Hank Howls For Quality True Crime Books


hankshowlsfinalIt is time to get specific on suggesting books that discuss the evil which lurks in men’s souls.  Okay women, before you get all in a huff, I want to go on record as saying that females are just as evil as males.  I don’t actually believe that, but I want to go on record as saying it.  When it comes to serial killing and other such murderous activities, men are far and away the dominant gender.  I am not bragging, just stating a fact.

It is a little embarrassing to admit that serial killers and others with  twisted, predatory mindsets have always fascinated me.  What did they do?  Why did they do it?  How did they get that way?  How did they get caught?  Can they be cured?

There is no shortage of true crime to read, however, there is a wide spectrum in the quality of books in that genre.  If you see a book, usually a paperback, whose cover promises in large red letters to contain sixteen pages of bloody photographs, you can expect a book that was hastily written with little research done. It will probably contain few  if any insights into the background or personalities of the victims, law enforcers or perpetrators.  As is always the case, readers will get much more out of a book which is well researched and written with care.

Here is a list of true crime which I have read and enjoyed:

Helter Skelter by Vincent Bugliosi     The number 1 best selling true crime book ever tells the story of how Charles Manson convinced his band of followers to kill at least ten people during the late 1960′s.  Manson, his devotees, the murders and the trial are all fascinating.

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote     The details of the Clutter family murders in rural Kansas are told in detail.  Over a six year period, Truman Capote and Harper Lee, author of To Kill a Mockingbird, traveled to Holcomb, Kansas to talk to townspeople and to the Kansas State Penitentiary to interview the murderers.

The Stranger Beside Me by Ann Rule     While working as a volunteer at a crises hotline center, Rule rubbed elbows with a charming co-worker named Ted Bundy.  When Bundy becomes a suspect in a string of killings, Rule, who has written numerous books of true crime, is in disbelief.

Fatal Vision by Joe McGinniss     Dr. Jeffrey MacDonald called the police late one night in 1970 and frantically informed them that his wife and three daughters had been killed by a marauding group of hippies.  In 1979, MacDonald was convicted of his family’s murders and remains in prison today, where he steadfastly proclaims his innocence.

The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson     A hotel filled with secret rooms, including a gas chamber and equipment for disposing  bodies.  Sounds like a bad horror movie, but there was such a place run by H. H. Holmes in Chicago in 1893.  He was the devil in the title and the white city was the world’s fair known as the Columbian Exposition, held in Chicago at the same time as Holmes’ killing spree .  Larson weaves the story of two events happening at the same time and place and does it well.

Killer Clown: The John Wayne Gacy Murders by Terry Sullivan     Lots of clowns are creepy but none more than John Wayne Gacy who had the bodies of 26 young men buried in the crawl space of his home.

Thunderstruck by Erik Larson     Once again Larson links two stories.  One concerns Guglielmo Marconi an inventor of the radio.  The other is about Hawley Crippen a soft-spoken doctor who is also a murderer.

Black Dahlia Avenger: A Genius for Murder by Steve Hodel     In 1947, the body of a beautiful young woman, cut into two pieces, was found in a vacant Los Angeles lot.  The largest manhunt in LA history failed to find the perpetrator.  Recently, an LA police veteran delved deeply into the mystery and believes he has solved the case.

The Cases that Haunt Us by John Douglas and Mark Olshaker     Famous F.B.I. profiler John Douglas takes a close look at famous cases of the past including Jack the Ripper, Lizzie Bordon, JonBenet Ramsey, the Zodiac Killer and the Lindbergh baby kidnapping.

The Night Stalker by Philip Carlo     The author interviews Richard Ramirez, killer of thirteen people.  From death row, Ramirez talks about the murders he committed and the thousands of women trying to contact him.


After reading this blog you probably need a little pick-me-up.  Here it is:

from http://fresh2def05.hubpages.com/hub/100-Funny-Sayings-Quotes-and-Phrases

The only way to keep your health is to eat what you don’t want, drink what you don’t like, and do what you’d rather not. – Mark Twain.

The average woman would rather have beauty than brains, because the average man can see better than he can think.

Always remember you’re unique, just like everyone else.

When you’re right, no one remembers. When you’re wrong, no one forgets.

“It is not MY fault that I never learned to accept responsibility!”

“Middle age is when your age starts to show around your middle.”

I’d like to help you out. Which way did you come in?

Human beings are the only creatures that allow their children to come back home.

Why do psychics have to ask you for your name?

I want to die in my sleep like my grandfather … Not screaming and yelling like the passengers in his car.

You never truly understand something unless you can explain it to your grandmother

Error. No keyboard. Press F1 to continue.

Birthdays are good for you. Statistics show that people who have the most, live the longest.

This sentence is a lie.

Everyone hates me because I’m paranoid.



Author: hank

I am married with two daughters and one grandchild. After teaching in the inner city of South Bend, IN for many years, I now work at the St. Joseph County Public Library. I started keeping track of the books I read when I was sixteen years old, and now have read over 1700 books with a page count of more than 500,000.

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