How To Fake Your Own Death

How To Fake Your Own Death

Playing Dead. A Journey Through the World of Death Fraud, by Elizabeth Greenwood

Strangled by debts? Cops are after you? or is it your ex-wife stalking you and demanding for more money? Either be one or the other, here’s your way out: faking your deathcover82152-medium.png could be the solution to your problems.

When I first got a copy* of Playing Dead by Elizabeth Greenwood, I thought of a joke. I’ve heard of people faking dead like a new form of escapology, but I didn’t think it could be “a thing” even now in the 21st century.

Moved by innocent curiosity I asked my best friend in the world wide web -aka Google– about “fake your own death“, and what I found was hilarious.  15,800,000 results after, I had to admit that yes, faking death is still on.

Believe it or not, Wikihow also made a page of “precious” advices called “How to fake your own death” -11 steps (with pictures!) Because, according to the famous online community- “sometimes in life you may need to fake your own death to escape“.

Only a week ago an in-depth investigation by The National ENQUIRER revealed that Patrick McDermott -Olivia Newton-John’s ex-lover who disappeared during a 2005 fishing trip off the California coast- is believed to have faked his death to avoid money woes. McDermott was found living the high life working on luxury yachts south of the border under the protection of some rich Mexican family!

But in the 21st century -when every move is monitored by credit cards, smartphones and  socials network of any kind -how could be possible to disappear? If proving wrong is impossible -because dead are not coming back, right?- than what lesson could we learn from those who had been caught?

What happens to the people you left behind?  What would be lost? And who are the people who’re supposed to “kill” you?

Playing Dead is an empathetic investigation into a universal human fantasy and the men and women desperate enough to give up their lives—and their families—to start again.

*An ARC was kindly sent to me by via NetGalley by Simon & Schuster.


Get your own copy now! On Amazon.com (Book) – (eBook)

 

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From Sweden With..Crime

From Sweden With..Crime

The Crow Girl, by Erik Axl Sund

I don’t know about you, but when I think about Scandinavia I think of uncontaminated nature, wild animals, lots of snow and Santa Claus. Who ever knew that people up there are master crime fiction writers? Nothing new, right? If you like the genre you sure know (and love) names as Stieg Larsson, Jo Nesbø and Hanning Mankell.

The newest crime novel sensation comes from the Swedish duo Jerker Eriksson and Håkan Alxlander Sundquist and The Crown Girl is no kidding -784 pages! 

cover82181-medium.png In a Stockholm city park, police discover the hideously abused body of a young boy. Detective Superintendent Jeanette Kihlberg heads the investigation, battling an apathetic prosecutor and a bureaucratic police force unwilling to devote resources to solving the murder of a nameless immigrant child.

But with the discovery of two more mutilated children’s corpses, it becomes clear that a serial killer is at large. Jeanette turns to therapist Sofia Zetterlund for her expertise in psychopathic perpetrators, and their lives become increasingly intertwined, professionally and personally.

Don’t let those 784 pages intimidate you. If you like dark stories full of characters and twist and turns, this might be the book for you.

The Crow Girl  confirms -once again- the astounding talent of Swedish writers for crime novels. This gripping psychological thriller that digs deep into Swedish society comes out with a very dark and disturbing story.


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True Crime Enthusiasts

True Crime Enthusiasts

Dead Ends. The Pursuit, Conviction, and Execution of Serial Killer Aileen Wuornos, by Joseph Michael Reynolds

A lot has been said about Aileen Wuornos, the cold blood woman who killed seven men in Florida between 1989 and 1990. Abused as a teen, deep damaged, and mentally disturbed, Aileen never allowed herself to be weak, until her last day in prison.

Written by Joseph Michael Reynolds -the Reuters reporter who initially broke the story, in 1990, Dead Ends is the firsthand account of Wuornos’s capture, trial, and sentencing to death by lethal injection, that goes deep down where nobody ever before.

