West Bloomfield Township Public Library
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True Crime

True stories of murder, mayhem, and mystery. Read these with the lights on!

Chase darkness with me : how one true-crime writer started solving murders by Jensen, Billy

Have you ever wanted to solve a murder? Gather the clues the police overlooked? Put together the pieces? Identify the suspect? Journalist Billy Jensen spent 15 years investigating unsolved murders, fighting for the families of victims. Every story he wrote had one thing in common - it didn't have an ending. The killer was still out there. But after the sudden death of a friend, crime writer Michelle McNamara, Billy became fed up. Following a dark night, he came up with a plan. A plan to investigate past the point when the cops have given up. A plan to solve the murders himself. In Chase Darkness with Me, you'll ride shotgun as Billy identifies the Halloween Mask Murderer, finds a missing girl in the California Redwoods, and investigates the only other murder in New York City on 9/11. You'll hear intimate details of the hunts for two of the most terrifying serial killers in history: his friend Michelle's pursuit of the Golden State Killer which is chronicled in I'll Be Gone In The Dark which Billy helped finish after Michelle's passing, and his own quest to find the murderer of the Allenstown 4 family. And Billy gives you the tools - and the rules - to help solve murders yourself. Gripping, complex, unforgettable, Chase Darkness with Me is an examination of the evil forces that walk among us, illustrating a novel way to catch those killers, and a true crime narrative unlike any you've listened to before.

The fact of a body : a murder and a memoir by Marzano-Lesnevich, Alexandria

"This book is a marvel. The Fact of a Body is equal parts gripping and haunting and will leave you questioning whether any one story can hold the full truth." -- Celeste Ng, author of the New York Times bestselling Everything I Never Told You Before. Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich begins a summer job at a law firm in Louisiana, working to help defend men accused of murder, she thinks her position is clear. The child of two lawyers, she is staunchly anti-death penalty. But the moment convicted murderer Ricky Langley's face flashes on the screen as she reviews old tapes -- the moment she hears him speak of his crimes -- she is overcome with the feeling of wanting him to die. Shocked by her reaction, she digs deeper and deeper into the case. Despite their vastly different circumstances, something in his story is unsettlingly, uncannily familiar. Crime, even the darkest and most unsayable acts, can happen to any one of us. As Alexandria pores over the facts of the murder, she finds herself thrust into the complicated narrative of Ricky's childhood"--

The phantom prince : my life with Ted Bundy by Kendall, Elizabeth

An expanded edition of the harrowing true-crime memoir that has inspired feature and documentary films on Ted Bundy. The Phantom Prince is the riveting true account of Elizabeth Kendall's intimate six-year relationship with Ted Bundy, one of the most notorious serial killers in American history. In this page-turning memoir of their time together originally published in 1981 and newly updated and expanded, Kendall paints a vivid portrait of the other Ted Bundy, the dashing, easygoing man who won her heart, who somehow hid from those closest to him a hideous capacity for evil. This is propulsive reading: as Liz's story unfolds, she begins to see alarming similarities between Ted, with whom she is deeply in love, and the man wanted by the police for murder in Washington State and Utah. Twice she goes to the police with her suspicions, and twice she is reassured that he has been checked out and isn't the man they are after. Still, her inner voice will not rest, and for nearly four years she lies with the torment that the man she loves might be a killer. Included here for the first time is 'Molly's Story,' a first-person narrative by Liz' daughter, who viewed Bundy as a father figure between the ages of three and ten. Liz and Molly somehow escaped the tragic fate of so many of the women who crossed Bundy's path. They were left instead to reconcile the devastation of finding out that the man they adored really was a monster. As much as has been written about Ted Bundy, it's remarkable to her the perspective of people who shared their daily lives with him for years. Featuring a new introduction and afterword by the author, never-before-seen photos, and Molly's startling account, this gripping book offers unique insights into a charismatic personality that masked unimaginable darkness

