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Unspeakable Acts: True Tales of Crime, Murder, Deceit, and Obsession

Unspeakable Acts: True Tales of Crime, Murder, Deceit, and Obsession


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Notes From Your Bookseller

From crime fiction to true crime, Sarah Weinman is building a work of books that establish her as the 21st century’s expert in both genres. You are guaranteed to read the 13 true-crime essays here as fast as you’d binge episodes of your favorite true-crime podcast.

An NPR Best Book of the Year

A New York Times New & Noteworthy Book

A brilliant anthology of modern true-crime writing that illustrates the appeal of this powerful and popular genre, edited and curated by Sarah Weinman, the award-winning author of The Real Lolita

The appeal of true-crime stories has never been higher. With podcasts like My Favorite Murder and In the Dark, bestsellers like I’ll Be Gone in the Dark and Furious Hours, and TV hits like American Crime Story and Wild Wild Country, the cultural appetite for stories of real people doing terrible things is insatiable.

Acclaimed author ofThe Real Lolita and editor of Women Crime Writers: Eight Suspense Novels of the 1940s & 50s (Library of America) and Troubled Daughters, Twisted Wives (Penguin), Sarah Weinman brings together an exemplary collection of recent true crime tales. She culls together some of the most refreshing and exciting contemporary journalists and chroniclers of crime working today.  Michelle Dean’s “Dee Dee Wanted Her Daughter To Be Sick” went viral when it first published and is the basis for the TV showThe Act and Pamela Colloff’s “The Reckoning,” is the gold standard for forensic journalism.  There are 13 pieces in all and as a collection, they showcase writing about true crime across the broadest possible spectrum, while also reflecting what makes crime stories so transfixing and irresistible to the modern reader.


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062839886
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 07/28/2020
Pages: 416
Sales rank: 174,652
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 7.80(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Sarah Weinman is the author of The Real Lolita: A Lost Girl, an Unthinkable Crime, and a Scandalous Masterpiece, and the editor, most recently, of Unspeakable Acts: True Tales of Crime, Murder, Deceit & Obsession. She is a 2020 National Magazine Award finalist for reporting and a Calderwood Journalism Fellow at MacDowell, and her work has appeared most recently in New York magazine, the Wall Street Journal, Vanity Fair, and the Washington Post. Weinman writes the crime column for the New York Times Book Review and lives in New York City.

Table of Contents

Introduction Patrick Radden Keefe ix

Editor's Note xiii

Part I Narrative Features

Dee Dee Wanted Her Daughter to Be Sick, Gypsy Wanted Her Mom Murdered Michelle Dean 3

The Reckoning Pamela Colloff 35

Jennifer Pan's Revenge Karen K. Ho 83

The Perfect Man Who Wasn't Rachel Monroe 103

Part II Where Crime Meets Culture

Out Came the Girls Alex Mar 131

The End of Evil Sarah Marshall 169

The Ethical Dilemma of Highbrow True Crime Alice Bolin 227

The Lost Children of "Runaway Train" Elon Green 241

The True Crime Story Behind a 1970s Cult Feminist Film Classic Sarah Weinman 255

Part III Justice and Society

What Bullets Do to Bodies Jason Fagone 275

Checkpoint Nation Melissa Del Bosque 303

How a Dubious Forensic Science Spread Like a Virus Leora Smith 325

"I Am a Girl Now," Sage Smith Wrote. Then She Went Missing Emma Copley Eisenberg 353

Acknowledgments 383

Other Notable Crime Stories: What to Read, Listen To, and Watch 385

Contributors 389

Permissions 395

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