Thursday, October 17, 2013

Scarier than Fiction - Fact Crime Books

Mark Twain is quoted as saying that The Truth is Stranger than Fiction.  I have also found that truth can also be a lot scarier than fiction, especially when it comes to crime writing.

Here are the top "Fact Crime" titles from the 2013 Edgar Awards:

by Paul French

Winner of the both the Edgar Award for Best Fact Crime and the CWA Non-Fiction Dagger. Chronicling an incredible unsolved murder, Midnight in Peking captures the aftermath of the brutal killing of a British schoolgirl in January 1937. The mutilated body of Pamela Werner was found at the base of the Fox Tower, which, according to local superstition, is home to the maliciously seductive fox spirits. As British detective Dennis and Chinese detective Han investigate, the mystery only deepens and, in a city on the verge of invasion, rumor and superstition run rampant. Based on seven years of research by historian and China expert Paul French, this true-crime thriller presents readers with a rare and unique portrait of the last days of colonial Peking.

by Richard Lloyd Parry

An incisive and compelling account of the case of Lucie Blackman. Lucie Blackman -- tall, blonde, and 21 years old -- stepped out into the vastness of Tokyo in the summer of 2000, and disappeared forever. The following winter, her dismembered remains were found buried in a seaside cave.... With the finesse of a novelist, he reveals the astonishing truth about Lucie and her fate. People Who Eat Darkness is, by turns, a non-fiction thriller, a courtroom drama and the biography of both a victim and a killer. It is the story of a young woman who fell prey to unspeakable evil, and of a loving family torn apart by grief. And it is a fascinating insight into one of the world's most baffling and mysterious societies, a light shone into dark corners of Japan that the rest of the world has never glimpsed before.

by Gilbert King

A gripping true story of racism, murder, rape, and the law, it brings to light one of the most dramatic court cases in American history, offering a revealing portrait of young civil rights attorney Thurgood Marshall who risked his life to defend a boy slated for the electric chair--saving him, against all odds, from being sentenced to death for a crime he did not commit. In 1949, Florida's orange industry was booming, and citrus barons got rich on the backs of cheap Jim Crow labor. To maintain order and profits, they turned to Willis V. McCall, a violent sheriff who ruled Lake County with murderous resolve. When a white seventeen-year-old Groveland girl, Norma Padgett, cried rape, McCall was fast on the trail of four young Black men, Ernest Thomas, Charles Greenlee, Samuel Shepherd and Walter Irvin, who came to be known as the Groveland Boys or the Groveland Four. And so began the chain of events that would bring Thurgood Marshall into the deadly fray. King shines new light on this remarkable civil rights crusader, arguably the most important American lawyer of the twentieth century.

by Ben Macintyre

The story of D-Day has been told from the point of view of the soldiers who fought in it, the tacticians who planned it, and the generals who led it. But this epic event in world history has never before been told from the perspectives of the key individuals in the Double Cross System. These include its director (a brilliant, urbane intelligence officer), a colorful assortment of MI5 handlers (as well as their counterparts in Nazi intelligence), and the five spies who formed Double Cross’s nucleus: a dashing Serbian playboy, a Polish fighter-pilot, a bisexual Peruvian party girl, a deeply eccentric Spaniard with a diploma in chicken farming and a volatile Frenchwoman, whose obsessive love for her pet dog very nearly wrecked the entire plan. The D-Day spies were, without question, one of the oddest military units ever assembled, and their success depended on the delicate, dubious relationship between spy and spymaster, both German and British. Their enterprise was saved from catastrophe by a shadowy sixth spy whose heroic sacrifice is revealed here for the first time.

by D.P. Lyle

This compilation of medical and forensic science questions from crime writers around the world provides insight into medical and forensic science as well as a glimpse into the writer’s creative mind. How do hallucinogenic drugs affect a blind person? Will snake venom injected into fruit cause death? How would you perform CPR in a helicopter? What happens when someone swallows razor blades? How long does it take blood to dry? Can DNA be obtained from a half-eaten bagel? D. P. Lyle, MD, answers these and many more intriguing questions. 

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