Like The Wire, set on Cass
April 6, 2010 10:38 PM   Subscribe

True crime in Detroit or Southeast Michigan? Or great crime fiction set there (preferably based on real events)?

I've read about the Nurse Murders—I'd like more true crime, especially anything similar to David Simon's Homicide, set in Detroit. Or around Detroit. Ypsilanti, Ann Arbor, even Adrian or Birmingham, all fine.

Also curious about other noir or crime writing set in Detroit. What do you recommend? Or any fantastic stories that I can access in newspaper archives through the internet?
posted by klangklangston to Media & Arts (14 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: Oh, and the more modern, the better. I don't need a huge archive of Purple Gang books.
posted by klangklangston at 10:40 PM on April 6, 2010

For fiction, Elmore Leonard's Detroit might be a good place to start.

Out of Sight
Mr Paradise
City Primeval
52 Pick Up
Unknown Man #89

... probably a few others.
posted by philip-random at 10:57 PM on April 6, 2010

I remember reading something about John Norman Collins, the guy who murdered a bunch of coeds in the late '60's; I think it was called The Michigan Murders or something equally prosaic. As philip-random mentions above, you can't go wrong with Elmore Leonard, who is pretty much the go-to guy for Michigan-related crime fiction. And is also acknowledged as being The Master Of The Slide Guitar, too.
posted by motown missile at 12:23 AM on April 7, 2010

Blood Justice, the true story of Northwest flight attendant Nancy Ludwig who was murdered at the Metro Airport Hilton.

Angel in the Snow is a fictionalized account of the Oakland County Child Murders.

Masquerade, the true story of Dr. Alan Canty, a successful psychologist who was leading a double life and ended up murdered in the Cass Corridor.
posted by Oriole Adams at 1:07 AM on April 7, 2010

The family was from Detroit but the crime was up north in When Evil Came to Good Hart. It's further away towards Lansing, but the Burning Bed is another I can think of.
posted by motsque at 4:02 AM on April 7, 2010

I'm not familiar with the nurse murders. Are you referring to the Michigan Murders?

That's the only story of this type that I'm really familiar with from SE Michigan, but I found it particularly gripping, because I was living in Ypsilanti at the time, not half a mile from them murderer's home.

That book is a great trashy read.
posted by orville sash at 4:10 AM on April 7, 2010

Mardi Link (author of _When Evil Came to Good Hart_) has a new true crime book out, _Isadore's Secret_, but it's set earlier (1907 or so) so maybe not as interesting to you as her earlier book.
posted by philokalia at 4:15 AM on April 7, 2010

Loren Estleman has a series of novels set in Detroit.
posted by maurice at 4:46 AM on April 7, 2010

Fiction, but I like Jon Jackson's Detroit books.
posted by box at 8:07 AM on April 7, 2010

Response by poster: Yeah, the nurse murders are the Michigan murders are the co-ed murders. The co-eds were primarily nursing school students. (It is wild that they only caught the guy because he repainted his uncle's basement).
posted by klangklangston at 8:56 AM on April 7, 2010

Yeah, I was coming in to recommend Masquerade, which is no work of art but fits your perimeters.
posted by Bookhouse at 9:56 AM on April 7, 2010

INTERNAL COMBUSTION: A Story of a Marriage and a Murder in the Motor City by Joyce Maynard. True crime, Detroit suburbs and Joyce Maynard. I don't need much more.
posted by still_wears_a_hat at 4:30 PM on April 7, 2010

So I asked my friend Ingrid, the true crime lit specialist in my life, what she would recommend. She immediately gimped over (she's laid up with a bad back right now) to her true crime shelves - which we have been ordered to empty should she ever be arrested for anything - and pulled out a book called The Red Parts by Maggie Nelson. Her aunt was presumed murdered by the Michigan Murders guy. Ing says I shouldn't say more, except that it's beautifully written.
posted by rtha at 8:35 PM on April 9, 2010

Per rtha's answer: The Red Parts, by Maggie Nelson.
posted by gingerbeer at 2:26 PM on April 10, 2010

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