Starkweather: The Untold Story of the Killing Spree That Changed America

Counterpoint. Nov. 2023. 432p. ISBN 9781640095410. $30. CRIME
Covering a true crime that inspired the film Natural Born Killers, MacLean’s (The Story Behind “In Broad Daylight”) book sheds new light on the case. Charles Starkweather is best known for his involvement at the age of 19 in the January 1958 killing spree that took the lives of 10 people in Lincoln, NE. The first murder victims were the parents and younger sister of Starkweather’s 14-year-old girlfriend. The girlfriend was believed to be Starkweather’s accomplice as he went on to kill others they encountered, including a farmer he robbed and teenagers who stopped to help him fix his broken-down car. The killing spree and resulting trial were shocking at the time; Nebraskans were reported to have stood outside with rifles to protect their homes and families in the event the killer was near. Readers will appreciate that MacLean brings this time period, this case, and its lasting impact to life, while comparing it to similar issues society has faced in recent years.
VERDICT Though the subject matter is bleak, this book is expertly written. Crime aficionados will enjoy.
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