?

Log in

No account? Create an account
April 2017   01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30
riddler

The Monday Poll - True crime stories

Posted on 2007.01.08 at 09:05
Tags: ,
Poll #902807 True crime stories.

True crime stories are...

morbid. I can't see how anyone could enjoy them.
0(0.0%)
mmm mmm mmm. My meat and potatoes.
0(0.0%)
too scary and gross. I don't like them.
1(6.2%)
aren't morbid. They're noir. The two are completely different.
0(0.0%)
the only true reality.
0(0.0%)
a giving into negativity.
0(0.0%)
a morality play warning us to watch our step.
1(6.2%)
fascinating glimpses into the human psyche.
3(18.8%)
darkly, utterly fascinating. You either get it or you don't.
1(6.2%)
only appeal to those who enjoy salaciousness and a break down in social order.
0(0.0%)
a chance to experience the dark side without getting your hands dirty.
0(0.0%)
a frank acknowledgement that the world is more dangerous than we like to admit.
1(6.2%)
headline-grabbing tickies!
0(0.0%)
Other (perpetrate in the comments)
0(0.0%)

Comments:


barbarienne
barbarienne at 2007-01-08 18:36 (UTC) (Link)
"All of the above, depending on the book."

I read one of these a month, because I have to work on them as part of my job. I would probably never pick one up outside of work, but I do think some of them are very interesting and well-written.

Mostly the previous paragraph is by way of establishing bona fides. What's crystal clear to me is that the quality of a true crime book depends heavily on the writer. Some are very well written--journalists tend to do a good job of making something fascinating without getting sensationalistic. (Well...some reporters are more in the National Enquirer mold and go for the overblown "Isn't this awful? But you can't look away!" approach.)

A good TC book will be a fascinating look at truly fucked-up psychology. It may also be an engaging mystery; some of the best TC books are like narratives from the POV of the investigators and prosecutors, much like watching Law and Order.

The best TC books also cover interesting cases. Not necessarily serial-murder or multi-murder cases; some of the person-murders-relative/spouse/neighbor cases can be quite good. Those are at least less, erm, creepy, in that the perpetrators are usually despicable people, but not psychopathic loons. It's also interesting (to me, anyway) to see what takes fairly normal people down the wackadoo road of murder. (That's the writer in my talking, I'm sure.)

The worst was one that crossed my desk several months ago, about a tourist who was murdered, and the person who was accused ultimately was aquitted. The actual murderer (assuming the aquitted person is genuinely not guilty) has never been found. That whole book didn't know what it wanted to be...a discussion of the case? An exoneration for the non-guilty suspect?
pjthompson
pjthompson at 2007-01-08 19:11 (UTC) (Link)
I admit to being fascinated, although I don't read a steady diet of these.

What's crystal clear to me is that the quality of a true crime book depends heavily on the writer.

Absolutely. Some can be pretty trashy, but but some achieve something much more important and universal.

The best I ever read was My Dark Places by James Ellroy, but that was more than just a true crime story (his mother's murder). It was a deeply noir and twisted coming of age story, a journey towards healing, as well as an investigation of a crime. And what I liked most of all was that Ellroy made absolutely no excuses for his own cruddy behavior--didn't try to blame it on his cruddy childhood, took full responsibility.

I'm currently reading Black Dahlia Avenger by Steve Hodel, a retired LAPD Homicide detective who accuses his own father, a prominent physician in 40s LA, of the deed and links him to a string of murders of women. Strange, Freudian in a way, but he does present a fairly convincing case to me (and James Ellroy, as it happens).

Not necessarily serial-murder or multi-murder cases; some of the person-murders-relative/spouse/neighbor cases can be quite good.

Yes, and the ones where someone thinks they're going to commit the perfect crime but do incredibly stupid things because they're apparently basing their behavior on what they've seen on TV. Criminal naivete is deeply fascinating.
java_fiend
java_fiend at 2007-01-08 19:14 (UTC) (Link)
I read one of these a month, because I have to work on them as part of my job.

Interesting. What do you do for a living?

I enjoy a good true crime book now and again. I think it's interesting reading. I really enjoyed a book called "The Evil that Men Do" by Roy Hazelwood. That was an interesting look at serial killers from the mind of a profiler.
barbarienne
barbarienne at 2007-01-08 22:02 (UTC) (Link)
I'm a design manager, which means I see to the design and typesetting of the interiors of books. We do one TC book a month. Basically, it crosses my desk and I have to go through it at least a little, and if it's any good, I'll pretty much read it.
java_fiend
java_fiend at 2007-01-08 22:33 (UTC) (Link)
Oh that sounds like a very cool gig. Right on. And hey, it probably saves you a ton of money on book purchase. :-)
Previous Entry  Next Entry