"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


Knockin’ on Joe: Voices From Death Row

Sondra London

“The mercurial Sondra London has collected stark tales of crime and punishment, guilt and innocence, violence and pain, straight from America’s death rows and maximum-security prisons. Told in their own distinct voices, the stories of the men themselves ring loud and, sometimes appallingly, clear. Among the many with stories to tell are:
• Bobby Fieldmore Lewis—the only man ever to escape from Florida’s death row, he writes with disarming candor about his life of crime, his time on the row, and the time he spent with the hated Ted Bundy
• Ottis Toole—deranged partner of Henry Lee Lucas, who tells of his gothic nightmare childhood
• Carl Panzram—the noble psychopath, and original ‘killer author,’ writing here of his incredible worldwide murder spree
• Wayne Henderson—a free spirit trapped within the California Corrections system, writing of his own dubious murder conviction and the nightmare of prison life
•Danny Rolling—one of the most dangerous men in the USA today, currently on trial for his life. His stories attempt to make sense of the bleak road that leads to nowhere, while London speaks candidly of her love for Rolling—a love which has outraged American TV viewers.”

Publisher: Nemesis
Paperback: 313 pages

Lethal Marriage: The Unspeakable Crimes of Paul Bernardo and Karla Homolka

Nick Pron

“I wuv you Paul. To my one and only number one guy in the world. Your snuggly wuggly honey bunny. Kar.” Karla Homolka sent her beloved Paul hundreds of “wuv” notes. When she didn’t feel like it anymore he beat her up. She continued to write one every day.
Handsome Karla and Paul appeared to be an ideal couple. A Canadian Barbie and Ken. Their crimes, however, horrified an entire nation and resulted in the most costly manhunt and sensational trial in Canada’s history. You see, Karla had assisted and then watched her “number-one guy” kidnap, rape, sodomize and murder three teenage “sex slaves” including her “widdle” sister. Every action was caught on videotape for Paul’s later viewing pleasure. Many of these grisly videotapes were transcribed in this book for your… reading pleasure. LZ

Publisher: Ballantine
Paperback: 468 pages

Lobster Boy: The Bizarre Life and Brutal Death of Grady Stiles Jr.

Fred Rosen

Ectrodactyly, a genetic condition, which has run in the Stiles family since 1840 for five generations, results in the absence of the third digit and the fusing together of the remaining fingers and toes into “claws.” The condition, which is also known as lobster-claw syndrome, sometimes affects all four limbs, sometimes two. Lobster Boy documents the bizarre life of Grady Stiles Jr. (and family), his abuse of wives and various handicapped and “normal” children, and Grady’s brutal, premeditated murder. The murder itself is not as shocking as the zeal of the prosecutors in their quest for “justice.” Big type makes this a quick but queer read, with an insider’s view of on-the-road freak shows. CF

Publisher: Pinnacle
Paperback: 331 pages

Low Life: Lures and Snares of Old New York

Luc Sante

Outlaw urban history from the author of Evidence. Presents the Goodfellas side of the immigrant experience in Old New York, from 1840 through 1919. “There were times,” writes the author, “when this project was new, when my research would get the better of me and I would almost lose track of what year it was outside. At least once, late at night, and under the influence of alcohol and architecture and old copies of the Police Gazette, I staggered around looking for a dive that had closed 60 or 80 years before, half expecting to find it in mid-brawl. This kind of hallucination is not difficult to sustain, even now, on certain empty streets where the buildings are the same ones that were once chockablock with blind tigers, stuss joints and bagnios. An extraordinary number of edifices survive that formerly housed the worst deadfalls in the city, from Kit Burn’s Rat Pit to McGurk’s Suicide Hall. I was instinctively drawn to such places.” Shows where we got the Bowery Boys, the Mickey Finn, Hell’s Kitchen, the “joint,” “dope” and Dixie. Look for the book The Gangs of New York, written in 1929, for more dirty details. GR

Publisher: Vintage
Paperback: 414 pages

Lustmord: Sexual Murder in Weimar Germany

Maria Tatar

In this provocative text professor Tatar examines images of sexual crime in the art, film and literature of the Weimar Republic and how art and murder have since intersected in the “sexual politics of culture.” After a concise overview of the escapades of the most notable sex criminals of the period, Franz Haarmann and Peter Kürten, Tatar goes on to explore the ways in which Weimar artists dealt with the roles of victim and murderer in their work, and how all too often (she feels) they found themselves identifying most greatly, and most cheerfully, with the murderer. An extremely thoughtful treatment written with a minimum of academic jargon. JW

