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Archive for the ‘crime’ Category

SO BRILLIANTLY CLEVER

In 1950s, book, books, crime, crime story, murder, mystery, New Zealand, reader, real-life, teen, true, true crime, violence, writer on November 14, 2011 at 7:46 pm

Peter Graham new book is out. It is called, So Brilliantly Clever.

It is a true crime story that took place in 1950s New Zealand.

One of the teen perpetrators went on to become an acclaimed crime writer and a documentary was made about her life after the memorable event.

The comment made about the announcement of the book is what attracted my attention though and what made me write this post.

This is what the comment by Fred says, “Does all this attention to a long ago crime really serve any worthwhile purpose or is this just another example of exploitation for monetary gain?”

The key words here for me are: “serve any worthwhile purpose”.

It made me wonder about the general purpose of a book on true crime. What is it really for?

To inform the public? To make them more knowledgeable about the criminal mind? To dispel some misconceptions? To bring to light some new evidence or obscure facts about the perpetrator(s) or the victim(s)?

I cannot answer this question because I am not a true crime writer and don’t know anyone personally who is.

If you do or you are one, I would be happy to know your thoughts about this. Drop us a line.

The reason I used to read true crime books it was to discover more about the criminal mind and get to know more about the facts of a crime and the perpetrators, but I am a voracious reader of anything to do with criminal psychology. However, I have never read anything by a simple true crime writer.

All my true crime books had been written by criminologists and I have to say that aside from some comments to attract the middle-class readership, I have learnt a  pretty good deal, but never enough or a lot about a particular perpetrator.

Books, like any other art form, are subject to marketing, therefore they have to cater for a particular readership.

As I have often said in these pages, true crime writers, in my opinion, suck up to the middle-class who can’t cope with the idea of a human being committing such a serious crime and feel the need to keep a safe distance between themselves and the criminal in the ludicrous attempt to keep up the notion that only a certain type of person or group can act so savagely.

Now, the next question that this little paragraph brings to light is this, why is it that true crime writers’ goal is to please the middle-class?

Where do true crime writers come from?

I believe they come from all sorts of background, from police investigators to private detectives, from investigative journalists to criminologists. So how come their goal seems to be so similar?

This is the question I will try to answer in another post.

Crime Watch: So Brilliantly Clever: New Zealand author takes a detailed look at a decades-old crime.

OUR FRAGILE WORLD

In A, author, best-selling, book, books, Britain, Bronte, convention, crime, crime, cutlure, financial gain, fragile, remake, world on November 13, 2011 at 9:42 am
A new remake of the Bronte sisters’ work. Why?
Why remake a film made already over twenty times from the same book when, every day, new and exciting stories are published?
Is it because no one like the Bronte sisters’ work inspire scriptwriters and directors?
Is it because producers, scriptwriters and directors don’t want to take any chances, but rather bet on something they know has raked in decent money and interest over the years?
Millions of books since the Bronte sisters’ work have been published. Some of them depicting their era and current events with deadly accuracy and in that way talking to millions of readers through their characters’ hardships and joys and yet, no director, producer or scriptwriter has ever thought of turning that compelling story into a film. Why is that?
I am not convinced that it all comes down to the Bronte sisters’ ability to grab people’s imagination or describe the turmoil and heartbreaks of a generation.
I believe it is more an inability on the producers, directors and scriptwriters’ part to break free from the past and the certainty and explore new territories with characters who are not tried and tested, who are difficult and controversial sure to raise uncomfortable questions and issues. Better is to stay on the old path with stories that yes, deal with uneasy issues, but in a so gentle way as not to upset the spectators’ fragile world.
The Brontë sisters are always our contemporaries – Telegraph.

FASCINATION WITH THE MACABRE

In act, case, crime, fascination, fiction, heinous, issue, justice, Lawrence, reader, society, There, There's, writing on November 5, 2011 at 4:16 pm
There’s a fascination with the genre, and of course a fascination with exploring events that take place in what we call the real world,” Lawrence said.
“Crime writing is a reflection on current society and the crime and justice issues concerning the public. And it can become an opportunity to enter landscapes and places both exotic and desolate.”
The Ned Kelly award is at the door once again and this article about the prestigious competition makes me wonder about the distinction between fascination with true crime and fascination with crime fiction from the criminnal’s point of view.
Is there a fundamental difference between the two genres and if so, what is it?
The first one that springs to my mind is the distinction between vernaculars.
In many true crime books I have read, especially from a criminologist point of view, the author spares no punches.
It is clear from the start where the writer stands and the reader knows that there is no pity for the criminal.
Words like scumbag and society’s trash frequently occur when describing the person responsible for a major heinous crime.
In fiction crime on the other hand, sometimes, if not always, the roles are reversed.
In crime fiction books by Jim Thompson, James E. Cain, Deborah Moggach we find the criminal as the major character telling us his/her lifestory and that doesn’t always sit comfortably with the reader.
Why is that? Well, it takes nerves to want to identify with a criminal and most of us aren’t comfortable with that.
Better is to think of them as monsters just like most newspapers and media wants us to believe, who never stood a chance to be “respectable” citizens.
The true crime writer plays along with that.
Yes, they go out to discover the truth, but they are very careful to put their own disgust for the criminal and his/her heinous acts in the story.
A crime writer is very careful to do the opposite.
In a crime fiction story, the reader doesn’t always know (s)he will find a sense of justice at the end of it.
Sometimes, the criminal wins and the reader is left with that sense of defeat that it is so common in real life and that is exactly what puts most readers off. That sense of injustice.
There is where the difference between true crime and crime fiction rests.
True crime readers want to know that there is justice at the end of a crime. Crime fiction readers know that is not always the case.

