9. Helter Skelter, by Vincent Bugliosi, with Curt Gentry. Wow. I know this is horribly cliche, but truth is stranger (and sometimes more frightening) than fiction. My thoughts as I was wrapping up this book (a 25th anniversary edition, with a followup addendum) is that if the Manson murders had never happened but someone had written this series of events as fiction, that author would get a terse note back from the publisher(s) telling said author to write something the readers would be able to believe. I really did not know much about the Manson murders before reading this; I knew Charles Manson orchestrated the murders of several people, including Sharon Tate, which his followers obeyed. I had no idea the scope of the murders, the number of confirmed murders and the number of suspected murders tied to Manson and his bizarre Family. And the reasoning behind the murders is just..."weird" doesn't do it justice.
Bugliosi, one of the prosecutors for the case (the lead prosecutor for much of it), details the goings on in the courtroom as well. I can only imagine how the antics of Manson and his Family would play out today's hyperconnected world. I also could't help but feel so sorry for the jury on this case, who had to endure seven months of testimony on both sides and nine months total on the case, most of it sequestered. The book itself, while a shade longer than 500 pages (that is the category I am using this book for in the Book Riot challenge), it reads fairly quickly. It is well-paced and while there is a good deal of detail in the court scenes, the story isn't bogged down. This is not an easy read, from an emotional level. The crimes committed and alleged are brutal and sadistic. I know I am going to need a light chaser following this.
Currently reading: Ukrainian Folk Tales, various authors.