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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars RIVETING, SHOCKING AND IMPOSSIBLE TO PUT DOWN!
Richard Speck committed the most heinous of crimes in 1966. He savagely murdered eight innocent young women student nurses in the sprigtime of their lives and showed no remorse for what he did. This book, written by the man who prosecuted him and sent him to prison is a factual, precise account of the crime that began the "serial killing" and "mass murder" mode. What...
Published on July 2, 2005 by a viewer

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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars How Much Do You Want to Learn About What Cops Wear?...
...If your answer is "A LOT", the CRIME OF THE CENTURY is a must read.

In July, 1966, Richard Speck, an alcoholic social misfit and burglar killed 8 student nurses on Chicago's south side. Unfortunately for Speck, there were 9 nurses present, one of whom, Corazon Amarao, escaped death by hiding under a bed. She ultimately provided a sketch artist with...
Published on August 31, 2008 by Dan Bogaty


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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars RIVETING, SHOCKING AND IMPOSSIBLE TO PUT DOWN!, July 2, 2005
By 
a viewer "a viewer" (antioch, tn United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Crime of the Century (Paperback)
Richard Speck committed the most heinous of crimes in 1966. He savagely murdered eight innocent young women student nurses in the sprigtime of their lives and showed no remorse for what he did. This book, written by the man who prosecuted him and sent him to prison is a factual, precise account of the crime that began the "serial killing" and "mass murder" mode. What is so riveting, yet upsetting and shocking about this book is the fact that nothing is held back and one feels as if he is in the room with Speck waiting to be murdered by him or one of the witnesses at the trial, or one of the jurors or as part of the investigation team. Its all there and nothing is held back. I remember being a child of 6 in colorado in 1966 and my Aunt talking about the murders. The story made national headlines and even reached to a small country town where I was raised. I was scared then. About a month ago I was digging through some old magazines and found a people magazine article on Richard Speck from 1991, the year that he died of a heart attack in prison. (He was never executed though he received the death penalty but the Supreme Court ruled against the death penalty in Illinois so the man got off easy. But who knows about his eternal soul...only God can judge that). Anyhow, the article went into depth about what he had done and how one brave woman, Corazon Amurao, one of the nurses, survived. I looked here at Amazon to see if any books had been written on Speck and found this one! It is the best account of any Crime that I have ever read. My heart still reels with sadness at what those poor young women had to suffer and the terror that they must have gone through. How Corazon Amurao got through everything without going through Post Traumatic Stress is a testament to the way things were handled, her protection and shielding from police and reporters. Currently she is a nurse in Virginia. Speck was never punished sufficiently for his crime on this earth. The evil he perpetrated had far reaching repercussions as it ushered in the "terrorist" era that continues to this day. This book is not for the squeamish. It is excellent and well writing and cuts to the heart from first page to last. May God bless the young women who suffered at the hands of a madman and may God have mercy on the madman who didn't have mercy on those eight beautiful, decent, hardworking women he killed that hot July in 1966.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A chilling read from Speck's prosecutor., April 2, 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: The Crime of the Century (Paperback)
