Saturday, December 16, 2017

The Crime Book by DK Publishing

The Crime Book by DK Publishing

2 stars

The Crime Book is clocks in with over 300 pages of crime. This novel covers an expansive range of different crimes and is covered in a newspaper format that feels very much like you are sitting down with a cup of coffee/tea/whatever and you are flipping through the newspaper witnessing coverage. It’s a very interesting format and I commend DK Publishing for taking the time and effort to make every page, timeline, photograph, and work of art standout and be not only eye-grabbing, but also accurate to the information being covered. The writing, however, does lose its grip after countless sections and a lot of it becomes a little boring. I can’t believe I’m saying that crime is boring, but the way the topics are covered wasn’t wholly gripping and I found myself easily putting this novel down to read something else instead.

There are a ton of different topics covered in this book and that makes it unique. Most crime books heavily focus on only one area of crime—murder or serial killers. This novel spends some time on those topics, but it isn’t the central focus on this novel and because of that I learned a lot of information on forensics and other cases that I’ve never heard of before.

Bandits, Robbers, & Arsonists
This section covers eighteen cases. The majority of the focus is on bandits and robbers, which is a really interesting period of crime because robbers and bandits became highly romanticized during the Gold Rush and the Great Depression. Some of my favorite cases were:
Burke and Hare, the original body snatchers. The term “burking” originates from Burke’s unique method of suffocation to acquire more bodies for their business.
Bonnie and Clyde, one of the most infamous couples in history. They are highly romanticized, sometimes unintentionally and sometimes intentionally by the media, but their history as bandits is scary and wrought with murder.
John Leonard Orr, a pyrophile, who failed the police psychological evaluation and became a firefighter. This guy did a ton of damage to the LA area and had an astronomical body count. He also wrote a novel while in prison that alludes to other vicious crimes he may committed.
Phoolan Devi, a popular Indian bandit who orchestrated a major mass murder of 22 people (two of them being her rapists) and was known for redistributing wealth to lower caste families and villagers. I had never heard of her before, but her story is incredibly fascinating.

Con Artists

This section covers eleven cases. Some of them are typical con cases others are elaborate schemes like the Alcatraz prison break. This section for me was a bit of a miss and some of the information was interesting, but it failed to fully hold my attention. My favorite case was Konrad Kujau and his elaborate forgery of Hitler’s diaries. The case was incredibly interesting and easily my favorite of the section.

White Collar Crimes

This section covers twelves cases of crimes that involve fraud and government coverups that are illegal. The Bhopal Disaster was my favorite case covered because I had never heard of it and I felt like it was an incredibly important topic about American companies harming foreign countries (this case India) and resulting in mass deaths.

Organized Crime
This section covers ten cases ranging from the mafia to gangs across the globe. It’s incredibly interesting and I enjoyed a large portion of this section. Some of the most interesting were the Sicilian Mafia, Hells Angels (motorcycle gang), “Freeway” Rick Ross (crack cocaine empire), the Triads (Chinese mafia), and the Yakuza (Japanese mob).

Kidnapping and Extortion
This section covers seven cases of kidnappings around the globe. The cases that I enjoyed reading the most about were the Kidnapping of Natasha Kampusch and the Lindbergh Baby Kidnapping. This section was incredibly fascinating because I’m not incredibly familiar with kidnapping cases and while there are some I know of, there are more that I have only heard vaguely mentioned or have little to no knowledge of.

Murder Cases
This section covers twenty cases of murder. Topics include the Black Dahlia murder, the Lizzie Borden trial, the Manson Family, Tupac and Biggie’s murders, and O.J. Simpson are some of the most famous cases that have widely covered in the media. My favorite cases that were new to me was the Dripping Killer, the Texas Tower Massacre, and the Murder of James Bulger. These cases were all very sad and made me depressed as well as slightly paranoid that the people around me may be killers.

Serial Killers
This section covers twelve serial killers and this is where my ARC copy started to have missing pages and began to feel frustrated. This section was almost glossed over too quickly. The majority of the topics covered were brief and I think that this was because I was missing a fair bit of pages. I was also surprised by the small amount of cases covered. This was where I started to lose interest and I just wanted this to be over with. There were a couple of cases covered that I had never about before and that was interesting, but I felt like my copy kept me from gaining a vast portion of the material and this severely hindered my enjoyment of the section.

Assassinations and Political Plots
The vast majority of this section was missing from my copy so I stopped taking notes and gave up on finishing. I quickly lost interest and couldn’t bring myself to care.

Would I recommend The Crime Book? I’m not sure. Due to the large portion of pages missing from my edition I wasn’t able to fully decide how I felt about the overall composition of this novel. However, if you are a true crime fan and enjoy collecting crime memorabilia, then this would be perfect for you.

Cover Thoughts: I love the cover. All of these illustrations pop up throughout the text and the illustrations was one of my favorite aspects of this novel.

Thank you, Netgalley and DK Publishing, for providing me with a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.
Are you a fan of true crime? Do you like crime or detective shows? Let me know down below in the comments! 

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