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THE SERIAL KILLER'S APPRENTICE

Not for the faint of heart, but true-crime aficionados will appreciate this fast-paced, illuminating report.

An intimate investigative account of a notorious serial killer focused on the making of his teenage apprentices.

Acclaimed forensic psychologist Ramsland, author of Confession of a Serial Killer, Beating the Devil’s Game, and dozens of other true-crime books, teams up with investigative journalist and documentarian Ullman to add materially to the 50-year-old story of the “Candy Man” killer, Dean Corll, who was shot and killed in 1973. The authors examine the involvement of David Brooks and Elmer Wayne Henley Jr. as apprentices, performing Corll’s “grunt work,” which consisted of the abduction, torture, murder, and burial of other teenage boys. The authors explore the devious strategies predators employ when choosing their “apprentices” and grooming them. Brooks and Henley were both ready targets for Corll, but Henley, the book’s primary character, is especially noteworthy, both in terms of his vulnerability and willing participation as a primary accomplice to a serial killer. Ramsland and Ullman expand the background to Corll’s reprehensible acts to reveal the work of a larger criminal organization, a widespread network of sex offenders dealing in the trafficking and murder of boys operated by John David Norman, who “had been charged more than two dozen times previously for child sex crimes and had a long rap sheet charted by the FBI.” Norman, Corll, John Wayne Gacy, and thousands of other pedophiles coordinated their heinous acts for years. At the end, the authors provide sobering images from the case, including those taken on the day of Corll’s murder, as well as statements by the teen accomplices upon their arrests. Frighteningly, the authors write, “many of the same grooming techniques that Corll employed are still in use because they’re successful.” Ramsland and Ullman paint a disturbingly vivid portrait of true evil.

Not for the faint of heart, but true-crime aficionados will appreciate this fast-paced, illuminating report.

Pub Date: April 16, 2024

ISBN: 9781613164952

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Crime Ink/Penzler

Review Posted Online: Feb. 1, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2024

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KILLERS OF THE FLOWER MOON

THE OSAGE MURDERS AND THE BIRTH OF THE FBI

Dogged original research and superb narrative skills come together in this gripping account of pitiless evil.

Awards & Accolades

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  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2017


  • New York Times Bestseller


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Greed, depravity, and serial murder in 1920s Oklahoma.

During that time, enrolled members of the Osage Indian nation were among the wealthiest people per capita in the world. The rich oil fields beneath their reservation brought millions of dollars into the tribe annually, distributed to tribal members holding "headrights" that could not be bought or sold but only inherited. This vast wealth attracted the attention of unscrupulous whites who found ways to divert it to themselves by marrying Osage women or by having Osage declared legally incompetent so the whites could fleece them through the administration of their estates. For some, however, these deceptive tactics were not enough, and a plague of violent death—by shooting, poison, orchestrated automobile accident, and bombing—began to decimate the Osage in what they came to call the "Reign of Terror." Corrupt and incompetent law enforcement and judicial systems ensured that the perpetrators were never found or punished until the young J. Edgar Hoover saw cracking these cases as a means of burnishing the reputation of the newly professionalized FBI. Bestselling New Yorker staff writer Grann (The Devil and Sherlock Holmes: Tales of Murder, Madness, and Obsession, 2010, etc.) follows Special Agent Tom White and his assistants as they track the killers of one extended Osage family through a closed local culture of greed, bigotry, and lies in pursuit of protection for the survivors and justice for the dead. But he doesn't stop there; relying almost entirely on primary and unpublished sources, the author goes on to expose a web of conspiracy and corruption that extended far wider than even the FBI ever suspected. This page-turner surges forward with the pacing of a true-crime thriller, elevated by Grann's crisp and evocative prose and enhanced by dozens of period photographs.

Dogged original research and superb narrative skills come together in this gripping account of pitiless evil.

Pub Date: April 18, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-385-53424-6

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: Feb. 1, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2017

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THE BACKYARD BIRD CHRONICLES

An ebullient nature lover’s paean to birds.

A charming bird journey with the bestselling author.

In his introduction to Tan’s “nature journal,” David Allen Sibley, the acclaimed ornithologist, nails the spirit of this book: a “collection of delightfully quirky, thoughtful, and personal observations of birds in sketches and words.” For years, Tan has looked out on her California backyard “paradise”—oaks, periwinkle vines, birch, Japanese maple, fuchsia shrubs—observing more than 60 species of birds, and she fashions her findings into delightful and approachable journal excerpts, accompanied by her gorgeous color sketches. As the entries—“a record of my life”—move along, the author becomes more adept at identifying and capturing them with words and pencils. Her first entry is September 16, 2017: Shortly after putting up hummingbird feeders, one of the tiny, delicate creatures landed on her hand and fed. “We have a relationship,” she writes. “I am in love.” By August 2018, her backyard “has become a menagerie of fledglings…all learning to fly.” Day by day, she has continued to learn more about the birds, their activities, and how she should relate to them; she also admits mistakes when they occur. In December 2018, she was excited to observe a Townsend’s Warbler—“Omigod! It’s looking at me. Displeased expression.” Battling pesky squirrels, Tan deployed Hot Pepper Suet to keep them away, and she deterred crows by hanging a fake one upside down. The author also declared war on outdoor cats when she learned they kill more than 1 billion birds per year. In May 2019, she notes that she spends $250 per month on beetle larvae. In June 2019, she confesses “spending more hours a day staring at birds than writing. How can I not?” Her last entry, on December 15, 2022, celebrates when an eating bird pauses, “looks and acknowledges I am there.”

An ebullient nature lover’s paean to birds.

Pub Date: April 23, 2024

ISBN: 9780593536131

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Jan. 19, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2024

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