The cultural appetite for stories of real people doing terrible things is insatiable. Sarah Weinman brings together some of the most refreshing and exciting contemporary journalists and chroniclers of crime working today, to showcase writing about true crime across the broadest possible spectrum, while also reflecting what makes crime stories so transfixing and irresistible to the modern reader
... works as both a superb collection of true crime writing and a text that looks at the nuances of our collective obsession with horrific murders, con men and serial killers in a historical and cultural context ... Those looking for titillating, gruesome chronicles of human depravity will find much to like here — and those who want great, smart writing and outstanding research that unveils things we would rather not look at under a microscope will be equally satisfied ... the search for answers is one of many cohesive elements that make this nonfiction anthology one of the best true crime books of the year. The other three main elements — great writing, meticulous research and fearless engagement with the psychological, cultural and emotional aftermaths of extreme violence and murder — make this anthology inhabit an interstitial space between personal writing and academic analysis ... While Unspeakable Acts is informative and engaging, it is also a wonderfully uncomfortable read because it brings real horror to your doorstep — it brings evidence that shows your neighbor could be a killer, your friends can stab you, and your partner could have a different name and another family or partner elsewhere ... From classics of true-crime reporting to newer pieces that redefine the genre, Unspeakable Acts offers more than 400 pages of unnerving, immersive true-crime writing from some of the most talented writers in the field. There is plenty of blood and viciousness in its pages, but there are also heavy doses of hope and heart, of humanity and searching for answers. Yes, this is creepy and pulpy at times, but it ultimately morphs into a mirror that shows us scary things — and uncovers why we are drawn to them so strongly.
Weinman has curated an excellent anthology of 13 of the best articles and essays on true crime. These stories are all great reads—they have enough detail, human interest and forensic insight to delight even the most discriminating true crime connoisseur—but Weinman has done more than create entertainment. By organizing the essays thematically, she challenges the reader to use true crime as a lens to explore the world around us ... All of the essays are thought provoking ... invites readers to consider true crime not only as a literary genre but also as a gateway to understanding our society and ourselves. It is an invitation well worth accepting
Our fascination with true crime disturbs some—after all, aren’t we exploiting victims by enjoying the stories of their deaths? Not necessarily. With nuance and sensitivity, Weinman...curates essays that consider the explosion of interest in true crime, stories from the perspectives of victims, and tales that present new information about notorious killers. Prolific and masterful essayists explore our deepest fears, our desires, our need to be valued, and our tendency as a species to observe and learn from one another’s misfortune ... Each piece is gripping and demands attention and introspection ... This enthralling volume insists that there can and should be humanity within true crime. Whether readers are spellbound or disgusted by the genre, this is a must.