What Happened to Paula by Katherine Dykstra

Katherine Dykstra’s What Happened to Paula: On the Death of an American Girl (Norton 2021) is a thoroughly researched and deeply personal account of a woman’s investigation into the death of a midwestern American teenager. It also discusses the through lines that Paula’s victimization has with women’s lives across time, including the author’s own. Late …

Continue reading What Happened to Paula by Katherine Dykstra

The Case of the Murderous Dr. Cream by Dean Jobb

The Case of the Murderous Dr. Cream: The Hunt for a Victorian Era Serial Killer (Harper Collins, 2021) by Dean Jobb is an excellent and comprehensive historical true crime narrative that integrates the crimes of one man into a social, political, and cultural context. Historically rich and shockingly poignant, Jobb’s text is not one to …

Continue reading The Case of the Murderous Dr. Cream by Dean Jobb

At Any Cost by Rebecca Rosenberg and Selim Algar

Even the most tragically familiar stories can devolve into shocking and unbelievable true crime cases. Part true crime narrative and part courtroom drama, At Any Cost: A Father’s Betrayal, A Wife’s Murder, and a Ten-Year War for Justice by Rebecca Rosenberg and Selim Algar (2021 St. Martin’s Press), recounts the worst results of domestic violence …

Continue reading At Any Cost by Rebecca Rosenberg and Selim Algar

The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson

My favorite nonfiction texts are those that place narratives about individuals in larger sociological contexts, because they draw the reader in on a human level and allow them to connect with larger-than-life stories. Not only does no other work of true crime do that better than The Devil in The White City: Murder, Magic, and …

Continue reading The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson

The Burning of Bridget Cleary by Angela Bourke

Angela Bourke’s The Burning of Bridget Cleary: A True Story (1999) chronicles the far from ordinary murder case of Bridget Cleary in rural County Tipperary, Ireland in March 1895. Gruesomely murdered by immolation on her own hearth by her husband, Michael Cleary, who, along with many of Bridget’s relatives and friends were present when she …

Continue reading The Burning of Bridget Cleary by Angela Bourke

Serial Killers at the Movies by Christopher Berry-Dee

The degree to which crime stories saturate our cultural (re)productions, especially in North America, is alternately fascinating and troubling. As writers and directors adapt from real-life tragedy, what do their films lose or gain in eliciting fear and revulsion in their viewers? What are the ethics of this complex process? Christopher Berry-Dee’s Serial Killers at …

Continue reading Serial Killers at the Movies by Christopher Berry-Dee