Crime TV: A&E's New Show is Crime 360, which marries homicide detection with cutting-edge software and computer-generated imagery to visualize the speculations of investigators as a real murder inquiry unfolds. It promises to add a new dimension to our edification about forensic science. Early episodes are from Richmond, Virginia and Cleveland. The first show is the first Thursday in March at 10 p.m. The A&E Insider has more (and while you're there, don't forget to leave your paranormal story.)
Infiltrating the Mafia Covert: My Years Infiltrating the Mob is the story of a young state trooper who went undercover to bring down organized crime in the 1970s. The book by Bob Delaney (now an NBA referee) is earning rave reviews. The Detroit News is calling it "a true-crime thriller." Mafia books tend to command a huge amount of attention, and this title appears to warrant it.
Art by Jack Rickard, Via
Blood of the Scribe I'm enjoying Corey Mitchell's new regular feature on In Cold Blog: Blood of the Scribe. In only a few weeks it's become a must read for genre fans. Corey mentions true crime author George Clarke, who was interviewed last week on NPR's Diane Rehm show. I heard the interview. It was an impressive performance. I thought the author did a marvelous job explaining the challenges in the use of forensic science. Publisher's Weekly said the book has "real best-seller potential." Clarke's book is Justice and Science.
Fall, From St. Martin's Author Ron Franscell's true crime debut, Fall , was widely acclaimed and nominated for an Edgar. Now it's out in paperback, snatched up for release on March 4 by St. Martin's as The Darkest Night. (Amazon, B&N.)
That Tombstone Sounds Familiar Her uncle's headstone says, “Murdered by a Traitor and Coward Whose Name is not worthy to Appear Here.” The story behind Jack Bohannan's 1972 murder is titled Eureka Springs Feud Ends Deadly. His niece, Peg Agee, has written of the infamous Arkansas murder for AuthorHouse. Based on the sneak peek it is well written.
Semicolons, R.I.P. The New York Times, self-appointed arbiter of taste for a nation of 300 million and beyond, which in my opinion can't tell baby shit from butterscotch, has declared semicolons extinct. I can't believe it; I didn't even know they were endangered!!
Why True Crime is Better than Fiction and Vice Versa I'm a fan of first-time fiction writer Sandra Ruttan's internet musings to the point I might actually buy her forthcoming book, a first novel. She recently made an insightful remark about true crime from the point of few of one of those 10% who doesn't like it. Said Sandra:
I’ve always believed in crime fiction’s ability to make social commentary. I’ve always been very interested in social issues, and I see crime fiction as a natural forum for addressing them. Often safely. My threshold with true crime is limited by the knowledge of the reality – I can’t stomach reading too much about what someone really did to another person.
In crime fiction, the knowledge that it isn’t real (although it could be) gives me enough emotional distance to look at the repercussions of crime, to begin to address the issues.
Unfortunately, relying on fiction for an education is unreliable. The fictionist cannot conjure a truly instructive scenario. The best, the most educational cases would never be imagined. Only the truth can leave me aghast.
Or in the words of Edmund L. Pearson,
Fiction about the criminal character - or ninety per cent of it - is designed to please emotional rather than rational folk. A little reading in the fiction of crime, and still a little more about the facts of crime, in England and America, ought to convince anybody that the myth of the marvelous amateur detective has been built up at the expense of the ordinary and frequently honest policeman.
It is amusing to have Sherlock Holmes expose Inspector Lestrade as an ass, and to see Philo Vance show up Sergeant Heath as a blustering nincompoop.
But it has furnished a little bit too much ammunition to those who are overready to work themselves to a boiling point of indignation in behalf of any and every hoodlum and killer who has at last been run down and put where he belongs.
- E.L.P., Scribner's, July 1937
I almost forgot...