George V. Reilly

Review: Destination: Morgue!

Title: Des­ti­na­tion: Morgue!
Author: James Ellroy
Rating: ★ ★ ½
Publisher: Vintage
Copyright: 2004
Pages: 400
Keywords: true crime, au­to­bi­og­ra­phy
Reading period: November 28–De­cem­ber 20, 2015

A collection of James Ellroy's articles on crime and his own past.

I've enjoyed Ellroy in the past but I found this unreadable. I tried it twice but abandoned it halfway through. Ellroy's writing is self-indulgent, irritating, grandiose, and full of tiresome stylistic tics.

Review: In Cold Blood

Title: In Cold Blood
Author: Truman Capote
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½
Publisher: Vintage
Copyright: 1965
Pages: 343
Keywords: true crime
Reading period: 3–8 May, 2015

In Cold Blood, Truman Capote's best­selling non-fiction novel, describes the 1959 murder of a wealthy farmer and his family, which terrorized Kansas; the in­ves­ti­ga­tion by the Kansas Bureau of In­ves­ti­ga­tion; the arrest six weeks later of two parolees, Dick Hickock and Perry Smith; and the lives and deaths of Hickock and Smith. Smith was a ne'er-do-well, brought up by footloose alcoholic parents, with two siblings dead of suicide, while Hickock had been brought up in a good home.

Capote “recre­at­ed” the events of the Clutter murder and, in­ci­den­tal­ly, helped create the genre continue.

Review: The Best American Crime Writing 2005

Title: The Best American Crime Writing 2005
Author: Otto Penzler (editor), Thomas H. Cook (editor)
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½
Publisher: Harper Perennial
Copyright: 2005
Pages: 384
Keywords: non-fiction, crime
Reading period: 9-16 December, 2007

Female sex slaves, Ukrainian oligarchs, an obsessive silver thief, white-collar criminals facing jail time, virus writers, self-de­struc­tive surgeons, and the Madrid bombers, are just some of the stories in this collection of non-fiction writing on crime and criminals, published in various magazines in 2005.

The book is bracketed by two pieces by James Ellroy. In the foreword, he argues that "true-crime writing offers a less ki­neti­cized and more sobering set of thrills [than crime fic­tion]—chiefly couched in human rev­e­la­tion". In the concluding continue.