6 True Crime Novels at the Top of My TBR
by Sara Voigt (@meaningfulmadness)
True Crime novels have become one of my favorite genres in the last few years. I blame Season One of Serial Podcast. I was captivated by the story and the investigative journalism. So, over the years I have read several amazing true crime novels. I do find that I prefer to listen to them as an audiobook. Something about listening to the audiobook is reminiscent of listening to that first episode of Serial, Season One.
So, while I have read some excellent true crime over the past years, there are still SO many on my TBR. Here are six that are at the top of my list:
John Krakauer's Missoula: Rape and Justice in a College Town (Libro.fm | Bookshop.org)
From the Publisher:
"Missoula, Montana, is a typical college town, with a highly regarded state university, bucolic surroundings, a lively social scene, and an excellent football team - the Grizzlies - with a rabid fan base.
"The Department of Justice investigated 350 sexual assaults reported to the Missoula police between January 2008 and May 2012. Few of these assaults were properly handled by either the university or local authorities. In this Missoula is also typical.
"A DOJ report released in December of 2014 estimates 110,000 women between the ages of 18 and 24 are raped each year. Krakauer's devastating narrative of what happened in Missoula makes clear why rape is so prevalent on American campuses and why rape victims are so reluctant to report assault.
"Acquaintance rape is a crime like no other. Unlike burglary or embezzlement or any other felony, the victim often comes under more suspicion than the alleged perpetrator. This is especially true if the victim is sexually active, if she had been drinking prior to the assault - and if the man she accuses plays on a popular sports team. The vanishingly small but highly publicized incidents of false accusations are often used to dismiss her claims in the press. If the case goes to trial, the woman's entire personal life becomes fair game for defense attorneys.
"This brutal reality goes a long way toward explaining why acquaintance rape is the most underreported crime in America. In addition to physical trauma, its victims often suffer devastating psychological damage that leads to feelings of shame, emotional paralysis, and stigmatization. PTSD rates for rape victims are estimated to be 50 percent - higher than soldiers returning from war."
Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey's She Said: Breaking the Sexual Harassment Story That Helped Ignite a Movement (Libro.fm | Bookshop.org)
From the publisher:
"For many years, reporters had tried to get to the truth about Harvey Weinstein’s treatment of women. Rumors of wrongdoing had long circulated. But in 2017, when Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey began their investigation into the prominent Hollywood producer for the New York Times, his name was still synonymous with power. During months of confidential interviews with top actresses, former Weinstein employees, and other sources, many disturbing and long-buried allegations were unearthed, and a web of onerous secret payouts and nondisclosure agreements was revealed. These shadowy settlements had long been used to hide sexual harassment and abuse, but with a breakthrough reporting technique Kantor and Twohey helped to expose it. But Weinstein had evaded scrutiny in the past, and he was not going down without a fight; he employed a team of high-profile lawyers, private investigators, and other allies to thwart the investigation. When Kantor and Twohey were finally able to convince some sources to go on the record, a dramatic final showdown between Weinstein and the New York Times was set in motion.
"Nothing could have prepared Kantor and Twohey for what followed the publication of their initial Weinstein story on October 5, 2017. Within days, a veritable Pandora’s box of sexual harassment and abuse was opened. Women all over the world came forward with their own traumatic stories. Over the next twelve months, hundreds of men from every walk of life and industry were outed following allegations of wrongdoing. But did too much change—or not enough? Those questions hung in the air months later as Brett Kavanaugh was nominated to the Supreme Court, and Christine Blasey Ford came forward to testify that he had assaulted her decades earlier. Kantor and Twohey, who had unique access to Ford and her team, bring to light the odyssey that led her to come forward, the overwhelming forces that came to bear on her, and what happened after she shared her allegation with the world.
"In the tradition of great investigative journalism, She Said tells a thrilling story about the power of truth, with shocking new information from hidden sources. Kantor and Twohey describe not only the consequences of their reporting for the #MeToo movement, but the inspiring and affecting journeys of the women who spoke up—for the sake of other women, for future generations, and for themselves."
David Grann's Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI (Libro.fm | Bookshop.org)
From the publisher:
"In the 1920s the richest people per capita in the world were members of the Osage Indian nation in Oklahoma. After oil was discovered beneath their land, they rode in chauffeured automobiles, built mansions, and sent their children to study in Europe.
"Then, one by one, the Osage began to be killed off. The family of an Osage woman, Mollie Burkhart, became a prime target. Her relatives were shot and poisoned. And it was just the beginning, as more and more members of the tribe began to die under mysterious circumstances.
