The Castleton Massacre by Sharon Anne Cook and Margaret Carson

As an in-depth and harrowing exploration of a little-known Canadian crime, The Castleton Massacre: Survivors’ Stories of the Killins Femicide by Sharon Anne Cook and Margaret Carson is one of the best true crime texts published this year and is not to be missed by readers. Authored by Margaret Carson, who miraculously survived the Castleton …

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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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