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Oakland County Child Killings Timeline

A narrative chronology of the OCCK investigation 1970s–present is located here: This work in progress was started February 2020 and is periodically updated by creator D. Lightfoot. Its purpose is not to reach conclusions, examine theories or “solve” the murders but to present a comprehensive (not exhaustive) sequential account of case history.


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Newly Published: Have You Seen This Person?

New on our bookshelf:

Have You Seen This Person?: Ten Unsolved Disappearances, 2000–2013
LJ Roberts

Each year, hundreds of thousands of people are reported missing in the United States alone. The majority of those who disappear turn up within a week, but a small percentage are never heard from again.

Why did a Swedish teenager on an Australian adventure mail a cryptic letter to his family in Stockholm before disappearing forever? What became of a young woman whose car was found crashed and abandoned off a cliffside in Whatcom County, Washington? How can an individual vanish without a trace in a world so connected and monitored?

This book explores ten unsolved missing persons cases from around the world, from a 12-year-old British boy who purchased a one-way ticket to London King’s Cross never to return, to an American traveler who walked into the Himalayas not to be seen again. Included are exclusive interviews, statistical information and a case-by-case analysis of the most common and probable theories for each disappearance.

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CrimeCon: Out for Queer Blood

Out for Queer Blood
The Murder of Fernando Rios and the Failure of New Orleans Justice
By Clayton Delery
Exposit Books (2017)

Little is known about the life of Fernando Rios. He was 26, a professional tour guide in New Orleans’ French Quarter. He was Latino, working for a travel service based in Mexico City. He had no known family in the U.S. He was gay.

But his death, and the trial of his assailants was headline news in late 1950s New Orleans.

On a September evening in 1958, three white Tulane University undergraduates went out for a night in the Quarter, decided they should “roll a queer,” and went looking for a gay man to assault. They encountered Rios in a bar, offered to give him a ride back to his hotel, and beat him to death in an alley in Jackson Square.

In perhaps the earliest example of the “gay panic” defense, the defendants argued they were within their rights to attack Rios because he had made an “improper advance.” When the jury acquitted the three, the courtroom cheered.

The trial took place against the backdrop of a full-swing “drive against the deviants,” a city-wide campaign against New Orleans’ sizeable gay community, in particular those in its largest “gayborhood,” the French Quarter.

Clayton Delery’s Lambda Award-winning book provides a deeply researched account of the anti-gay hate crime and the trial, and chronicles the social and political climate of a time and place in America where such a crime was inevitable. An interview with the son of one of Rios’ assailants is included.

Delery’s previous book, The Up Stairs Lounge Arson, named Book of the Year by the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities in 2015, examines the 1973 fire in a New Orleans gay bar that killed 32 people—three decades before the 2006 Pulse Nightclub shooting in Orlando—and stands as the deadliest fire in the city’s history. Though arson was suspected, and police identified a likely culprit, no arrest was ever made


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CrimeCon: The Sadist, the Hitman and the Murder of Jane Bashara

CrimeCon: House Arrest streams live this Saturday, November 21!  Don’t miss it!

The Sadist, the Hitman and the Murder of Jane Bashara
By George Hunter and Lynn Rosenthal
Exposit Books (2018)

Robert “Big Bob” and Jane Bashara were a seemingly perfect couple, respected members of Detroit’s upscale suburban Grosse Pointe community. Bob, a businessman, Rotary Club President, church usher, soccer dad, and philanthropist. Jane, the senior manager for an energy firm, who organized charity events with her husband. They had two children and had been married for 26 years.

On January 24, 2012, Bob filed a missing person report with Grosse Pointe Park Police—Jane was missing, last seen by co-workers that afternoon. The next morning, a tow-truck driver discovered her body in the backseat of her Mercedes, parked in an alley on Detroit’s east side. She had died of strangulation, her broken fingernails indicating she had fought for her life.

After a high-profile trial spanning several weeks, with testimony from more than 70 witnesses (including his children, and former mistress) Bob Bashara was convicted in December 2014 on five felony counts, including first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit first-degree murder, and was sentenced to life in prison without parole.

But Bob had not killed Jane himself; he had hired Joseph Gents, his developmentally disabled former handyman, giving him $2000 and a used Cadillac for the job.

