the 1600s to the present day. James pays particular attention to crimes that were sensations during their time but have faded into obscurity, as well as still-famous cases, some that have never been solved, including the Lindbergh kidnapping, the Boston Strangler and JonBenet Ramsey. Satisfyingly sprawling and tremendously entertaining, “Popular Crime “is a professed amateur s powerful examination of the incredible impact crime stories have on our society, culture and history.”
I actually have another book like this at home as it is, so I don’t see there being much point in keeping this one. This is also a general look at murderers as a whole, and now I’m not so into psychology, this one might not be for me.
Synopsis: In the town of Ada, Oklahoma, Ron Williamson was going to be the next Mickey Mantle. But on his way to the big leagues, Ron stumbled, his dream broken by drinking, drugs, and women.
Then on a winter night in 1982, not far from Ron’s home, a young cocktail waitress named Debra Sue Carter was savagely murdered. The investigation led nowhere. Until, on the flimsiest evidence, it led to Ron Williamson.
The washed-up small-town hero was charged, tried, and sentenced to death–in a trial littered with lying witnesses and tainted evidence that would shatter a man’s already broken life…and let a true killer go free.
This case sounds so awful, I hate how many injustices there are! But, that being said, this one isn’t gripping me for one reason, so I’m going to remove it for now… maybe come back to it at a later date?
I hope you guys enjoyed this slightly different version of my weekly declutter posts! I obviously went on a bit of a mad true crime spree when I added all of these! I managed to remove 5 books this week, so that’s pretty good!
How many of these books do you know and want to read? Do you disagree with any of my verdicts? Let me know!