Exploring True Crime

Do you love to read true crime? Kath, one of our lovely librarians, has put together this round-up of her true crime picks. Have a read and let us know your favourites in the comments!

It’s no secret that the true crime genre has exploded over the past few years, particularly thanks to a number of podcasts that have not only taken deep dives into significant crime stories, but have even managed to solve a few incredibly intense ones.  Now more than ever, there are many new true crime books to delve into if you’re a fan of the genre.

That said, the genre has been around as long as crime and books have existed, so there are plenty of good books to work your way back through if you’ve caught up with all the recent best sellers.

I’ve selected some that I’ve enjoyed over the years, many of them from my country of origin, Australia.

Murder in Mississippi / Safran, John

This is one of the best true crime books I have ever read.   John Safran, an Australian satirist and documentary maker, played a prank on a white supremacist in Mississippi as part of his TV series John Safran vs God. The footage was canned for legal reasons and he thought that was the last he’d have to do with Richard Barrett.  It came as a shock then to find out a while later that Barrett had been stabbed to death by a black man, one that he owed money to and had allegedly propositioned.  Not content with just researching the story of Barrett’s murder, Safran headed to Mississippi to interview all involved, including the killer… and managed to get himself tangled even further into the story while he was there.  What follows is a riveting exploration into what happened, why it happened and why on earth Safran found himself in the situation he had got into.  An absolute page turner!

A scandal in Bohemia / Haigh, Gideon

In the 1920s Mollie Dean was a young, independent woman, a poet and aspiring novelist who was the lover and muse of acclaimed artist Colin Colahan.  And then one night in 1930 she was brutally murdered by an unknown killer.  When police investigated, they found a tangle of bohemian lifestyles, abusive family and sexual freedom that was to shake Melbourne to the core and inspire music, literature and theatre long into the future.

Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil / Berendt, John (Audiobook)

A delicious, steamy melange of high society, rednecks, con artists, voodoo, antiques and a stunning black drag queen who metaphorically slays all in her path.  This New York Times bestseller was made into a film starring John Cusack and the Lady Chablis, the actual drag queen featured in the book.  This book reads like fiction, but it’s all true, and like the aforementioned Safran book, the author John Berendt manages to get himself embroiled in the story.  Another riveting story.

His bloody project : documents relating to the case of Roderick Macrae, a historical thriller / Burnet, Graeme Macrae

His Bloody Project is technically fiction, but it has been created from extensive research into a true crime case and the community around it.  A fantastic historical thriller explores a triple murder in a small Scottish farming community around the time of the highland clearances.  There is no question that 17 year old Roderick Macrae committed these brutal murders, but what led him to do so? What secrets were being kept by the villagers of Culdie?  Graeme Macrae Burnet has used the historical documents of the time to piece together the story and speculate on the reasons behind this dramatic occurrence in a tiny village community.

Tamam Shud : the Somerton man mystery / Greenwood, Kerry

Written by Kerry Greenwood, author of the Phryne Fisher and Corinna Chapman novels, this is the story of the most mysterious unsolved murder in Australian history.  In 1948 a body was found on a beach in Adelaide, and even now, it is not known who he was.  But around him, were so many bizarre details.  A tiny scrap of paper with the words “Tamum Shud” sewn into the lining of his suit.  A code written in a book of Persian poetry… the same book that the piece of paper in his suit had been torn from.  All the labels had been cut from his clothing.  Kerry Greenwood delves into this story to try to solve it after all these years, and leaves us with almost as many questions as we have answers!

The tall man / Hooper, Chloe

Chloe Hooper takes a close look at the case of Cameron Doomadgee, the Palm Island man who was found dead in a watch house cell after swearing at a white police officer, Senior Sergeant Christopher Hurly, and the long and difficult efforts to bring him to trial.  Indigenous deaths in custody have long been a contentious issue in Australia and the Palm Island case was a flashpoint in Indigenous rights.  This would have been a very complex case to research and even more difficult to write as sensitively as Chloe Hooper has. A totally engrossing read that literally made me hold my breath in parts.

In cold blood : a true account of a multiple murder and its consequences / Capote, Truman

Let’s face it, In Cold Blood is the OG of the true crime genre as we know it today.  Truman Capote took crime reporting and turned it into literature.  Investigating the 1959 murder of the Clutter family and the men who carried out that murder, Capote himself got embroiled in the community of Holcomb, Kansas and the lives of the two murderers, Perry Smith and Richard Hickock.  There is an intimacy to the way that Capote writes about those involved in this case that set the tone for crime writing well into the future.  As well as a captivating tale, it’s a fantastic way to look at the way the true crime genre was born.

For more great true crime reads, click here.

Changes to Compact Disc music and audiobook collections

Over the next month, we’re making changes to our Adult CD, Adult Audiobook and Young Adult CD collections. These changes are reflective of changing listening habits for the Compact Disc format, and consistent drops in usage for these collections over recent years. The changes are:

  • Adult CDs – we are removing Adult CDs from all branch libraries, and consolidating them into the CD collection at Central library.
  • Adult Audiobooks – we are removing Adult Audiobooks from branch libraries and consolidating them at Central library. In addition, we are removing the $3.00 rental fee, starting from the 31st of August. If you have a concession card for audiobooks, please talk with staff.
  • Young Adult CDs – all CDs in the Young Adult collections will be removed from all libraries.

These changes will be in place from the 31st of August, providing branch libraries with more display space and the option of promoting other branch collections.

We will continue to support Central library collections for Adult CDs and Audiobooks, with customers being able to reserve titles from the Central library as required.

Please note, these changes do not affect other library Audio Visual collections such as DVDs.

