True Crime and I go back.

Like, waaaaay back.

If I had to pinpoint the moment my fascination with all things murder (can I be that blunt?) started, I’d point to one windy and fateful day back in August 1980.

I say ‘fateful’ because the original plan for that day was to meet a mate at the train station for a trip to the Brisbane Ekka. With him a no-show, instead I took myself off to the nearby news agency and, like a kid in a candy shop, (used to visit a few of those as well!) spent every dollar I had in my wallet on comics, books, magazines and no-doubt whatever other readerly type paraphernalia caught my eye at the time.

Among the swag purchased that day, in what would turn out to be the most memorable impulse literary splurge of my life, was the true-crime classic HELTER SKELTER. To this day, it stands alone as the best – the very best – most entirely fascinating book I’ve ever read.

But if I really think back, Charlie Manson alone was probably not actually the ‘thing’ (pardon that expression) that kicked off my whole ‘life of true-crime’ fascination.

See, from about the age of 12, for reasons I still can’t completely fathom (and probably don’t wish to), I was a voracious, and I mean VORACIOUS reader of those old skool TRUE DETECTIVE type magazines – that these days can be routinely found on public libraries shelves.

So why exactly do some people – present company included – catch the true crime bug?

The head-peepers (psychologists) of this world would tell us those reasons include –

Because evil fascinates us.

Because we can’t look away from a “trainwreck.”

Because we’re glad we’re not the victim.

Because we’re glad we’re not the perpetrator.

Because we like playing armchair detective.

Because it gives us an adrenaline rush.

Because we like to be scared … in a controlled way.

Because the storytelling is good—and comforting (crime doesn’t pay)

American author and illustrator Hilary Fitzgerald Campbell is another person with a love of true crime. So much so she’s written a book about it.

MURDER BOOK was published late last year. It’s been written in graphic novel style, with comic illustrations on every page. For such a heavy topic, it’s quite the ‘fun’ read. Here’s a little sample –

The author cites 2017 as one of the real boom years for true crime shows. That was the year, according to her, when such programs began to exponentially expand at a rapid rate across tv screens and podcasts to reach the saturation point of today.

Her own pedigree for an interest in true crime appears pretty healthy

Campbell cites the 2007 David Fincher – directed movie ZODIAC as the starting point for her true crime odyssey.

In cartoon format, (loony toons’ if you will) the book discusses True Crime movies, television series and podcasts. Along the way some of the more renowned TC cases are unpacked or get a mention, including –

For the record, as a true crime kindred spirit, I will mention my three most recent Netflix watches –

And to complete the uncensored personal horror show, my three most recent TC reads –

For anyone interested in finding out more about the writer/illustrator Hilary Fitzgerald Campbell you can go HERE or HERE.

Well, that was all pretty heavy, wasn’t it? For something far, far lighter, go HERE.

11 thoughts on “TRUE CRIME BUFFS ‘R US

  1. I have a dream dear Glen. A journey with you back in crime time so we can visit the site of the Spahn Ranch and take a selfie at the gates of 10050 Cielo Drive.
    Two mates and a hankering for history!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Nice to hear from you Bryan.
    The scenario you outline there is vaguely reminiscent of the plot of the movie MANSON FAMILY VACATION (2015). The comparison kicks in around the 38 second mark on this vid.


  3. The Manson Family Vacation looks pretty good, ’cause it’s a comedy.
    We do get sucked into Datelines once in a while. Because we start listening to someone’s 911 call and immediately can tell they’re acting or it sounds forced… so then we want to find out, of course, did the person who called the murder in actually do it? And 95% of the time…. yes.
    But generally I don’t like true crime only because I think back to my childhood and how naive and unaware I was and how EASILY I could have become one of those statistics… and it makes my skin crawl. Especially if I wasn’t just dispatched right away but was locked up somewhere and tortured for a long time before death relieved me.
    Did you ever see Making of a Murderer? That’s a good one. I kinda believe that guy is probably innocent.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thanks for the tip-off about MAKING A MURDERER.
    It does indeed look intriguing.
    Watching that makes me believe there was a lot of ‘smoke’ around Steven Avery and as the old saying goes , “Where’s there’s smoke there’s fire”.
    Seems he may or may not have been guilty of murder but perhaps the same can’t be said for a string of other wrongdoings (which I also understand is the whole point of the doco – just because you’re not a squeaky-clean individual doesn’t necessarily make you a killer).
    And you’re so right about the B-grade acting by the perp in some of those staged 911 calls.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Yeah, he had a criminal background but the murder they’re trying to pin on him… lots and lots of smoke, as you say. Feels like he’ll be old and dead before the rusty wheels of “justice” ever got around to finally solving that mystery.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I guess I’m more a cozy person, like Murder She Wrote, but I do have a friend who likes to find the real sites of crimes. She stayed at the LIzzie Borden house with her family. And retraced the steps of John Wilkes Booth after he murdered Lincoln. Don’t know if historical true crime is a subgenre. Are you doing any real-world sleuthing?

    Liked by 1 person

  7. The Lizzie Borden House website is so interesting!
    The ‘Shop’ tab was definitely good for a laugh, what with it’s ‘Brick Dust Vial’ and so forth.
    My real-life sleuthing at the moment is definitely a non-glamour gig. I’m focused on trying to uncover the mystery of which of the local neighborhood dogs is using our unfenced front yard as it’s lavatory.


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