Shattered Innocence, Shattered Dreams

Susan Hightower and Mary Ryzuk

“From a storybook wedding to a marriage made in hell,” told by the wife of the “crossbow-killer” himself, Chris Hightower. “On September 20, 1991, in the peaceful community of Barrington, Rhode Island, Ernest Brendel had a heated argument in his garage with his neighbor Chris Hightower over an investment deal gone bad. The discussion—and Ernie’s life—ended when three steel-tipped arrows of a Bear Devastator crossbow ripped through his body.” Brendel’s wife and daughter came next. “Susan Hightower would truly [come to] understand that her husband Christopher was also a con man, a liar, a manipulator… and a murderer whose ‘hit list’ included herself, her parents and her two young sons.” GR

Publisher: Pinnacle
Paperback: 495 pages

The Story of the Titanic as Told by Its Survivors

Edited by Jack Winocour

From 1913: “Lights on board the Titanic were still burning, and a wonderful spectacle she made, standing out black and massive against the starlit sky; myriads of lights still gleaming through the portholes, from that part of the decks still above water. As we watched this terribly awe-inspiring sight, suddenly all lights went out and the huge bulk was left in the black darkness, but clearly silhouetted against the bright sky. Then, the next moment, the massive boilers left their beds and went thundering down with a hollow rumbling roar… carrying everything with them… This unparalleled tragedy was being enacted before our very eyes, now rapidly approaching its finale, as the huge ship slowly but surely reared herself on end and brought rudder and propellers clear of the water, till, at last, she assumed an absolute perpendicular position. Then… she silently took her last tragic dive. Almost like a benediction everyone round me on the upturned boat breathed the two words, ‘She’s gone.’” GR

Publisher: Dover
Paperback: 320 pages

The Trunk Murderess: Winnie Ruth Judd

Jana Bommersbach

Ryan opened the smaller trunk… It contained a human foot and a leg from the knee down… He opened the second. Inside was the torso of a woman from the head to the navel. Ryan decided he’d seen enough and had better wait for the lab men… ‘TWO WOMEN’S BODIES SHIPPED HERE IN TRUNKS BY FIENDISH KILLER!’—Los Angeles Times, 1931… ‘The press had never seen or met me before, but they called me “Tiger Woman!” “Wolf Woman!” “Velvet Tigress!” “Butcher!”… I had always lived a Christian life and I am still a Christian. I have always contended my innocence of murder.”’ GR

Publisher: Berkley
Paperback: 298 pages

Unquiet Minds: The World of Forensic Psychiatry

Hugh Miller

Forensic psychiatrists are the doctors who deal with mentally disordered offenders. They determine who’s the real nut case and who’s the faker. “Time has blessed me with a touch of wisdom and a lot of suspicion,” says a British doctor of psychiatry. “Spotting fakers is a challenge which I take very personally. I never let myself forget I’m working in a muddy territory between madness and badness. I stay alert all the time. These days they have to be pretty good to get past me.” Some of the real-life cases in this book are: “A 32-year-old German who raped and murdered 10 women in his search for an ideal lover. Beatrice… suspected her family of conspiring to take away her imaginary ‘birthright’; in a fit of anger she killed her mother, stabbing her 40 times with a kitchen knife. A gym teacher, convinced he was a macho incarnation of Jesus Christ, embarked on a vicious campaign to rid his neighborhood of the agents of Satan, who happened to include every person who owned a green car.” GR

Publisher: Trafalgar Square
Paperback: 305 pages

Using Murder: The Social Construction of Serial Homicide

Philip Jenkins

What becomes propaganda? Serial killers are not the only animals who get off on their crimes. The serial murder boom (approximately from 1977 to 1991) set off a flurry of spin control by various groups, all attempting to link the purported crime spree to broader social issues, mostly of their own designs. The FBI decided they were in charge. Newspapers and television had a new fear to manipulate. Feminist groups spoke of “femicide,” nonexistent “Satanic cults” were created by true-crime authors, and crime fiction created a new genre of romantic Americana, the serial-killer novel. It’s the stuff we buy into every day. GR

