"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


Iron House: Stories From the Yard

Jerome Washington

Hard-edged series of vignettes about life behind bars penned by one who has been there. “‘Hard-Luck Henry’ was busted on Friday the 13th by an off-duty cop. ‘Bitedown’ bit his lover’s cock off. ‘Boxhead Mike’’s name speaks for itself. ‘Wizard’ can make wine out of Kool Aid.” “Ain’t nothing cryptic or subtle about this place. Everything is up front. Direct. To the point and for real.” GR

Publisher: QED
Hardback: 160 pages

The Jack the Ripper A to Z

Paul Begg, Martin Fido and Keith Skinner

Solve the crime of the century in your spare time! “Compiled in encyclopedic form by three of the world’s leading experts on the subject,” this revised edition brings together “all that is known on the subject… and provides a compelling insight into the enigma which still exerts such a fascination more than a century later.” Fresh info on: Dr. Tumblety, the subject of the “little child letter,” which discloses that “the head of Special Branch’s preferred suspect was arrested but escaped to the United States. The theory of Joseph Barnett, the lover of the last victim, who closely matches the FBI’s psychological profile of the Ripper.” And “the sensational ongoing story of the alleged diary confession of James Maybrick.” Hoaxes and bogus information are debunked; autopsy reports are supplied; newspaper accounts are furnished; people involved are profiled; theories and clues abound. GR

Publisher: Trafalgar Square
Paperback: 560 pages

The Keepers of Heaven’s Gate: The Millennial Madness — The Religion Behind the Rancho Santa Fe Suicides

William Henry

“This book presents the timeline of escalating events that led to the suicides in Rancho Santa Fe, California. The timeline begins in November 1996, with the first radio talk-show and news reports about a space ship hiding behind the comet Hale-Bopp. The author presents the facts behind this new millennial ‘end of the world’ thinking. Through painstaking research conducted throughout the ‘90s, the author presents a thorough understanding of these new millenial groups… This book brings to light the truth behind the religion which led to the Rancho Santa Fe suicides.”

Publisher: Earthpulse
Paperback: 152 pages

Kids Who Kill

Charles Patrick Ewing

“There is a new breed of killers loose in America today—and its numbers are growing at an astounding rate. They are responsible for over 10 percent of the nation’s homicides… Startling true accounts of America’s youngest murderers… and the psychology, causes and motives behind their unspeakable acts:
• Brenda Spencer, 17 years old, opened fire on a crowded elementary schoolyard with a semiautomatic rifle because, ‘I hate Mondays.’
• Timothy Dwaine Brown, 16 years old, beat his brother to death before killing his grandparents in cold blood.
• Molested repeatedly by her father, 16-year-old Cheryl Pierson hired a classmate to execute him.
• Two Missouri brothers, ages four and six, attacked and brutally murdered a baby girl because ‘she was ugly.’”

Publisher: Avon
Paperback: 230 pages

Kill the Dutchman! The Story of Dutch Schultz

Paul Sann

“On October 23, 1935 a rusty, steel-jacketed .45 slug tore through the body of Dutch Schultz. The Beer Baron of the Bronx and king of Harlem’s numbers racket had finally gone too far.” Schultz had defied the underworld’s “Big Six” by vowing to gun down Special Prosecutor Thomas Dewey, an act that would have brought enormous heat down on the New York mob. Chronicles his rapid rise, fueled by Prohibition, his “Gotham bloodbath” war with rival Mad Dog Vincent Coll, and the details of his famous restaurant rub-out. Schultz, born Arthur Flegenheimer, age 33, got hit relieving himself at a urinal in the Palace Chop House, in Newark, New Jersey. He then walked out, clutching his side, and collapsed at a nearby table, where the famous “death photo” was taken. He actually died later in a hospital of peritonitis. His “deathbed swan song,” recorded by the police is a wiseguy’s ode to motherhood, America, the devil, paranoia, guilt, friends and promises, peppered with food slang of the times (dog biscuits [money), onions [girls), and pretzels [Germans]). Written by an editor of the New York Post, on staff in the ‘30s. GR

Publisher: Da Capo
Paperback: 337 pages

Killer Fiction: The Sordid Confessional Stories That Convicted Serial Killer G.J. Schaefer

G.J. Schaefer

“A texbook case of the classic serial killer gives clues to his personality in this chilling selection of writings, which are from before and during his prison term. Includes stories, fantasies, ‘plans’ and poetry… clearly reveals both Schaefer’s own pathology and that of various prison inmates with whom he was on intimate terms.”

Publisher: Feral House
Paperback: 192 pages

Killer Teens

Edited by Rose G. Mandelsberg

“A shocking collection of the most savage cases of youthful violence ever reported. Obsessed by twisted desires and perversions, these teenage sociopaths are consumed by only one thing: the thrill of the kill! Read horrifying accounts of Phillip Negrete, the Des Moines, Iowa, high school gangleader who crushed a stranger’s skull with a hammer for 50 cents and a six pack of beer; Georgia’s Billy Shane, who proved his love for his 13-year-old bride-to-be by setting fire to his own father; Yong Ho Han, who fatally stabbed his Long Island classmate with a kitchen knife which he later imbedded in the scalp of a 12-year-old girl because he wasn’t shown proper respect; and other heinous crimes committed by a grisly new brotherhood in blood.”

Publisher: Pinnacle
Paperback: 448 pages

The Killers Among Us: Motives Behind Their Madness

Colin Wilson

An exercise in psychological analysis of many of our century’s most infamous murderers. The authors examine the cases of Ian Brady and Myra Hindley, the “Moors Murderers,” as well as these others: Donald “Pee Wee” Gaskins—who one day realized he could have sex with anyone—so long as he killed them afterward; Aileen Wournos—who claimed that all of her killings were made in self-defense; six-foot-nine-inch Ed Kemper, who wanted to have sex with headless bodies. JB

Publisher: Warner
Paperback: 390 pages

Killing for Company

Brian Masters

Dennis Nilsen was England’s answer to Jeffrey Dahmer. He preyed on young men he picked up in the gay bars of London. In his apartment, he’d strangle them and keep the bodies around the flat for a few days for further use before ultimately dismembering and disposing of them. He’d killed 15 men before an alert plumber noticed that the obstruction clogging the sewer line serving Nilsen’s apartment building was a little too human. Now, even a crummy paperback would be welcome on a crime of this magnitude, but Killing for Company transcends the true-crime genre. Masters has written more of an in-depth biography, attempting to answer the whys as much as the whats by drawing heavily on interviews and Nilsen’s writings. It’s easily one of the most insightful looks into the mind of a murderer in the past 30 years. JM

Publisher: Stein and Day
Paperback: 336 pages

Killing Time: The First Full Investigation Into the Unsolved Murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman

Donald Freed and Raymond P. Briggs, Ph.D.

If you think you have heard and read all there is to read about the O.J. Simpson trial, think again. This thought-provoking book presents such questions as: Who left the evidence found in Nicole’s garage? What happened to the prosecution’s initial double-assassin theory? Who was Nicole’s other gentleman caller that night? Why was the constellation of violence and murders around Ronald Goldman not explored? Could Ron have been the target? Or Faye Resnick? Or O.J. himself? JB

Publisher: Macmillan
Hardback: 307 pages