My experience with true crime books is very limited; I have only read one other that covers modern crime: Vincent Bugliosi’s Helter Skelter (read my review here). Despite that, I am very interested in true crime (I have marathoned my fair share of ID shows, and wrote my undergrad thesis on Jack the Ripper). I love the psychology of criminology (I had to take a sociology class in college and chose Crime on Film, which was a lot of fun). So when I first heard about Del Quentin Wilber’s A Good Month for Murder, I was intrigued.
I think the Goodreads synopsis describes this book perfectly, so here it is:
Twelve homicides, three police-involved shootings, and the furious hunt for an especially brutal killer—February 2013 was a good month for murder in suburban Washington, D.C. After gaining unparalleled access to the homicide unit in Prince George’s County, which borders the nation’s capital, Del Quentin Wilber begins shadowing the talented, often quirky detectives who get the call when a body falls. After a quiet couple of months, all hell breaks loose: suddenly every detective in the squad is scrambling to solve one shooting and stabbing after another. Meanwhile, the entire unit is obsessed with a stone-cold “red ball,” a high-profile case involving a seventeen-year-old honor student attacked by a gunman who kicked down the door to her house and shot her in her bed. Murder is the police investigator’s ultimate crucible: to solve a killing, a detective must speak for the dead. More than any recent book, A Good Month for Murder shows what it takes to succeed when the stakes couldn’t possibly be higher.
A good month for murder is nonfiction, but it reads like a novel. It is well-written and exciting, and does a surprisingly excellent job of following the investigations of more than a few murders without being confusing. I really enjoyed Wilber’s writing style, and will definitely look to read more of his work in the future (he’s written one other book, about the attempted assassination of Ronald Regan, which looks really interesting). I have to admit that there was one murder I was more interested in than the others, but none of them were uninteresting, and, overall, I really enjoyed this book.
If you are interested in true crime, I would highly suggest this novel. It’s not what I typically read, but it definitely got my interested in reading similar books, especially as I’ve been trying to read more nonfiction.
After five years in the crucible of murder investigation, Deere thought he had seen everything – until he caught the red ball express the night Amber Stanley was killed. Since then, he has worked an almost endless string of sixteen-hour days, conducting scores of interviews, compiling hundreds of reports, filing seven binders with meticulous dossiers on witnesses and suspects. He has listened to mind-numbing recordings of phone calls from jail, delivered at least three detailed briefings to the police chief, and passed far too many nights staring at the bedroom ceiling, fretting over what crucial piece of evidence or information he has missed.
A Good Month for Murder will be available tomorrow, June 7 – you can pick up a copy here.
This book was provided to me by the publisher and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.