Unusual Suspects

Nonfiction November Crime Edition

Hello mystery fans! The newsletter I had planned for today is going on a temporary hold because as soon as I was able to exhale a little, regarding the election, I found out a hurricane was on its way. 2020! So being that it is Nonfiction November–a yearly initiative for people to read more nonfiction–I wanted to highlight some great books to pick and some I plan on reading.

My Midnight Years by Ronald Kitchen cover image

My Midnight Years: Surviving Jon Burge’s Police Torture Ring and Death Row by Ronald Kitchen, Thai Jones, Logan McBride

This true crime memoir did not get the attention it deserves and I’m hoping now it finally will. Ronald Kitchen was a low level drug dealer in Chicago in the ’80s which would have made his arrest make sense if it had been for selling drugs. But it wasn’t. Instead the police decided he was a murderer and tortured him until he confessed. This is his story about how the justice system is an injust system for those it’s designed against. I highly recommend the audiobook. (Review) (TW torture/ suicide)

furious hours cover image

Furious Hours: Murder, Fraud, and the Last Trial of Harper Lee by Casey Cep

Fans of literature, history, biographies, and bananapants stories: this one is for you. Harper Lee, the author of To Kill A Mockingbird, assisted in Truman Capote’s research for In Cold Blood; she also wanted to write her own true crime book about a preacher accused of murdering people for their insurance money. He was then murdered by one of his victim’s relatives and the same lawyer took both cases. I know! (Review)

The 57 Bus: A True Story of Two Teenagers and the Crime That Changed Their Lives by Dashka Slater

This is the rare case of a YA nonfiction book, which I really wish there were more of. This is about a 16-year-old Black boy who set fire to the skirt of a non-binary teen on Oakland Public Transportation. The book takes a compassionate look at both teens and their lives and also takes readers into the juvenile justice system.

The Cold Vanish: Seeking the Missing in North America’s Wildlands by Jon Billman

This one’s for fans of the outdoors and true crime by journalists. I’m currently reading this book and it’s heartbreaking to see the families and loved ones of missing people deal with the unknown, while the parts about the procedures and searchers are fascinating.

The Golden Thread: The Cold War and the Mysterious Death of Dag Hammarskjöld by Ravi Somaiya

Investigative reporter Somaiya takes a look at the 20-year-old unsolved case of diplomat and UN Secretary General Dag Hammarskjöld. He was found dead in the jungle shortly after boarding a plane in the Congo with an ace of spades tucked in his collar. While Hammarskjöld was known for his dedication to peace, many wanted to see him fail. This wasn’t a story on my radar and I’m really looking forward to reading this.

For more true crime reads:

True Crime: Beyond Serial Killers And Sensationalized Crimes

25 of the Top True Crime Books on Goodreads

50 Of The Best True Crime Books

Browse all the books recommended in Unusual Suspects previous newsletters on this shelf. See upcoming releases for 2020 and 2021. Check out this Unusual Suspects Pinterest board and get Tailored Book Recommendations!

Until next time, keep investigating! In the meantime, come talk books with me on Twitter, Instagram, Goodreads, and Litsy–you can find me under Jamie Canavés.

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