|Elizabeth Short "The Black Dahlia"|
Some of the earlier crime fiction I remember reading were the “Flowers in the Attic” series by V.C. Andrews (huge 1980s hit, seems forgotten today) and “The Cradle Will Fall” by Mary Higgins Clark. Along with Stephen King, “everyone” read these books.
I had always believed that truth is stranger than fiction. Part of it is because of maturity; I see stranger things than I read about. With this realization, I gravitated away from “The Silence of the Lambs” (yes, blasphemy) in favor of who these fictional or “fact-based” monsters really are historically. What were their names? What were the actual crimes? Were they brought to justice? How? Were they executed?
Also I like to take a look at the crimes themselves. Who was killed? How many? Young women, men, children, or elderly? Robberies? Crimes of passion? What happened in the “famous murder cases?”
So I’m one of the audiences that made Bill Kurtis a dollar or two. I also funded more than several books before I found the non-Wiki sources on the Internet to track down my true crime curiosity. When it comes to these disturbing true cases, I don’t use my buzzsaw reading metaphor though it would apply. I’d rather say, I read the cases “attentively.” Soft adverbs cannot soften the hit to a reader unaccustomed to reading this type of material.
I memorized the TruCrime website in a couple of months. Some of the cases may be well-written rubbish I have no idea. But I can say several of them sent me to the bathroom with acute nausea. Fiction crime doesn’t do that, at least not to that extent. Some of the cases disturbed my sleep, while others enraged me. A few of them explained Grimm Fairy tales. Monsters do exist. They walk this world all over in the past, present, and will in the future. The big names mad muderers are Ed Gein, Ted Bundy, and Jack the Ripper, amongst others. The big names of victims are Adam Walsh, JonBenet Ramsey, and Elizabeth Short (“The Black Dahlia”), amongst others. The unnamed of each are equally horrific.
Sometimes readers tell me my books are scary. Hmm. Yes, the idea of a teen assassin fighting demon overpopulation with anything from skillets to magic swords and daggers doesn’t make for a cuddly romance. But the translation of fantasized evil into real evil is a concept that is difficult to comprehend, and even more difficult to accept. If I had my way, the true evil in this world be confined to the words of dark fantasy writers.