I happened upon a little used book store on St. Marks last week. It was a sweet little shop with colorful wooden stools scattered throughout on which were scrawled in thick black sharpie: "NOT FOR SITTING!!! WE NEED TO PLACE BOOKS ON THESE!! DON'T EVEN THINK OF SITTING HERE!!!"
Charming little out-of-the-way place. Friendly too.
I was especially taken by a sign inviting me to browse their 'outdoor garden' bookery, which was actually a bunch of overstuffed metal shelves stuck outside the door, covered with a tarp. There were chimes out there though. And that was cool. If not freaking eerie on a cold March night. Like horror movie eerie.
Anyway. I damn near peed myself when I discovered an Ann Rule book I haven't yet read, and snapped that bitch right up for just $3. The book is A Fever In The Heart, (A Bestselling Story of Obsession, Manipulation and Murder!) and I'm of course savoring it each night like a sweet little snickers bar hidden under my pillow before bed.
I love true crime books. Love them. There is just something horribly, deliciously captivating about the graphic details of a crime committed by your average American boy-or-girl-next-door. One common thread I find in reading these fiestas of pain and suffering (and I've read a bunch) is that nobody ever would've ever expected it to happen. Ask any neighbor, third grade teacher, babysitter, the guy who sold the victim/perpetrator their cigarettes and whiskey, and they'll all say the same thing: "Those people? Oh, but I can't believe it. They were so nice, such good citizens, neighbors, PTA parents...I'd never have expected he would have been a serial murderer! Or that she'd have shot her children point blank in the backseat of her car! That woman? No way she'd have ever killed her husband for insurance money. I'd never have thought it possible."
Hell Yeah. That's the draw for me, for sure. The idea that anyone can commit a crime of 'passion' if driven to it under the right circumstances. A hot, dry night in the midwest, a lighted match and zip! You've set your house on fire with half its occupants asleep inside. Whoops!
And I admit it. Reading these books makes me feel just the teensiest bit better about my own life. Not that I really have much to complain about these days. But when my single mama patience runs needle-thin at the end of the day and I ask Lily just a little too gruffly if she would just eat one more bite of goddamned macaroni and cheese, I can rest assured that I'm doing a hell of a lot better than these poor saps.
Also, I'm pretty glad I don't own a gun or know anybody with ties to the mafia.
4 days ago