"Old Sparky", the electric chair used at Sing Sing prison. Image © Public Domain

Blood and Volts: Edison, Tesla and the Electric Chair

Th. Metzger

“An ax murderer, two of the most brilliant scientific minds of the century, billions of dollars in profit, precedent-setting legal battles, secrets of life and death—all of these come together in the story of the first electric chair… At the dawn of the 20th century, electricity was thought to be a highly ambiguous force: at once a godlike, creative power and demonic destroyer of life… In the popular imagination, Tesla and Edison were seen as nearly superhuman beings, and their struggle was not only for wealth and power, but to reshape the face of America.”

Publisher: Autonomedia
Paperback: 191 pages


Mind Hunter: Inside the FBI’s Elite Serial-Crime Unit

John Douglas and Mark Olshaker

Enter the twisted, tormented world of pioneering FBI behavioral-profiling expert John Douglas as he recounts his relentless pursuit of America’s most brutal serial killers. The inspiration for the Scott Glenn character in The Silence of the Lambs, Douglas painstakingly studied such serial killers as Edmund Kemper in the quest to develop a set of behavioral profiling tools that could enable cops to pry inside the minds of murderers and catch them before they kill again. Part Sherlock Holmes, part forensic sex-therapist to the damned, Douglas developed insights into the dark recesses of deviant psychology that are nothing short of chilling. Almost equally fascinating is the candid portrait Douglas paints of himself as an obsessive, hard-drinking, workaholic Fed with a sharp eye for miniskirted, go-go-booted coeds, an image that just might leave one with the impression that Douglas’ prowess in entering the mind of the serial killer might not entirely be the result of academic study. AD

Publisher: Pocket
Paperback: 397 pages

Mind of a Killer: An Investigation Into the World of Serial Killers


This is a vastly entertaining CD-ROM exploring the nightmare world of the serial killer. Featuring case histories of such deviants as John Wayne Gacy, Ted Bundy, Henry Lee Lucas and Aileen Wuornos, Mind of a Killer is lavishly supported by maps, photographs, video and audio clips as well as numerous segments of former FBI behavioral profiling pioneer Robert Ressler, who provides expert opinion and commentary on the various case histories. Also included on the disc is a hypertext version of Ressler’s seminal work on the psychology of serial killers, Sexual Homicide, Patterns and Motives, as well as the FBI Handbook of Forensic Science. Mind of a Killer is a worthy interactive addition to the collection of any true-crime enthusiast. AD

Publisher: Kozel Multimedia

Monster: The Autobiography of an L.A. Gang Member

Sanyika Shakur, a.k.a Monster Kody Scott

“After pumping eight blasts from a sawed-off shotgun at a group of rival gang members, 11-year-old Kody Scott was initiated into the L.A. gang the Crips. He quickly matured into one of the most formidable Crip combat soldiers and earned the name Monster for committing acts of brutality and violence that repulsed even fellow gang members. When an inevitable jail term confined Scott to a maximum-security cell, he transferred his aggression into educating himself and underwent a political and personal transformation. Written from his cell in solitary… illuminates his evolution from Monster, ‘gangbanging ghetto star,’ to Sanyika Shakur, black nationalist, member of the New Afrikan Independence Movement, and crusader against the causes of gangsterism.”

Publisher: Penguin
Paperback: 383 pages

Monsters of Weimar: The Stories of Fritz Haarmaan/Peter Kürten

Theodor Lessing/Karl Berg, M.D.

Comprises the classic histories Haarmann: The Story of a Werewolf and The Sadist. “In Weimar Germany, before the Nazis rose, the most evil men were those who sought out innocent victims in the backstreets and alleys. Fritz Haarman, the ‘Butcher of Hannover’ captured young men to satisfy his sexual desires, to fill his pockets with their stolen cash, to satiate his bloodlust and to stock his butcher store with the flesh of their young bodies. Peter Kürten was known as ‘The Vampire of Düsseldorf’ during his reign of terror, and no human being was sacred or safe. For the first time ever, the classic case histories of these two human monsters—banned by Hitler soon after he came to power—appear in one disturbing volume.” Introduction by Colin Wilson. AK

