The Ballad of Jacob Peck by Debra Komar

Debra Komar’s The Ballad of Jacob Peck (Goose Lane, 2013) is a noteworthy attempt to resurrect one of New Brunswick’s earliest murder cases from the murkiness of the historical record and the well-meaning, but often inaccurate retellings of amateur historians over the decades. In the bleak early months of 1805, self-styled preacher Jacob Peck arrived …

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22 Murders by Paul Palango

Paul Palango’s 22 Murders: Investigating the Massacres, Cover-Up, and Obstacles to Justice in Nova Scotia (Random House Canada 2022) is an extremely detailed account of the mass murder of twenty-two people in the most unlikely of places: Portapique, Nova Scotia. The perpetrator, Gabriel Wortman, was on the loose for twelve hours, shooting rural Nova Scotia residents in …

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The Madman in the Woods by Jamie Gehring

Jamie Gehring’s new book, The Madman in the Woods: Life Next Door to the Unabomber (Diversion Books, 2022),combines classic elements of memoir and true crime in the latest take on the Unabomber and his crimes. The text focuses primarily on Jamie Gehring’s personal experiences with Ted Kaczynski, more prominently known as the Unabomber. Gehring grew …

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The Scandalous Hamiltons by Bill Shaffer

In his forthcoming work, The Scandalous Hamiltons: A Gilded Age Grifter, a Founding Father’s Disgraced Descendant, and a Trial at the Dawn of Tabloid Journalism (Citadel Press, 2022), author Bill Shaffer recounts the riveting true tale that captured the attention of American newspaper readers from coast to coast during the final decade of the nineteenth …

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The Women’s House of Detention by Hugh Ryan

Hugh Ryan’s new social history, The Women’s House of Detention: A Queer History of a Forgotten Prison, is one of the most important books published this year. Equal parts true crime, queer artifact, American history, and societal critique, The Women’s House of Detention (Bold Type Books 2022) is a must-read. Ryan’s book details the history …

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Murder by the Book by Claire Harman

Both true crime enthusiasts and Victorian literature lovers alike will want to read Claire Harman’s Murder by the Book: The Crime that Shocked Dickens’s London (Knopf, 2019), which provides equal helpings of salacious criminals and well-known literary figures. Centered around the murder of aged statesman Lord William Russell in May 1840, Harman traces the criminal …

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