Sometimes you just need that non-fiction read to shake things up in your reading life. This was that book for me. I actually enjoyed it. I have always had an interest and have read many books on the theories of crime. It was a slow read. I spent a lot of time googling different cases that he brought up in the book, just to get more background.
Don't pick up this book thinking it will magically provide you with some fascinating insight on crime in the media. In fact, he states in the book that he's just some guy who's read a lot of crime books.It reads more like a annotated bibliography of crime throughout the 20th century than anything else. He actually recommends and doesn't recommend particular books throughout. Up until the very last chapter I was wondering if the book actually had a point (or rather a thesis). But he pretty much lays it all out in the last chapter, clear as day. If I had to read it all over again for the first time, I would read that last chapter first.
This should not be your first read about the social science of crime. You definitely need to have a solid back ground in some sort of social theory involving crime to full appreciate this book. The stories are very fragmented and he assumes his reader has a mastery over the knowledge of all the popular crimes throughout the 20th century, particularly in the later part of the 60s, 70s and 80s and has widely read on the subject. I can only think of maybe 4 people to whom I would personally recommend this book in real life