If I had to trace my fascination with true crime stories, horror, science fiction, and thrillers back to the beginning, the start would be at the public library in Bristol, RI. My grandparents lived there, and growing up I stayed with them often in the summer with my two sisters.
One of the staples of those stays, among visits to Colt State Park and Newport Creamery, were trips to the library. My sisters and I would typically take out the maximum amount of books allowed, and spend the majority of our time reading. By the time I was in 5th grade, we had exhausted all the options for our age group and graduated from the children’s section in the basement to the adult section on the first floor.
This is where I discovered my first true crime novel. I can’t remember the title now, but it was centered around a local newscaster who was stalked and eventually killed by a jealous husband. I was fascinated. I wasn’t allowed to watch any TV or movies with even a hit of violence at home, and the library suddenly became a kind of loophole for those rules. I started reading all sorts of crime related fiction and non fiction, Mary Higgins Clark mysteries, Tom Clancy thrillers, Steven King, Thomas Harris, Michael Crichton, the list went on and on.
If your wondering whether or not my grandparents approved of the subject matter, I think they were mainly glad we had something to keep us busy, and rarely took note of what books we checked out. My grandmother was a feisty Italian who loved reading about the Italian mafia. By the time I was in high school, she was loaning me her mob themed novels and nonfiction.