Furious hours : murder, fraud, and the last trial of Harper Lee by Cep, Casey N

""A triumph on every level. One of the losses to literature is that Harper Lee never found a way to tell a gothic true-crime story she'd spent years researching. Casey Cep has excavated this mesmerizing story and tells it with grace and insight and a fierce fidelity to the truth." --David Grann, best-selling author of Killers of the Flower Moon The stunning story of an Alabama serial killer and the true-crime book that Harper Lee worked on obsessively in the years after To Kill a Mockingbird. Reverend Willie Maxwell was a rural preacher accused of murdering five of his family members for insurance money in the 1970s. With the help of a savvy lawyer, he escaped justice for years until a relative shot him dead at the funeral of his last victim. Despite hundreds of witnesses, Maxwell's murderer was acquitted--thanks to the same attorney who had previously defended the Reverend. Sitting in the audience during the vigilante's trial was Harper Lee, who had traveled from New York City to her native Alabama with the idea of writing her own In Cold Blood, the true-crime classic she had helped her friend Truman Capote research seventeen years earlier. Lee spent a year in town reporting, and many more working on her own version of the case. Now Casey Cep brings this nearly inconceivable story to life, from the shocking murders to the courtroom drama to the racial politics of the Deep South. At the same time, she offers a deeply moving portrait of one of the country's most beloved writers and her struggle with fame, success, and the mystery of artistic creativity"--

The kill jar : obsession, descent, and a hunt for Detroit's most notorious serial killer by Appelman, J

Enthralling. Gripping. Cinematic. Raw. A cold case murder investigation paced like a podcast, as visually stunning as a film, and as brave and personal as our darkest memoirs. J. Reuben Appelman cracks open one of America's most notorious murder sprees while simultaneously banging the gavel on his own history with violence. A deftly-crafted true crime story with grit, set amid the decaying sprawl of Detroit and its outliers

I'll be gone in the dark : one woman's obsessive search for the Golden State Killer by McNamara, Michelle

"A masterful true crime account of the Golden State Killer-- the elusive serial rapist turned murderer who terrorized California for over a decade-- from Michelle McNamara, the gifted journalist who died tragically while investigating the case. For more than ten years, a mysterious and violent predator committed fifty sexual assaults in Northern California before moving south, where he perpetrated ten sadistic murders. Then he disappeared, eluding capture by multiple police forces and some of the best detectives in the area. Three decades later, Michelle McNamara, a true crime journalist who created the popular website TrueCrimeDiary.com, was determined to find the violent psychopath she called "the Golden State Killer." Michelle pored over police reports, interviewed victims, and embedded herself in the online communities that were as obsessed with the case as she was. At the time of the crimes, the Golden State Killer was between the ages of eighteen and thirty, Caucasian, and athletic-- capable of vaulting tall fences. He always wore a mask. After choosing a victim-- he favored suburban couples-- he often entered their home when no one was there, studying family pictures, mastering the layout. He attacked while they slept, using a flashlight to awaken and blind them. Though they could not recognize him, his victims recalled his voice: a guttural whisper through clenched teeth, abrupt and threatening."--Amazon.com

The feather thief : beauty, obsession, and the natural history heist of the century by Johnson, Kirk W

On a cool June evening in 2009, after performing a concert at London's Royal Academy of Music, 20-year-old American flautist Edwin Rist boarded a train for a suburban outpost of the British Museum of Natural History. Home to one of the largest ornithological collections in the world, the Tring museum was full of rare bird specimens whose gorgeous feathers were worth staggering amounts of money to the men who shared Edwin's obsession: the Victorian art of salmon fly-tying. Once inside the museum, the champion fly-tier grabbed hundreds of bird skins - some collected 150 years earlier by a contemporary of Darwin's, Alfred Russel Wallace, who'd risked everything to gather them - and escaped into the darkness.