Publisher: Aldine de Gruyter
Paperback: 262 pages

Weathering the Storm: Tornadoes, Television and Turmoil

Gary A. Englund

Career bio of the weather king of Tornado Alley, Gary England, chief meteorologist of KWTV, Oklahoma City. “In a region where the weather really is a matter of life and death, the pressures and rewards of England’s unique role have been intense. This heartfelt narrative portrays the world behind the television camera, the man behind Oklahoma’s most trusted weather predictions… Shows how England’s career developed and paralleled the almost incredible expansion of weather prediction and television.” Includes 55 spectacular color photographs of tornadoes. GR

Publisher: University of Oklahoma
Hardback: 264 pages

When Women Kill

Coramae Richey Mann

“Collected from police files, homicide records, FBI reports and criminal information. Research analysis reveals a fascinating profile of today’s female murderer.” The crimes, they are a-changin’: “‘The issue… is whether there have been changes over time to the extent in which victims were strangers. The image of a new breed of female killer suggests a trend toward violence against strangers, where the offender is motivated by greed or a love of violence itself.” In-depth research, stats, charts, percentages, the works. Surprising conclusions. GR

Publisher: SUNY
Paperback: 215 pages


Robert Graysmith

“This is the Zodiac speaking… I would like to see some nice Zodiac butons [sic] wandering about town. Everyone else has these buttons like, [peace sign), black power, melvin eats bluber [sic), etc. Well it would cheer me up considerably if I saw a lot of people wearing my buton [sic].” Sic is right! This chilling account of one man’s sexual sadism, by a San Francisco Chronicle staffer, reads like a horror novel that’s got it all: Paramilitary geek! Torture and murder! Ciphers! Serial-killer humor! Arcane symbols! Mocking letters to Herb Caen! Gilbert and Sullivan! Medieval black hood with symbol! San Francisco! Bomb threats! Children in jeopardy! No wonder Zodiac became a star. Contains the complete text of the killer’s letters and the author’s own theory on Zodiac’s identity. GR

Publisher: Black Rose
Paperback: 337 pages

Cause of Death

Cyril Wecht, M.D., J.D.

Forensic pathologist re-examines the evidence and casts “bold, brilliant and often shocking new light” on the JFK and RFK assassinations, the innocence or guilt of Claus von Bülow, the medical malpractice surrounding Elvis and Chappaquiddick, among others. Computerized “second gun” evidence from Dallas: “For six weeks, Tom played with his new hobby. He would slowly eliminate layer after layer of shade, hoping to discover what the metal was that glittered from near the fence area of the grassy knoll… Each time, the piece of metal became brighter until it was in full view—a badge. It was that of a police officer or police detective… as the layers of gray continue to vanish, it appears that the fourth piece of metal is hidden behind smoke… All at once, you are faced with an image of a man’s head behind what appears to be a gun. It was hidden behind the smoke.” GR

Publisher: Onyx
Paperback: 326 pages

The Concise Lexicon of the Occult

Gerina Dunwich

“GHEDE: In voodoo, the loa of death Ghede is the loa invoked at the close of every Rada ceremony. He is said to dress in the colorful attire of a clown or court jester, and often wears between his legs a giant wooden phallus, sings dirty songs in a nasal voice and delights in embarrassing people in a sexual way (see RADA, see LOA, see VOODOO)… NAVKY: In Slavic folklore, the spirits of unbaptized or murdered children who appear as baby girls rocking in tree branches and wailing in the night. It is said that some navky beg passersby for baptism, while other, more vengeful ones, lure unwitting travelers into dangerous places. In Yugoslavia, the navky are said to appear in the form of great black birds whose cries could chill the soul of a man… (see BAPTISM).” GR

Publisher: Citadel
Paperback: 215 pages