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Required Reading: True Crime Classics

Last week we heard that George Clooney had signed on to play the author and crime-hunting hero of The Monster of Florence in a film adaptation. Written by Italian reporter Mario Spezi and thriller author Douglas Preston, the nonfiction bestseller is a gripping account of their investigation into the unsolved murders of 16 young couples between 1968 and 1985. It’s a shining example of the true crime genre, which, as Joyce Carol Oates once noted in an article about the media flurry encircling the JonBenet Ramsey murder, “mirror[s] our collective anxiety about the very definition of justice, let alone its realization.” Straddling cutting edge journalism and edge-of-your-seat mystery, these ten true crime classics satiate that collective anxiety by balancing heady social scrutiny with fast-paced entertainment.

In Cold Blood

In Cold Blood marks the birth of the narrative-driven nonfiction genre. A decided departure from his earlier books like Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Truman Capote’s account of a quadruple family homicide in Kansas is a bleak but fascinating case study of criminal psychology as he gets immersed in the minds of the murderers themselves.

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