Publisher: Nemesis
Paperback: 306 pages

Mother Love, Deadly Love: The Texas Cheerleader Murder Plot

Anne McDonald Maier

“Terry returned to the nature of the job. ‘This guy told me he could do anything you wanted …’
‘Would you do it to the girl, or do it to the mother?’ Wanda asked. ‘The girl is harder to get rid of. The mother ain’t no problem, once you get rid of the girl …’
‘I think if a car wrecked, where they both died, if the car blew up or something, it might be different,’ Wanda mused. ‘An impact, an explosion or something, you know what I’m talking about? Then it wouldn’t look so obvious… ‘
‘This guy, he don’t like doing children, alright?’ Terry explained. ‘Seventy-five hundred dollars is the most for both of them to be dead …’
‘Well, I have to find some money, I need to get some money,’ Wanda explained.” GR

Publisher: Birch Lane
Hardback: 256 pages

Murder Guide to London

Martin Fido

A good read for “armchair ghouls” as well as a guide to the killing streets of Murdersville, U.K. “Find and visit major murder sites all over London. Maps show the distribution of murders and provide a handy key to murderers’ names.” Details locations of all the classic cases: Jack the Ripper’s first stop and slash in Buck’s Row; the Kray twins’ Stoke Newington flats, where they partied and popped shotguns; Dr. Crippen’s murder house, where he sliced and diced his wife; Reg Christie’s gruesome garden (he planted four bodies); and Dennis Nilsen’s Cranley Gardens flat, where the fat of his last victim clogged the drains after cooking. GR

Publisher: Academy Chicago
Paperback: 272 pages

The Murder of Bob Crane: Who Killed the Star of Hogan’s Heroes?

Robert Graysmith

For Bob Crane, the post-Hogan’s Heroes dinner-theater circuit was a sequence of singles-bar pick-ups, suburban SM dungeons and videotaped one-night stands. Jealousy was the motive for his killing, but was the killer an unnamed big-shot criminal husband seeking a cuckold’s revenge, Crane’s ex-wife, or his hanger-on “best friend”—the electronics gadget rigger who arranged many of Crane’s filmed dates but grew to resent his own background, second-banana status? From the discovery of Crane’s body to the arrest of his “best friend” for the murder (later acquitted), the author investigates and presents every angle, every detail of this decadent, never-solved case in all its pedestrian middle-American glory. MS

Publisher: Berkley
Paperback: 301 pages

Murder of Innocence: The Tragic Life and Final Rampage of Laurie Dann, “The Schoolhouse Killer”

Joel Kaplan, George Papajohn and Eric Zorn

“On an early May morning in 1988, 30-year-old Laurie Dann, a profoundly unhappy product of Chicago’s North Shore suburbs, loaded her father’s car with handguns, incendiary chemicals and arsenic-laced food. Before the end of the day, Dann had blazed a trail of fire, poison and bullets through the area, murdering an eight-year-old boy and critically wounding five other children in an elementary school, until a massed force of armed police ended the killings… Murder of Innocence is the searing portrait of a young woman of beauty and privilege who was allowed to go slowly berserk, and of the fatally complacent community that became an unwitting accomplice to the final rampage of Laurie Dann.”

Publisher: Warner
Paperback: 335 pages

The Mystery of the Princes

Audrey Williamson

When the legend has more propaganda value than the truth, print the legend. “There is no evidence whatsoever that Richard III, a man conspicuous for his loyalty to his brother Edward in a power-hungry age, murdered his brother’s children, totally unnecessarily, to gain a throne from which they were in any case legally barred. Moreover, he never announced their deaths, so what could he have hoped to gain by them?” Contemporary records are examined, revisionist histories are examined, the bones of “two young boys” are examined, and Richard’s hump disappears along with his guilt. GR

Publisher: Academy Chicago
Paperback: 215 pages

Night Stalker

Clifford L. Linedecker

“The shocking true story of Richard Ramirez… During a two-year rampage, a sadistic serial killer entered the homes of families from El Paso to San Francisco. He raped, mutilated and tortured his unfortunate victims in one of the most vicious crime sprees in California history. This is the horrifying account of his bloody journey, of the strange coincidence that led to his arrest—and of the sensational trial where the Night Stalker’s eerie sexual magnetism resulted in women actually demonstrating for his acquittal. Filled with accounts of Satanism, cult worship and the killer’s twisted obsession with heavy metal rock music.”

Publisher: St. Martin's
Paperback: 304 pages