Most Helpful Customer Reviews
The Michigan Murders based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
I received a copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. I was surprised when I got this to see that it was originally published in 1976. From what I understand, it's a backlist title from the publisher that's just been published in ebook format. Now's definitely the ideal time for a re-release, with the recent wave of pop culture interest in true crime stories. I go on true crime binges from time to time but I'd never heard of this case before. So for me at least, despite all events described taking place more than forty years ago, everything was new and a surprise. But I think the details and narration of some of the women's personal stories would also be interesting to others already familiar with the story. And it's a total page turner. I opened it up despite being in the middle of another book and couldn't put it down for the next two days. The majority of the book is concerned with the last days in the lives of several women who were murdered in the Ypsilanti area over a two year period in the late 1960s. It's detailed and told in a very well-paced, engaging narrative style, despite some gruesome details and the overall unsettling topic. There's some dated slang and unnecessary exclamation points when just telling the story would have been enough and that snapped me out of the story, but otherwise the material holds up well. The last portion of the book, detailing the trial of the man convicted for the last murder but assumed to be responsible for all of those in the book minus one (more on that later) wasn't as engaging. Reading word-for-word courtroom dialogue just wasn't interesting, even though I'm interested in courtroom procedure and legal aspects. It was dry and there wasn't much interpretation, and then an abrupt ending. Maybe it was a commentary on how quickly and relatively simply things could be wrapped up and finished after such an intricate and heart wrenchingly awful series of events over several years. Nevertheless, the bulk of the book was compelling, in a can't put down- able kind of way. I particularly liked the sections that had to do with police procedure, how they can mess it up and what their reasoning in taking certain actions was. Also crazy to think how DNA has advanced since the events in the book. Not to mention technology...it's strange to read about people narrowly missing each other without the aid of cell phones, a suspect seen using a pay phone, stuff like that. It's a true crime relic of its times! It would have been interesting if the publisher had included a foreword or afterword from someone connected to the case, another author or reporter (the book's author has passed away) with an update on what's happened post-conviction. Like for example addressing the issue of one of the murders in the book having since been linked to another person (who's now convicted for it) through DNA evidence. But I was interested enough after finishing the book to look up the case and read more about it, and I guess that's the result of an absorbing story. Emphatically recommended for anyone else as addicted to Investigation Discovery shows as I am.
When I saw the opportunity to review this book on Netgalley, I was intrigued. I have always been a fan of true crime, but usually I don’t read about crimes from this long ago. Keyes does an excellent job with both the facts and emotions of these cases. I can’t imagine what it would have been like to live as a female in this region during the time of these murders, never knowing if you would be next. Reading this true crime book started me on a spree of other historical crime stories. I saw what the police and investigators had to go through to try to get the evidence they needed to find a suspect and then convict him. I wanted to see what other cases in the 60’s and 70’s had to do without the scientific methods that we have now. It really is amazing how much was not known then and how they still got enough to convict criminals. The key piece of evidence that convicted Collins comes down to hair specimens. At that point, DNA typing was not yet available, so they had to look at the angle of cuts on the hairs, colors, and other characteristics. They had to rely on statistics within the human population to state who these hairs could have belonged to and how they got where they did. While the testimony gets a bit over my head, you are still privy to all that is stated about this evidence. While I enjoyed The Michigan Murders, I am still sad for the women that were killed. These women were all students, so young and still really beginning their lives. If you like true crime stories, like those written by Anne Rule, you’ll enjoy The Michigan Murders. I received a free copy of this book as part of my involvement with Netgalley. All thoughts are my own.