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Reviewed by Lori M for Readers' Favorite
In "Murder and Mayhem", Michael Thomas Barry presents us with 52 crimes that shocked early California in the 100 year from 1849. Taken from newspaper articles and filled with great photos from the period, the book allows us to revisit many famous and hideous crimes that occurred from around the time of the California Gold Rush until about mid-twentieth century.
I found some of the names of the killers amusing, such as Black Bart, The Tiger Woman, The Black Widow and the Fiend of Fullerton. I mean really, who comes up with these names? I also really enjoyed the photos of some of the homes, graves, and people discussed in the articles. I felt as if I was really there reading the daily newspaper getting information on the cases as they were being reported, investigated, and solved. But not all of the cases included are solved. Famous unsolved murder cases like the Black Dahlia are also included.
Barry has a style of journalistic writing that I like. He provides the details and facts, but adds color to them to make them interesting and less dry. It is no wonder there are so many great horror movies out there as our own history gives us enough gruesome real life events that we can use to shock, thrill, and entertain. Historians, murder-mystery lovers, and detective story fans will enjoy this book. Murders, bombings, heists, and kidnappings are all in there.