Wednesday, February 04, 2015

Great True Crime Reads for Serial Fans

This holiday season millions of listeners downloaded the podcast Serial, making the series the most popular podcast in history and creating new converts to the true-crime genre. Serial, a spin-off from the creators of “This American Life," is an investigative podcast that examines a new case each season. In 2014 the show dove into the murky waters surrounding the 1999 murder of Baltimore County high school student Hae Min Lee. Lee’s ex-boyfriend Adnan Syed was swiftly convicted of her murder and is currently serving out a life sentence in prison. Serial’s stylish, yet thoughtful episodes take listeners deep into the often conflicting details of a case that proved addictive for the show’s fans.  

So while you’re waiting for Season 2 to air later in 2015, check out some of the library’s true-crime offerings:

In Cold Blood: A True Account of a Multiple Murder and Its Consequences. Truman Capote pioneered the use of fictional devices to enhance true-crime reporting. This classic tale covers gruesome 1959 murders in a small town in Kansas.

The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America. Erik Larson's detailed account of the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago alternates between the architect of the fair and a disturbing serial killer who set up a macabre “World’s Fair Hotel” nearby. 

Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil: A Savannah Story. John Berendt takes you on a tour of the eccentric characters that populate this southern city. He looks into the trial of socialite Jim Williams for the murder of his sometimes companion Danny Hansford.

Sebastian Junger's book A Death In Belmont looks at the case of a young, black man who is speedily convicted of a 1963 murder. However, the crime bears all the hallmarks of the serial killer Albert DeSalvo, better known as the Boston Strangler.

Popular Crime: Reflections on the Celebration of Violence by Bill James is a breezy walk through some of history’s most sensational crimes and the impact they have had on our culture.

John Grisham’s The Innocent Man: Murder and Injustice in a Small Town is a gripping account of a 1982 conviction overturned in 1999 with the help of the Innocence Project due to DNA evidence.

-Susan Ranieri, Vladimir Shutov and Rebecca Wolff, Fairfax County Public Library 

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