The True Crime File: Serial Killers, Famous Kidnappings, Great Cons, Survivors & Their Stories, Forensics, Oddities & Absurdities, Quotes & Quizzes

Hachette Audio. May 2022. 7:36 hrs. ISBN 9781649041104. $15.29. CRIME
This expanded version of Workman’s A Year of True Crime Page-a-Day Calendar, compiled by true-crime writer Daly, covers sensational crimes throughout history, particularly in the United States. Famous and lesser-known criminals are covered (plus quizzes and trivia), infused with wit and dark humor. Startling facts add further interest. Narrator George Newbern maintains a conversational style, but his tone is also questioning or sarcastic as appropriate. Big names, such as Jeffrey Dahmer and David Berkowitz, are unsurprising, but it’s tragic to learn that famous aviator Charles Lindbergh may have masterminded his son’s kidnapping because he was ashamed of the toddler’s perceived weakness and large head. The history of milk cartons being used to locate missing children, the evolution of DNA, and the exposition that tattoos are as unique as fingerprints are compelling. Police incompetence and corruption, expert witness errors, the CSI “effect,” and DNA genealogy sites are impressive, and often humorous. Newbern’s varied range and lively presentation will keep listeners engaged. Helpful hotline numbers and websites keep important details timely in this disturbing, yet worthwhile compilation.
VERDICT With its coverage of more than 200 crimes, this book could have been lurid, but is instead presented with care and respect. An excellent addition to any true crime collection.
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