Blogtober (#20) | True Crime Must-Reads

6:00 AM

It's no secret that I consume a lot of true crime content. It's also no secret that I've been writing a novel on my aunt's murder. Which is why I wanted to include these books in my Blogtober posting lineup. I think it speaks for itself, really.

I never really had the luxury of a childhood spent not knowing the cruelty of life. It was always in the backdrop of my world, and it certainly shaped how I grew up.

You see, I was born just over three months after one of my father's sisters was murdered. In a string of shootings near my hometown, several lives were taken in the most brutal of ways. For my aunt, the time came shockingly as she and her co-worker stood outside their place of work, somewhere near midnight, waiting for my aunt's husband to arrive. It wouldn't be until January of 1991 that the killer was caught, but by then several lives would be extinguished by the acts of violence, and everyone left in the aftermath would be reeling from it for years to come.

I'll leave it at that, because that is for another time. And I'd rather focus on this section of non-fiction!

Consuming anything true crime related can be a bit of a complex experience. There are far too many people out there who sensationalize what has happened to victims and, in truth, write them as nothing more than victims. But, there is still so much good in the community--and these titles are amongst the good: the ones that tell the story, but don't allow these acts of violence to become a story.

The first true crime novels I ever picked up were In Cold Blood by the incomparable Truman Capote and A Rip in Heaven by Jeanine Cummins.

While In Cold Blood is a classic, A Rip in Heaven is the first novel of such a grim subject manner that felt... humane. When I read it in high school, I had this moment where I thought, "If I were to ever write about my aunt, this is how I'd want it to read." I think this ties entirely into the fact that Jeanine Cummins' family was the subject of her book, whereas Capote was the outsider and observer.

Not a lot else can be said about the topic I chose for today's entry. So, I think I'll lead into my list of recommendations with a quote. 

I think that this passage from Gillian Flynn's introduction for I'll Be Gone in the Dark says it all, when it comes to true crime, I love reading true crime, but I’ve always been aware of the fact that, as a reader, I am actively choosing to be a consumer of someone else’s tragedy. So like any responsible consumer, I try to be careful in the choices I make. I read only the best: writers who are dogged, insightful, and humane.
In Cold Blood (I have my issues with it, but it's a necessity to any TC list) | My Dark Places | The Blood of Emmett Till

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