Harold Schechter

Schechter, the esteemed author of the true-crime classics Deviant and Depraved, has done it once again with Deranged. Having created probing, insightful, meticulously researched biographies of seminal American serial killers Ed Gein and Albert Fish, Schechter has now turned his morbid attentions to the man who was arguably the first serial killer to captivate and horrify the imagination of the American public—Herman Mudgett, a.k.a. the dashing Dr. Harry Holmes. A master poseur, seducer, bigamist, forger, insurance defrauder, get-rich-quick schemer, con artist and deadly Bluebeard, Mudgett committed a string of cold-blooded murders for profit in the early 1890s of such staggering ingenuity and complexity as to earn him the tabloid sobriquet of “villainous arch-fiend.” Embodying the boundless energy of the Gilded Age, Mudgett set to his grisly enterprises with the calculated drive and cunning of a J.P. Morgan, an Andrew Carnegie and a John D. Rockefeller, all rolled into one. An eerie precursor to the Vincent Price character in House of Wax, Mudgett’s homicidal and entrepreneurial excesses even drove him to build his own “murder palace”—a three story Victorian monstrosity on the outskirts of Chicago which featured such ghoulish amenities as a gas chamber, soundproofed rooms, secret stairways and body chutes which lead directly to the hidden dissection/rendering/crematoria facility in the basement! It doesn’t get any weirder or more compelling than this and thanks to Schechter, it doesn’t come any better researched or written either. AD

Publisher: Pocket
Paperback: 418 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

The Outlaw Trail: A History of Butch Cassidy and His Wild Bunch

Charles Kelly

Originally self-published by the crusty amateur Old West historian Charles Kelly in 1938, The Outlaw Trail is a crudely colorful, idiosyncratic account of the criminal escapades of Butch Cassidy, the Sundance Kid and their confederates along the famous Outlaw Trail which stretched from the almost inaccessible Hole in the Wall hideout in Wyoming, across Montana, Idaho, Colorado and New Mexico, to the remote Robber’s Roost stronghold in southern Utah. When Kelly began to scour the Outlaw Trail in the mid 1930s, he found it to be still quite warm—many of Cassidy’s Wild Bunch associates and the lawmen who pursued them were still alive and eager to pass on their oral histories of what had been perhaps the final dramatic chapter of the outlaw experience in the Wild West. AD

Publisher: Bison
Paperback: 374 pages

Outrage: The Five Reasons Why O.J. Simpson Got Away With Murder

Vincent Bugliosi

All right, you’re a vain, megalomaniacal celebrity nut case addicted to the fuzzy approval of an adoring public. Then, one night, after eating some fast food, you fly into a psychotic rage and brutally murder your estranged wife along with a hapless waiter who just happened to stroll onto the scene of the crime. You’re busted. You’re tried amid a three-ring global media circus of truly mind-boggling proportions. It looks bad, real bad, but wait—in one of the most staggering miscarriages of modern jurisprudence, you’re acquitted by a jury of your “peers” despite the veritable Mt. Everest of incriminating evidence tying you to the slayings. The rationally minded of the world reel in disbelief. How could this happen?
Somebody’s got to make sense out of all this, and who better to analyze the botched case against the vain, megalomaniacal, celebrity nut-case murderer O.J. Simpson than the vain, megalomanical, celebrity former Manson Family prosecutor and all-around media gadfly Vincent “Helter-Skelter” Bugliosi? Not a guy to shy from the public eye, Bugliosi claims he didn’t even want to write this book but was compelled to by the sheer weight of civic responsibility he felt in the wake of the verdict. Getting over his initial shyness, Bugliosi spares absolutely no one as he excoriates the tactics of the defendant, the “Dream Team” defense, the prosecution and the power-mad judge for their various roles in this travesty. So vociferous is Bugliosi that he’d have you believe that in the old days he could’ve single-handedly strapped O.J. into the gas chamber faster than you could say “Let’s have a sidebar.” And he could do it without all that pesky DNA business! And who knows, with a career record of 105 felony convictions out of 106 cases under his belt, maybe he could. Ask Charlie. AD

