50 States of True Crime | Modern Society of USA

50 States of True Crime

50 States of True Crime

“In mid-December 2010, the Suffolk County police discovered the bodies of four women, each wrapped in burlap, on a desolate, bramble-covered stretch of sand called Gilgo Beach. It was a gothic whodunit for the internet age, replete with prostitutes, drugs, family dysfunction, investigative incompetence, not to mention a strange, insular beach community and, of course, the websites of Craigslist and Backpage, where the women had advertised for customers.”

“When a wealthy mother and daughter were gunned down gangland-style at their Louisville, Ky., home in 1984 with no obvious motive, a detective predicted: ‘That family has a dark cloud in it somewhere. Find that cloud and you’ve found your killer.’ It was not until 10 months later, in the wake of a seemingly unrelated triple murder in Winston-Salem, N.C., that the dark cloud emerged.”

Homicides are rare in North Dakota, so when three people from the same small town were killed, everyone in the state paid attention.

In 1977, “in a period of eight days, two women, one a nurse, the other an optometry student, had been kidnapped, compelled under threat of death to cash checks at various suburban banks, robbed and raped.” The man arrested for the crimes, William Stanley Milligan, “became the first person in this country’s history to be declared not guilty by reason of insanity on the grounds of a psychiatric diagnosis of ‘multiple personality.’”

“Grann’s book, about how dozens of members of the Osage Indian nation in Oklahoma in the 1920s were shot, poisoned or blown to bits by rapacious whites who coveted the oil under their land, is close to impeccable. It’s confident, fluid in its dynamics, light on its feet.”

In 1977, Jentz and a fellow college student, on a 4,200-mile bike journey, were attacked by an ax-wielding stranger: “Understatement is the quiet power that fuels Jentz’s writing, and our rage as we read it. Here is a woman viewing the aftermath of her attempted killing through the smeary haze of her own blood.”

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