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Publisher's Summary

On July 14th, 1966, Richard Franklin Speck swept through a quiet Chicago townhouse like a summer tornado and stabbed, strangled, and killed eight young nurses in a violent sexual rampage. By morning, only one nurse, Corazon Amurao, had miraculously survived, and her scream of terror was heard around the world.

As the eight bodies were carried out of the small building, the coroner, who had seen the carnage up close, told a gathering crowd: "It is the crime of the century!"

Now, the prosecutor who put Speck in prison for life (William J. Martin) and the author and journalist who won an award for his coverage of the crime (Dennis L. Breo) have teamed up to recreate the blood-soaked night that opened a new chapter in the history of American crime: mass murder.

Corazon Amurao, the nurse the killer left behind, confronted Speck at trial and told jurors, "This is the man!" Richard Speck was spared execution by Supreme Court rulings and here is the inside story of how he confessed to the murders in a sordid prison video made three years before his death of a heart attack in 1991. And here is the life today of the nurse who survived the crime that murdered American innocence.

©2016 Dennis L. Breo and William J. Martin (P)2017 Tantor

Critic Reviews

"Former prosecutor Martin and Chicago journalist Breo present a fast-paced, solid reconstruction of Martin's biggest case: the fatal stabbing, strangling, and sexual assault of eight young nurses by drifter Richard Speck in Chicago in 1966." ( Publishers Weekly)

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What listeners say about The Crime of the Century

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

All Of Your Roomates Murdered . . .


The first eleven chapters had me frozen in terror as I listened in vivid detail what it was like to actually BE there that night, when one by one the girls were slaughtered in the very next room. The events of this horrific evening are related by the ONLY survivor out of 9 nursing students who were brutally stabbed and raped - while she hid underneath the bed in an attempt to escape Richard Speck's wrath! The girls all knew what was awaiting them, but it was too late, and they were powerless to do anything about it. Made ME want to get under the bed. That scary.

If you were ever curious about what really goes on behind the scenes in a VERY high profile murder case like this, well then here you go! Complete A-Z. Seriously. Everything concerning this case from the manhunt, arrest, preparation, prosecution and defense strategies, juror selection, witness protection for the survivor (quite a surprising story in itself), dealing with the media/press, etc...to the shady book and movie deals (yes - they did that back then)!! In fact, I didn't even realize myself that this particular case set the precedent for many new laws regarding the handling of sensational trials and their procedures. You would think this was a current event...yet it took place about 50 years ago! Don't think because this is an older case that it will be lacking in that area. Far from it! This surely is THE definitive book on Richard Speck's crime.

The author does a *great* job setting the mood and scene of the mid 1960's, so you can truly get a sense of the times back then. I loved that. I also liked the narration - it was smooth, yet quite serious and somber as it should be, and the occasional "dialogue" of the killer was a nice added touch for me.

41 people found this helpful

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bookgirl

I found this to be a truly engaging story. The details of the trial were indepth without being boring. As a child I remember the Speck murders . Corazon Ameral and Bill Martin are amazing wonderful people. How brave and strong Cora was and how dedicated and intelligent Mr. Martin's prosecution of Speck. Speck was truly sick and it is a failure of justice his execution was not carried out! Speck seemed to truly love life in prison. I watched the jailhouse video presented by Bill Kurtis. It is revolting but certainly put to rest any doubt anyone might have about Speck's guilt. Again it was a shame Speck didn't fry!!! A Great Read.

15 people found this helpful

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Excellent

Although the crime occurred a couple of decades ago, the story is still fascinating and well told. The author did a great job of conveying the feeling of stark terror of the lone survivor, as well as the tenacity of the investigators and attorneys. Highly recommend!

11 people found this helpful

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Way more than a true crime

It was an education, a human interest story, a tribute to nurses and I am one so I cried while I was listening. Really amazing.

4 people found this helpful

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Long story but worth the listen.

This was a good story and I was amazed at Richard Speck and how much I actually disliked him. I did find it to drag on a little and I thought that there was some redundancy. I didn't feel like I knew the victims at all so I couldn't give more than 3 stars. I thought that the victim character development was weak and they were not given enough time or description. Also, there is a very long sequence regarding the play that was done about this book during the book itself. It felt gratuitous and I didn't really understand why it would have been added.

4 people found this helpful

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Love It

TearJearker If you love Crime this is a good book to Read Listen to it while I was at work

3 people found this helpful

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Trial strategy explained

It took me awhile to purchase this book because it is such a well publicized case they I wasn't sure if it was worth listening to. I was wrong! While it certainly covers the elements of the story about the crime and criminal, it went into great depth about both the prosecution and defense strategies during the trial. If you like that kind of detail you will enjoy this book.

3 people found this helpful

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Excellent and Extensive Coverage of the Speck Trial

Overall this book was excellent — content and performance I like. I now have an unanticipated need to listen to more by this voice actor.

The trial content is unmatched. As a lay Speck expert I am happy to confirm that. I would be remiss if I didn’t point out that there are some blatant dramatizations of Speck and a LOT of his young life has been completely glazed over. That can be addressed in other publications, however.

For the purposes of the trial and its impact this book is excellent and I highly recommend it to anyone interested in criminal law and trial tactics. If you are more interested in Speck’s psychopathology there are other more thorough resources that are not so heavily and explicitly hedged against any possibility he might be anything other than a pure and detestable monster.

High praise to the narrator, I look forward to finding more by her.

2 people found this helpful

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Ut was fine

It was fine. I thought the book was about 5 hours longer than it needed to be.

1 person found this helpful

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Long but detailed.

This audio book will inform you about the Speck case A to Z! Very informative.

1 person found this helpful