A brilliant anthology of modern true-crime writing that illustrates the appeal of this powerful and popular genre, edited and curated by Sarah Weinman, the award-winning author of The Real Lolita
The appeal of true-crime stories has never been higher. With podcasts like My Favorite Murder and In the Dark, bestsellers like I’ll Be Gone in the Dark and Furious Hours, and TV hits like American Crime Story and Wild Wild Country, the cultural appetite for stories of real people doing terrible things is insatiable.
Acclaimed author ofThe Real Lolitaand editor of Women Crime Writers: Eight Suspense Novels of the 1940s & 50s (Library of America) and Troubled Daughters, Twisted Wives (Penguin), Sarah Weinman brings together an exemplary collection of recent true crime tales. She culls together some of the most refreshing and exciting contemporary journalists and chroniclers of crime working today. Michelle Dean’s “Dee Dee Wanted Her Daughter To Be Sick” went viral when it first published and is the basis for the TV showThe Act and Pamela Colloff’s “The Reckoning,” is the gold standard for forensic journalism. There are 13 pieces in all and as a collection, they showcase writing about true crime across the broadest possible spectrum, while also reflecting what makes crime stories so transfixing and irresistible to the modern reader.
Weinman (The Real Lolita: The Kidnapping of Sally Horner and the Novel That Scandalized the World) provides a worthy successor to the Best American Crime Reporting annual series in this thoughtful and wide-ranging true crime anthology, which includes 13 previously published essays. The recent shift in reporting such stories from the victim's perspective is exemplified in the deeply sad retelling of the 1966 University of Texas mass shooting, Pamela Colloff's "The Reckoning: The Story of Claire Wilson." Wilson was seriously injured by the sniper who carried out a shooting spree from the UT Tower, killing Wilson's boyfriend and the baby she was carrying at the time. Sarah Marshall's disturbing "The End of Evil" details her struggle to decide whether serial killer Ted Bundy should be thought of as belonging "to a separate species from the rest of us." And in an era when true crime podcasts and TV shows continue to proliferate, Alice Bolin's "The Ethical Dilemma of Highbrow True Crime" details the problems of such popular fare, which often contains unverified and potentially libelous speculations. The superior quality of these essays begs for future volumes.