Masters of True Crime: Chilling Stories of Murder and the Macabre edited by R. Barri Flowers

Publication Date:
July 2012
Prometheus Books

Reviewed by:
On August 22, 2012
Last modified:September 9, 2012


Seventeen short and sweet stories of deviants from around the world.

Masters of True Crime edited by R. Barri Flowers
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While I much enjoy solo true crime books, every now and then I prefer a collection of short stories. Sometimes I just want the condensed version, know what I mean?

And true crime author R. Barri Flowers has provided just that in the July 2012 release of Masters of True Crime.

This book contains seventeen true crime short stories from some of the best authors of the genre. Stories and their authors include:

Terror In East Lansing: The Michigan State University Serial Killer by R. Barri Flowers: Donald Gene Miller seemed like any other MSU student…until his ex-girlfriend disappeared and two other women were brutally murder.

Twisted Firestarter by Carol Anne Davis: Peter Dinsdale may have been handicapped but he didn’t let his disability slow him down when it came to murder – many, many murders.

Beauty Slain In Bath: The Titterton Tragedy of 1936 by Harold Schechter: Nancy Titterton was a young aspiring writer when she caught the eye of sexual deviant John Fiorenza.

The Evil At The Angel In by Linda Rosencrance: A three-way love affair turns deadly when Peter Wlasiuk decides life would be better, and his debts less, without his wife.

Nightmare on Spanish Creek by Robert Scott: A 1981 mass slaying of the Sharp family becomes known as the cold case of The Keddie Cabin Murders.

The Grim Keeper by Kathrine Ramsland: A superstitious woman takes her voo-doo to the extreme when she kills three friends and bakes their blood into pies and serves them to others.

The Alaska Mail-Bomb Conspiracy by Burl Barer: A couple of killers in prison want revenge, so one of them recruits his psychotic and pregnant sister to send a bomb through the mail.

The Trophy Wife by Camille Kimball: Jamie Laiaddee was successful and looking for love. She found it in a man who called himself Bryan Stuart. Sadly, things aren’t always what they seem.

The Darkest Hour: Teenagers Who Kill for Love by Amanda Lamb: Friendship and romance turn to jealousy and violence in a secluded mobile home in New Hill, North Carolina, and leaves one teen dead and four others in prison.

Invitation to Murder: The Brutal Murder of Arizona Heiress Jeanne Tovrea by Ronald J. Watkins: Her stepchildren called Jeanne Tovrea a gold digger, yet one of them orchestrated her murder for money.

The World’s Worst Woman by Laura James: I think the author best describes it when she says, “If a woman’s wickedness were measured by her social standing, the number of her victims, and the strength and longevity of her infamy, one fatal beauty would emerge as the worst femme fatale in all the recorded annals of the wickedness of womankind: Countess Marie Nicolaevna O’Rourke Tarnovska.”

Escape from Fort Pillow by Douglas E. Jones: The name implies softness and it couldn’t be more correct, which is how two maximum security inmates to escape and shed the blood of innocents.

Matchbook by Michele McPhee: A former champion boxer goes undercover to expose the sports’ dirty deeds and winds up being a patsy when things go wrong – or so he says.

Murder on Minor Avenue by Lee Lofland: In 1975, James Ruppert murdered his mother, brother, sister-in-law, and his eight nieces and nephews. Twenty years later, just across the street, Tina Mott suffered the same fate when she tried to leave her lazy, drug-addicted boyfriend.

Lost Innocence: The Murder of a Girl Scout by Phyllis Gobbell: Marcia Trimble set out to deliver Girl Scout cookies in her Nashville neighborhood and no one ever saw her alive again. It would take more than a quarter of a century for her killer to finally be brought to justice.

Herbert Blitzstein and The Mickey Mouse Mafia by Cathy Scott: Fat Herbie was a well-known mobster but when he’s murdered in what first appears to be a “gangland execution,” the real reason for his murder turns out to be something altogether twisted and finds this case being officially unsolved.

Deadly Union by Patricia Springer: Denton, Texas, police officer Bobby Lozano saw himself as a ladies man. When the serial adulterer decides to ditch his wife for one of his gals, divorce isn’t the option he has in mind.

Readers of Masters of True Crime will find it well-written and organized with just enough detail to keep you interested, yet minimal enough to keep it light during those times when “just the facts” are all you need.

P.S. Katherine Ramsland does a fantastic job of summing up the attraction of true crime in her Foreward. Thumbs up, Katherine, for putting into words what can be so difficult to explain!

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2 Responses to “Masters of True Crime: Chilling Stories of Murder and the Macabre edited by R. Barri Flowers”

  1. So glad you enjoyed it. I agree with you that sometimes you just want to finish the story in one bite-size sitting and that’s why I love anthologies. My story is #8, “The Trophy Wife.” Since the book went to press, there have been major developments in the case. The update, including photos, is posted at Just clicking on my name above will take you to the right post.

    I have enjoyed all the stories in this collection myself. What a wide variety of cases!

    • Kim Cantrell says:

      Thanks for the link to the updates! The Trophy Wife was really good and I wanted to know more about “Bryan Stuart.”

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