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When police in Florida’s Volusia County were called to investigate the murder of Richard Mallory, whose gunshot-ridden body had been found in the woods just north of Daytona Beach in December 1989, their search led them to a string of dead ends before the trail went cold six months later. During the spring and summer of 1990, the bodies of six more middle-aged white men were discovered—all in secluded areas near their abandoned vehicles, all but one shot dead with a .22 caliber pistol—and all without any suspects, motives, or leads.

The police speculated that the murders were connected, but they never anticipated what they’d soon discover: The killings were the work of a single culprit, Aileen Wuornos, one of the first women to ever fit the profile of a serial killer. With the cooperation of her former lover and accomplice, Tyria Moore, the police were able to solicit a confession from Wuornos about her months-long killing spree along Florida’s interstate highways. The nation was quickly swept up in the drama of her trial and the media dubbed her the “Damsel of Death” as horrifying details of her past as a prostitute and drifter emerged.

Someone once said “[..] how much suffering one person can inflict upon another before creating a monster”. Sometimes “monsters” are just people who need help. Aileen “Lee” Wournos needed help.


Get your own copy now! On Amazon.com (Book) – (eBook)

An Unexpected Criminal

An Unexpected Criminal

The Unspeakable Crimes of Dr. Petiot, by Thomas Maeder

Italian criminologist Cesare Lombroso (1835-1909) believed there was an association between physical characteristics and the innate tendency of individuals toward sociopathy and criminal behaviour. Lombroso.JPG

Lombroso’s main idea was inspired -partly- by evolutionary and genetical studies, and proposed that certain criminals had physical evidence of an “atavistic” or hereditary sort, reminiscent of primitive stages of human evolution. These anomalies -called stigmata– could be expressed in terms of abnormal forms or dimensions of the skull and jaw, assymmetries in the face and in other parts of the body.

These associations were later shown to be highly inconsistent, and that’s when new theories based on the environmental causation of criminality became dominant.

Today studies show that serial killers and psychopaths can look extraordinarily ordinary on the outside. Jack Levin –director of the Brudnick Center on Violence and Conflict at Northeastern University in Boston– says that’s pure mythology that serial killers are loners or antisocial, and that most of those psychopaths may appear successful and perfectly normal, beyond any suspicion.

Dr. Marcel Petiot was one of those psychopaths who wore the mask of sanity in order to  prey on more than 150 men, women and children desperate to escape Nazi-occupied Paris.

On March 11, 1944, police were called to investigate foul-smelling smoke pouring from the chimney of an elegant private house near the Arc de Triomphe. In the basement of 21 rue Le Sueur, they made the first of many gruesome discoveries: a human handcover90248-medium.png dangling from the open door of a coal-burning stove.

Proceeding to the rear of the home, detectives found rib cages, skulls, and internal organs strewn across the floor and large piles of quicklime mixed with fragments of bone and flesh. Were Hitler’s henchmen responsible for the carnage? Or was it the work of French Resistance fighters purging Paris of traitors and German spies?

As the investigation unfolded, a more sinister possibility emerged. The building’s owner, Dr. Marcel Petiot, was a handsome and charismatic physician whose past was littered with bizarre behavior and criminal activity. When he was finally captured eight months later, Dr. Petiot claimed he was a loyal member of the Resistance who helped kill Nazi collaborators. Prosecutors charged that he was a sadistic mass murderer who lured at least twenty-seven innocent people to their deaths with promises of escape. Estimates of the actual number of his victims ran as high as 150.

Thomas Maeder reconstructs one of the twentieth century’s most cruel and disturbing murder case from the first stages of investigation to the sensational trial. The Unspeakable crimes of Dr.Petiot is a compelling reading about one of the most brilliant yet sadistic mind ever known.

