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Home » Culture and Criticism

Tomato Nation Read-Along #16, Special Blotter Edition: Poll

Submitted by on September 24, 2012 – 11:26 PM10 Comments

By request of a few readers, an all-crime selection of potential Read-Along books. I tried to give you a good range of crimes — arsons, assassinations, Mafiosi, paper-hangers — but as you may or may not remember, the choices come directly from my own bookshelves, and it turns out that I own a lot of books on the Scarfo crew. I don't know, long story.

Also: wow, is true-crime marketing design predictable. Almost invariably black paperbacks with red raised type and a blurry photo on the cover, and some variation of "murder and madness in the [X] of [whatever]" in the subtitle. I remember asking for a copy of Fatal Vision in a used bookstore one time, and when the counterwoman didn't register the title, I said, "You know, the one true-crime book that's blue?" and she immediately remembered it.

Y'all Kindlegarteners won't have that problem, fortunately. No matter what your format, pick us out a likely hooligan, and let's read.

Which book(s) would you like to read along with? (You can pick as many as 3.)

  • Jesus Freaks: A True Story of Murder and Madness on the Evangelical Edge / Don Lattin (26%, 82 Votes)
  • The Man in the Rockefeller Suit: The Astonishing Rise and Spectacular Fall of a Serial Impostor (Mark Seal) (18%, 57 Votes)
  • Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine and the Murder of a President (Candice Millard) (12%, 38 Votes)
  • A Wilderness of Error: The Trials of Jeffrey MacDonald (Errol Morris) (9%, 28 Votes)
  • My Dark Places (James Ellroy) (9%, 28 Votes)
  • The Pittsburgh Cocaine 7: How a Ragtag Group of Fans Took the Fall for Major League Baseball (Aaron Skirboll) (7%, 22 Votes)
  • The City of Falling Angels (John Berendt) (7%, 22 Votes)
  • The First Family: Terror, Extortion, and the Birth of the American Mafia (Mike Dash) (6%, 19 Votes)
  • Blood and Honor: Inside the Scarfo Mob -- the Mafia's Most Violent Family (George Anastasia) (3%, 10 Votes)
  • Murder Machine: A True Story of Madness and the Mafia (Gene Mustain and Jerry Capeci) (3%, 8 Votes)

Total Voters: 135

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  • Jen S 1.0 says:

    True Crime isn't my genre, so I picked three like I pick wine–the label has something cute/interesting on it.

    Jesus Freaks–picks itself.

    City of Falling Angels–I've got a soft spot for LA noir.

    My Dark Places–hey, it's James Ellroy!

  • attica says:

    I've got the Morris on hold at the 'brary. Having read the McGinniss, I'm eager to see why EM thinks J-Mac is innocent. (I don't think he'd think so if he'd ever watched Gary Cole, I'm just saying.)

  • Elisa says:

    I went through a True Crime phase in high school, but as I got older I decided life was depressing enough without adding extensive knowledge of horrible, violent crimes. They were giving me nightmares.

    But Jen S. is right, Jesus Freaks picks itself! As does the Man in the Rockefeller Suit.

  • Dayna says:

    Wow! I thought I had read a lot of true rime but My Dark Places by James Ellroy is the only one I've read. Gonna check these out before I make my picks.

  • scout1222 says:

    Jesus Freaks and Rockefeller suits looked the most intriguing to me, so I am pleased to see that right now they are the top two.

  • Cara says:

    Jen S. 1.0 – I hate to disappoint you, but "City of Falling Angels" is about Venice, Italy, not Los Angeles. It's been sitting on my to-read shelf for a couple of years now, so I was hoping that this might be the impetus I need to read it. I'm not sure anything can beat "Jesus Freaks", though.

  • Jen S 1.0 says:

    Ah, dammit. Oh well, Venice is cool too.

  • GracieGirl says:

    I don't know how much of Destiny of the Republic is about Garfield's life and presidency and how much is about his assasination, but I do know a friend of mine loved it so it's been on my "To Read" list for a while now. Don't see it beating out Jeasus Freaks, though.

  • GracieGirl says:

    * Jesus. Jezzums.

  • attica says:

    Ack! I totally already read the Rockefeller Suit book! It's quite entertaining!

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