Genres: True Crime
Narrator: Don Leslie
On April 20, 1999, two boys left an indelible stamp on the American psyche. Their goal was simple: to blow up their school, Oklahoma-City style, and to leave "a lasting impression on the world." Their bombs failed, but the ensuing shooting defined a new era of school violence--irrevocably branding every subsequent shooting "another Columbine." When we think of Columbine, we think of the Trench Coat Mafia; we think of Cassie Bernall, the girl we thought professed her faith before she was shot; and we think of the boy pulling himself out of a school window--with the whole world watching him. In this riveting piece of journalism nearly ten years in the making comes the story none of us knew. This revelatory book offers a profile of teenage killers that goes to the heart of psychopathology. Dave Cullen, the acclaimed journalist who followed the massacre from day one, lays bare the callous brutality of mastermind Eric Harris and the quavering, suicidal Dylan Klebold, who went to prom three days earlier and obsessed about love in his journal. The result is an astonishing account of two good students with lots of friends, who came to stockpile a basement cache of weapons, to record their raging hatred, and to manipulate every adult who got in their way. They left signs everywhere, described by Cullen with a keen investigative eye and psychological acumen. Drawing on hundreds of interviews, thousands of pages of police files, FBI psychologists, and the boys' tapes and diaries, he gives the first complete account of the Columbine tragedy. In the tradition of Helter Skelter and In Cold Blood, Columbine is destined to be a classic. A close-up portrait of hatred, a community rendered helpless, and the police blunders and cover-ups, it is a compelling and utterly human portrait of two killers--an unforgettable cautionary tale for our times.
Columbine was well rounded and very interesting. The author avoided telling the story from any 1 perspective and gives much more detail/info than what you can find in the news. I appreciated that the story didn’t focus on any one particular aspect or theory. Cullen is simply presenting the information. You get to hear some of the writings from the killers, the thoughts of some of the survivors, and the insight from professionals. I also thought that the information presented about how the police handled the case was fascinating and infuriating.
A Checklist for Murder: The True Story of Robert John Peernock by Anthony Flacco
Genres: True Crime
Narrator: Anthony Flacco
Robert Peernock appeared to have the ideal life; working as a pyrotechnics engineer and computer expert and coming home to his wife and daughter, he projected the American dream. Even when he and his wife separated, it seemed amicable, just a small bump for the well-to-do family. But there was madness in his house: in private, Peernock was violent, subtly manipulative, and bordering on psychotic. But the horrifying details of his home life would only come to light after Peernock finally lost all control. Peernock had come home, brutally beaten both his wife and daughter, force-fed them alcohol, and deliberately sent them to their deaths behind the wheel, staging it to look like a drunk driving accident. He didn't foresee that his daughter would survive, and even with years of abuse, her attempted murder, and horrendous injuries, he never anticipated that she would speak so powerfully against him. Here New York Times bestselling author Anthony Flacco chronicles the sensational trial and all the terror that preceded it, looking deep into the mind of a deranged killer whose American dream was a waking nightmare for those trapped within it.
I hadn’t heard the story of Robert Peernock. This book was totally engaging. I felt such sorrow for Natasha and really wonder where she is today! This story is chilling in the calculated coldness of a father. The narrative is linear and focuses more on the aftermath of the crime: the recovery, the trial, and beyond.
Murder In The Family by Burl Barer
Genres: True Crime
" ... where for the first time an FBI profiler was allowed to testify and the controversial pre-DNA science of allotyping was presented to a jury."
On March 15th, 1987 police in Anchorage, Alaska arrived at a horrific scene of carnage. In a modest downtown apartment, they found Nancy Newman's brutally beaten corpse sprawled across her bed. In other rooms were the bodies of her eight-year-old daughter, Melissa, and her three-year-old, Angie, whose throat was slit from ear to ear. Both Nancy and Melissa had been sexually assaulted.
After an intense investigation, the police narrowed the principle suspect down to 23-year-old Kirby Anthoney a troubled drifter who had turned to his uncle, Nancy's husband John, for help and a place to stay. Little did John know that the nephew he took in was a murderous sociopath capable of slaughtering his beloved family.
This true story, shocking and tragic, stunned Anchorage's residents and motivated the Major Crimes Unit of the Anchorage Police Department to do everything right in their investigation. Feeling the heat as the police built their case, Kirby bolted for the Canadian border. But the cops were on to him. First they hunted him down; then the cops and a tenacious prosecutor began their long, bitter battle to convict him up against an equally tough defense lawyer, as well as the egomaniacal defendant himself. This shocking tale reached its climax in a controversial trial where for the first time an FBI profiler was allowed to testify and the controversial, pre-DNA science of allotyping was presented to a jury. But justice would not be served until after the psychopathic Kirby Anthoney took the stand in his own defense - and showed the world the monster he truly was.
