Even More True Crime on Cable The network TNT is delving into true crime with an original program it will call Shadow of a Doubt in an effort to feed the insatiable appetite for crime TV. Variety has some details.
A True Crime Comic Book? Sure. According to the publisher, which is giving away its most popular titles for free, its true crime comic is "a hit with critics and readers alike." Actually true crime comics are nothing new. Harold Schechter included the cover art from a true crime comic printed six or seven decades ago in his Savage Pastimes: A Cultural History of Violent Entertainment (B&N) (which, by the way, is absolutely brilliant - historic true crime's answer to Danse Macabre).
The Dollhouse Murders Rumor has it that John Waters is going to narrate a film about the famous forensic dollhouses. Decades ago, dollhouses were used to teach scientific techniques to homicide detectives. They're still used today. Now these odd old objects are getting another hard look. I can only imagine what John will have to say, bless his sick sense of humor, and I'm already hiding my mouth.... Meanwhile, the film's producer has a blog devoted to the project, from which comes the picture above, a scene of slaughter in miniature.
How Canada Failed to Stop a Pedophile Mike McIntyre is one of Canada's most high-profile true crime authors. He's working on a new one - Devil Among Us: How Canada Failed To Stop Pedophile Peter Whitmore. It comes out this fall.
The Latest Member of the Edmund L. Pearson Club is Mary. She took my suggestion to give the dead genius a chance. She remarks: "Just a few stories in, and I already feel like I'm having fireside chats with a very dear, very morbid old friend."
Too Many Victims, Not Enough Justice When writing about a serial killer, true crime authors face a dilemma. It can be difficult to get a grasp on such a story when there are many victims. While reading Ann Rule's Green River, Running Red, the story of a man who killed nearly fifty prostitutes, I went blurry-eyed for more reasons than one. It was a very difficult read because of the sheer number of victims, their pitiful lives and awful deaths.
Recently I came across an essay about The Daughters of Juarez: A True Story of Serial Murder South of the Border (B&N). Thoughtful and intelligent, it really picks apart the book and lead author. The writer managed to articulate why it was dissatisfying:
While Rodriguez is able to discuss numerous personal details, including descriptions of specific victims and their families, her account isn’t grounded in any one place. She bounces from family to family, organization to organization, official to official, murder case to murder case. Her details are exhaustive, and sometimes exhausting. One problem is the fact that she is continually telling this story from multiple places, vantage points, and moments in time.... Rodriguez, in her attempt to cover everything, loses the concrete and intimate details.... In covering so many different people at such a rapid pace, her descriptions and portraits of her subjects lack life.... The book has numerous opportunities to establish a focal point for the narrative, as well as for the position of the author, but it never happens....
It seems to go against the grain to offer a serial killer story without delving into the background of each and every victim in great detail. But, remembering my reaction to Green River, I thought the piece made an interesting point.