A True Victorian Murder Mystery Set in a “Dollhouse”

Book review: The Lady in the Cellar, by Sinclair McKay Book Depository Number 4, Euston Square, seemingly so prosperous, well-run and attractive, was a boarding house filled with unease; a house that was restless at night; a house with secrets. Soon it would seem like a gigantic doll’s house, open to examination by the entire nation. In Victorian London in 1879, a macabre discovery was … Continue reading A True Victorian Murder Mystery Set in a “Dollhouse”

A Reporter’s Cold Case Obsession

Book review: Amy: My Search for Her Killer, by James Renner (Book Depository) How long does it take a crime to become legend? Does it vary based on circumstances, on affluence? If the Bay Village police charged someone in Amy’s death after sixteen years, would anyone really believe it? Or has so much time passed that the residents of this quiet suburb will stick to … Continue reading A Reporter’s Cold Case Obsession

Unraveling a Life of Deceit

Book review: The Adversary, by Emmanuel Carrere Book Depository It should have been warm and cozy, that family life. They thought it was warm and cozy. But he knew that it was rotten at the core, that not one moment, not one gesture, not even their slumbers had escaped this rot that had grown within him, gradually eating everything away from inside without showing anything on … Continue reading Unraveling a Life of Deceit

Did a Priest Murder a Nun, and Did the Catholic Church Cover it Up?

Book review: Sin, Shame & Secrets, by David Yonke On Holy Saturday in 1980, the day before Easter Sunday, elderly nun Sister Margaret Ann Pahl was found murdered in the sacristy of Mercy Hospital in Toledo, Ohio. She’d been strangled with an altar cloth and her body bore stab wounds in the shape of an inverted cross. Blood on her forehead appeared to mimic anointing. … Continue reading Did a Priest Murder a Nun, and Did the Catholic Church Cover it Up?

The Interstate and the Murderer

Book review: Killer on the Road, by Ginger Strand America became more violent and more mobile at the same time. Were they linked? Did highways lead to highway violence? Yes and no. More highways meant more travel, more movement, more anonymity—all conducive to criminality. Highway users could become easy victims: stranded motorists, hitchhikers, drifters, and truck stop prostitutes were vulnerable to roving predators. But most … Continue reading The Interstate and the Murderer

An Austrian Serial Killer: The Strange Story of “Rehabilitated” Murderer Jack Unterweger

Book review: The Vienna Woods Killer, by John Leake John Leake, an American writer who lived nearly a decade in Vienna, wrote this definitive account of Austrian serial killer Jack Unterweger. Unterweger’s is quite the interesting story, not least because the crime of serial murder is far from common in Austria. Combined with his background of alleged rehabilitation and crime spree across Austria and internationally, … Continue reading An Austrian Serial Killer: The Strange Story of “Rehabilitated” Murderer Jack Unterweger

An Intriguing Cold Case and an Exhausting Memoir

Book review: The Kill Jar, by J. Reuben Appelman Amazon Over about a year spanning 1976-1977, at least four children were killed in Detroit’s Oakland County by a serial killer clunkily dubbed the Oakland County Child Killer, or OCCK. The case remains officially unsolved, but as J. Reuben Appelman lays out in this true crime narrative cum memoir, that’s not for lack of information, plenty … Continue reading An Intriguing Cold Case and an Exhausting Memoir

An Unflinching Look at An FBI Career in Crimes Against Kids

In the Name of the Children, by Jeffrey Rinek (Amazon / Book Depository) Jeffrey Rinek, retired FBI agent and owner of a majestic mustache, writes a memoir detailing cases he worked during his career, particularly in the area of child sex crimes and the infamous Yosemite murders, where three tourists (Carole and Juli Sund and Silvina Pelosso) were abducted and murdered, leaving behind a particularly bizarre … Continue reading An Unflinching Look at An FBI Career in Crimes Against Kids

Arguing Against “Incomprehensible” When a Mother is Responsible

Book review: To the Bridge, by Nancy Rommelmann Book Depository Journalist and author Nancy Rommelmann found herself captivated by a disturbing news story. Young mother Amanda Stott-Smith had, in the early morning hours of May 23, 2009, driven to the Sellwood Bridge in Portland, Oregon and dropped her two young children into the Willamette River below. The elder of the two, seven-year-old Trinity, survived. Four-year-old … Continue reading Arguing Against “Incomprehensible” When a Mother is Responsible

America’s Dead Girl Fixation and Other Obsessions

Book review: Dead Girls, by Alice Bolin (Amazon / Book Depository) Alice Bolin’s debut essay collection opens with a strong and intriguing premise: what is this obsession America (and beyond) has with dead girls? The murdered or missing blonde white ones of media frenzies; the ones that get forgotten after serving as engines for outrage in programs like Serial; the innocent and martyred ones (or else … Continue reading America’s Dead Girl Fixation and Other Obsessions

Double Life in Detroit

Book review: Masquerade, by Lowell Cauffiel (psst – $1.99 ebook alert at that link) Masquerade is one of those cliched un-put-downable books, pretty perfect if you want somewhat trashy-themed but still literary nonfiction. It’s the detailed account of Dr. Alan Canty, a respected psychologist from Grosse Pointe, an affluent and exclusive Detroit suburb, and his involvement in a seedier side of life via a bizarre … Continue reading Double Life in Detroit

A Story of a Crime, Sort Of

Book review: Love and Death in the Sunshine State, by Cutter Wood (Amazon / Book Depository) While staying in a motel on the island of Anna Maria in Florida, graduate writing student Cutter Wood witnesses the search for a missing woman, who happens to be one of the motel’s owners, as it begins to ramp up and intensify. Fascinated by the mystery, as I think … Continue reading A Story of a Crime, Sort Of