I know, it's been awhile. And I've been promising a few more reviews.
In the meantime: Last September, I joined the writers organization Sisters in Crime. It's an organization of mystery writers, readers, publishers and other professionals. Today, I signed up for a conference called “Writer's Police Academy.” I'm looking forward to it, but it's going to be a lot of work. Yes, we have the opportunity to shoot guns, drive cars and participate in other police tactics and situations. So … if you're in the Green Bay area in August, don't go near the police shooting range or at least hope you can dodge fast! But this means I have to get my next book finished quickly so I will feel free to have some fun! Seriously, its intent is to educate writers about real life police and law enforcement. If you'd like to read more about the academy, go to www.writerspoliceacademy.com. And I'll be reporting on it once it's over. Maybe some photos, as long as I don't look real dorky.
On to suggested books:
The first book I'm going to recommend is by Fred Goldman and Kim Goldman … well, not really. It's actually by O.J. Simpson and is titled “If I Did It: Confessions of the Killer.” The whole story of how the Goldmans got their names on it is pretty incredible and pretty much tells people that if you want to make money on a crime – yours or someone else's – it's possible. To make a long story short, the Goldmans were awarded the rights to the book to keep the money out of Simpson's hands. And that's a pretty incredible story, too.
Convinced or not convinced that Simpson killed Nicole Simpson and Ron Goldman, this is a pretty chilling book. The words have a ring of authenticity that I'm not really convinced Simpson could get to unless he did it. Of course, he did have a ghost writer, and there's a long forward in which the ghost writer tells his tale, but it's a pretty eye-opening read. Interesting, at the very least. And, if you followed the trial, you owe it to yourself to read this book.
The second book is titled “Fireball: Carole Lombard and the Mystery of Flight 3” by Robert Matzen. This is a really well-written and compelling read. It's not a Hollywood tell-all, if that's your kind of thing. It is the factual story of the death of Lombard in a plane crash and its effect on Clark Gable, the actor she was married to at the time.
Most of the people who perished in the plane crash were military officers and soldiers and, although I obviously wasn't around at the time, there were a few conspiracy theories about how the plane crashed. It was theorized that it wasn't an accident, but a way to kill soldiers and create trouble and confusion during war time. Through pictures and interviews, it reveals what really happened on the flight, how Lombard and her party were able to board it and details of how Gable, basically, hiked a mountain to get to the location of the crash. It is well worth the read.
The third is “The Witch of Lime Street,” written by David Jaher. It's a Houdini book, but not really. Recommended by a friend of mine with excellent taste in books, it's really the story of Margery, the medium who clashed with Houdini. And in this day and age, that's her claim to fame. Until now, there really hasn't been a book addressing who she was, what her motives were, how she was seen by the public and other details of her life and conflicts. If you have any interest in Houdini's clash with the Spiritualists, this is a very interesting read.
The next book is “Greentown: Murder and Mystery in Greenwich,” by Timothy Dumas. This is probably the best-researched and well done account of the Martha Moxley murder. I had, and still have, a long fascination with this crime. Moxley was about my age, and I had no problem seeing myself in her murder. Anyone who followed the case knows about the fairly recent conviction of the man many are convinced murdered her, a relative of the Kennedy family.
It's actually a very sad story. No one gets out of this one with a happy ending. Not only was the killer's life ruined, but questions still remain over his guilt. Moxley's family was pretty much devastated over it, the tutor's life was forever changed and the picture painted of the killer's family was, to say the least, not good. There were lies, cover-ups and shady dealings in the aftermath of Moxley's murder that made the truth a victim of the crime, as well.
Last, but not least, I'd be lacking if I didn't mention the book on John Dillinger written by Troy Taylor. Taylor has many books to his credit, but my favorites are the ones in which he delves into old crimes and personalities. In “One Night at the Biograph,” Taylor takes readers on a crime-filled, bloody ride with with Dillinger. It is a very well-researched book and if you are a fan of the old-time gangsters, you'll enjoy it. I'm still not convinced that it wasn't Dillinger who died in that alley, but Taylor always has the goods to back up his ghostly claims. Add this to “Murdered in their Beds” (Villisca Ax murders); “The Two Lost Girls” (the Grimes sisters); “One August Morning” (Lizzie Borden); and “Fallen Angel” (the Black Dahlia); among others, and it's a fun evening with Taylor's books.