3 Spooky Nonfiction Books for Halloween

With Halloween fast approaching, we're recommending a few delightfully frightening nonfiction reads that prove that reality is sometimes scarier than fiction.

All the Living and the Dead by Hayley Campbell

Fueled by a childhood fascination with death, journalist Hayley Campbell searches for answers in the people who make a living by working with the dead. Along the way, she encounters mass fatality investigators, embalmers, gravediggers, a former executioner, and more. Through Campbell’s incisive and candid interviews with these people who see death every day, she asks: Why would someone choose this kind of life? Does it change you as a person? And are we missing something vital by letting death remain hidden? A dazzling work of cultural criticism, All the Living and the Dead weaves together reportage with memoir, history, and philosophy, to offer readers a fascinating look into the psychology of Western death.

American Demon by Daniel Stashower

Chances are you’re probably familiar with Eliot Ness through Brian De Palma’s classic film, The Untouchables. But taking down Al Capone was hardly the end of Ness’ career. After he worked diligently to bust Chicago’s notorious gangster during the Prohibition era, Ness moved on to Cleveland, where he was named Director of Public Safety, and where an even more sinister criminal was afoot. Earning several monikers, including “The Mad Butcher of Kingsbury Run,” this Cleveland killer was best known for gruesomely dismembering his victims. Cleveland was a city gripped in terror as the sadistic serial killer claimed more than a dozen victims in a spree that spanned several years. Ness had been a key player in taking down one famed criminal already, but the case to take down The Mad Butcher would truly test his cunning and determination. American Demon by Award-winning author Daniel Stashower shines a fresh light on this puzzling case about a disturbed mastermind killer and the legendary lawman who worked to expose him.


Nothing But the Night by Penny Wilson and Greg King

Nothing but the Night by Greg King and Penny Wilson is a riveting new exploration of the murder trial of Leopold & Loeb. In Jazz Age Chicago, a uniquely shocking murder occurred: Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb—two well-to-do Jewish scions, full of promise—had killed fourteen-year-old Bobby Franks for the thrill of it. As shocking as the murder itself was, the trial proved just as newsworthy. There was the revelation that the defendants had been involved in a love affair. Then, famed defense attorney Clarence Darrow, delivered a speech in defense of Leopold and Loeb to save them from the death penalty. Loeb has always been portrayed as the mastermind and Leopold as his obsequious followers, but using twenty-first century investigative tools, forensics, and a modern understanding psychology, Greg King and Penny Wilson turn history on its head. Nothing but the Night reveals a tale of passion, obsession, and betrayal more horrifying than history ever imagined.

View this list on BookShop.org!


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