Murder, Madness and Mayhem: Twenty-Five Tales of True Crime and Dark History

Collins. Nov. 2021. 336p. ISBN 9781443461597. pap. $18.99. CRIME
Browne (host of the true crime podcast Dark Poutine) compiles tales of true crime and tragedy, including the 1965 torture and murder of Sylvia Likens at the hands of her caregiver, in Indiana; the death of Elisa Lam, whose body was discovered in a water tank on the roof of an L.A. hotel in 2013; the case of Eddie Leonski, an American soldier who in 1942 strangled three women in Melbourne, Australia; and an account of Colonia Dignidad, a colony in Chile founded by fugitive Nazis where murders and torture were carried out under the regime of Augusto Pinochet. Several of the stories have already been shared on Dark Poutine, while others are new for the book. Browne approaches each case with a sense of respect for the victims, something that is often missing from true crime podcasts; he positions readers to approach from a place of empathy rather than morbid curiosity. Some of the tales feel rushed, no doubt due to the time constraints of the podcast. However, Browne’s book offers a strong introduction for both readers new to true crime and readers who are well-versed in it.
VERDICT An honest, refreshingly compassionate book about gruesome or bizarre true crimes.
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