Monday, August 17, 2009

Runaway Devil: How Forbidden Love Drove a 12-Year-Old to Murder Her Family by Robert Remington and Sherri Zickefoose

The only thing that prevents Runaway Devil (McClelland & Stewart) from becoming the sort of true crime schlock no one ever admits to reading is the expert journalistic handling of the material by Calgary journalists Remington and Zickefoose. But the subject matter itself? It’s awful.

In 2006, middleclass Alberta tween JR -- screen name Runaway Devil -- convinced her much older boyfriend to murder her parents and eight-year-old brother. Runaway Devil has it all: goth music, trailer parks, Internet subculture and good girls gone very, very bad.

Remington and Zickefoose professional distance works well here. Considering the subject matter and the major players, the novelistic approach favored by some true crime writers would have done nothing but soften the horror. As it is, Runaway Devil will have you checking the contents of your daughters’ iPod and watching how much time she spends on social networking.

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