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Ann’s Staff Picks from the Scranton Public Library

Staff from the Scranton Public Library love to read a wide variety of books. From best sellers to award winning novels, each staff member has a unique to read pile and we are happy to share their picks for 2019.  We hope that you discover a new favorite author!

Ann’s Top 5 Books of 2019

American Predator: The Hunt for the Most meticulous Serial Killer of the 21st Century by Maureen Callahan

“Israel Keys was a predator who struck all over the United States. He buried “kill kits”– cash, weapons, and body-disposal tools– in remote locations across the country and over the course of fourteen years would fly to a city, rent a car, and drive thousands of miles in order to use his kits. He would break into a stranger’s house, abduct his victims in broad daylight, and kill and dispose of them in mere hours. And then he would return home, resuming life as a quiet, reliable construction worker devoted to his only daughter. Callahan examines the chilling, nightmarish mind of a relentless killer– and the limitations of traditional law enforcement.”

The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware

“When Rowan Caine stumbles across the ad, she’s looking for something else completely. But it seems like too good an opportunity to miss–a live-in nannying post, with a staggeringly generous salary. And when she arrives at Heatherbrae House, she is smitten–by the luxurious “smart” home fitted out with all modern conveniences, by the beautiful Scottish Highlands, and by this picture-perfect family. What she doesn’t know is that she’s stepping into a nightmare–one that will end with a child dead and herself in prison awaiting trial for murder. Writing to her lawyer from prison, she struggles to explain the unravelling events that led to her incarceration. It wasn’t just the constant surveillance from the cameras installed around the house, or the malfunctioning technology that woke the household with booming music, or turned the lights off at the worst possible time. It wasn’t just the girls, who turned out to be a far cry from the immaculately behaved model children she met at her interview. It wasn’t even the way she was left alone for weeks at a time, with no adults around apart from the enigmatic handyman, Jack Grant. It was everything. She knows she’s made mistakes. She admits that she lied to obtain the post, and that her behavior toward the children wasn’t always ideal. She’s not innocent, by any means. But, she maintains, she’s not guilty–at least not of murder. Which means someone else is. Full of spellbinding menace and told in Ruth Ware’s signature suspenseful style, The Turn of the Key is an unputdownable thriller from the Agatha Christie of our time.”

The Family Next Door: The heartbreaking imprisonment of the thirteen Turpin Siblings and their extraordinary rescue by John Glatt

“From New York Times bestselling true crime author John Glatt comes the devastating story of the Turpins: a seemingly normal family whose dark secrets would shock and captivate the world.On January 14, 2018, a seventeen-year-old girl climbed out of the window of her Perris, California home and dialed 911 on a borrowed cell phone. Struggling to stay calm, she told the operator that she and her 12 siblings―ranging in age from 2 to 29―were being abused by their parents. When the dispatcher asked for her address, the girl hesitated. “I’ve never been out,” she stammered. To their family, neighbors, and online friends, Louise and David Turpin presented a picture of domestic bliss: dressing their thirteen children in matching outfits and buying them expensive gifts. But what police discovered when they entered the Turpin family home would eclipse the most shocking child abuse cases in history. For years, David and Louise had kept their children in increasing isolation, trapping them in a sinister world of torture, fear, and near starvation. In the first major account of the case, investigative journalist John Glatt delves into the disturbing details and recounts the bravery of the thirteen siblings in the face of unimaginable horror.”

The Plaza: The Secret Life of America’s Most Famous Hotel by Julie Satow

“The Plaza is the account of one vaunted New York City address that has become synonymous with wealth and scandal, opportunity and tragedy. With glamour on the surface and strife behind the scenes, it is the story of how one hotel became a mirror reflecting New York’s place at the center of the country’s cultural narrative for over a century.”

The Killer Across the Table: Unlocking the Secrets of Serial Killers & Predators with FBI’s original mind hunter by John E. Douglas 

“The legendary FBI criminal profiler, number-one New York Times bestselling author, and inspiration for the hit Netflix show Mindhunter delves deep into the lives and crimes of four of the most disturbing and complex predatory killers, offering never-before-revealed details about his profiling process, and divulging the strategies used to crack some of America’s most challenging cases. The FBI’s pioneer of criminal profiling, former special agent John Douglas, has studied and interviewed many of America’s most notorious killers — including Charles Manson, “Son of Sam Killer” David Berkowitz and “BTK Strangler” Dennis Rader — trained FBI agents and investigators around and the world, and helped educate the country about these deadly predators and how they operate, and has become a legend in popular culture, fictionalized in The Silence of the Lambs and the hit television shows Criminal Minds and Mindhunter. Twenty years after his famous memoir, the man who literally wrote the book on FBI criminal profiling opens his case files once again. In this riveting work of true crime, he spotlights four of the most diabolical criminals he’s confronted, interviewed and learned from. Going deep into each man’s life and crimes, he outlines the factors that led them to murder and how he used his interrogation skills to expose their means, motives, and true evil. Like the hit Netflix show, The Killer Across the Table is centered around Douglas’ unique interrogation and profiling process. With his longtime collaborator Mark Olshaker, Douglas recounts the chilling encounters with these four killers as he experienced them — revealing for the first time his profile methods in detail. Going step by step through his interviews, Douglas explains how he connects each killer’s crimes to the specific conversation, and contrasts these encounters with those of other deadly criminals to show what he learns from each one. In the process, he returns to other famous cases, killers and interviews that have shaped his career, describing how the knowledge he gained from those exchanges helped prepare him for these. A glimpse into the mind of a man who has pierced the heart of human darkness, The Killer Across the Table unlocks the ultimate mystery of depravity and the techniques and approaches that have countered evil in the name of justice.”

– Ann – akovach@albright.org

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