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The Bookworm Sez

The Bookworm Sez

True Crime, Murder, and Mayhem books
c.2021, various publishers
$19.99 – $29.95
various page counts

Lockdown wasn’t all bad.

It gave you an opportunity to catch up on your favorite television, for one thing. You had a chance to reconnect with people, to learn new skills, or take up a new hobby. It gave you time to clean house, de-clutter, and find things you forgot. And all that time alone was good for making mischief, mayhem, and murder – at least in a book…

Readers who love true crime but don’t have time will be happy to find “She Kills Me: The True Stories of History’s Deadliest Women” by Jennifer Wright, illustrated by Eva Bee (Abrams Image, $19.99). In this book, you’ll read dozens of short but true accounts of cult queens, poisoners, Black Widows, torturers, and more. Some of the women may be familiar to you, while others will chill you with stories you’ve never heard before. This book also offers things to learn: how to tell someone’s a psychopath, when to spot a dangerous cult, and why divorce is better than a deadly alternative.

Speaking of wild women, you’ll be riveted by “America’s Femme Fatale: The Story of Serial Killer Belle Gunness” by Jane Simon Ammeson (Red Lightning Books, $20.00). More than a century has gone since Belle Gunness killed her first victim and she didn’t stop there. Belle went on to kill at least thirteen more people over the course of just over twenty years. Money was involved, of course, and she had a little bit of help now and then, but what’s creepiest about Belle are the circumstances of her death. And now you’ve gotta read the book…

Readers who love true crime books know that no collection is complete without a book by an M.E., which is why “Final Exams” by Cyril H. Wecht, M.D., J.D. and Dawna Kaufmann, foreword by Anne Rule (McFarland Exposit, $29.95) is the book to find. Here, in great detail are four cases that will put you on the edge of your seat because they start at the beginning and take you all the way to the legalities involved. You might know Wecht from his other works, or from appearances he’d done on the news. If you don’t, here’s a great introduction.

And finally, if you love true crime but you want something a little different, try “Love Lockdown: Dating, Sex, and Marriage in America’s Prisons” by Elizabeth Greenwood (Gallery Books, $27.00). What is it like to have a relationship with someone who was in prison when you met? What are the ramifications, physically, emotionally, and financially? Greenwood has a unique viewpoint in this book because she had a semi-relationship with a man in prison, and her outlook adds a lot to this fascinating, compassionate, totally eye-opening account.

If these books don’t satisfy your craving for crime, then be sure to ask your favorite librarian or bookseller for help. They’ll have books in mind that will keep you reading now and all winter; all you have to do is ask.
Oh, and be sure to lock the door…