Tuesday, July 9, 2013
*The Killing of Emma Gross, by Damien Seaman
Five Leaves Crime, 2013
I'm always amazed when I find a first novel this well written. The Killing of Emma Gross is based around the real-life case of Peter Kürten, the so-called "vampire of Düsseldorf" or "monster of Düsseldorf," a serial killer who plied his trade during the days of Germany's Weimar Republic (1919-1933). The author is quick to point out that the "vampire" label didn't actually originate at the time, but Kürten's crimes were definitely beyond heinous, as he brutally preyed on women and young girls. While those crimes and the "monster" who committed them are definitely a focus in this novel, the book examines a detective's quest to solve another murder, that of a young prostitute named Emma Gross, also a real victim, but not one of Kürten's. He claimed her as one of his, but it was a false confession. Beware: there is absolutely, I repeat, absolutely no light in this novel, but it is definitely a story worth looking into. You can read about it here on my crime page -- this one I recommend for readers of really dark & edgy crime.