So, I downloaded Ron Franscell's "Crime Buff's Guide to Outlaw Arizona" not too long ago. I was able to download it for free through Amazon Prime. Anybody else out there getting the free books to borrow from Amazon Prime? They have been hit or miss (mostly huge misses, to be honest). THIS was a hit though!
Ron has a certain boldness many other's who write about true crime do not have. He gives specific addresses and coordinates to sites he talks about! And, he does not subscribe to the "its too soon" way of thinking. He covers the old crimes, and the very recent ones.
I picked up a physical copy of "The Crime Buff's Guide to Outlaw Washington DC" after reading the book on Arizona. I enjoyed it just as much. I have a huge personal preference for actual books (paper, glue and cardboard) ESPECIALLY when it comes to a guide like this. I will be getting all of these guides and I want them all on my travel book shelf. I can quickly pick them up, make notes in them, put newspaper clippings inside of them, etc. I will take the book with me when I travel to that location, and it will become somewhat of a souvenir when I get back.
I think most of us are interested in visiting crime scenes, to be honest. There is something moving about visiting a place like Ford's Theater. In the introduction to the guide, Franscell mentions, "Being there is not just a good way to understand history, but in some places, it helps you grasp the desperation and the loneliness of the people who were there before you, especially in places where our imagination, myth, and history entangle. Places where the past exists just beneath the surface of the present."
The guides by Ron Franscell serve as a great intro to the strangeness that has occurred in an area. Even if you have no plans of visiting the specific sites, you might want to know just a little bit about the local legendary crimes. The Washington DC book gives a very nice, and very short section to the Lincoln Assassination, and the Watergate Scandal (among many other lesser known crimes).
This might be the brief bit of information a leisurely researcher might want, and it might be a nice starting point for someone just developing an interest in researching these events. Franscell also makes suggestions for further research and reading. I kept a pencil and paper handy as I read. Some places and events I wanted to look up at a different time.
This is easily my favorite newer series of books to come out in sometime. I hope Ron plans on covering more areas soon!