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A Nonfiction Column
By Jeff Shelby

The “True” Edgars‘

     Every April, the Mystery Writers of America give out the annual Edgar awards, widely considered to be the mystery world’s equivalent to the Oscars. Most people, however, are only familiar with the fiction nominees and winners. The Best Fact Crime category rewards the year’s best in non-fiction work, pertaining towards true crime. Sometimes chilling, sometimes heart-breaking and sometimes hilarious, these books always back up the adage that truth is stranger than fiction. Here are this year’s nominees:

Ready for the People: My Most Chilling Cases as Prosecutor by Marissa N. Batt

Batt is an LA deputy D.A. and in this book she details three of her ugliest cases. She takes you inside the legal system, describes the people vividly and objectively and shows that the good guys don’t always win.

Conviction: Solving the Moxley Murder: A Reporter and a Detective's Twenty-Year Search for Justice by Leonard Levitt

Levitt recounts the 1975 murder of Martha Moxley all the way up to the 2002 conviction of Michael Skakel. While the crime has been written about before, Levitt was instrumental in reopening the case and tells his story from that point of view.

Forensics for Dummies by D.P. Lyle, MD

The Dummies series goes to a new level by offering us a look behind the curtain of forensic crime solving. This is a must read for any CSI fan or aspiring crime writer.

Are You There Alone?: The Unspeakable Crime of Andrea Yates by Suzanne O'Malley

O’Malley gives us a terse account of one of the most horrible crimes in recent memory – Andrea Yates drowned each of her five children in a bathtub. O’Malley not only gives us the rundown on the case, but also shows how if Yates had been diagnosed properly for mental illness, her children’s lives might have been spared.

Ballad of the Whiskey Robber: A True Story of Bank Heists, Ice Hockey, Transylvanian Pelt Smuggling, Moonlighting Detectives, and Broken Hearts by Julian Rubinstein

A hockey goalie turned bank robber? In Hungary? Yep, and you will be rooting for him the whole way.

Green River, Running Red: The Real Story of the Green River Killer -- America's Deadliest Serial Murderer by Ann Rule

Rule is not just America’s foremost true crime writer detailing the story of America’s most prolific serial killer here – she covered the story as a reporter when it was happening in Seattle and lived just a few blocks from where most of the killer’s victims were abducted. That proximity to the case – both physical and emotional – makes for a compelling read.

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