Bad blood : secrets and lies in a Silicon Valley startup by Carreyrou, John

"The full inside story of the breathtaking rise and shocking collapse of a multibillion-dollar startup, by the prize-winning journalist who first broke the story and pursued it to the end in the face of pressure and threats from the CEO and her lawyers. In 2014, Theranos founder and CEO Elizabeth Holmes was widely seen as the female Steve Jobs: a brilliant Stanford dropout whose startup "unicorn" promised to revolutionize the medical industry with a machine that would make blood tests significantly faster and easier. Backed by investors such as Larry Ellison and Tim Draper, Theranos sold shares in a fundraising round that valued the company at $9 billion, putting Holmes's worth at an estimated $4.7 billion. There was just one problem: The technology didn't work. For years, Holmes had been misleading investors, FDA officials, and her own employees. When Carreyrou, working at The Wall Street Journal, got a tip from a former Theranos employee and started asking questions, both Carreyrou and the Journal were threatened with lawsuits. Undaunted, the newspaper ran the first of dozens of Theranos articles in late 2015. By early 2017, the company's value was zero and Holmes faced potential legal action from the government and her investors. Here is the rivetingstory of the biggest corporate fraud since Enron, a disturbing cautionary tale set amid the bold promises and gold-rush frenzy of Silicon Valley"--

Beneath a ruthless sun : a true story of violence, race, and justice lost and found by King, Gilbert

In January 1957, Blanche Bosanquet Knowles, the wealthy young wife of a citrus baron, is raped in her home while her husband is away. She says a 'husky Negro' did it, and Lake County's infamously racist sheriff, Willis McCall, has no hesitation in rounding up a herd of suspects matching that description, alibis be damned. But within days they are released, and instead the crime is pinned on Jesse Daniels, a slight white nineteen-year-old with the mental capacity of a six-year-old. His parents' every attempt to secure him competent legal representation fails, and he is packed up north to the Florida State Hospital for the Insane, where he will languish for more than thirteen years. But facts are stubborn things, especially in the hands of a crusading journalist named Mabel Norris Reese, a heroine of Devil in the Grove. She recruits to the cause an inexperienced young lawyer named Richard Graham, who learns quickly from his fearless mentor

Yellow Bird : oil, murder, and a woman's search for justice in Indian country by Murdoch, Sierra Crane

"When Lissa Yellow Bird was released from prison in 2009, she found her home, the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation in North Dakota, transformed by the Bakken oil boom. In her absence, the landscape had been altered beyond recognition, her tribal government swayed by corporate interests, and her community burdened by a surge in violence and addiction. Three years later, when Lissa learned that a young white oil worker, Kristopher 'KC' Clarke, had disappeared from his reservation worksite, she became particularly concerned. No one knew where Clarke had gone, and no one but his mother was actively looking for him. Unfolding like a gritty mystery, Yellow Bird traces Lissa's steps as she obsessively hunts for clues to Clarke's disappearance. She navigates twoworlds -- that of her own tribe, changed by its newfound wealth, and that of the non-Native oil workers, down on their luck, who have come to find work on the heels of the economic recession. Her pursuit becomes an effort at redemption -- an atonement forher own crimes and a reckoning with generations of trauma. Yellow Bird is both an exquisitely written, masterfully reported story about a search for justice and a remarkable portrait of a complex woman who is smart, funny, eloquent, compassionate, and --when it serves her cause -- manipulative. Ultimately, it is a deep examination of the legacy of systematic violence inflicted on a tribal nation and a tale of extraordinary healing"--

Chaos : Charles Manson, the CIA, and the secret history of the sixties by O'Neill, Tom

A journalist's twenty-year obsession with the Manson murders brings shocking revelations about the most infamous crimes in American history: carelessness from police, misconduct by prosecutors, and even potential surveillance by intelligence agents. What really happened in 1969? In 1999, when Tom O'Neill was assigned a magazine piece about the thirtieth anniversary of the Manson murders, he worried there was nothing new to say. Were not the facts indisputable? Charles Manson had ordered his teenage followers to commit seven brutal murders, and in his thrall, they had gladly complied. But when O'Neill began reporting the story, he kept finding holes in the prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi's narrative, long enshrined in the best-selling Helter Skelter. Before long, O'Neill had questions about everything from the motive to the manhunt. Though he would never considered himself a conspiracy theorist, the Manson murders swallowed the next two decades of his career