As an armchair criminologist and true crime fan, the story of Richard Speck has been the one story that has haunted me for years. I long waited for the gruesome story of Speck and his vicious murder spree to be told in detail. Now, with the release of this excellent book, Speck's prosecutor William Martin gives us an eyewitness view into the crimes and trial of Richard Speck. With the help of Dennis Breo, Martin weaves a page-turning, frightening tale that reads as well as anything by Stephen King. Except this horrifying story is true. Martin reveals many never-before-known facts about the case and pays a great deal of attention to accuracy and detail especially in his depiction of the murders through the eyes of the heroic witness, Corazon Amurao. This book is a must read account of the mass murders that introduced a shocked world to a new age of violence and mass murder. I only wish that they would revise this book to include the discovery of the Speck porno/confession videotape in 1996.
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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A real-life nightmare, April 20, 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: The Crime of the Century (Paperback)
Oh, this is a true story, all right. I was a child in the Chicagoland area when the nurses were killed, and I understood (superficially, at least) what Speck had done and the impact it had on the adults around me. "Richard Speck" became like "The Bogeyman," or the other monsters that haunt children's nightmares. So as an adult, I was eager to confront the demon of my girlhood by reading this detailed and serious study. I was not prepared for how genuinely horrible the crimes were, especially against the backdrop of those more innocent times. I had not been aware of how close Speck came to getting away. I had real admiration for the lawyers, jurors and judge who worked to ensure that our system of justice worked -- even for this piece of human flotsam. Most of all, I rediscovered a real-life heroine, Corazon Amurao. No one should have had to endure what she lived through that summer night, and the way she stood up to Speck in court was awe-inspiring. Hers is a truly indomitable spirit. But I'm still as afraid Richard Speck today as I was more than 35 years ago. He was my introduction to evil, and it seems that the killers who have come after him, from Bundy to Gacy to the Washington snipers, have just gotten stronger and meaner and smarter.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Frightening!, November 24, 2003
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This review is from: The Crime of the Century (Paperback)
First of all, I find it hard to believe that this book is out of print. I must assume that it did not sell well in its original print. Because of the circumstances surrounding this case, it is truly frightening.
Richard Speck entered the townhouse at 2319 100th Street in Chicago and murdered eight innocent nurses in cold blood. Because of an apparent lack of motive, the crime sent shockwaves across the country. Speck was a drifter that was harmless until he had some booze in his belly and a knife in his pocket. Most people that knew him suggested he was harmless when sober.
After killing the nurses, ran from the police as well as his crimes. He attempted the ultimate escape in attempting suicide. His attempt was a failure. Once he realized that he left a living witness to his crimes, he realized he would soon be caught if he stayed in Chicago. He could not get out of Chicago quick enough.
The only thing that saved Speck from execution was the Supreme Court ruling several hundred death row inmates were to be set free from death row on a techincality.
Having worked very near the site of his murders for three years, I was intrigued by his story. Kids would often say they get chills just passing the house. These kids obviously were not even alive at the time of Speck's rampage. This shows Speck's impact on Chicago and America. The most frightening killer is the one that kills for no apparent reason.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Very Good Read, February 5, 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: The Crime of the Century (Paperback)
A well researched, exciting read. You've got a story that everyone knows its ending, but you keep turning the pages to see what happens next. What can I say that will inspire someone to read this book? It is a lengthy work through which you will race. A marvelous study of all that was known about a most diabolical personality and the human wreckage he left in his wake.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars How Much Do You Want to Learn About What Cops Wear?..., August 31, 2008
This review is from: The Crime of the Century (Paperback)
...If your answer is "A LOT", the CRIME OF THE CENTURY is a must read.

