Book Reviews

True Crime Historian Interviews Author Brian Forschner

Podcasts are a great way to broadcast an interview and Richard O’Jones from True Crime Historian has done just that.  He recently met with true crime author Brian Forschner, author of Cold Serial: The Jack the Strangler Murders (read my review here). The result of their lunch meeting is an engaging true crime author interview, giving us an inside look at the research and back story to Cold Serial.

A fascinating book tracing the story of five young women who were murdered in 1900’s Dayton, Ohio. Through his research, Brian Forschner makes a connection to a brutal killer who was most likely responsible for all five murders. What makes this book all the more alluring is the fact that the fourth victim was Brian Forschner’s great-aunt.  A murder that took place way back in his family history which no one spoke about. When he did discover this tragic event he found himself on a journey to bring these girls, their lives and their tragic deaths to life and to unmask an unknown serial killer of 100 years ago.

True Crime Historian is a treasure trove of historical crime with story after story of scandals and scoundrels which took place in times most have forgotten. Richard O’Jones is a master story-teller who uses original newspaper articles and documentation from each crime he explores. He has been able to bring these into modern times through his website, his enthralling true crime podcasts and his own authored true crime books.

In this interview we hear how Brian Forschner discovered missing items from his aunts murder and found other murders had similar traits. Suggestive of a trophy taker killer, the modus operandi of these murders started to match up.

Listen to the interview here…

An article mentioning an unrelated case and the man responsible prompted the discovery that one man could be placed at all the crime scenes and his criminal history against women was a striking fit to the unsolved murders.

This podcast gives an enlightening insight from the author himself about the culture and attitudes in the city of Dayton, Ohio in the 1900’s.  Brian’s Cold Serial website provides much of his findings through photos and newspaper articles giving more of the background to the story and a look at Brian’s fascinating research.

Crimes of the past are often forgotten.  They slide back into history and only those directly involved maintain a memory of their tragic events. We can learn a great deal from history and the area of true crime is no different.

The crimes that took place and the police investigations into them can give us a fascinating glimpse of how different things were back then. The challenges faced by communities and police forces and how criminal investigations and crimes themselves have evolved through the years. There are some fantastic true crime podcasts out there, many of which come from True Crime Historian who tells some wonderful tales of America’s past through the newspapers and media printed at that time.

Sword & Scale is another true crime podcast deserving of a mention and of course the Serial podcasts which have gripped the nation.

While podcasts may be a very modern concept, utilizing the technology we now have available at our fingertips, they have provided an unique and engaging method of telling true crime and of course, discussions of interesting cases and new findings between historians and authors alike. The telling of true crime is evolving and I for one think this is a great thing.

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