California’s Deadliest Women: Dangerous Dames and Murderous Moms
David Kulczyk has built a career on exploring the murderous, lunatic past of the Golden State, and this time around, he turns his spotlight on California’s surprisingly rich history of murderesses. California’s Deadliest Women recounts vile acts of murder: some justified, many unjustifiable. And amid the lurid mayhem, Kulczyk questions the circumstances behind previous state executions for women on death row, adding weight to a frothy brew of violence and sensationalism.
This is a tough book to review because the content is so interesting, but the presentation hinders not only the storytelling but your faith in the author as a source. A book in dire need of an editor, California’s Deadliest Women suffers from typos, misprints, and details that don’t gel (like a car that goes from red to silver without explanation or a man named Bob Cox who is later called William Cox, and neither of these are treated like deliberate evasions, so you’re left to conclude they’re mistakes).
And that sucks, because it hampers the valuable message here: the peculiar pettiness of these murders that makes them so appalling. These aren’t grand schemes worthy of true-crime immortality; they’re selfish, self-destructive acts.
Craven Street Books
David Kulczyk • Olaf Jens, Illustrator