MURDER IN THE FAMILY became an instant New York Times Bestseller when it was first released in 2000. Barer has updated the eBook version of this classic true crime tale of horror.
From The Author Of A TASTE FOR MURDER (with Frank Girardot Jr.)
Murder in the Family was another crime story I hadn’t heard before. However, this is one of the first cases to attempt to use some evidence and theories that are common today. The crime was HORRIBLE and the journey to getting a conviction was troubled. The author did a good job of presenting a very balanced report. Most interesting to me was the attempt to introduce this new evidence (DNA Allotyping) and how difficult it was to get the courts to allow it or the profilers information. Now, we sort of take DNA for granted and can’t imagine not admitting the evidence!
Too Pretty to Live: The Catfishing Murders of East Tennessee by Dennis Brooks
Genres: True Crime
In this stunning true-crime thriller of Facebook, catfishing, and jealousy, a double murder begins with the click of a button.When Bill Payne and Billie Jean Hayworth began their romance, they unknowingly set in motion a diabolical plot that would end with them murdered in their own home, Hayworth holding their mercifully unharmed infant.Chris was a CIA agent who was concerned about Jenelle. Seeing the cyberbullying she had endured, and worried for her safety, Chris got in touch with Jenelle's protective parents and her devoted boyfriend, warning them that Payne and Hayworth were a danger to Jenelle. He got especially close with Jenelle's mother, Barbara, who thought of Chris like a son, though she had never met him. Chris claimed that surveillance of Payne and Hayworth revealed that the two of them were planning on harming Jenelle, that it was imminent, and that something needed to be done immediately. Chris promised that he would have their back if they were to act to protect Jenelle.And so they did. Jenelle's father, Buddy, and her boyfriend, Jamie, broke into the home of Payne and Hayworth and murdered them in their own home.What the police investigation turned up, though, made this crime all the more terrifying. Jenelle had been Chris the entire time, catfishing her family and her boyfriend to act in vengeance on her behalf. Using forensic linguistics and diving through the brambles that Jenelle laid to cover her tracks, police were able to put together a chilling portrait of a sociopath made all the more ruthless by the anonymity of her online life.Bizarre and unforgettable, Dennis Brooks examines the crime and trial from all angles, bringing his expertise as the lead prosecutor in this strange and disturbing case.
Too Pretty to Live was a story I initially heard on the podcast Sword and Scale. I was fascinated by it because it is a perfect example of nurture over nature. This girl and her family KILLED people over made up drama. The author included information from the sister, who is nothing like her family and was basically ostracized because of it. To imagine that grown adults engaged in this behavior is frightening!
Unholy Messenger: The Life and Crimes of the Btk Serial Killer by Stephen Singular
Genres: True Crime
Narrator: Alan Sklar
To all appearances, Dennis Rader was a model citizen in the small town of Park City, Kansas, where he had lived with his family almost his entire life. He was a town compliance officer, a former Boy Scout leader, the president of his church congregation, and a seemingly ordinary father and husband. But Rader's average life belied the existence of his dark, sadistic other self: he was the BTK serial killer.
The self-named BTK (for Bind, Torture, Kill) had terrorized Wichita for thirty-one years, not only with his brutal, sexually motivated crimes, but also through his taunting, elusive communications with the media and law enforcement. In 1974, BTK committed his first murders—torturing and strangling four members of the Otero family—and wrote the police an audacious letter declaring his responsibility for the Oteros' deaths and labeling himself, for the first time, BTK. Thus he established a pattern—stalking and killing a series of ten victims, then bragging and claiming ownership of his crimes—that ended in 1991 but left law enforcement confounded and the public with deeply troubling memories. Until, that is, he resurfaced in 2004 with another string of letters that would finally lead to his arrest.
Drawing from extensive interviews with Rader's pastor, congregation, detectives, and psychologists who worked the case, and from his unnervingly detailed thirty-two-hour confession, bestselling author Stephen Singular delves into the disturbing life and crimes of BTK to explore fully—for the first time—the most dangerous and complex serial killer of our generation and the man who embodied, at once, astonishing extremes of normality and abnormality.
The result is a chilling story of a man considered a "spiritual leader" by his pastor and congregation, who turned out to be the devil next door. More than just true crime, Unholy Messenger is a powerful, thoroughly engrossing examination of the intersection between good and evil, and of the psychology and spirituality of a killer in whom faith and bloodshed converged.
Unholy Messenger is the story of BTK. I was interested in this story because a serial killer remaining dormant for so long is so unusual. And, this really was a case of “We had no idea! I can’t imagine he is a killer”. Literally, no one in his life had a clue. The book takes a linear approach since the crimes are spread out over decades. Well written and interesting, the story includes interviews from the paster of the church were Rader was president.