Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Salt of the Earth by Jack Olsen

Released: May 1996

Salt of the Earth is just one of Jack Olsen's many true crime books, and an excellent one at that! Salt of the Earth is a perfect qualifier for the category well-known in the reading world as "Nonfiction That Reads Like a Novel", because it definitely does!

Salt of the Earth is a true story about the disappearance of a 12-year-old girl named Brenda Gere, and the effect it has on her family, especially her mother, Elaine.

From the time Brenda went missing, authorities believed that she was abducted by Michael Kay Green, a local steroid abuser. However, the justice system failed to prove at the time that Green was involved with Brenda's disappearance.

In most true crime books, authors open the first chapter with the gritty details of the crime in its entirety before segueing into the backgrounds of the victims and their offenders. However, in Salt of the Earth, Olsen provides readers with explicit backgrounds on the families and perpetrator before moving onto the crime itself, a method that will hook readers from the start. When we finally arrive at the day of the crime, Olsen's buildup and crescendo explodes into a fine mess - by true crime standards, anyway.

By the time we actually read about Brenda's disappearance, you'll feel as if you know the family quite intimately, and you'll probably be emotionally attached to the story. Salt of the Earth is well-written and easy to follow, lacking any boring slumps that I've grown to detest in some true crime novels.

When Elaine finally learns what had happened to her daughter Brenda, you'll feel relieved and happy for her. Like I said earlier - Salt of the Earth is nonfiction that reads like a novel!

Other true crime books written by Jack Olsen include The Happy Face Killer, I: The Creation of a Serial Killer, Charmer: The True Story of a Ladies' Man and his Victims, and Predator: Rape, Madness, and Injustice in Seattle.

Click on any of the images of the books below to review them in more detail at Amazon.com.

What are your favorite true crime books? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below!

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