So this summer I found a copy of Son: A Psychopath and his Victims [Amazon; B&N] by Jack Olsen for a measly quarter. I vaguelly recalled reading it. Son was on my first draft of my list of Ten Best True Crime Books Ever. But I wrote that long ago. I haven't read a Jack Olsen book since I was like 15, and he wrote more than 30 of them, so I didn't recall a thing about Son.
I should have remembered this as an absolutely brilliant biography of a classic psychopath, Fred Coe, aka Kevin Coe [Wiki]. I appreciated it now more than I could have x years ago. What a delight to rediscover it. Perhaps this is one hidden benefit of getting older - you get a second chance to read a great book for the first time.
And this one is amazing. When it came out in 1983, reviewers called the characters "cuckoo" (Washington Post) and praised Olsen's terse style. Both hardcover and paperback were national bestsellers. A movie was made from the title, and Olsen received a special Edgar award for that book (plus one other Edgar for a similarly terrific book).
Even though he died a few years ago, many still hold a candle; writer Michelle Malkin wrote a nice tribute when he passed, which I found on NewspaperArchive. Author M. William Phelps praises Jack Olsen's brilliance, naming Olsen's Salt of the Earth as "my all-time favorite true crime book."
It might end up being mine, too, for I now have much pleasant reading (and re-reading) ahead as I rediscover this author.