Welcome back to my Nonfiction Book Party!
It’s Serial Killer Sunday! What is our fascination with the darkest and most terrifying criminals? I’m sure I could fill an entire month with nonfiction books on just this topic. And while I’m not a card-carrying #murderino, I continue to be drawn to these stories. Here are just a few from my collection!
Title: Unspeakable Acts: True Tales of Crime, Murder, Deceit, and Obsession
Author: Sarah Weinman
Synopsis: The appeal of true-crime stories has never been higher. With podcasts like My Favorite Murder and In the Dark, bestsellers like I’ll Be Gone in the Dark and Furious Hours, and TV hits like American Crime Story and Wild Wild Country, the cultural appetite for stories of real people doing terrible things is insatiable.
The acclaimed author of the Real Lolita and editor of Women Crime Writers: Eight Suspense Novels of the 1940s & 50s (Library of America) and Troubled Daughters, Twisted Wives (Penguin), Sarah Weinman brings together an exemplary collection of recent true crime tales. She culls together some of the most refreshing and exciting contemporary journalists and chroniclers of crime working today. Michelle Dean’s “Dee Dee Wanted Her Daughter To Be Sick” went viral when it first published and is the basis for the TV showThe Act and Pamela Colloff’s “The Reckoning,” is the gold standard for forensic journalism. There are 13 pieces in all and as a collection, they showcase writing about true crime across the broadest possible spectrum, while also reflecting what makes crime stories so transfixing and irresistible to the modern reader.
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Title: The Stranger Beside Me: The Shocking Inside Story of Serial Killer Ted Bundy
Author: Ann Rule
Synopsis: From #1 New York Times bestselling author Ann Rule, “America’s best true-crime writer” (Kirkus Reviews), her unforgettable classic account of the horrifying murders in the Pacific Northwest and her shock when she discovered her friend–Ted Bundy–was not only a suspect but also one of the most prolific serial killers in American history.
Meeting in 1971 at a Seattle crisis clinic, Ann Rule and Ted Bundy developed a friendship and correspondence that would span the rest of his life. Rule had no idea that when they went their separate ways, their paths would cross again under shocking circumstances.
The Stranger Beside Me is Rule’s compelling firsthand account of not just her relationship with Bundy, but also his life–from his complicated childhood to the media circus of his trials. Astonishing in its intimacy and with Rule’s clear-eyed prose, you can’t help but share in her growing horror at discovering that her friend was one of the most notorious American serial killers.
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Title: Serial Killers: The Method and Madness of Monsters
Author: Peter Vronsky
Synopsis: In this unique book, Peter Vronsky documents the psychological, investigative, and cultural aspects of serial murder, beginning with its first recorded instance in Ancient Rome through fifteenth-century France on to such notorious contemporary cases as cannibal/necrophile Ed Kemper, the BTK killer, Henry Lee Lucas, Monte Ralph Rissell, Jerry Brudos, Richard Ramirez, “Unabomber” Ted Kaczynski, Ed Gein, John Wayne Gacy, Ted Bundy, and the emergence of what he classifies as the “serial rampage killer” such as Andrew Cunanan, who murdered fashion designer Gianni Versace.
Vronsky not only offers sound theories on what makes a serial killer but also makes concrete suggestions on how to survive an encounter with one–from recognizing verbal warning signs to physical confrontational resistance. Exhaustively researched with transcripts of interviews with killers, and featuring up-to-date information on the apprehension and conviction of the Green River Killer and the Beltway Snipers, Vronsky’s one-of-a-kind book covers every conceivable aspect of an endlessly riveting true-crime phenomenon.
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Title: Criminal Minds: Sociopaths, Serial Killers, and Other Deviants
Author: Jeff Mariotte
Synopsis: An authorized tie-in to the popular TV show Criminal Minds Most episodes of Criminal Minds feature a briefing where the show’s team of FBI profilers defines the type of criminal they’re looking for and provides some real-life examples. This book tells the story of those examples. Published to coincide with the release of season five of Criminal Minds on DVD Organized by type of criminal, including solo serial killers, sexual predators, and killers with famous victims; and tells the stories of many famous murderers, including David Berkowitz, Jeffrey Dahmer, Mark David Chapman, and the Zodiac killer Features photographs from the show Criminal Minds: Sociopaths, Serial Killers, and Other Deviants is a fascinating, terrifying book about the criminal minds who live among us.
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What is the Nonfiction Book Party? All month long I’ll be sharing newly released nonfiction titles and some of my 5-star favorites too! Join me on Instagram for an epic book party with an amazing prize pack. Tag all your posts #NonfictionBookParty
Bloggers: Make sure to blog along with DoingDeweyDecimal, JulzReads, What’s NonFiction, and Shelf Aware and follow #NonFicNov. Over on BookTube, get the details on #NonfictionNovember20 and join the Goodreads Group here.
Want to see which books I’ve posted about in previous years? (And which books are STILL on my list?!)
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