NAME THE MORGUE!

In £1M, check, competition, crime, crime, donation, Dundee, morgue, Ten, university, vote, world's top, writers on October 31, 2011 at 6:26 pm

Ten of the world’s top crime writers are competing to have a new morgue and research facility in Scotland named after them.”

They are Tess Gerritsen, Kathy Reichs, Lee Child, Harlan Coben, Mark Billingham, Jeffrey Deaver, Jeff Lindsay, Stuart McBride, Peter James and Val McDermid.

The authors are participating in the competition in an attempt to raise £1M to help the University of Dundee.

For every donation you make, your favourite writer gets a vote.

Start writing those checks!

via Writers compete to have morgue named after them.

DIRTY BUSINESS IN THE AUSTRALIAN DAILY PAPER

In clean up, crime, episodes, Katherine, killing, people, print, script, series, The Australian, Thomson, Time, true, TV, writer on October 29, 2011 at 7:55 am

“Katherine Thomson, who scripted several episodes of Killing Time, suggested that sometimes writers of true crime, whether in print or in a TV series, are used by the people they write about to clean up their lives.”

An interesting observation, don’t you think? Unfortunately I am not a subscriber of The Australian, therefore I will never know what Katherine Thomson meant with her statement.

If you know or you’re a subscriber of the above newspaper, we would be grateful if you could share your knowledge with us.

via Dirty business exposed in crime series Killing Time | The Australian.

BUTCHER

In Butcher, crime, crime, Gary, King, true on October 16, 2011 at 4:16 pm

Butcher by Gary C. King is out.

Just thought you might be interested. And if you’re predilection is for true crime, you probably are.

Happy reading.

Blog – The True Crime Website of Author Gary C. King.

“YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT POWER IS UNTIL YOU’VE HELD SOMEONE’S LIFE IN YOUR HANDS”

In anger, article, convention, crime, crime, detective, Erskine, evil, helpless, Jane, Newton, P.M., police, power, sisters, Sullivan, women, writers on October 15, 2011 at 12:30 am

“Dont you call me helpless,” she said. “You don’t know what power is until you’ve held someones life in your hands.”

Sisters in Crime is a convention of women crime writers and the article by Jane Sullivan gives a neat summary of the original decision to write crime stories by a few of the women present.

For instance,”Y. A. (Yvette) Erskine began writing out of anger; her previous job as a police detective had turned her from a naive young girl into “an absolute monster” with no empathy. P. M. (Pam) Newton spent 13 years in the Sydney police and got sick of meeting people for the first time on the worst day of their lives: “By the end I felt the job was sucking my soul.”

At the convention, the authors talked about the nature of “evil” (a word that I’m even uncomfortable typing) and whether it is recognisable at first glance.

Those of you who has had  a nose around the blog, already know my answer to that questions. To all the others, well, you’re just a few clicks away to find out.

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/society-and-culture/crime-sisters-paint-the-town-blood-red-20111014-1loht.html#ixzz1ao0H3NtO

Read up find out more.

via SheKilda | Sisters In Crime.

FOCUS ON TRUE CRIME

In Andrew, book, Cain, crime, David, Deborah, detective, E., Ellroy, James, Jim, Klevan, Moggach, Peace, Thompson, thriller, true, true crime on October 9, 2011 at 9:48 am

“I think that the crime genre is the perfect tool to understand why crimes take place, and thus tell us about the society we live in and the country we live in and who we are.”

I can only agree with Peace. The way to go is to draw inspiration from true crime because nothing is more interesting, inspirational, compelling, “unbelievable”.

Think about it. James E. Cain, Jim Thompson, Deborah Moggach, Andrew Klevan James Ellroy. To me every book by the above authors makes up for a hundred books on any detective/thriller story. They just don’t grab me the way a true story does. The reason?

I can’t say a hundred per cent, but I think it is because nothing is scarier than real life.

via Writers should focus on true crime, says David Peace | Books | guardian.co.uk.

