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Shadowman: An Elusive Psycho Killer and the Birth of FBI Profiling

In this exceptional true crime account, Franscell (The Darkest Night) tells the fascinating story of the FBI’s Behavioral Science Unit’s early days and the very first psychological profile used to catch a killer … Franscell’s portrait of rural Montana will remind many of Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood, and the way he weaves together the threads of the different killings is spellbinding. This is a must for Mindhunter fans. Read more

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Hell’s Half-Acre: The Untold Story of the Benders, a Serial Killer Family on the American Frontier

Drawing on a wealth of primary sources, historian Jonusas debuts with an impressive and deeply unsettling account of the Benders, a family of German immigrants who killed at least 10 people after they settled in Kansas’s Labette County in 1870 … Radiant prose enhances the page-turning narrative. The combination of true crime and a vivid depiction of frontier life earn this a spot on the shelf next to David Grann’s Killers of the Flower Moon. Read more

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Nebraska native author’s controversial deep dive into unsolved killing now a Showtime series

By day, native Nebraskan Harry MacLean helps settle conflicts as an arbitration attorney. On nights and weekends, he ruminates over methods and motives of killing. The true-crime author’s book “Once Upon a Time: A True Story of Memory, Murder and the Law” examined a controversial case when a daughter’s playmate went missing. Decades later, the daughter, now an adult, reported a vivid memory: She had watched her own father kill her friend. The 1990 case that sparked a national conversation about repressed memory is now being retold in a new four-part Showtime documentary series. Read more

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The Case of the Murderous Dr. Cream

In his latest, journalist and creative nonfiction professor Jobb richly embellishes his grim central tale with carefully researched setting, detail, and social mores of the late Victorian era, elegantly contrasted with his eponymous fiend, Thomas Neill Cream (1852-1892), “a doctor from Canada” and “a new kind of killer, choosing victims at random and killing without remorse.” Read more

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In True Crime, We Find a Deep, Elusive Connection

Women love true crime. While certainly not a universal truth, it’s a generalization that feels apt enough that even SNL has noticed. On February 27, the song spoof “Murder Show,” aired to general acclaim — if the women I follow on Twitter are any indication. As the skit begins, Nick Jonas leaves his girlfriend alone for an evening of unwinding and self care. Bubble baths and sheet masks come to mind. But as soon as he shuts the door behind him, she curls up on the couch, opens Netflix, and breaks into song about the specific delight of watching murder shows. Read more

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