In July, 1966, Richard Speck, an alcoholic social misfit and burglar killed 8 student nurses on Chicago's south side. Unfortunately for Speck, there were 9 nurses present, one of whom, Corazon Amarao, escaped death by hiding under a bed. She ultimately provided a sketch artist with information which led to Speck's arrest, and it was her testimony that led to his conviction.

COTC is the joint effort of Dennis L. Breo and William J. Martin, who was the lead prosecutor on Speck's case.
I generally don't like true crime by officials writing about cases they are connected to, and this book illustrates why. Let me say first, that the first 126 pages of the book, titled "The Murder" and "The Manhunt" are nothing short of outstanding. The depiction of the seedy southeast Chicago neighborhood where Speck was living and in which the nurses' residence was located and of Chicago's skid row - including the hotel where Speck attempted suicide before he was captured - is vivid and provides a starkly urgent sense of the drunken chaos that had become Speck's life. There is also a later section, chapter 27, that provides a lot of background on Speck's life prior to his arrival on the southeast side. This too is detailed and very well done. And finally there is an epilogue which contains some interesting information about Speck.

But these sections total less than half the book. The remaining parts detail - and I do mean DETAIL - the state's attorney's protection of Amarao and her family; the brutally tedious investigation; the even more brutally tedious preparation for trial; and the only slightly less tedious trial itself. It is clear that Martin found the case - and also himself - fascinating, but personally I was not interested in reading on a continual basis about every minor insecurity he had while preparing for trial. Neither was I interested in what each and every detective or attorney was wearing at any given time. I didn't care about the background of every obscure judge who made a ruling at some point during the pre-trial litigation. And call me jaded if you will, but I just refuse to believe that EVERY SINGLE detective, attorney, and judge who had anything remotely to do with the case was among the finest example of professionalism and humanity as could possibly be found anywhere. Every detective - though perhaps a little world weary - was an expert at whatever he did, good humored if craggy, well and/or comfortably dressed, loved or respected - and often both - by everyone who knew him, and thoroughly professional. I lived in Chicago in the late 1960s and the police department was well and deservedly known for its rampant corruption, so I guess Martin just got really lucky.
The same went in spades for the crack prosecution team. This group of young, dedicated professionals were concerned with only one thing - the conviction of Richard Speck. By golly, every one of them was sharp witted, earnest, and exceedingly kind to his wife and kids when he managed to see them, the case taking up so much of his time and all.
And if it is of interest to you to know where the Chicago prosecutors and cops ate, what they ordered, and what the weather was like wherever they were, then you should rush right out and get a copy of COTC. Because it's all there, over and over and over....and over.

And finally there is a recurring theme within the narrative of COTC which I found particularly bizarre. Martin and Breo spent what I considered an inordinate amount of time writing about and trying to discredit Dr. Marvin Ziporyn, the Chicago jail psychiatrist who became Specks's confidante and who was in the process of writing a book about him.
This is rationalized as the prosecution's keeping tabs on Ziporyn who was expected to be a defense witness with his "shopworn diagnosis of organic brain syndrome." But the absurd lengths they went to to spy on Ziporyn -which oddly they describe without embarrassment - and their obvious personal animus toward him comes through loud and clear. He seems to have been an obsession of Martin's.

CRIME OF THE CENTURY is well worth reading if you read only pages 1 to 126 and pages 226 to 252, Speck's biography. These sections are outstanding. The rest is boring and self-serving.
And incidentally, I have read Ziporyn's book, BORN TO RAISE HELL, about Speck. It is considerably better than CRIME OF THE CENURY.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Almost Perfect True Story!, June 9, 2007
This review is from: The Crime of the Century (Paperback)
The Richard Speck Massacre of 8 Student Nurses in Chicago during the heat wave on July 13-14, 1966 is almost still impossible to believe. In this book, it's well-written but I have one criticism regarding the victims. The cover of my paperback book has the faces of those victims but nothing to identify one from the other unless you do some research on the internet. 8 beautiful dark student nurses, 5 Americans and 3 Filipinos, who would have made substantiate contributions in their field were robbed from us. One survivor, Cora, lived or survived the massacre but not without the emotional and traumatic scars that haunts war veterans. Cora's description and courage during a time of absolute terror is evident in this book. The two authors here have my absolute focus because they are clear to the reader about what is going on. The background information of Richard Speck is vital in understanding how a monster came to be and how this terrible tragedy occurred.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Definitive Account of A Senseless Tragedy, December 26, 2008
By 
Bill Emblom "Bill Emblom" (Ishpeming, Michigan USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Crime of the Century (Paperback)
I remember very well when Richard Speck went on his mindless murderous rampage in July of 1966, and this book by authors Dennis Breo and William Martin provide the reader with the definitive story from beginning to end. This is a riveting read that is very difficult to put down. Even the courtroom proceedings unfamiliar to a general reader keep one glued to the story. The strategy between the defense and the prosecution is presented in a way that is understandable to any reader with basic comprehension skills. The high point in the trial is when survivor Corazon Amurao stood before the defendant, a low-life drifter named Richard Speck, and spoke in a firm voice and said, "This is the man." The authors conclude with an update on those who were involved in this tragedy. The story is as painful now as it was on that hot July night in Chicago in 1966. Truly a horrible waste of eight human lives by a psychopathic drifter who contributed absolutely nothing positive to society. However, God saw to it that there was a survivor to speak for those whose lives were taken.
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5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best crime stories ever written by the colorful prosecutor of ..., October 2, 2014
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This review is from: The Crime of the Century (Paperback)
One of the best crime stories ever written by the colorful prosecutor of Richard Speck, William Martin. I can't believe this book is no longer in print...a real page-turner. Thank goodness for used book opportunities on Amazon.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best book on Speck, November 28, 2011
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This review is from: The Crime of the Century (Paperback)
The best & most definitive book on Richard Speck & his crimes, great read, a real true crime classic. Beware though, you are about to enter the world of a drug crazed lady killer, who was simply "born to raise hell".
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The Crime of the Century
The Crime of the Century by Dennis L. Breo (Paperback - March 1, 1993)
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