Title: True crime



Location: Truman Capote, In Cold Blood Harold Schechter, Bestial: The Savage Trail Of A True American Monster Lorenzo Carcaterra, Sleepers

Pagination: 0

Illustrations: - detailled presentation of factual information - plotting: maps, timelines - absence of a detective figure

Document Type: Graffiti


True crime has a lengthy history as a medium of vicarious thrills, from the 'gallows confessions' and sensationalized accounts of the 18th and 19th centuries, through pulp magazines, tabloids, and shock journalism, to television newsmagazine programs, films, and tell-all books. Part journalism, and part fiction, true crime bears the authenticity of 'real life,' but allows for a greater laxity of factual information and the invention of details and plot devices. The 'facts' of a case must be transformed into a compelling narrative by the author. The appeal of true crime lies in the fascination of and difficulty of coming to terms with especially horrific or unusual crimes. By proceeding through the narrative, and considering the evidence for himself, the reader can work through the event psychologically. However, the true crime novel also offers the voyeuristic allure of experiencing the crime from a safe vantage point. The reader can indulge herself in the gory details and consider the darkest human actions without any danger. The narrative format, by resolving the case with a degree of closure (otherwise, it would not be viable as a story) acts to reassert the legal and moral codes of society, symbolically restraining the criminal impulse.