My Dark Places

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The internationally acclaimed author of the L.A. Quartet and The Underworld USA Trilogy, James Ellroy, presents another literary masterpiece, this time a true crime murder mystery about his own mother.

In 1958 Jean Ellroy was murdered, her body dumped on a roadway in a seedy L.A. suburb.  Her killer was never found, and the police dismissed her as a casualty of a cheap Saturday night. James Ellroy was ten when his mother died, and he spent the next thirty-six years running from her ghost and attempting to exorcize it through crime fiction. In 1994, Ellroy quit running.  He went back to L.A., to find out the truth about his mother--and himself.  

In My Dark Places, our most uncompromising crime writer tells what happened when he teamed up with a brilliant homicide cop to investigate a murder that everyone else had forgotten--and reclaim the mother he had despised, desired, but never dared to love. What ensues is a epic of loss, fixation, and redemption, a memoir that is also a history of the American way of violence.

"Ellroy is more powerful than ever."
--The Nation  

"Astonishing . . . original, daring, brilliant."
--Philadelphia Inquirer
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Additional Information

Publisher
Vintage
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Published on
Sep 23, 2009
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Pages
448
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ISBN
9780307488510
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Language
English
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Genres
Biography & Autobiography / Personal Memoirs
Social Science / Criminology
True Crime / Murder / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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In Girls of Tender Age, Mary-Ann Tirone Smith fully articulates with great humor and tenderness the wild jubilance of an extended French-Italian family struggling to survive in a post-World War II housing project in Hartford, Connecticut. Smith seamlessly combines a memoir whose intimacy matches that of Angela's Ashes with the tale of a community plagued by a malevolent predator that holds the emotional and cultural resonance of The Lovely Bones.

Smith's Hartford neighborhood is small-town America, where everyone’s door is unlocked and the school, church, library, drugstore, 5 & 10, grocery, and tavern are all within walking distance. Her family is peopled with memorable characters—her possibly psychic mother who's always on the verge of a nervous breakdown, her adoring father who makes sure she has something to eat in the morning beyond her usual gulp of Hershey’s syrup, her grandfather who teaches her to bash in the heads of the eels they catch on Long Island Sound, Uncle Guido who makes the annual bagna cauda, and the numerous aunts and cousins who parade through her life with love and food and endless stories of the old days. And then there’s her brother, Tyler.

Smith's household was “different.” Little Mary-Ann couldn't have friends over because her older brother, Tyler, an autistic before anyone knew what that meant, was unable to bear noise of any kind. To him, the sound of crying, laughing, phones ringing, or toilets flushing was “a cloud of barbed needles” flying into his face. Subject to such an assault, he would substitute that pain with another: he'd try to chew his arm off. Tyler was Mary-Ann's real-life Boo Radley, albeit one whose bookshelves sagged under the weight of the World War II books he collected and read obsessively.

Hanging over this rough-and-tumble American childhood is the sinister shadow of an approaching serial killer. The menacing Bob Malm lurks throughout this joyous and chaotic family portrait, and the havoc he unleashes when the paths of innocence and evil cross one early December evening in 1953 forever alters the landscape of Smith's childhood.

Girls of Tender Age is one of those books that will forever change its readers because of its beauty and power and remarkable wit.
They were accused of one of the most infamous murders of our time. Targeted by the media, sentenced by the courts, and wrongfully imprisoned for four excruciating years for a crime neither could fathom let alone perpetrate, Raffaele Sollecito and Amanda Knox were the victims in a trial so bizarre it defied all reason. Now, for the first time since his acquittal, Raffaele reveals what really happened between him and his then girlfriend before, during, and after Amanda’s roommate Meredith Kercher’s brutal murder.

Filled with family drama, wild reversals of fortune, and a blow-by-blow account of the legal catastrophe as it unfolded, this harrowing firsthand account sheds fascinating new light on one of the world’s most controversial murder cases. With startling candor, Raffaele shares intimate details about his changing relationship with Amanda—one that veered in a matter of days from giddy romance to grueling police interrogations. Over the next four years, Raffaele was the only solid alibi Amanda had for the night of the murder. He came under unrelenting pressure—from his own family and lawyers as much as the police and prosecution—to change his testimony and stop vouching for her. But he wouldn’t do it. He refused to testify against her to save his own skin, because he knew she would be lost forever.

Raffaele sifts through the wild accusations depicting him as a druggie, a porn addict, and reckless thrill seeker, and shows how these stories were gross distortions of trivial episodes in his young life. With unflinching honesty, he takes readers behind the scenes of the trial of the century—and inside the day-to-day hell of prison life. Finally, and poignantly, Raffaele talks about his first face-to-face reunion with Amanda following their release.

Emotional, disturbing, and ultimately galvanizing, this memoir is more than a true-crime story—it is a riveting account of an egregious miscarriage of justice, of public condemnation, and personal survival. Honor Bound is also, at its heart, a tragic love story about a young man who trusted his feelings, refused to give up hope, and ultimately triumphed.
The New York Times bestselling, authoritative account of the life of Charles Manson, filled with surprising new information and previously unpublished photographs: “A riveting, almost Dickensian narrative…four stars” (People).

More than forty years ago Charles Manson and his mostly female commune killed nine people, among them the pregnant actress Sharon Tate. It was the culmination of a criminal career that author Jeff Guinn traces back to Manson’s childhood. Guinn interviewed Manson’s sister and cousin, neither of whom had ever previously cooperated with an author. Childhood friends, cellmates, and even some members of the Manson family have provided new information about Manson’s life. Guinn has made discoveries about the night of the Tate murders, answering unresolved questions, such as why one person near the scene of the crime was spared.

Manson puts the killer in the context of the turbulent late sixties, an era of race riots and street protests when authority in all its forms was under siege. Guinn shows us how Manson created and refined his message to fit the times, persuading confused young women (and a few men) that he had the solutions to their problems. At the same time he used them to pursue his long-standing musical ambitions. His frustrated ambitions, combined with his bizarre race-war obsession, would have lethal consequences.

Guinn’s book is a “tour de force of a biography…Manson stands as a definitive work: important for students of criminology, human behavior, popular culture, music, psychopathology, and sociopathology…and compulsively readable” (Ann Rule, The New York Times Book Review).
*SOON TO BE A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE STARRING REESE WITHERSPOON AND COLIN FIRTH *

The West Memphis Three. Accused, convicted…and set free. Do you know their story?

In 2011, one of the greatest miscarriages of justice in American legal history was set right when Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin, and Jessie Misskelley were released after eighteen years in prison. Award-winning journalist Mara Leveritt’s The Devil’s Knot remains the most comprehensive, insightful reporting ever done on the investigation, trials, and convictions of three teenage boys who became known as the West Memphis Three.

For weeks in 1993, after the murders of three eight-year-old boys, police in West Memphis, Arkansas seemed stymied. Then suddenly, detectives charged three teenagers—alleged members of a satanic cult—with the killings. Despite the witch-hunt atmosphere of the trials, and a case which included stunning investigative blunders, a confession riddled with errors, and an absence of physical evidence linking any of the accused to the crime, the teenagers were convicted. Jurors sentenced Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley to life in prison and Damien Echols, the accused ringleader, to death. The guilty verdicts were popular in their home state—even upheld on appeal—and all three remained in prison until their unprecedented release in August 2011.

With close-up views of its key participants, this award-winning account unravels the many tangled knots of this endlessly shocking case, one which will shape the American legal landscape for years to come.
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