During the sensational trial, the shadowy side of Bashara’s life came to light. Posting ads on online BDSM forums (“Kneel and have all your desires and cravings opened to you…are you ready for Master Bob?”) he sought sex slaves to rule over in a “dungeon” in the basement of one of his properties. The substantial cost of attracting and maintaining a harem of submissives, and feeding his own cocaine habit, had furnished the motive for Jane’s murder: her sizeable retirement account.

Veteran Detroit crime beat reporter George Hunter and his wife Lynn Rosnethall’s meticulous account tells the complete story of the crime, the nationally watched investigation and trials, and the lives that were affected.

In August 2020, Bob Bashara died in prison at age 62.

The case was featured on the NBC true crime series American Greed: Deadly Rich in 2019 (S1 E102 “The Dungeon Master”)


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CRIMECON: The Snow Killings

CrimeCon: House Arrest streams live this Saturday, November 21!  Don’t miss it!

The Snow Killings
Inside the Oakland County Child Killer Investigation
By Marney Keenan
Exposit Books (2020)

In 1976–77, over a period of 13 months, four children ages 10–12 (two boys and two girls) were abducted from their suburban Detroit neighborhoods in Oakland County, Michigan—the second-most populous county in the state, and among the most affluent in the country. Each was held by their captors for periods of 4 to 19 days before their bodies were dumped—still warm and dressed in the clothes they were wearing when they vanished—near roadsides at locations miles from where they were last seen. Autopsies found the boys had been sexually assaulted. The murders spread mass fear across southeast Michigan for years, with far-reaching effects on the community.

In what was then the largest manhunt in U.S. history, a multi-agency law enforcement task force—at one point operating with as many as 200–300 detectives and a sizeable USDOJ grant—spent two years investigating the murders, fielding 18,000 tips and following up thousands of leads before shutting down in 1978, having filed no charges nor naming any persons of interest.

In the end, law enforcement and prosecutors shrugged, telling the public they had exhausted all leads and resources and calling the case unsolved (but not closed). Forty-five years later, the Oakland County Child Killings case remains open (and in recent years is quite active again) but still officially unsolved.

Beginning in the mid-2000s, through a couple of incredibly felicitous discoveries, a few strong suspects were identified—all of them known pedophiles, overlooked (or buried) by the initial task force, or discovered through subsequent cold-case investigations by the longest-serving detective on the case, Cory Williams (now retired from law enforcement).

Each suspect is connected to the crimes by damning circumstantial or physical evidence. One, the son of a highly-placed General Motors executive, was freed on unrelated criminal sexual conduct charges a few weeks before the fourth victim was found dead in a ditch—and a year and a half before he himself was found dead of “suicide” under questionable circumstances.

His close associate, earlier convicted on 45 counts of CSC with minors in California, had no family influence backing him and went to prison for life, where he died in 1995, having never again been questioned about the OCCK crimes.

Three others are still living: two are serving life in prison on other CSC charges; one jumped parole in October and remains at large. But none are telling what they must know about the crimes.

All of these men were directly or indirectly associated with a large, highly-organized ring of child exploiters and pornographers operating out of Detroit and in other places across Michigan, including North Fox Island in Lake Michigan, where a wealthy Jeffery Epstein-type figure established a “summer camp” for wayward boys, with the help of government funding, that was in fact a front for a highly profitable child pornography and prostitution operation.

Marney Keenan’s The Snow Killings covers the 45-year investigation in comprehensive detail, and reveals evidence of a multi-faceted, decades-long cover-up in the case, beginning during the initial task force investigation and continuing today among authorities handling the case.


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Newly Published: Defending the Dillinger Gang

New on our bookshelf:

Defending the Dillinger Gang: Jessie Levy and Bess Robbins in the Courtroom
D.M. Testa

In the early 1930s women practicing criminal law were often held in the same low regard as the clients they served. When a corrupt prosecutor was determined to send as many of the notorious John Dillinger gang to death row as possible, female attorneys Jessie Levy and Bess Robbins rose to the challenge. They skillfully represented six of the gang members, a number far greater than any of their male counterparts. And yet, their story of deals gone bad, wrongful convictions and success against the odds has all but vanished from history. The recent discovery of interviews, personal correspondence, and court transcripts—a treasure trove untouched for over 80 years—forms the basis for this book, which traces the careers of Jessie Levy, Bess Robbins and the John Dillinger gang in detail for the first time.

