Monday, May 03, 2010

Seven best true crime books

Sarah Weinman contributes to the Los Angeles Times, the Baltimore Sun, the New York Post and other publications; she blogs about books at Confessions of an Idiosyncratic Mind.

A character named "Sarah Weinman" appears in Michael Connelly's Echo Park, Robert Crais's Hostage, and Sparkle Hayter's Naked Brunch.

She named her best true crime books for The Daily Beast. One title on the list:
The Executioner's Song
by Norman Mailer, with Lawrence Schiller

Technically, this is "a true life novel", which allowed Mailer—who collaborated with long-time friend, writer, and literary executor Schiller on the research—to hedge his bets with regards to sticking entirely to facts and figures. But there is no repudiating the enormous scope, sweep, and power of The Executioner's Song, which reveals every nook and cranny relating to the troubled life and firing-squad death of Utah multiple murderer Gary Gilmore—the first person executed following the 1976 re-institution of the death penalty. Mailer gives voice to Gilmore's victims (dead and living), never shirks on details, and largely stays out of the way of the narrative, creating a multifaceted, disquieting portrait of a man who murdered instead of a monstrous caricature.
Read about another book on the list.

Also see: Ann Rule's five best true-crime books.

--Marshal Zeringue