"In this last remnant of the Wild West - where oilmen like J. P. Getty made their fortunes and where desperadoes like Al Spencer, the 'Phantom Terror', roamed - many of those who dared to investigate the killings were themselves murdered. As the death toll climbed to more than 24, the FBI took up the case. It was one of the organization's first major homicide investigations, and the bureau badly bungled the case. In desperation the young director, J. Edgar Hoover, turned to a former Texas Ranger named Tom White to unravel the mystery. White put together an undercover team, including one of the only American Indian agents in the bureau. The agents infiltrated the region, struggling to adopt the latest techniques of detection. Together with the Osage they began to expose one of the most chilling conspiracies in American history.
"In Killers of the Flower Moon, David Grann revisits a shocking series of crimes in which dozens of people were murdered in cold blood. Based on years of research and startling new evidence, the book is a masterpiece of narrative nonfiction, as each step in the investigation reveals a series of sinister secrets and reversals. But more than that, it is a searing indictment of the callousness and prejudice toward American Indians that allowed the murderers to operate with impunity for so long. Killers of the Flower Moon is utterly compelling but also emotionally devastating."
Patrick Raden Keefe's Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland (Libro.fm | Bookshop.org)
From the publisher:
"In December 1972, Jean McConville, a thirty-eight-year-old mother of ten, was dragged from her Belfast home by masked intruders, her children clinging to her legs. They never saw her again. Her abduction was one of the most notorious episodes of the vicious conflict known as The Troubles. Everyone in the neighborhood knew the I.R.A. was responsible. But in a climate of fear and paranoia, no one would speak of it. In 2003, five years after an accord brought an uneasy peace to Northern Ireland, a set of human bones was discovered on a beach. McConville's children knew it was their mother when they were told a blue safety pin was attached to the dress--with so many kids, she had always kept it handy for diapers or ripped clothes. "Patrick Radden Keefe's mesmerizing book on the bitter conflict in Northern Ireland and its aftermath uses the McConville case as a starting point for the tale of a society wracked by a violent guerrilla war, a war whose consequences have never been reckoned with. The brutal violence seared not only people like the McConville children, but also I.R.A. members embittered by a peace that fell far short of the goal of a united Ireland, and left them wondering whether the killings they committed were not justified acts of war, but simple murders. From radical and impetuous I.R.A. terrorists such as Dolours Price, who, when she was barely out of her teens, was already planting bombs in London and targeting informers for execution, to the ferocious I.R.A. mastermind known as The Dark, to the spy games and dirty schemes of the British Army, to Gerry Adams, who negotiated the peace but betrayed his hardcore comrades by denying his I.R.A. past--Say Nothing conjures a world of passion, betrayal, vengeance, and anguish."
Sarah Perry's After the Eclipse: A Mother's Murder, A Daughter's Search (Libro.fm | Bookshop.org)
From the publisher:
"When Sarah Perry was twelve, she saw a partial eclipse; she took it as a good omen for her and her mother, Crystal. But that moment of darkness foreshadowed a much larger one: two days later, Crystal was murdered in their home in rural Maine.
""It took twelve years to find the killer. In that time, Sarah rebuilt her life amid abandonment, police interrogations, and the exacting toll of trauma. She dreamed of a trial, but when the day came, it brought no closure.
It was not her mother’s death she wanted to understand, but her life. She began her own investigation, one that drew her back to Maine, deep into the darkness of a small American town."
Ron Stallworth's Black Klansman: Race, Hate, and the Undercover Investigations of a Lifetime (Libro.fm | Bookshop.org)
From the publisher:
"When detective Ron Stallworth, the first Black detective in the history of the Colorado Springs Police Department, comes across a classified ad in the local paper asking for all those interested in joining the Ku Klux Klan to contact a PO box, Detective Stallworth does his job and responds with interest, using his real name while posing as a White man. He figures he’ll receive a few brochures in the mail, maybe even a magazine, and learn more about a growing terrorist threat in his community.
"A few weeks later the office phone rings, and the caller asks Ron a question he thought he’d never have to answer: 'Would you like to join our cause?' This is 1978, and the KKK is on the rise in the United States. Its Grand Wizard, David Duke, has made a name for himself, appearing on talk shows and in major magazine interviews preaching a “kinder” Klan that wants nothing more than to preserve a heritage and to restore a nation to its former glory.
"Ron answers the caller’s question that night with a yes, launching what is surely one of the most audacious and incredible undercover investigations in history. Ron recruits his partner, Chuck, to play the 'White' Ron Stallworth while Stallworth himself conducts all subsequent phone conversations. During the months-long investigation, Stallworth sabotages cross burnings, exposes white supremacists in the military, and even befriends David Duke himself.
Black Klansman is an amazing true story that unfolds like a crime thriller and a searing portrait of a divided America and the extraordinary heroes who dare to fight back."
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