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Newly Published: Media and the Murderer

New on our bookshelf:

Media and the Murderer: Jack the Ripper, Steven Avery and an Enduring Formula for Notoriety
Rebecca Frost

Some criminals become household names, while others—even those who seek recognition through their crimes—are forgotten. The criminal’s actions are only a part of every famous true crime story. Other factors, such as the setting and circumstances of the crimes and the ways in which others take control of the narrative, ultimately drive their notoriety. Through a comparison of the tellings and retellings of two famous cases more than a century apart—the Jack the Ripper killings in 1888, and the murder trials of Steven Avery as documented in Making a Murderer—this book examines the complicated dynamics of criminal celebrity.

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Newly Published: Rising from Rape

New on our bookshelf:

Rising from Rape: A Memoir of Survival and Justice
Pamela Braswell

As a new attorney, Pamela Braswell was confident her career was about to skyrocket. Instead, she narrowly escaped death at the hands of a serial rapist and killer—his only surviving victim. Twenty years later, the moratorium on executions in California that put his execution on hold ended, but the governor announced he wouldn’t enforce the death penalty. Braswell’s firsthand true crime narrative gives a victim’s perspective of the harrowing investigation, the revelations in the press, the grand jury indictment and capital murder trial. Through it all, her refusal to be a victim transforms her view of the world—and its heroes.

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Newly Published: She Said God Blessed Us

New on our bookshelf:

She Said God Blessed Us: A Life Marked by Childhood Sexual Abuse in the Church
Gail Hovey

When Gail Hovey was a teenager, her local Presbyterian church hired Georgia, a seminary-trained Christian education director. Brilliant and charismatic, Georgia used the language of faith to seduce several of her students, swearing each to secrecy. When she eventually abandoned the others and focused on Gail, Gail believed herself uniquely blessed and for the next 15 years modeled her life on Georgia’s—the seminary degree, the minister husband. The relationship had a profound and lasting influence on the woman Gail became and left her a legacy of guilt and shame. Shedding light on the largely invisible issue of sexual abuse of girls by women, Hovey’s brave memoir relates her decades-long journey—from East Harlem to South Africa to Brooklyn—to break free of an overwhelmingly powerful and deeply destructive first love.

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Newly Published: Queen of the Burglars

New on our bookshelf:

Queen of the Burglars: The Scandalous Life of Sophie Lyons
Shayne Davidson

Born in the mid-nineteenth century, Sophie Lyons was a master thief, con artist, blackmailer and smuggler. Much of her success as a criminal was due to the fact that she was fearless, reckless, sharp and cunning—everything a woman of her time was not supposed to be. As a young child, Sophie’s parents forced her to steal when she showed a talent for pickpocketing. Strong-willed and smart, she blossomed into a beautiful teenager who caught the eye of many men in the underworld of New York City. By the time Sophie reached her late teens she was married to her second husband—a notorious bank burglar named Ned Lyons—and was a professional criminal in her own right.

Despite her prominent place in crime history, Sophie Lyons has never been the subject of a full-length biography. This book chronicles Sophie’s fascinating and tragic life, from her beginnings as a criminal prodigy, through her ingenious escape from Sing Sing prison and her lifelong struggle with mental illness.

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Newly Published: The Snow Killings

New on our bookshelf:

The Snow Killings: Inside the Oakland County Child Killer Investigation
Marney Rich Keenan

Over 13 months in 1976­–1977, four children were abducted in the Detroit suburbs, each of them held for days before their still-warm bodies were dumped in the snow near public roadsides. The Oakland County Child Murders spawned panic across southeast Michigan, triggering the most extensive manhunt in U.S. history. Yet after less than two years, the task force created to find the killer was shut down without naming a suspect. The case “went cold” for more than 30 years, until a chance discovery by one victim’s family pointed to the son of a wealthy General Motors executive: Christopher Brian Busch, a convicted pedophile, was freed weeks before the fourth child disappeared. Veteran Detroit News reporter Marney Rich Keenan takes the reader inside the investigation of the still-unsolved murders—seen through the eyes of the lead detective in the case and the family who cracked it open—revealing evidence of a decades-long coverup of malfeasance and obstruction that denied justice for the victims.

