I've enjoyed correspondences with many of the writers whose work I've mentioned here, so I have a heads-up on some great true crime projects in various stages of production. Here are some of the books and films I'm looking forward to in 2006.
Jerry Mitchell is the Mississippi repoter whose investigative journalism -- a look at the unsolved murder cases from the civil rights era -- directly led to reopening old cases and securing convictions (see my comments). It turns out Mitchell is working on a book proposal. I can't wait to read the details of how the reporter used his journalism skills to investigate these decades-cold crimes. I expect to hear a lot more from and about him when his book comes out and also look forward to seeing it short-listed for the Edgar award (here's a link to my 2005 Edgar recap).
Todd Matthews, the first person to use the internet to determine the identity of an unknown murder victim (see his website), has a new initiative. He is working on "Cries from the Grave: How Amateur Internet Sleuths are Changing the Face of Crime-Solving." Details are at his website.
Robert Waters, co-author of Outgunned! True Stories of Citizens Who Stood Up to Outlaws—And Won (see my review), may be working with Todd Matthews on his Technology Criminology effort, but also advises that Florida's colorful criminal history is also tempting him to put pen to paper.
Stacy Horn, whose book about New York City's cold case squad (see my review) was well received, has now appeared on National Public Radio as a guest commenter on two occasions to talk about old crime cases. One of them was a haunting story from West Virginia about missing children (see the NPR recap). While she admits to being tempted to write more books about true crime, she says her next book will tackle the subject of ghost hauntings. Well, some of those ghosts probably didn't acquire that state casually.... I'll listen for more of Stacy's commentary on NPR.
Steve Huff, lauded internet reporter and frequent cable news guest, has changed his url to http://www.huffcrimeblog.com. I suspect I'll see his name on a book jacket this year. Perhaps the book will be about BTK, or Natalee Holloway, or Taylor Behl... whatever the subject, I'm sure Steve's first book will herald a long career in true crime reporting.
Ted Yeatman, acclaimed author of Frank and Jesse James: The Story Behind the Legend (see my remarks), is looking backward and westward for his next project, which will probably be about the last decades of the old horseback West, ca. 1890-1919.
I'm also looking forward in 2006 to Michigan author John H. Trestrail III's new book that psychologically profiles poisoners (see my comments).
Meanwhile, coming out on DVD in 2006 are the stories of two journalism heroes who uncovered very different crimes. Capote will be released on March 14; Good Night, and Good Luck comes out March 21. You can pre-order through Amazon.
If you're a true crime writer with a project in the works, do drop me a line.