Charles Graeber’s new book The Good Nurse: A True Story of Medicine, Madness, and Murder has the kind of subtitle you expect to see on those pulpy true crime books at the grocery store. But Graeber’s debut stands out from those predictable books; it’s thoughtful and multi-layered, with an incantatory prose style. Graeber is fascinated by how nurse Charles Cullen, the serial killer at the heart of the story, got away with murdering patients on a whim. You read The Good Nurse disgusted by Cullen’s ability to repeatedly elude capture and although Graeber has exhaustive endnotes documenting each facet of his investigation, you don’t want to believe that the events he reveals actually happened. We love books that make us feel like we’re reading a suspenseful, slash-and-burn true crime paperback but that possess a depth, insight and style that are memorable. Call it literary true crime, call it what you want, but consider us fans of the books on this week’s list that manage to pull it off.
The gripping narrative of a twisted serial killer preying on the most vulnerable citizens of Paris during the Nazi occupation.
In King's third work of historical nonfiction (Vienna, 1814: How the Conquerors of Napoleon Made Love, War, and Peace at the Congress of Vienna, 2008, etc.), he turns to World War II and the city of lights, narrating a frightening tale.Read full book review >