DK’s true crime compendium The Crime Book: Big Ideas Simply Explained has been sitting on my desk for about three weeks, a reward whispering my name. A reward that is well-deserved for surviving a string of 80-hour work weeks interspersed with not only the flu but also a terrible cold.
I am happy to say it was worth the wait.
Eclectic and surprisingly fun cover
I consider this book a true crime encyclopedia, as it covers such a wide ranges of cases. Thankfully, though, it is well-organized, with over 100 cases categorized into 8 chapters: Bandits, Robbers, and Arsonists; Con Artists; White Collar Crimes; Organized Crime; Kidnapping and Extortion; Murder Cases; Serial Killers; and Assassinations and Political Plots. This thoughtful organization ensures the extensive range of cases covered is not overwhelming.
You won’t miss the chapter headings
Within each of the chapters, the cases are presented in chronological order. This helps better understand the context of the crimes, as well as how investigative techniques change over time. At the start of each chapter, there is a handy timeline.
Easy to follow timeline at the start of each chapter
“In Context” for each case
One of my favourite features of the format is the “In Context” section that opens up each case. Especially useful is the discussion of the crimes that occurred before and after the one under discussion. This lets you easily place the case within the spectrum of similar cases.
The graphics really make the book stand out from the rest. Just look at some of the graphics from the O.J. Simpson case above. They both add visual appeal and help make some sense out of the case’s complicated timeline. The graphics even manage to make interesting the chapters I typically would not be drawn to (white collar crime…yawn).
Finally, as someone who loves learning new things, I enjoyed the true crime mini lessons sprinkled throughout the book. It enriches the cases the lessons are associated with and also provides useful knowledge you can apply to other cases in the present day.
I highly recommend this book for not only casual true crime readers, but also for serious armchair detectives looking for a new true crime resource. If this book is not on your bookshelf yet, you are missing out!
To expertly cover such a wide array of cases, it is no surprise that 4 great authors contributed: Shanna Hogan, Michael Kerrigan, Lee Mellor, and Rebecca Morris. The forward is written by none other than Cathy Scott.
The Crime Book: Big Ideas Simply Explained is available on Amazon here.
Note: I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.