Written in Blood: Karin Slaughter

I became a fan of author Karin Slaughter when I was a judge for the Crime Writers’ Association Ian Fleming Steel Dagger Award a couple of years ago.

This is for the year’s best thriller and her entry in 2015 was Cop Town. The story is set in Atlanta in 1974, a time when the police force is segregated on racial and gender lines.

Karin Slaughter appearing on Written in Blood

I was one of the judges who loved the book and was delighted when it was chosen as the winner.

Written in Blood

When I saw that Karin Slaughter was to be featured on CBS Reality’s Written in Blood series, I dropped everything to watch a preview.

The premise for Written in Blood is a clever one. Crime writer Simon Toyne meets six  renowned fellow authors to discuss the influence of true-crime cases on their books.

Karin and Simon Toyne

In this episode, Simon travels to Karin’s home city of Atlanta, Georgia. The case she discuses is that of a vicious travelling spree killer called Paul John Knowles, known rather luridly as the Casanova Killer.

What influenced Karin Slaughter

He was certainly no romantic figure. He was a kidnapper, rapist and murderer. His violent moves between states made him hard to catch for law enforcement agencies back in the 1970s.

Karin, who’s sold something like 35million books, talks about his hatred of women and how the case made an impact on her.

Karin Slaughter’s home city of Atlanta

Though I found the pace of the episode a little plodding in places, it’s certainly an interesting snapshot of a superb author. It goes out next Tuesday, 13 November, on CBS Reality at 10pm.

Other writers featured in the series include Peter Robinson and Tess Gerritson.

By the way, Cop Town is a fascinating period thriller. It follows two young women who join Atlanta’s police force at a time when it has just started to accept women officers in numbers. Ostracised by the men, Kate and Maggie struggle to fit in, while a cop killer stalks the streets. It evokes a time and place I knew little about, and it’s a gripper.

Dark Son promo

Harold Jones at the time of his trial and imprisonment

An industry promo for Dark Son: The Hunt for a Serial Killer is doing the rounds.

It’s a good insight into the forthcoming BBC documentary. This will be a fascinating investigation into Harold Jones’s child murders in Wales in 1921 and his potential links to the unsolved 1960s Nude Murders in west London.

As the author of The Hunt for the 60s’ Ripper, which deals with the case, I have been involved with the filming. I was struck by the new leads and witnesses the producers have uncovered.

Who was Jack the Stripper?

The west London Jack the Stripper killings, as they became known, taunt us today. Between 1964 and 1965 someone murdered six women and left their naked bodies at various locations in the capital.

Because the victims were sex workers, the crimes faded from the headlines after the last murder, that of Bridie O’Hara, in February 1965. However, at the time it was Scotland Yard’s biggest ever investigation.

Suspects included a disgraced detective, underworld figures and almost anyone reported to favour unorthodox sexual practices. Police never charged anyone for the killings.

Criminology and law-enforcement experts

Neil Milkins was the first writer to cite Harold Jones as a suspect. Jones murdered two little girls – Freda Burnell and Florence Little – in Abertillery in 1921. I discovered when writing The Hunt for the 60s’ Ripper that Jones was later living in an area of Hammersmith that would have been of major interest to detectives had they had modern-day profiling techniques available to them.

The makers of Dark Son approached the possibility of Jones’s involvement with an open mind. Enlisting criminology and law-enforcement experts, they have delved into this mystery and made some powerful connections.

Several writers have convictions that they know who did it – some of which are ludicrous. Dark Son will definitely add a wealth of new insights into these infamous crimes.

This post first appeared on robinjarossi.com

Voice of a Killer Special

David Wilson presents Voice of a Killer Special

Welcome to the new home of this blog, covering true-crime writing, books and other subjects.

I moved it on Guy Fawkes day in the hope that it would arrive with a small bang at least – which is this trailer. It highlights a new series I took part in call Voice of a Killer Special on CBSReality.

It is a fascinating look at killers under the pressure of police interrogation. I have a cameo at the end of the trailer, and did a little filming with the production team in Wales during the summer.

The first killer covered, on Tuesday November 27 at 10pm, is Colonel William Russell of the Royal Canadian Air Force. The series is presented by Britain’s leading criminologist Professor David Wilson, looking pretty stern here but he’s friendly and approachable in real life.

More to come on this series soon…