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Newly Published: The Lonely Hearts Killers

New on our bookshelf:

The Lonely Hearts Killers: The Bloody Passions of Martha Beck and Raymond Fernandez

Tobin T. Buhk

The shocking series of crimes committed by lovers Martha Beck and Raymond Fernandez dominated the front pages in 1949. Caught for the double homicide of a widow and her young daughter in Michigan, the first couple of crime became the focus of an intense debate over the death penalty and extradition. Their story climaxed in a sensational trial in New York City and concluded two years later inside Sing Sing’s notorious “Death House.” Pulp fiction era reporters, who followed every step taken by the accused slayers, christened Beck and Fernandez the “Lonely Hearts Killers”—a nickname that stuck and has since been used to describe an entire category of criminal behavior.

Despite the sensationalization of the killer couple’s exploits, the story of the Michigan crime that ended their spree has until now remained largely untold. Drawing on rare archival material, this book presents, for the first time anywhere, a detailed account of this lost chapter in the saga of the “Lonely Hearts Killers.” Both biography and analysis, this book also attempts to deconstruct the myths and misconceptions and to provide answers to a few unanswered questions about the case.

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True Crime Sale

April means we’re halfway to our next Halloween, and we think it’s a great time to celebrate all things macabre. This month, we’re offering readers 40% off our most riveting—and often downright frightening—books on real-life monsters and mayhem with our true crime sale. Through April 19th, use coupon code TRUECRIME40 on all of our reads about serial killers, unsolved crimes, famous robberies and more. Browse our true crime catalog here!

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Newly Published: Hot Tickets

New on our bookshelf:

Hot Tickets: Crimes, Championships and Big Time Sports at the University of Kansas
H. George Frederickson

In 2010, University of Kansas officials were shocked to learn that the FBI and IRS were on campus investigating Rodney Jones, former head of the Athletics Ticket Office, for stealing Jayhawks basketball tickets and selling them to brokers. Investigators found that for more than five years Jones and a small ring of university officials had conspired to loot the university of $2 million in tickets, reselling them for $3–5 million. In what was perhaps the biggest scandal in college sports history, all seven members of the “Kansas Ticket Gang” pleaded guilty to RICO Act indictments. Five went to prison—two were given probation for turning state’s evidence

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Sneak Peek: Hot Tickets

Hot Tickets: Crimes, Championships and Big Time Sports at the University of Kansas is currently in editing! Read more about it below:

In 2010, University of Kansas officials were shocked to learn that the FBI and IRS were on campus investigating Rodney Jones, former head of the Athletics Ticket Office, for stealing Jayhawks basketball tickets and selling them to brokers. Investigators found that for more than five years Jones and a small ring of university officials had conspired to loot the university of $2 million in tickets, reselling them for $3–5 million. In what was perhaps the biggest scandal in college sports history, all seven members of the “Kansas Ticket Gang” plead guilty to RICO Act indictments. Five went to prison—two were given probation for turning state’s evidence.

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Newly Published: Nittany Nightmare

New on our bookshelf:

Nittany Nightmare: The Sex Murders of 1938–1940 and the Panic at Penn State
Derek J. Sherwood

As the Great Depression hit, Penn State College was cash-strapped and dilapidated. Cuts to athletic scholarships left the football program a shambles and the school a last resort for many students. In 1937, underfunded state police, fighting a losing battle against striking miners and steel workers in Johnstown, called in the National Guard.

There were not enough police to cover the state, and it showed. Then someone started killing young women in the area. Between November 1938 and May 1940, Rachel Taylor, Margaret Martin and Faye Gates were abducted and sexually assaulted, their bodies dumped within 50 miles of the college.

As the school grew into Pennsylvania State University and the Nittany Lions became a world-class team, two demoralized police agencies were merged, forming the precursor of the Pennsylvania State Police. Gates’s murderer was captured and convicted. The killer(s) of Taylor and Martin, however, have gone unidentified to this day.

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Newly Published: Words of a Monster

New on our bookshelf:

Words of a Monster: Analyzing the Writings of H.H. Holmes, America’s First Serial Killer
Rebecca Frost

Decades before the coining of the term “serial killer,” H.H. Holmes murdered dozens of people in his now-infamous Chicago “Murder Castle.” In his own autobiography, Holmes struggled to define himself in the language of the late nineteenth century. As the “first”—or, as he labeled himself, “The Greatest Criminal of the Age”—he had no one to compare himself to, and no ready-made biographical structure to follow. Holmes was thus nearly able to invent himself from scratch. This book uses Holmes’ writings and confessions to inspect how the Arch Fiend represented himself. Although the legitimacy of Holmes’ personal accounts have been called into question, his biography mirrors the narrative structure of the true crime genre that emerged decades after his death.

