If you loved The Best New True Crime Stories: Serial Killers you will not be disappointed by this new addition to the series edited by Mitzi Szereto. This new book, The Best New True Crime Stories: Small Towns, examines the evils lurking in the shadows of small towns that often think that there is nothing to fear. These non-fiction accounts by international writers and experts present the monsters that are right inside the comfort of small towns.
Acclaimed author and anthologist Szereto has brought together stories that span the globe with unsolved murders, kidnappers, shooting sprees, violent robberies, and other dark and terrible things that have occurred in small towns. Now for those coming to this review who don’t typically read, listen, or watch true crime related things this might seem like a strange thing to praise, but the diverse types of crimes lends something new to this type of anthology. True crime is often expected to be just murder, but it truly spans a variety of topics. These are all true stories told by people who are experts in their craft. They are sharing these stories with detail and connection that will allow readers who enjoy these topics to fully feel immersed in each of these frightening topics. What this book highlights is the fact that no matter where you think you are safe, danger can still appear.
Szereto’s own addition to the anthology, “I Kill for God” focuses on a very small town, Alger, Washington, so small it has only about 400 residents. What she discusses is the murder committed by Isaac Zamora in 2008 that seemed completely out of the norm for this town. She examines the timeline of his crime and what led him to the point where he seemed to snap. Alexandra Burt’s story, “Who Killed Gabriele Schmidt: The True Story and the Mystery Surrounding a Forgotten Murder” shifts readers to Germany. In June 1983 a three-year-old girl was murdered and it just so happened that Burt was close to the scene of the crime. She was seventeen at the time and she suddenly felt more vulnerable than she had before. As the explains what happened to Gabriele Schmidt, Burt then discusses her own experiences on that day and ties them into the timeline of the investigation. The case still remains unsolved and this specific crime has stuck with her to this day. To round out my highlights from the book, though all of these stories are very much worth reading, “The Doctor, the Dentist, and the Dairyman’s Daughter” by Paul Williams is a more historical case set in November 1883 with Emily Morgan and Mary Jane Hopkins. This story follows a doctor and the possibility of botched abortions taking place. As you read a larger story unfolds and even brings a brief tie-in to Jack the Ripper. You can find out how to pre-order this book on Mitzi Szereto’s official website.