Publisher: Norton
Hardback: 356 pages

Eye-Deep in Hell: Trench Warfare in World War I

John Ellis

Provides a stark and disturbing account of the infernal madness that was trench warfare on the Western Front in the First World War. Maps, rare photographs and first-hand accounts help document the hideous nightmare world of No-Man’s Land, where literally millions fell to the machine gun, the artillery barrage, the sniper and to disease, while scarcely affecting the outcome of the conflict. Their struggle was in vain ultimately due to the staggering failure of military and civilian leadership on all sides. As we approach the new century bearing horrified witness to the ongoing death rattle of places like Rwanda and Zaire, works like this serve as a chilling reminder of the fact that the Third World has by no means the monopoly on creating Hell on earth. AD

Publisher: Johns Hopkins University
Paperback: 216 pages

Such Men as Billy the Kid: The Lincoln County War Reconsidered

Joel Jacobsen

Joel Jacobsen, an assistant attorney general for the state of New Mexico specializing in criminal appeals, has turned a probing, appellate eye on the much-retold Old West saga of Billy the Kid and the Lincoln County War. A superbly researched and reasoned account of the violent events that enveloped southern New Mexico in the 1880s, Such Men as Billy the Kid poses the intriguing question: Was Billy the Kid the psychotic, mercenary gun for hire commonly portrayed in popular mythology? Or was the Kid actually a conscientious soldier in a brave but doomed attempt to wrest control of a defenseless town from the corrupt and vicious oligarchy that controlled it? Author Jacobsen admirably demonstrates that as in life itself, the truth lies somewhere in the shades of gray that lie between. AD

Publisher: University of Nebraska
Hardback: 470 pages

It Came From Memphis

Robert Gordon

What came from Memphis? Rock ‘n’ Roll! Here Robert Gordon paints a fascinating portrait of the city and the scene that many consider to be the veritable Ground Zero of the rock ‘n’ roll explosion. Despite the best efforts of Jim Crow, Memphis was the steaming cauldron where Black met White.
It was in Memphis that the thumping Delta blues of Muddy Waters, B. B. King and Howlin’ Wolf blasted from the juke joints and melded with the twangy, country pickin’ of Bill Monroe, Hank Williams, Lefty Frizzel and the Grand Ole Opry. A prolific cradle of musical talent, Memphis not only spawned Sam Phillips, Sun Records and Elvis Presley but produced the Mar-Keys, Booker T., Isaac Hayes and the whole swingin’ ‘60’s assault of the Stax/Volt sound. Memphis continues to cast its shadow over contemporary alternative rock through the work of legendary producer Jim Dickinson as well as Alex Chilton, once the teenaged singer of the Box Tops, whose later records would greatly influence many. AD

Publisher: Faber and Faber
Paperback: 305 pages

The Velvet Years 1965-67: Warhol’s Factory

Stephen Shore and Lynne Tillman

“I don’t really feel all these people with me every day at the Factory are just hanging around me, I’m more hanging around them… I like being a vacuum; it leaves me alone to work… anybody who comes by here is welcome, it’s just that we’re trying to do some work here.”—Andy Warhol
How is it that looking at pictures of some of the most utterly bored-looking people in the history of recorded time never itself seems to get boring? What was it about the crushing ennui of the denizens of Andy Warhol’s Factory that remains so damn compelling today? Perhaps it’s because the sense of passive detachment, smart-assed irony and fun-tinged alienation captured by photographer Stephen Shore’s lens was so shockingly new at the time, so incredibly vital, that it was, and remains, positively electric. Shore’s remarkable collection of photographs taken at the Factory between 1965 and 1967, along with writer Lynne Tillman’s interviews with many of the surviving participants, provide a delicious voyeur’s-eye view of what was undoubtedly one of the seminal breeding pools of postwar American pop culture, a scene which forged the look and attitude of so much that would come after. They’re all here in gorgeous black and white—Andy, Gerard Malanga, the Velvets, Billy Name, Ondine, Nico, Edie Sedgwick, Ingrid Superstar, Ultra Violet and Paul Morrissey. AD

Publisher: Thunder's Mouth
Paperback: 176 pages