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Newly Published: Pardonable Matricide

New on our bookshelf:

Pardonable Matricide: Robert Irving Latimer, from Michigan’s “Most Dangerous Inmate” to Free Man
Tobin T. Buhk

In January 1889, as London constables hunted for Jack the Ripper and theaters around the world presented theatrical renditions of the Jekyll and Hyde story, Jackson, Michigan, Police Captain Jack Boyle searched for the murderer of Mary Latimer. This book follows Captain Boyle to the bordellos of gaslight-era Detroit—populated by madams, pimps, prostitutes and gamblers. It describes the investigation that led him to a pharmacist that prowled the streets, akin to a real-life Jekyll and Hyde. Ultimately, the book delves into the mind of Robert Irving Latimer, known as the most dangerous prisoner in Michigan and the man who inspired talk about resurrecting the state’s long-dead death penalty.

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Newly Published: The Muse Process

New on our bookshelf:

The Muse Process: Unleashing the Power of the Feminine for Success and Fulfillment
Barbara Cox

We are all instilled with principles, passed down through generations, that guide our feelings and behaviors. Women often feel immense pressure to live up to preconceived standards when taking on the roles of wife, partner or mother. The drive to meet expectations can lead to a sense of lost individuality and feelings of isolation and invisibility. This book serves as a guide through the “muse process,” which encourages women to explore their innate feminine power to reach their full potential and create a happier, healthier life.

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NEWLY PUBLISHED: Murder Files from Scotland Yard and the Black Museum

New on Our Bookshelf Today:

Murder Files from Scotland Yard and the Black Museum

by R. Michael Gordon

From the files of Scotland Yard’s “Black Museum” (open only to police officers) come true crime stories of some of the most infamous murder cases of the 19th and 20th centuries—the Lambeth Poisoner, “baby farmer” Amelia Elizabeth Dyer, the Gentleman Vampire of Bournemouth, the Brides in the Bath Murders, the Rillington Place murders and many others. Along the way, investigators pass a number of crime-solving milestones, included the first use of fingerprint technology, the early use of photography and the first time “The Yard” enlisted the press to help hunt down a killer.

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NEWLY PUBLISHED: Justice Perverted

New on our bookshelf today:

Justice Perverted: The Molestation Mistrial of Richard Charles Haefner

by Derek J. Sherwood

In 1975, Dr. Richard Charles Haefner had it all—a Ph.D. from Penn State University, a prestigious job offer with UCLA and a thriving family business. Then it all came crashing down. Two boys who worked for Haefner accused him of sexual molestation, but allegations of police brutality, prosecutorial misconduct, bribery and corruption soon overshadowed what seemed like an “open-and-shut-case,” ultimately resulting in the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s amending state law.

Drawing on interviews and recently discovered documents, the author revisits the case and explores a number of open questions—including whether Haefner was set up by police as he claimed.

Derek Sherwood is the author of 2011’s Who Killed Betsy? Uncovering Penn State University’s Most Notorious Unsolved Crime, which put forth Haefner as the prime suspect. While writing it, he uncovered many expunged documents and as a result he has spent the past decade researching Haefner’s 1976 molestation trial, which ended with a hung jury. The author lives in Emmitsburg, Maryland.

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NEWLY PUBLISHED: Shocking and Sensational

New on Our Bookshelf Today:

Shocking and Sensational: The Stories Behind Famous True Crime and Scandal Books

by Julian Upton

Already part of a genre known for generating controversy, some true crime and scandal books have wielded a particular power to unsettle readers, provoke authorities and renew interest in a case. The reactions to such literature have been as contentious as the books themselves, clouding the “truth” with myths and inaccuracies.

From high-profile publishing sensations such as Ten Rillington Place, Fatal Vision and Mommie Dearest to the wealth of writing on the JFK assassination, the death of Marilyn Monroe and the Black Dahlia murder, this book delves into that hard copy era when crime and scandal books had a cultural impact beyond the genre’s film and TV documentaries, fueling outcries that sometimes matched the notoriety of the cases they discussed and leaving legacies that still resonate today.