If you tell : a true story of murder, family secrets, and the unbreakable bond of sisterhood by Olsen, Gregg

"After more than a decade, when sisters Nikki, Sami, and Tori Knotek hear the word mom, it claws like an eagle’s talons, triggering memories that have been their secret since childhood. Until now. For years, behind the closed doors of their farmhouse in Raymond, Washington, their sadistic mother, Shelly, subjected her girls to unimaginable abuse, degradation, torture, and psychic terrors. Through it all, Nikki, Sami, and Tori developed a defiant bond that made them far less vulnerable than Shelly imagined. Even as others were drawn into their mother’s dark and perverse web, the sisters found the strength and courage to escape an escalating nightmare that culminated in multiple murders. Harrowing and heartrending, If You Tell is a survivor’s story of absolute evil—and the freedom and justice that Nikki, Sami, and Tori risked their lives to fight for. Sisters forever, victims no more, they found a light in the darkness that made them the resilient women they are today—loving, loved, and moving on." --book jacket

Say nothing : a true story of murder and memory in Northern Ireland by Keefe, Patrick Radden

""Meticulously reported, exquisitely written, and grippingly told, Say Nothing is a work of revelation." --David Grann, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Killers of the Flower Moon From award-winning New Yorker staff writer Patrick Radden Keefe, astunning, intricate narrative about a notorious killing in Northern Ireland and its devastating repercussions In December 1972, Jean McConville, a thirty-eight-year-old mother of ten, was dragged from her Belfast home by masked intruders, her children clinging to her legs. They never saw her again. Her abduction was one of the most notorious episodes of the vicious conflict known as The Troubles. Everyone in the neighborhood knew the I.R.A. was responsible. But in a climate of fear and paranoia, no one would speak of it. In 2003, five years after an accord brought an uneasy peace to Northern Ireland, a set of human bones was discovered on a beach. McConville's children knew it was their mother when they were told a blue safety pin was attached to the dress--with so many kids, McConville always kept it handy for diapers or ripped clothes. Patrick Radden Keefe's mesmerizing book on the bitter conflict in Northern Ireland and its aftermath uses the McConville case as a starting point for the tale of a society wracked by a violent guerrilla war, a war whose consequences have never been reckoned with. The brutal violence seared not only people like the McConville children, but also I.R.A. members embittered by a peace that fell far short of the goal of a united Ireland, and left them wondering whether the killings they committed were not justified acts of war, but simple murders. From radical and impetuous I.R.A. terrorists--or volunteers, depending on which side one was on--such as Dolours Price, who, whenshe was barely out of her teens, was already planting bombs in London and targeting informers for execution, to the ferocious I.R.A. mastermind known as The Dark, to the spy games and dirty schemes of the British Army, to Gerry Adams, who negotiated the peace and denied his I.R.A. past, betraying his hardcore comrades--Say Nothing conjures a world of passion, betrayal, vengeance, and anguish"--

The girl on the velvet swing : sex, murder, and madness at the dawn of the twentieth century by Baatz, Simon

A chronicle of the events surrounding the 1906 murder trial of millionaire Harry Thaw details the victimization of teen actress Evelyn Nesbit and Thaw's vengeance-fueled, public murder of legendary architect Stanford White.

Tinderbox : the untold story of the Up Stairs Lounge fire and the rise of gay liberation by Fieseler, Robert W

A reconstruction of the 1973 fire that devastated New Orleans' subterranean gay community describes how the Up Stairs Lounge and dozens of innocent patrons were targeted in what became a catalyzing event in the gay liberation movement.

