Slenderman by Kathleen Hale

Kathleen Hale’s Slenderman: Online Obsession, Mental Illness, and the Violent Crimes of Two Midwestern Girls (Grove Atlantic, 2022) is a balanced, well-researched, and thoughtful account of an extremely sensational case and its even more sensational aftermath. What became known as the “Slenderman Stabbings” started with two pre-teen girls and an internet obsession with the horror website Creepypasta …

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The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher by Kate Summerscale 

Later made into a popular British miniseries of the same name, Kate Summerscale’s The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher: A Shocking Murder and the Undoing of a Great Victorian Detective (Bloomsbury, 2009) delivers an intensely thorough analysis of a real 1860 murder case that had a profound impact in Britain. On the morning of 30 June 1860, it …

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Roll Red Roll by Nancy Schwartzman

Roll Red Roll: Rape, Power, and Football in the American Heartland (Hachette Books 2022) by Nancy Schwartzman was a title that was immediately intriguing to me because I had seen the feature documentary Roll Red Roll (2018), directed and produced by Schwartzman. The documentary, like the book, depicts a rape committed, filmed, photographed, and posted on the internet by …

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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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