True crime, as an entertainment genre, has always prioritized clear narrative arcs: victims wronged, police detectives in pursuit, suspects apprehended, justice delivered. But what stories have been ignored? In Evidence of Things Seen, fourteen of the most innovative crime writers working today cast a light on the cases that give crucial insight into our society. This anthology pulls back the curtain on how crime itself is a by-product of America's systemic harms and inequalities. And in doing so, it reveals how the genre of true crime can be a catalyst for social change. These works combine brilliant storytelling with incisive cultural examinations—and challenge each of us to ask what justice should look like.
An argument at the core of Evidence of Things Seen — that the ability to get justice in the United States remains woefully unequal ... The anthology attempts to move past the true-crime genre’s traditional celebration of law enforcement and its denigration of the accused and incarcerated ... This anthology aims to continue the tradition of Baldwin’s work, and it largely succeeds. Its essays take care to prioritize the stories of victims, which too often are shunted aside in true-crime narratives to focus instead on the cat-and-mouse game played between police and offenders ... A healthy antidote to “Dateline”-style sensationalist programming. The essays avoid traditional black-and-white stories and instead embrace the nuance of reporting on crime, showing the ways stories of wrongdoing often illuminate broader issues in our society.
Although the essays are for the most part objective and dispassionate, the book still engenders frustration at the injustices perpetrated by the legal system. A valuable addition to the ever-growing genre of crime nonfiction.
Weinman’s sensitive selection of these and other articles in the anthology will provoke a wide range of reactions—sorrow, anger, indignation and even optimism. Perhaps they will also provoke a reckoning with how true crime lovers engage with stories of transgression and justice.