Ayers, A. M. (2007). Jesus loves me. Bloomington, IN: AuthorHouse.
An engaging autobiography detailing Anita’s trials growing up with an abusive father. Historical details are abundant regarding time and place during the early sixties in Indianapolis. This book is an emotional read detailing not only the struggles and graphic abuse that Anita suffered, but also the struggles of her family to stay afloat during their many hardships.
Bellamy, S. S. (2010). Hoosier justice at Nuremberg. Indianapolis, IN: Indiana Historical Society Press.
This historical true crime narrative tells the story of Indiana residents Frank Richman and Curtis Shake’s prominent roles as civilian judges in tribunals held in Nuremberg. Both men are retired Supreme Court justices, who were called in the late 1940’s to try top German industrialists for crimes against humanity.
Bill, F. (Author). (2011). Crimes in southern Indiana [CD]. Prince Frederick, MD: Recorded Books.
A compilation of engaging, eye-opening short stories about the pitfalls of America where the daily struggles of survival push people to the brinks of desperation and despair. A dark, shocking, and literary writing, Crimes in Southern Indiana also has a strong sense of place and well-developed characters.
Brock, P. (1999). Indiana gothic: A story of adultery and murder in American family. New York, NY: Nan A. Talese/.
For true crime fans, Brock effectively combines fact and fiction in re-telling his family’s secretive dark past in this atmospheric and riveting read. Brock successfully re-creates the early 1900’s in Davies County, Indiana with great detail and provides a time-travel type experience for readers. This book details the murder of Brock’s great-grandfather Ham Dillon at the hands of his own brother-in-law, following his affair with his wife, in which they had an illegitimate child together.
Carr, C. (2006). Our town: A heartland lynching, a haunted town, and the hidden history of white America. New York, NY: Crown Publishers.
Journalist Cynthia Carr combines mystery and true crime elements in her examination of past and current race relations through her investigation of the brutal lynching of two African American men in Marion, Indiana in 1930. This book presents historical facts in conjunction with well-developed narratives, including the author’s deeply personal narrative of her own familial connection to the Klan.
Cavinder, F. D. (2010). Historic Indianapolis crimes: Murder & mystery in the Circle City. Charleston, SC: The History Press.
Local historian Fred Cavinder recounts the gruesome tales of past murders and other crimes that have taken place in Indianapolis. This book is heavily fact-based with short narratives and photographs throughout the individual stories.
Crowel, T. R. (2008). The passerby: A novel. Highland, IN: Success Press.
Crowell’s well-researched and detailed account of a real crime is filled with mystery and suspense. In this fictional story, he sets out to find out who killed eleven-year-old Trudie Brice twenty years earlier in Penn County, Indiana. Young Trudie was found strangled to death in her home two weeks before Christmas. Crowell sets out on a two-year investigation to find the killer, and attempts to obtain a confession from a man he considers a suspect in this cold case murder investigation.
Dean, J. (1966). The Indiana torture slaying. New York, NY: Bee-Line Books.
Reporter John Dean presents a glaring and riveting fact-based narrative of the horrific torture and murder of sixteen year-old Sylvia Likens in 1965. This book begins with the discovery of her lifeless body, the events leading up to her death, and the preceding court cases for each of the accused.
Dean, J. (2008). House of evil: The Indiana torture slaying. New York, NY: St. Martin’s Press.
In this dark and gripping fast paced true crime story, reporter John Dean provides chilling details of the horrific torture and murder of Sylvia Likens proceeded by in-depth details of the resulting court case. This book contains more narrative than Dean’s other book on the same crime.
Faulconer, T. (2002). In the eyes of the law: The true story of love, betrayal, murder, fame, and justice in 1950’s America. United States: 1st Books Library.
Forrest Teel seemed to have it all with a good job as corporate vice-president and head of the international division at Eli Lilly in 1958. That was until he was found murdered, and his long-time mistress was later arrested for the crime. In this measured paced book, Faulconer combines case facts, history, and narrative for an engaging read.
A history of violence [DVD]. (2006).
Released in 2005, this American crime thriller is action-packed, suspenseful, and full of mystery. In this adaptation of the 1997 graphic novel, Tom Stall played by Viggo Mortensen is thrust into the spotlight and hailed as a hero after stopping a violent attempted robbery at his diner in Millbrook, Indiana. However, his own criminal past comes back to haunt him and spurs more violence, which strains his relationship with his family.
Jones, A. (1994). Cruel sacrifice. New York, NY: Pinnacle Books.
A combination of love, jealousy, child abuse, and lesbianism among a group of teenage girls has fatal consequences. This fast-paced story intertwines fact and narrative to retell the story of the horrific murder of twelve year-old Shanda Sharer, in the small town of Madison, Indiana. This book, unlike Michael Quinlan’s Little Lost Angel, focuses more on the lives of the four young girls convicted of killing Shanda and other background details leading up to the crime.
Lutholtz, M. W. (1991). Grand dragon: D.C.Stephenson and the Ku Klux Klan in Indiana. West Lafayette, IN: Purdue University Press.
A biography detailing the career and political power of D.C. Stephenson as Grand Dragon of the Klan in Indiana in the 1920s, and his ultimate conviction for second-degree murder. This book also provides a good sense of place and time, detailing the environment in Indiana in the 1920s. In addition, some history about the Ku Klux Klan is explored.
Millett, K. (1979). The basement: Meditations on a human sacrifice. New York, NY: Simon and Schuster.
Millet’s book provides a detailed and graphic narrative about the mutilation and torture of sixteen-year-old Sylvia Likens by Gertrude Baniszewski in 1965. Sylvia and her sister Jenny were left in the care of Baniszewski and her family while their parents worked at different carnivals across the Midwest. Gertrude and some of her children as well as two neighborhood boys, imprisoned, starved, and tortured Silvia to death.
Murphy, D. T. (2010). Murder in their hearts: The Fall Creek massacre. Indianapolis, IN: Indiana Historical Society Press.
In this measured paced read, the author presents a historical, detailed, and heavily fact-based account of the murder of nine Indians along a tributary of Fall Creek. This was the first time under American law that a group of white settlers were sentenced to death and executed for the murder of Native Americans.
O’Haver, T. (Director). (2008). An American crime [DVD].
In this fast-paced and engaging movie, Academy Award nominee Catherine Keener, James Franco, and Bradley Whitford act out the real-life torture and murder of sixteen-year-old Sylvia Likens. Released in 2007, this is a dark and disturbing graphic depiction of the events surrounding one of the worst cases of torture and murder in Indianapolis history.
Quinlan, M. (1995). Little lost angel. New York, NY: Pocket Books.
In this engaging and suspenseful true crime narrative about the brutal murder of twelve-year-old Shanda Sharer, Quinlan focuses on the victim and the investigation of the case. Shanda Sharer was killed less than a year after starting a new school. The author also presents the social and psychological aspects of teenage violence, in conjunction with a detailed description of the brutally violent acts carried out by four teenage girls against the victim.
Roegner, A., & Wooldridge, A. (2010). Eight days in darkness: The true story of the abduction, rape, and rescue of Anita Wooldridge. Austin, TX: Synergy Books.
This dark narrative recounts the eight days of abuse, rape, and torture suffered by Anita Wooldridge following her kidnapping by a convicted rapist. Retold by the victim herself with the help of her counselor, this book presents a deeply personal and emotional re-telling of the abuse she suffered and of the capture and conviction of her abductor.
Schechter, H. (2008). True crime: An American anthology. New York, NY: Library of America.
An exploration of the true crime genre, this book offers an overview of authors in this genre and the many ways in which crime has been written about. This includes accounts of some of the most infamous crimes, such as that of serial killer Belle Gunness, who had many victims in Indiana. Additionally, it presents some of the best literary writing from authors like Nathaniel Hawthorne, Mark Twain, Truman Capote, and Ann Rule.
Sissom, C. (2010). Who murdered Chynna?!: The search for Chynna Dickus’ murderer. Indianapolis, IN: Carol’s Adventures.
This book is the first in a series about the violent murder of a twenty-six- year-old woman and her ten- year-old stepson in Franklin, Indiana in July 2006. The case remains unsolved, but author and private-investigator Carol Sissom has set out on a journey to discover what happened leading up to this brutal murder.
Sissom, C. (2011). Who murdered Chynna? II: A journalist tracks clues the killer left behind. Indianapolis, IN: Carol’s Adventures.
This is the second book in a series written about the unsolved case of the brutal stabbing deaths of a twenty-six-year-old woman and her ten-year-old stepson in a quiet subdivision in Franklin, Indiana. In this book, journalist Carol Sissom tracks down clues that may lead to the killer.
Stoner, A. E. (2007). Notorious 92: Indiana’s most heinous murders in all 92 counties. Bloomington, IN: Kevin King, Rooftop Publishing.
Notorious 92 presents brief overviews of the most notorious and horrid murders in all 92 counties in Indiana. One case from each county is presented, and the author relies heavily on the facts surrounding each case in recounting these horrific crimes.