Conan Doyle for the defense : the true story of a sensational British murder, a quest for justice, and the world's most famous detective writer by Fox, Margalit

"In this thrilling true-crime procedural, the creator of Sherlock Holmes uses his unparalleled detective skills to exonerate a German Jew wrongly convicted of murder. For all the scores of biographies of Arthur Conan Doyle, creator of the most famous detective in the world, there is no American book that tells this remarkable story--in which Conan Doyle becomes a real-life detective on an actual murder case. In Conan Doyle for the Defense, Margalit Fox takes us step-by-step inside Conan Doyle's investigative process and illuminates a murder mystery that is also a morality play for our time--a story of ethnic, religious, and anti-immigrant bias. In 1908, a wealthy woman was brutally murdered in her Glasgow home. The police found a convenient suspect in Oscar Slater--an immigrant Jewish cardsharp--who, despite his innocence, was tried, convicted, and consigned to life at hard labor in a brutal Scottish prison. Conan Doyle, already world famous as the creator of Sherlock Holmes, was outraged by this injustice and became obsessed with the case. Using the methods of his most famous character, he scoured trial transcripts, newspaper accounts, and eyewitness statements, meticulously noting myriad holes, inconsistencies, and outright fabrications by police andprosecutors. Finally, in 1927, his work won Slater's freedom. Margalit Fox, a celebrated longtime writer for The New York Times, has "a nose for interesting facts, the ability to construct a taut narrative arc, and a Dickens-level gift for concisely conveying personality" (Kathryn Schulz, New York). In Conan Doyle for the Defense, she immerses readers in the science of Edwardian crime detection and illuminates a watershed moment in the history of forensics, when reflexive prejudice began to be replaced by reason and the scientific method"--

The royal art of poison : filthy palaces, fatal cosmetics, deadly medicine, and murder most foul by Herman, Eleanor

"The story of poison is the story of power. For centuries, royal families have feared the gut-roiling, vomit-inducing agony of a little something added to their food or wine by an enemy. . . Ironically, royals terrified of poison were unknowingly poisoning themselves daily with their cosmetics, medications, and filthy living conditions. . . . In The Royal Art of Poison, Eleanor Herman combines her unique access to royal archives with cutting-edge forensic discoveries to tell the true story of Europe’s glittering palaces: one of medical bafflement, poisonous cosmetics, ever-present excrement, festering natural illness, and, sometimes, murder" -- publisher.

Lady killers : deadly women throughout history by Telfer, Tori

"In 1998, an FBI profiler infamously declared in a homicide conference, 'There are no female serial killers'--but Lady Killers offers fourteen creepy examples to the contrary."--Page 4 of cover.

Who killed these girls? : cold case : the yogurt shop murders by Lowry, Beverly

A masterful account of a horrible crime: the murder of four girls, countless other ruined lives, and the evolving complications of the justice system that frustrated the massive attempts--for twenty-five years now--to find and punish those who committed it. The facts are brutally straightforward. On December 6, 1991, the naked, bound-and-gagged bodies of the four girls--each one shot in the head--were found in an I Can't Believe It's Yogurt! shop in Austin, Texas. Grief, shock, and horror spread out from their families and friends to overtake the city itself. Though all branches of law enforcement were brought to bear, the investigation was often misdirected and after eight years only two men (then teenagers) were tried; moreover, their subsequent convictions were eventually overturned, and Austin PD detectives are still working on what is now a very cold case.

Helter skelter : the true story of the Manson murders by Bugliosi, Vincent

Prosecuting Attorney in the Manson trial, Vincent Bugliosi held a unique insider's position in one of the most baffling and horrifying cases of the twentieth century: the cold-blooded Tate-LaBianca murders carried out by Charles Manson and four of his followers. What motivated Manson in his seemingly mindless selection of victims, and what was his hold over the young women who obeyed his orders? Here is the gripping story of this famous and haunting crime

Dead wrong : the continuing story of city of lies, corruption and cover-up in the Notorious B.I.G. murder investigation by Sullivan, Randall

"Dead Wrong chronicles the last sixteen years in the B.I.G. investigations and the Christopher Wallace Estate's wrongful death lawsuit against the City of Los Angeles" -- From book jacket.

The death of an heir : Adolph Coors III and the murder that rocked an American beer dynasty by Jett, Philip

Recounts the true story behind the February 1960 abduction and murder of Ad Coors III, the CEO of the multimillion-dollar Colorado beer empire, which triggered the largest U.S. manhunt since the Lindbergh kidnapping
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