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Featured Reads

True Crime Stories

If you're looking for a gripping non-fiction read true crime is a great place to start.

True crime titles cover a variety of topics including, murder, espionage, cartels, fraud and stories from the police forces.

We've listed a few true crime options below to help you get started, be sure to pop in to Marlborough District Library (Blenheim) to see our display space with lots of titles on the topic.

Just Mercy: a story of justice and redemption by Bryan Stevenson 345.73STE

The founder of the Equal Justice Initiative in Montgomery, Alabama recounts his experiences as a lawyer working to assist those desperately in need, reflecting on his pursuit of the ideal of compassion in American justice.

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Peaky Blinders: the real story: the true history of Birmingham's most notorious gangs by Charl Chinn 364.1066CHI

In the backstreets of Birmingham after the First World War, Billy Kimber was a feared fighter with an astute mind and magnetic personality. These attributes earned him the leadership of the Birmingham Gang that dominated the highly profitable protection rackets of the racecourses of England. The members of this gang had once been "sloggers" or "peaky blinders", and their rise to supremacy was attributable to their viciousness and to Kimber's shrewd alliances with other mobs. But they soon incurred the envy of the Sabini Gang of London, who fought violently to oust Kimber and his men and take over their rackets. The Birmingham Gang battled back fiercely in the infamous and bloodstained racecourse wars of the 1920s. These were the real Peaky Blinders, and this is their story.

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Permanent Record by Edward J Snowden 327.1273SNO

Edward Snowden, the man who risked everything to expose the US government's system of mass surveillance, reveals for the first time the story of his life, including how he helped to build that system and what motivated him to try to bring it down. In 2013, twenty-nine-year-old Edward Snowden shocked the world when he broke with the American intelligence establishment and revealed that the United States government was secretly pursuing the means to collect every single phone call, text message, and email. The result would be an unprecedented system of mass surveillance with the ability to pry into the private lives of every person on earth. Six years later, Snowden reveals for the very first time how he helped to build this system and why he was moved to expose it. Spanning the bucolic Beltway suburbs of his childhood and the clandestine CIA and NSA postings of his adulthood, Permanent Record is the extraordinary account of a bright young man who grew up online - a man who became a spy, a whistleblower, and, in exile, the Internet's conscience.

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The Scene of the Crime by Steve Braunias 364.15BRA

Twelve extraordinary tales of crime and punishment: a collection of true crime writing by New Zealand's award-winning master of non-fiction. A court is a chamber of questions. Who, when, why, what happened and exactly how - these are issues of psychology and the soul, they're general to the human condition, with its infinite capacity to cause pain. The brutal murder of a wife and daughter. A methamphetamine ring, a snitch and a hooker. The hit-and-run banker. The top cops and the historic rape allegations. The Peter Falconio mystery. Rolf Harris. In the hands of award-winning journalist and author Steve Braunias these and other extraordinary cases become more than just courtroom dramas and sensational headlines - though they are certainly that, too. They become a window into another world - the one where things go badly wrong, where once invisible lives become horrifyingly visible, where the strangeness just beneath the surface is revealed. Acutely observed, unflinchingly reported and brilliantly written, this collection from the courts and criminal files of the recent past depicts a place we rarely enter, but which exists all around us nonetheless.

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Ten Feet Tall and Not Quite Bulletproof: drug busts and helicopter rescues: one cop's extraordinary true story by Cameron Hardiman 92HAR

Cameron Hardiman lived a life most young boys could only dream of. Every morning he put on a navy blue police flight suit, grabbed his flight helmet, and prepared to work on the police helicopter. He could be called to anything during a shift, to search for a missing child, to pull an injured driver from a wrecked car, or a dangerous sea rescue. He saw his fair share of trauma and dealt with it like most coppers would: he quickly put each dangerous job out of his mind as soon as it was over. But one particular rescue job in Bass Strait brought about a reckoning - and Cameron was never the same again. This is the brilliantly told, white-knuckle story of one cop learning every lesson the hard way - and coming to find out that being not quite bulletproof doesn't mean that you're not a good cop.

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Behind the Tape: life on the police frontline by Lance Burdett 363.2BUR

New Zealand's top police crisis negotiator reveals the everyday drama of being a cop: the lives saved, the lives lost, and the extreme pressure to perform in tough and confronting circumstances. Lance Burdett was in the police force for 22 years, in a variety of high-level roles: head of the negotiation team; running the 111 call centre; intelligence management; protection squad; and emergency responders. He worked on some of New Zealand's best-known cases, such as the Jan Molenaar case, where Lance was flown in to head the negotiation team, and the George Baker prison hostage negotiation with the man who murdered Liam Ashley. His daily police life included frequent suicide interventions in high-profile cases, which were common call-outs for the negotiation team. Lance talks about the different negotiation styles and challenges these cases demanded. He was involved in Australia/New Zealand anti-terrorism training, and played the role of terrorist over several days on-site. His story shows how quickly you can become indoctrinated and 'hate' your 'enemies'. Lance also underwent FBI training in Washington where he found that New Zealand's negotiation skills held up well. Behind the Tape tells what it's really like to be a cop: the fear, the excitement, the stress, the everyday drama, the skills developed, the lives saved, the lives lost.

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