Sunday, July 15, 2018

The Pied Piper:

The Pied Piper:the Bloodlands series by: Harold Schechter
Non-fiction: History, E-bookE-book Count:24
Book Count:33

This book is on Charles Schmid known as "The Pied Piper of Tucson" after a song that was popular when his crimes came to light and his cult like following.  He was a high school drop out that styled himself after things like "A Rebel Without a Cause" and hung out with much younger kids.  He decided that he wanted to kill someone and so murdered his girlfriend's neighbor.  He then killed a different girlfriend and her sister when she tried to blackmail him into marring him.   

Saturday, July 14, 2018

The Brick Slayer:

The Brick Slayer: the Bloodlands series by: Harold Schechter
Non-fiction: History, E-book
E-book Count:23
Book Count:32

This book is about a series of murders that took place in 1936- 1937 in Chicago  and L.A.  The murders were all done with bricks that were found from sites near the murder and in all cases where there was a witness, witnesses say a large African- American man was at the scene.   The police found a man named Robert Nixon and he was charged with the crime; however, it is clear that the police used torture and other unconstitutional methods to get him to confess to the crimes.  So it is unclear if he was really the murderer or if the murders stopped for other reasons.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Rampage:

Rampage: the Bloodlands series by: Harold Schechter
Non-fiction: History, E-book
E-book Count:22
Book Count:31

This book is the story of Howard Unruh who killed 13 people on September 6th, 1949.  He is known as "The Father of Modern Mass Murder" because of this.   Unlike many people who kill in a spree like this he didn't kill himself at the end of his spree, nor did he commit suicide by police.  So there are records of him recounting the details of his crimes.  There was also the issue of determining if he was legally sane.  He was very a matter of fact and unemotional of his crimes, causing people to argue about whether he should stand or be placed in a mental institution.  He ended up in a high security mental institution and so outlived most everyone involved in his case, dying in 2009.  (Rather then being executed, like would have happened if he was tried in the murders.) 


Panic:

Panic: the Bloodlands series by: Harold Schechter
Non-fiction: History, E-book
E-book Count:21
Book Count:30

This book in the series is on a moral panic that took place in the 1930's.  It notes that a moral panic is a form of mass hysteria where a group of similar crimes and sensational reporting causes people to be disproportionately scared of a crime.   It goes over a handful of cases that spread the moral panic of the day, that there was a rash of pedophile murderers, including one case where a distraught father killed his daughters to protect them.  It then also goes over the statistics of  crimes of the time, showing that in a number of the cities the amount of violent crimes against children went down.  Also that this panic ended as soon as the bigger issue of WWII started. 

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Ricochet Joe:

Ricochet Joe by: Dean Koontz
Fiction: Paranormal, Short Story, E-book
E-book Count:20
Book Count:29

Joe was an average guy in a small town.  He was planning on spending his Saturday cleaning up litter in the park, and maybe flirting with the new girl to the clean up group.  Then he starts ricocheting off of one item to the next, fighting crime, and learns that there is a great evil not of this world that he has been chosen to fight.  

Wednesday, July 04, 2018

The Pirate:

The Pirate:  the Bloodlands series by: Harold Schechter
Non-fiction: History, E-book
E-book Count:19
Book Count:28

This book is the story of Albert Hicks, who became known as the Pirate Hicks.  He was known for murdering the rest of the crew of a sloop for the money he thought was on board.  He was also famous because P. T. Barnum made a wax figure of him for his figures of famous killers and even bought his suit off of him so that the wax figure had "the actual clothes of the killer" on it.  Because of this he was also the only American killer in an episode of the "Twilight Zone" where the wax figures of serial killers come alive.  As he threw all of the bodies overboard he wasn't actually charged with murder, as at the time you couldn't charge people with murder without a body except when out to sea, and so although he could be charged with murder, they didn't think they could convict him without bodies.  They could charge him with the theft which could also carry a death sentence as it was considered a worst crime when out to sea as people were limited in their  ability to escape/protect themselves on the water.  So although his murdering the others in the crew was a major point in the trial, that wasn't what he hung for.  

Tuesday, July 03, 2018

Little Slaughterhouse on the Prairie:

Little Slaughterhouse on the Prairie: the Bloodlands series by: Harold Schechter
Non-fiction: History, E-book
E-Book Count:18
Book Count:27

This is the story of the Bender family, a group that ran an inn in Kansas in the 1800's and murdered many of the people that stopped there.  The title is based off the fact that they were from the same time and around the same area as the stories from "Little House on the Prairie"  In fact the book starts with a couple of stories that Laura Ingalls Wilder didn't put in her book series as they weren't child friendly about how her father as well as her whole family might have been victims of the Benders if they had the money to stay at the inn when traveling.  
After this the book goes into the main points of the story of the Bender family, the first serial killer family in America.  It notes important facts and myths that relate to the family, the details known about their murders, and the search for them after their murders were discovered.  Much like in the case of Belle Gunness, who the author also wrote a book on, there were questions on their real names and family connections and many people accused of being them after they disappeared.   

Monday, July 02, 2018

Nurk:

Nurk: The Strange, Surprising Adventures of a (Somewhat) Brave Shrew by: Ursula Vernon
Fiction: children's 144 Pages
Physical Book Count:9
Book Count:26

I thought I would read some of Ursula's books before I get them signed, perhaps that will make up for the powdered red drink.  Anyway this is the story of Nurk a young shrew that has a quiet life, until he opens a letter that he thinks in his, but was actually for his long missing grandmother, who was a pirate.  Nurk decides that he will find the writer of the letter and builds a boat out of a snail shell, packs some clean socks and some sandwiches and goes on an adventure.