 


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Couples Who Kill: Folie à Deux

Couples Who Kill: Folie à Deux

Brad and Hindley: Genesis of the Moors Murders, by Fred Harrison

You can call them psychopaths. You can call them crazy. Still -after all these years- you can’t make sense of their behaviour. What brought a young couple to commit multiple gruesome murders  will probably remain beyond rational comprehension.cover88009-medium.png

Between 1963 and 1965, Ian Brady and his lover and partner, Myra Hindley, were responsible for the abduction, rape, torture, and murder of five young victims. The “Moors Murders” -named for the desolate landscape where three of the corpses were discovered- are one of the most horrific and shocking killing spree in British history.

Fred Harrison faced the devil -Ian Brady-  on a  face-to-face prison interview, and this book is in part based on that experience. Digging deeply into Brady and Hindley’s personal histories, Harrison examines the factors that led to their mutual and dangerous attraction and what brought them to lured boys and girls into their trap, desecrate their innocence and bury their bodies on bleack windswept moors.

While Ian was the true psycho, Myra was the victim of a condition psychiatrists call Folie à Deux, she shared Ian’s insanity and  adapted her persona to perfectly blend with his. Together they were simply lethal.

True Crime books examine tragedies that are so horrendous they remain cheseled on the collective psyche of a nation long after the perpetrators are gone.  Murders, serial killers, sadists, pedophiles rise great interest and curiosity, but what do we really know about them? Why they commit murders? What motivates them to kill? Can they blame it on the brain just pleading insanity defense?

After years spent studying crimes and perpetrators what I know is that what makes us different from the cruelest serial killer is a fine, subtle line made of where we come from, our backgrounds, education…It’s as simple as that. We all have a faint evil vein running through our bodies. For someone its pulse is just too strong to be ignored.


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Veritas Numquam Perit: When Death Talks To You

Veritas Numquam Perit: When Death Talks To You

 

Morgue. A Life in Death, by Dr. Vincent DiMaio and Ron Franscell

Coming from ancient greek the word autopsy (αὐτοψία) -literally “to see for oneself”-  has been used since the 17th century for a surgical procedure that consists of a scrupulous examination of a dead human body to determine the cause and manner of death and to evaluate any disease or injury that may be present.

Ancient Egyptians -probably around 3000 BC- were one of the first civilizations to remove and examine the internal organs of humans in the religious practice of mummification. But in many other societies autopsies were forbidden, as it was believed that the disfigurement of dead persons prevented them from entering the afterlife.cover82937-medium

Beside culture and religious beliefs, autopsy has an essential role in criminal investigations. Veritas numquam perit (truth never perishes) Seneca wrote, and Dr. DiMaio devoted his life to find it.   With 40 year experience and more than 9,000 autopsies done he is one of the country’s most methodical and intuitive criminal pathologist.

From the pen of one of the best crime writer Ron Franscell and Dr. DiMaio’s memories comes a fascinating life story behind the morgue doors, through the cases that have made DiMaio famous -from the exhumation of assassin Lee Harvey Oswald to the complex issues in the shooting of Florida teenager Trayvon Martin.

Suspenseful stories, revealing anecdotes and enough macabre insider details to rivet the most fervent crime fans.

Every man’s life ends the same way. It is only the details of how he lived and he died that distinguish one man from another.

∼ Ernest Hemingway ∼


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Incarceration Nations.

Incarceration Nations.

A Journey to Justice in Prisons Around the World, by Baz Dreisinger

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What does losing your freedom means in Africa, Thailand, Brazil, Australia, Singapore and Norway?

When an English professor, criminal educator and criminal justice activist embarks on a 2 year pilgrimage to prisons around the world what you have is an astounding collection of stories and memories, that will make you ponder if our justice system is really working.

Either if you are a student or you work in the justice field this is a book worth reading.

 

“Here there is a world apart, unlike everything else, with laws of its own, its own dress, its own manners and customs, and here is the house of the living dead – life as nowhere else and a people apart.”

– F.M. Dostoevskij – The House of the Dead


 Get your copy now! On Amazon.com (Book) – (Ebook)