Canada’s Youngest Convicted Multiple Murderer To Be Released In November

In crime, minor, release, youngest (serial) killer, youngest killer on September 28, 2011 at 8:34 pm

Canada’s Youngest Convicted Multiple Murderer To Be Released In November

September 28, 2011 by Morbid

Medicine Hat, Canada – One of the cases that has fascinated me over the years is the Richardson family murders in Medicine Hat, Canada. Back in April 2006, Marc Richardson, 42, and his wife Debra, 48, were found in stabbed to death in the basement of their home. Their 8-year-old son, Jacob, was found dead on his bed with a slit throat. Their 12-year-old daughter, Jasmine Richardson, was no where to be found.

When the reports first started coming out, investigators feared the young girl had been abducted. But to everyone’s surprise the girl was arrested the following day, along with her 23-year-old boyfriend Jeremy Steinke, each charged with the murder of the girl’s family. The motive? Jasmine’s parents had forbid her from seeing the much older Jeremy.

The pair had some interesting conversations online, including one to Jeremy from Jasmine that read  ”I have this plan.  It begins with me killing them and ends with me living with you.”  Jeremy replied “I love your plan but we need to get a little more creative with like details and stuff.”

On the night of the murders, Jeremy ambushed Debra and Marc in their basement, stabbing them both to death. The medical examiner told a jury that Debra had been stabbed 12 times while Marc, who fought for his life, was stabbed 24 times. Steinke told an undercover officer that at one point Marc looked up and asked, “Why?” and Jeremy replied “‘cause you treat your daughter like shit, she wanted it this way.”

The pair then went upstairs to deal with a frightened Jacob, who Jasmine felt was too sensitive to be an orphan. He was at the top of the stairs in his underwear pleading for his life. Jasmine stabbed him in the chest. Jacob ran to his room only to be followed by the pair. Jasmine tried to strangle her brother before settling on slitting his throat. Jasmine testified that her brother gurgled as he lay dying.

After the murders, the pair met at a friends house where the bragged and laughed about what they had done and then had sex and planned a gothic wedding. They were arrested the following day almost 100 miles away after police began interviewing her friends. They had found one of Jasmine’s drawings that depicted her lighting her family on fire and running to Jeremy’s truck.

But even jail couldn’t keep these two apart, Jeremy even proposing to Jasmine in a jailhouse letter that read:

“Without you this life isn’t worth living… U said you want to get engaged? Then here’s a Q…Will U marry me? If so then it is a verbal agreement!”

Jasmine responded:

“Ahahaha! I never thought I’d find myself hystericaly laughing in a holding cell in these kinds of circumstances…or ever really. But still! ahaha you make me so happy! Yes! Yes! I will, I would love to… “

In July 2007, Jasmine made Canadian legal history after being found guilty of three counts of first-degree murder and becoming the youngest person ever convicted of multiple murders. In November 2007 she was sentenced to the maximum penalty of ten years imprisonment, to be followed by four years in a psychiatric institution and four-and-a-half years under conditional supervision.

In December 2008, Steinke was also found guilty of three counts of first-degree murder and sentenced to three life sentences to be served concurrently. He’ll be eligible for parole after serving twenty-five years.

Psychiatric pre-sentencing reports described Jasmine as suffering from oppositional defiance disorder and conduct disorder. At the beginning of her therapy, she was said to have suffered from dependency issues, anxiety and depression, and was prone to immature problem-solving and wishful fantasies.

In 2008, it was reported she was making progress, but that her interpretation of facts surrounding the crime was “troubling.” In 2010, it was said she was making “significant progress” in intensive young offender rehabilitation and earning straight A’s in school.

Yesterday a judge deemed Jasmine, now a Calgary university freshman, a low risk for future violence and fit to re-enter the community.

Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Scott Brooker said the latest psychologist report shows Jasmine is cooperating fully with staff within the treatment program and has displayed “exemplary behavior.”  At the end of her hearing, Jasmine stated she was grateful and the her treatment had helped her to grow.

She will be allowed to live in an Alberta residence approved by her probation officer beginning in November. She will have to report to authorities once a week and notify her probation officer if she moves. She’ll also be be under a daily curfew, continue with her treatments, not use drugs or possess weapons and will have her social networking site activity monitored.

If you would like to read a really book about this case, definitely check out Runaway Devil. It’s very well written and pretty accurate.

Canada’s Youngest Convicted Multiple Murderer To Be Released In November – The Dreamin Demon.

The Death Penalty, Back in the News

In crime, death penatly on September 27, 2011 at 11:17 am

A very interesting article by Holly Hughes in which she raises some poignant questions.

 

Have your say below and drop us a line.

Women in Crime Ink: The Death Penalty, Back in the News.