 

Top 10 2012 – Audiobooks

Here are our most downloaded audiobooks for 2012:

1- Catching Fire: The Hunger Games Series, Book 2/ by Suzanne COLLINS, read by Carolyn McCormick
“Katniss Everdeen continues to struggle to protect herself and her family from the Capitol in this second novel from the bestselling Hunger Games trilogy.” (Overdrive summary)

2- The Hunger Games: The Hunger Games Series, Book 1/ by Suzanne COLLINS, read by Carolyn McCormick
“In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV.
Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives alone with her mother and younger sister, regards it as a death sentence when she steps forward to take her sister’s place in the Games. But Katniss has been close to dead before-and survival, for her, is second nature. Without really meaning to, she becomes a contender. But if she is to win, she will have to start making choices that weigh survival against humanity and life against love.” (Overdrive summary)

3- Mockingjay: The Hunger Games Series, Book 3/ by Suzanne COLLINS, read by Carolyn McCormick
“Against all odds, Katniss Everdeen has survivied the Hunger Games twice. But now that she’s made it out of the bloody arena live, she’s still not safe. The Capitol is angry. The Capitol wants revenge.” (Overdrive summary)

4- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban: Harry Potter Series, Book 3/ by J.K. Rowling, read by Stephen Fry
“Harry Potter, along with his best friends, Ron and Hermione, is about to start his third year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Harry can’t wait to get back to school after the summer holidays (who wouldn’t if they lived with the horrible Dursleys?). But when Harry gets to Hogwarts, the atmosphere is tense. There’s an escaped mass murderer on the loose, and the sinister prison guards of Azkaban have been called in to guard the school… ” (Overdrive summary)

5- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets: Harry Potter Series, Book 2/ by J.K. Rowling, read by Stephen Fry
“Harry Potter is a wizard. He is in his second year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. The three friends, Harry, Ron and Hermione, are soon immersed in the daily round of Potions, Herbology, Charms, Defence Against the Dark Arts and Quidditch. Then mysterious and scary things start happening. First Harry hears strange voices, and then Ron’s sister, Ginny, disappears…” (Overdrive summary)

6- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire: Harry Potter Series, Book 4/ by J.K. Rowling, read by Stephen Fry
“The summer holidays seem never-ending and Harry Potter can’t wait for the start of the school term. It is his fourth year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, and there are spells to learn and (unluckily) Potions and Divination lessons to attend. But Harry needs to be on his guard at all times – his worst enemy is preparing a horrifying fate for him…” (Overdrive summary)

7- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince: Harry Potter Series, Book 6/ by J.K. Rowling, read by Stephen Fry
“It is Harry Potter’s sixth year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. As Voldemort’s sinister forces amass and a spirit of gloom and fear sweeps the land, it becomes clear to Harry that he will soon have no choice but to confront his destiny. Can Harry succeed in the death-defying tasks ahead?” (Overdrive summary)

8- A King’s Ransom – The 39 Clues: Cahills vs. Vespers Series, Book 2/ by Jude Watson, read by David Pittu
“The Vespers have ordered Amy and Dan to find a legendary map that belonged to Marco Polo, and the hunt takes them to Easter Europe where they make a terrifying discovery about one of their supposed “allies.”” (Overdrive summary)

9- Fry’s English Delight: The Complete Series/ by Stephen Fry, read by Stephen Fry
“Stephen Fry hosts four programmes on the joys of the English language – as heard on BBC Radio 4. Current Puns Why does our language groan with the weight of puns? What exactly is a pun? And who, or what, is the Thief of Bad Gags? Metaphor The English language is chock-full of maritime metaphors: cock up, taken aback, chip on your shoulder and show a leg. And, with the help of a Greek removals firm, we also find the origin of the word ‘metaphor’. Quotation The uses and misuses of quotations are revealed, and there is also a frank confession from a quotation compiler, which we cannot divulge here. Cliché Featuring sick parrots and the cliché crisis that affected the writing of Flaubert, Joyce and Eliot, and helped shape modern language and culture.” (Overdrive summary)

10- A Brief History of Time/ by Stephen W. Hawking, read by Michael Jackson
“”Lively and provocative… Mr. Hawking clearly possesses a natural teacher’s gifts-easy, good-natured humor and an ability to illustrate highly complex proposition with analogies plucked from daily life.” -The New York Times
“Charming and Lucid…( A book of) sunny brilliance”. – The New Yorker
“This book marries a child’s wonder to a genius intellect. We journey into Hawking’s universe while marveling at his mind -The Sunday Time (London).
“He can explain the complexities of cosmological physics with an engaging combination of clarity and wit… His is a brain of extraordinary power.”-The New York Review Books.” (Overdrive summary)

Our eAudio collection just got a lot bigger!

bolinda logoWe now have a Bolinda Digital subscription, which means you can browse, borrow and download over 800 audiobook titles.

You’ll see that their strength is in Australasian publishing, including some NZ titles, but they also offer international best-sellers.  Similar to our Overdrive subscription, there are audiobooks for all ages available for download.

They are easy to borrow too – you don’t need to download them via special software.  Downloaded titles can be enjoyed on your computer (including Linux-based systems) or transferred to any mobile device capable of playing MP3 files e.g. iPod/ iPad, Sony Walkman, smartphone etc.

Want to know more?  Our eLibrary page has all the details.

bolinda downloadable eAudio

Downloadable Audiobooks: Top 10

Here’s a list of the ten most checked out audiobooks in 2009:

  1. Journeys in English
  2. Twilight
  3. After the Quake
  4. Absurdistan
  5. 25 things to Say to the Interviewer, to Get the Job You Want
  6. The Power of Now
  7. The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid
  8. Sideways
  9. A History of Britain, vol. 1
  10. Iced

Check out our Downloadable Media ‘s page on our website to find out about all the other audiobooks you can download for free!

Overdrive link.Overdrive link.Overdrive link.