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NEWLY PUBLISHED: In Bed with Strangers

New on our bookshelf today:

In Bed with Strangers: Swinging My Way to Self-Discovery

by Casey Donatello

The term “swinging” calls to mind a bygone era of 1970s sexual liberation—images of shag carpet, hot tubs and married couples swapping motel keys. The Internet age has made swinging widely accessible and discreet to a broad range of participants, married or single, and of any sexual orientation. Some people pursue the excitement of spontaneous, noncommittal sex with strangers, while others seek a certain intimate connection they find unattainable by conventional dating or romantic relationships.

Casey Donatello’s frank memoir describes her transition from inexperienced 20-something through the ups and downs of her introduction to swinging as a couple with her boyfriend to her maturation as a single female swinger—known in the lifestyle as a “unicorn”—in her 30s. Her explicit account goes beyond the physical acts to explore the psychology and life lessons of self-discovery through sex.


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NEWLY PUBLISHED: Death of an Altar Boy

New on our bookshelf today:

Death of an Altar Boy: The Unsolved Murder of Danny Croteau and the Culture of Abuse in the Catholic Church

by E.J. Fleming

The tragic death of 13-year-old Danny Croteau in 1972 faded from headlines and memories for 20 years until the Boston abuse scandal—a string of assaults taking place within the Catholic Church—exploded in the early 2000s. Despite numerous indications, including 40 claims of sexual misconduct with minors, pointing to him as Croteau’s killer, Reverend Richard R. Lavigne remains “innocent.”

Drawing on more than 10,000 pages of police and court records and interviews with Danny’s friends and family, fellow abuse victims, and church officials, the author uncovers the truth—church complicity in a cover up and masking of priests’ involvement in a ring of abusive clergy—behind Croteau’s death and those who had a hand in it.

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NEWLY PUBLISHED: My Most-Wanted Marijuana Mom

New on our bookshelf today:

My Most-Wanted Marijuana Mom: Growing Up in a Smuggling Family

by David Michael McNelis

“You are about to enter a world of drug smuggling, drug greed, and drug murder.” With those words, the West Palm Beach assistant DA began the 1986 murder trial of Judy “Haas” McNelis. The only woman on the U.S. Federal Marshal’s 15 Most-Wanted List, she gained infamy as head of the “Haas Organization,” a reputed $267 million per year marijuana empire. But before her jet-set lifestyle as a drug “queen-pin,” Haas was simply a divorcée with two young children and a penchant for growing pot.

David McNelis’ candid memoir recounts his life with a brash, free-spirited mother determined to achieve success in the male-dominated world of international narcotics smuggling. A studious kid striving for normalcy, McNelis is thrust into an extraordinary adventure where dealers, smugglers, daredevil pilots, federal agents, hitmen, and even an accused KGB spy all become part of “normal” life.

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NEWLY PUBLISHED: The Sadist, the Hitman and the Murder of Jane Bashara

New on our bookshelf today:

The Sadist, the Hitman and the Murder of Jane Bashara

by George Hunter and Lynn Rosenthal

“Big Bob” Bashara put on a respectable face. To his friends in Detroit’s affluent suburb of Grosse Pointe, he was a married father of two, Rotary Club President, church usher and soccer dad who organized charity events with his wife, Jane. To his “slaves,” he was “Master Bob,” a cocaine-snorting slumlord who operated a sex dungeon and had a submissive girlfriend to do his bidding—and he wanted more slaves to serve him. But Bashara knew he couldn’t rule a household of concubines on his income alone. He eyed his wife’s sizable retirement account and formulated a murderous plan. This meticulous account tells the complete story of the crime, the nationally watched investigation and trials, and the lives affected.

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NEWLY PUBLISHED: Through an Unlocked Door

New on our bookshelf today:

Through an Unlocked Door: In Walks Murder

by Kevin M. Sullivan

“We never lock our doors.” This is an often-heard remark expressing a commonplace American attitude or belief that, despite whatever danger might prevail in public spaces, life inside our own homes remains (or at least should remain) safe, carefree, normal. This book covers 13 high-profile cases in which evil paid an untimely visit and found the entrance open—when everything was normal, until it wasn’t.