Publisher: Princeton University
Paperback: 213 pages

The Mafia Encyclopedia

Carl Sifakis

Besides all being of Italian heritage, what do the following people have in common: Vinnie “The Chin” Gigante, “Crazy” Joe Gallo, Jimmie “The Weasel” Fratianno, Vincent “The Schemer” Drucci, Angelo “The Gyp” DeCarlo, Willie “Potatoes” Daddano?
In case you are wondering how these people happened to receive their nicknames, The Mafia Encyclopedia will explain them all, along with enough gory photos to satisfy those readers who “never drink… wine.” JB

Publisher: Facts on File
Hardback: 384 pages

The Making of a Serial Killer: The Real Story of the Gainesville Murders in the Killer’s Own Words

Danny Rolling and Sondra London

A collaborative autobiography by Florida murderer Danny Rolling with “Media Queen” and romancer of serial killers (after they’re safely behind bars) Sondra London. While Rolling has certainly done some nasty deeds, thankfully he has also found Jesus—and when he did kill people he was always possessed by an evil spirit, such as “Gemini.” Perhaps we can all learn from the words of Danny (since he has allowed himself to experience a few forbidden pleasures along life’s way): “Right and good always follow the heavenly. Wrong and evil produce nothing but HELL.” Includes Rolling’s prison drawings as illustrations plus some frightening portraits of his lady-love Sondra. SS

Publisher: Feral House
Paperback: 250 pages

Manson Behind the Scenes

Bill Nelson

“• Manson: New information from 1,000 pages of his recent communications
• Tex Watson: His Medi-Cal Fraud Investigation, the Abounding Love Ministries rip-off, how he is manipulating the Christian community
• Suzan LaBerge: The daughter of Rosemary LaBianca, how she lost custody of her oldest daughter, her verbal and physical abuse, what people say about her demonic powers
• Susan Atkins: Inside the California Institute for Women, has she changed? Who performed her first marriage? Her present marriage? Her disciplinary reports and her faith experiences
• Patricia Krenwinkel: Conversations from inside the California Institute for Women
• TJ: The man who was with Manson when drug dealer Bernard Crowe was killed
• Gypsy: The most colorful female in the gang! What is her life like today? How she is financed at taxpayers’ expense
• Michael Brunner: KCBS wanted to find Manson’s son; what really went on behind the scenes during the taping?
• Bruce M. Davis: What is this man hiding?
• The Hawthorne Shootout: Interviews with the officers who shot it out with Manson Family members
• Exclusive: The only person alive at the Tate property breaks his silence—William Garretson tells what he heard that fateful night.”

Publisher: Pen Power
Paperback: 398 pages

Mass Rape

Edited by Alexander Stiglmayer

Pornography goes to war. “Accounts of torture, murder, mutilation, abduction, sexual enslavement and systematic attempts to impregnate—all in the name of ‘ethnic cleansing.”’ It’s the old Nazi Holocaust gambit brought into the ‘90s with a sicko porn twist. With this war, states the author, pornography emerges as a tool of genocide. One witness writes: “Some massacres in villages as well as rapes and/or executions in camps are being videotaped as they’re happening… In front of the camera, one beats you and the other—excuse me—fucks you, he puts his truncheon in you, and he films all that… We even had to sing Serbian songs… in front of the camera.” Told in political and social essays and interviews with some 20 women, primarily of Muslim origin, and three Serbian perpetrators. GR

Publisher: University of Nebraska
Paperback: 232 pages

The Milwaukee Murders: Nightmare in Apartment 213—The True Story

Don Davis

“They smelled the foul odors. They heard the power saw buzzing in the dead of night. But neighbors never imagined the horrors happening right next door… The hot sultry night of July 22, 1991, was one the tenants of the Oxford Apartments would never forget. A panic-stricken young man—a pair of handcuffs still dangling from his wrists—ran out of Apartment 213 and told police an incredible tale of terror… Shaking with fear, he led officers back to his captor’s lair, where they made a gruesome discovery. Inside were the body parts of at least 15 men—including torsos stuffed into a barrel, severed heads in a refrigerator, and skulls boiled clean and stashed in a filing cabinet. Tacked to the freezer were Polaroid photographs of mutilated corpses.” Guess whose crib it was?

Publisher: St. Martin's
Paperback: 311 pages