Every week, writers for Westword and our parent company, Village Voice Media, produce elegant, magazine-style feature writing, a gritty portion of which comes in the form of true-crime stories. Now VVM has collected some of its best recent true-crime yarns into an ebook: Seven Sins: A True Crime Anthology from Village Voice Media. And one of the tales, featuring Joe Sam Walker, seen here, first appeared in Westword.
Available on Amazon and iTunes, the book features seven stories, including the incredible tale of a young American Muslim woman "honor-killed" by her own father; the odd story of a young San Francisco woman so enamored of serial killers that she became known as America's most prominent "murder groupie"; and "The Case of the Kidnapped Coed," Alan Prendergast's story about a historic Colorado murder case in which the golden age of tabloid journalism collided with Erle Stanley Gardner, the larger-than-life creator of the Perry Mason mysteries.
The book is already drawing praise from crime-writing pros. "If you thought that short true-crime stories died with pulp magazines like Headline Detective or Police Files, you might be surprised to learn that they live on in the pages of big-city alternative weeklies," wrote Carroll Lachnit, the author of four murder mysteries, including Murder in Brief and Janie's Law. "Village Voice Media's collection of such stories from its publications is a dark tour of American society."
Michael A. Kahn, the attorney and award-winning author of Trophy Widow and other legal thrillers, is also a fan. "Those who write about true crime must face the challenge that truth is often stranger than fiction -- and messier and emptier and less coherent," noted Kahn. "All of which makes this collection the more remarkable. These Village Voice Media journalists have confronted the challenges head-on and produced a compelling yet chilling set of true-crime stories that would make Raymond Chandler proud."
Got an iPad or a Kindle? For just $2.99, you can curl up with some of our best stories about America's worst people. Raymond Chandler will thank you for it.
More from Alan Prendergast: "The Columbine shootings continue to 'inspire' Hollywood."
Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.