Browse a bookstore and you will find a healthy shelf labeled "Crime." Beside it may be a smaller, seedier shelf labeled "True Crime." The first is popular crime fiction, the second crime fact. Fictional crime has taken over, writes Mark Seltzer, and the confusion of reality and event has saturated-and even defined-contemporary American culture.
In his widely read Serial Killers, American studies scholar Mark Seltzer analyzed the American obsession with violent accident-vehicular homicide, serial murders, and other spectacularly awful events. True Crime carries the argument of Serial Killers into a broader arena. Using crime as his canvas, Mark Seltzer offers a dazzling analysis of how our cultural fantasies, fears, and desires have blurred the distinction between fiction and real event. As victims of the "CSI-effect," he argues, we've come to see the world as the scene of a crime.
From Edgar Allan Poe's detective stories up to Patricia Highsmith's ambiguous Ripley and the rash of reality TV shows, True Crime is an unblinking look at the thriving "murder leisure industry." It is essential reading for anyone seeking to understand why culture is increasingly defined by and addicted to violence.