Staff Picks by Tag

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Last Call: A True Story of Love, Lust, and Murder in Queer New York By Elon Green Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9781250833020
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: Celadon Books - June 7th, 2022

Green does something very special here. Rather than situate the victims in the story of the killer, he focuses on the victims themselves. They're people, not simply a statistic. Green adeptly illustrates that, which makes the book even more of a page turner. I read it over one night, I couldn't put it down!


Review by Zack

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Last Call: A True Story of Love, Lust, and Murder in Queer New York By Elon Green Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9781250224354
Availability: Out of stock, usually available in 3-10 days
Published: Celadon Books - March 9th, 2021

There has been a push in the world of true crime to shift focus from the perpetrator and their crimes, to the victims and their stories, and this book is no exception. The descriptions of the crimes, facilitated by the harmful indifference of law enforcement, are grisly but brief, opting more for an exploration of a buoyant queer community in 1980's New York as it faced waves of renewed discrimination in the wake of the AIDs epidemic.  My heart broke for these victims, and I smirked with recognition listening to each of their stories. I left this book feeling enriched and educated by the trials and resilience of my forebears, as well as a  renewed desire to keep their stories alive.


Review by Dean

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Playing Dead: A Journey Through the World of Death Fraud By Elizabeth Greenwood Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9781476739342
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: Simon & Schuster - August 15th, 2017

I read this for research (no, I don't want to fake my own death) but now I could totally fake my own death. If you've ever wanted to know more, or anything, about the hidden underworld of pseudocide, Playing Dead is a great place to start! Greenwood, loaded with student loan debt herself, investigates what it takes to leave everything behind for a new life.  


Review by Emily

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The Golden Thread: The Cold War and the Mysterious Death of Dag Hammarskjöld By Ravi Somaiya Cover Image
$28.00
Unavailable at this time.
ISBN: 9781455536542
Published: Twelve - July 7th, 2020

This book takes a long look at Hammarskjöld's career, the geopolitical conflicts he was navigating in the Congo during the Cold War, and the motives of individuals and organizations who had the most at stake — all in an attempt to solve the decades-long mystery of the UN Secretary General's death.

The urgency and detail with which Somaiya accounts the events leading up to the plane crash and the evidence revealed in the nearly 50 years since is engrossing. I haven't stopped thinking about it!



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In Cold Blood (Vintage International) By Truman Capote Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9780679745587
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: Vintage - February 1st, 1994

I like to start each new year with an old favorite and this year I reread In Cold Blood. Truman Capote may be lauded as the father of true crime, but In Cold Blood reads more like a what-not-to-do-when-writing-a-true-crime-book book. It's better read as a character study of the complicated individual that was Truman Capote and the choices that drew him into an intimate connection with a murderer. Capote was a complicated man and In Cold Blood only complicates him further.

If you've ever thought "huh, I've been meaning to read this..." then here's the universe giving you an extra nudge!


Review by Halley

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Stay Sexy & Don't Get Murdered: The Definitive How-To Guide By Karen Kilgariff, Georgia Hardstark Cover Image
$24.99
Unavailable at this time.
ISBN: 9781250178954
Published: Forge Books - May 28th, 2019

With the same refreshing honesty, wit, and fierce feminism that fans have come to love in their wildly successful podcast, Georgia and Karen present a blueprint for how to stay sexy and stay alive. From mental health to addiction; family, relationships, and loss, these autobiographical essays offer advice and commiseration without sacrificing self awareness and humor. Much of what makes their podcast so popular can be found in these pages-- perhaps most importantly, the gentle yet insistent reminder that we are not alone.


Review by Erin

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The Real Lolita: A Lost Girl, an Unthinkable Crime, and a Scandalous Masterpiece By Sarah Weinman Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780062661937
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: Ecco - September 10th, 2019

I am a horror reader with a wary interest in true crime. Hauntings and hellspawn are my bread and butter, but real life atrocities keep me up at night. This is a tactful victim-focused true crime book that doesn't linger on the lascivious details. Weinman's thesis is that the 1948 kidnapping case of 11-year-old Sally Horner serves as direct inspiration for Vladimir Nabokov's 1955 novel 'Lolita', a notion that Nabokov himself protested. For this reader, Weinman builds a strong case and exposes the dirty bones of what some consider Nabokov's masterpiece. 


Review by Dean

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I'll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman's Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer By Michelle McNamara, Gillian Flynn (Introduction by), Patton Oswalt (Afterword by) Cover Image
By Michelle McNamara, Gillian Flynn (Introduction by), Patton Oswalt (Afterword by)
$27.99
ISBN: 9780062319784
Availability: Out of stock, usually available in 3-10 days
Published: Harper - February 27th, 2018

Infused with intimate stories of her devotion to true crime, McNamara's book rises above the usual shock and awe exploitation of the genre and weaves a narrative both riveting and chilling. 


Review by Sarah C.