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NEWLY PUBLISHED: The Trunk Dripped Blood

New on our bookshelf today:

The Trunk Dripped Blood: Five Sensational Murder Cases of the Early 20th Century

by Mark Grossman

A trunk dripping blood, discovered at a railway station in Stockton in 1906, launched one of the most famous murder investigations in California history—still debated by crime historians. In 1913, the dismembered body of a young pregnant woman, found in the East River, was traced back to her killer and husband, who remains the only priest ever executed for homicide in the U.S. In 1916, a successful dentist, recently married into a prestigious family, poisoned his in-laws—first with deadly bacteria, then with arsenic—claiming the real murderer was an Egyptian incubus who took control of his body.

Drawing on court transcripts, newspaper coverage and other contemporary sources, this collection of historical American true crime stories chronicles five murder cases that became media sensations of their day, making headlines across the country in the decades before radio or television.

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NEWLY PUBLISHED: Bloodstained Louisiana

New on our bookshelf today:

Bloodstained Louisiana: Twelve Murder Cases, 1896–1934

by Alan G. Gauthreaux

Historian Alan G. Gauthreaux chronicles 12 homicide cases from late 1800s and early 1900s Louisiana—where “unwritten law” justified jilted women who killed their paramours, and police took measures to protect defendants from lynch mobs. Stories include the 1907 kidnapping of seven-year-old Walter Lamana by the New Orleans “Black Hand,” the 1912 acquittal of Zea McRee (a woman of “good reputation”) in Opelousas, and the 1934 trial and execution of Shreveport’s infamous “Butterfly Man.”

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NEWLY PUBLISHED: Unsolved Child Murders

New on our bookshelf today:

Unsolved Child Murders: Eighteen American Cases, 1956–1998

by Emily G. Thompson

An estimated 800,000 children are reported missing each year in the United States. Only one in 10,000 are found dead. Yet unsolved child murders are almost a daily occurrence—of nearly 52,000 juvenile homicides between 1980 and 2008, more than 20 percent remain open.  Drawing on FBI reports, police and court records, and interviews with victims’ families, this book provides details and evidence for 18 unsolved cases from 1956 to 1998.

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NEWLY PUBLISHED: Out for Queer Blood

New on our bookshelf today:

Out for Queer Blood: The Murder of Fernando Rios and the Failure of New Orleans Justice
Clayton Delery

On a September night in 1958, three New Orleans college students went looking for a gay man to assault. They chose Fernando Rios, who died from the beating he received. In perhaps the earliest example of the “gay panic” defense, the three defendants argued that they had no choice but to beat Rios because he had made an “improper advance.” When the jury acquitted the three, the courtroom cheered. The author offers a detailed examination of the murder and the trial.

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NEWLY PUBLISHED: Living and Loving Better with Time Perspective Therapy

New on our bookshelf today:

Living and Loving Better with Time Perspective Therapy: Healing from the Past, Embracing the Present, Creating an Ideal Future
Philip G. Zimbardo and Rosemary K.M. Sword

In his 2012 book Time Cure, psychologist Philip Zimbardo introduced a groundbreaking therapeutic approach for PTSD sufferers, co-developed with Rosemary Sword. “Time Perspective Therapy” shifts mental focus from the past to the present, and from negative to positive events, helping anyone achieve a more balanced view of life. Featuring real-life stories, this book describes how TPT helps people living with depression, anxiety or stress to move beyond past negative experiences—from toxic relationships to bullying—toward a more positive future.

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FORTHCOMING: Out for Queer Blood: The Murder of Fernando Rios

Clayton Delery’s Out for Queer Blood: The Murder of Fernando Rios and the Failure of New Orleans Justice is on its way to the printer.  Sarah Schulman, award-winning writer and gays rights activist, called it “a riveting and important work of grassroots LGBT history that reveals the connections and fissures between homophobia and anti–Latino prejudices in U.S. history.”   Schulman added that “Delery unmasks the origins of one of the most sinister legal and cultural foundations of anti-gay oppression: the false accusation of desire and how it has been used to excuse injustice.”

Delery’s 2015 work, The Up Stairs Lounge Arson: Thirty-Two Deaths in a New Orleans Gay Bar, June 24, 1973, was named a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award and was named book of the year by the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities.