12 Shocking True Crime Murder Cases True Crime Anthology Vol. 3 by Jack Rosewood presents itself just as the title indicates. Because I had earlier read and reviewed a previous Rosewood publication, Patrick Kearney Serial Killer, I was interested in comparing this work with his earlier work. I received both books through the Library Thing Member Giveaway Program in return for an honest review. In my earlier honest review, I was unimpressed to the point of negativity with Patrick Kearney. I thought the content lacked depth and the organization of the work was difficult for the reader to follow events. In this book, however, I found the organization much better and the content, while still shallow, was improved to the point that I would recommend it to my students studying English as a Foreign and Second Language. My students are in university. I would not recommend this at high school level for two reasons.
First, as the title promises, the murder cases can be considered too shocking for much of a high school audience. The language used to describe the cases is not unnecessarily graphic in either a violent or sexual sense; I felt the writer to be quite responsible in vocabulary selection. At the same time, the level of language is not academic nor is it street level vernacular. There is nothing so culturally specific that would make the book unintelligible to readers in Asia, where I teach. The acceptance of murder and violence may be different for other than western cultures, but the language employed does not provide additional obstacles to understanding.
At the same time (the second point) Rosewood uses language in a way that introduces another problem, one that I would point out to my students. Throughout the book, Rosewood injects generalities as if they were commonly held beliefs or even facts. I offer a few here as examples with commentary. My comments appear in italics.
“A mass shooting is one of the easiest terrorist attacks to plan and execute.” (loc 1271-1272)
This kind of statement begs for reference to authority. Is the author such an authority? If so, what amount of experience and education leads to such an expert opinion?
“The twelve cases profiled in this book prove that extreme acts of violence can happen anywhere, anytime, and to anyone.” (loc 1334-1335)
Not really. “Prove” is a very strong word. Twelve cases is not a large sample. The last five words are “throwaway” words. This is the kind of stuff that makes the fearful stay home. As of this writing, this is the language of Donald Trump.
“Keep your head up and your eyes and ears open at all times!” (loc 1342)
This is the last line of the book. I do not consider it a spoiler. It is one of those lines that would make me groan except I was reading it in a crowded room and I would probably have been stared at. There are several such homilies and observations on humankind in general throughout the book.
Still, as an introduction to such a horrible but fascinating topic, the book has value. Most of the value I see in it is its simplicity in language use.