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  • November 2009
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Ripped from the Headlines

I don’t watch much tv, but when I do it’s usually Law & Order: SVU (or any other version of Law & Order). But while Stabler and Benson have a badge and a team of forensic scientists to crack the case, all a teen can do is use their wits.

Luckily, books are a safe place to dabble in crime without having to deal with the predators, stalkers, murderers, and other assorted creeps who the detectives on Law & Order deal with on a weekly (or hourly, if there’s a marathon) basis. And there’s even a whole genre of non-fiction, called “true crime,” that can help indulge your fantasies.

True crime features in-depth accounts about and investigations into crimes that took place in the real world. Sometimes they put together their information based on newspaper articles and television stories, and sometimes they go the extra mile to do their own private investigation. And don’t forget: in the criminal justice system, the people are represented by two separate, yet equally important groups. The police who investigate crime and the district attorneys who prosecute the offenders. These are their stories.

Jacobs, Thomas A.
They Broke the Law, You Be the Judge: True Cases of Teen Crime

They Broke the Law, You Be the Judge offers readers an inside look into the juvenile justice system, from behind the bench and through interviews with the teens themselves. From truancy to auto theft, you’ll be presented with 21 real-life cases and asked what you think the sentence should be. Afterward, you’ll get the real sentence so you can compare your reasoning with the judge’s.

Joyce, Jaimie
Toe Tagged: True Stories from the Morgue

What can dead bodies tell you? Surprisingly, a lot. They can say when the body died, what kind of drugs the were in its system, what the bruises mean, which bullet was the one that killed it, where the body had been in the last 24 hours, and more. This book presents you with cases which used DNA analysis, facial reconstruction, and other tests to figure out the who, what, when, where, why, and how of a slew of awful murders.

Geary, Rick
Treasury of Victorian Murder (series)

A Kansas family murders residents of its inn. An upperclass woman poisons her scandalous lover in Scotland. A woman buries a hatchet into her father and stepmother. What do these stories have in common? They’re all included in a series of graphic non-fiction called The Treasury of Victorian Murder. With pen and ink, Rick Geary recreates some of the most fascinating murders to grace the 19th century.

True Crime: Seventeen, Real Girls, Real-life Stories

Pranks gone terribly wrong, sexual abuse, and murder mark the pages of this page turner of true crime stories compiled by Seventeen magazine. From 14 year-old girls who rob a bank in the hopes of saving their family home to a mom who makes a dangerous decision about her pregnant daughter, this book gives girls a lot to think about.

Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh – Main

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