Get a free audiobook

The Crime of the Century

Richard Speck and the Murders That Shocked a Nation
Narrated by: Christina Delaine
Length: 18 hrs and 26 mins
5 out of 5 stars (5 ratings)

CDN$ 14.95/month after 30 days. Cancel anytime.

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

What the critics say

"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)

More from the same

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    4
  • 4 Stars
    1
  • 3 Stars
    0
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0

Performance

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    4
  • 4 Stars
    1
  • 3 Stars
    0
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0

Story

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    4
  • 4 Stars
    1
  • 3 Stars
    0
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A slow burn to a breath-taking courtroom drama

The book starts a bit slow as it follows Richard Speck's rather dreary existence. This speaks more to Speck's aimless shamble through life than it does to the authors. The pace remains much the same as the book describes the murders, but again this isn't a fault of the authors. Little is known of what actually occurred and the authors don't try to inject any melodrama. In the courtroom however, the storytelling really takes off! Here the authors have real facts and documents to wield with great effect.

But Christina Delaine’s narration of this novel is sublime. Ms. Delaine punches up the dialogue with regional and cultural accents. The listener is keenly aware of a witness’ trepidation, the prosecutor’s fervor, the murder’s callousness, without the narration ever becoming heavy-handed. It’s not easy for a female narrator to provide a variety of male voices. While you’ll never think you’re hearing a man speaking, you’ll find yourself immersed nonetheless. Ms. Delaine gives the impression that she’s truly emotionally invested in her narration, but never skews her tone outside of the actual character dialogue.

A professional delivery of a deeply moving narrative. Authors Dennis L. Breo and William J. Martin, and narrator Christina Delaine really do justice to this horror story that needed to be told.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Polly Poizendem
  • 2017-04-21

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.

27 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Cindy
  • 2017-04-29

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.

11 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • SC Loopy
  • 2018-03-03

Exemplary narration

This was a horrifying story in my youth, with a great narrator to handle such a distressing tale.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • D. Blaskie
  • 2017-06-07

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!

8 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Mary
  • 2017-12-22

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.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Lori D. Reim
  • 2017-11-27

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.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Pamela Plimpton
  • 2017-09-08

Complete case A to Z!!

What did you love best about The Crime of the Century?

The first 10-11 chapters about the crime itself & the last several chapters w/the actual court proceedings were the most interesting. The middle parts of the book began to get a bit boring, BUT.... having said that it was still fully informing in terms of procedures & jury selection, etc. It got a bit monotonous, but I can't imagine that process is all that exciting anyway. This was the full A to Z from crime to selection to trial to the greediness of selling the story!

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Crime of the Century?

The bravery of Corazon & the smarts to hide herself. I could not believe that Speck would have basically "forgotten" her. Did he not count the number of women he tied up?

Which scene was your favorite?

Cora recognition of Speck in court. Approaching him face to face to point him out as the killer!

What’s the most interesting tidbit you’ve picked up from this book?

The difference in DNA and fingerprinting, just general evidence collection between 1966 and today. The advances are remarkable.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • cj
  • 2017-04-11

master class in trial procedure and strategy

Fascinating story of horrible crime and trial sensitively told. The story captures the innocence that preceded an unimaginable crime and the aftermath of the crime. Be warned, Speck brutally raped and murdered 8 nurses in their home and the description of that crime is horrific. But this is more than a true crime story. The book provides an inside look at the trial preparation and the conduct of the trial and provides a great explanation of how lawyers handle a high profile, high stakes hard-fought criminal trial. You get a master class in trial strategy and handling of witnesses provided by a top notch attorney. The story is told with great compassion for the victims and their families and with the colorful flavor of a bygone time. My only complaint is that the narrator, who did a great job with Speck's Texas drawl, lacked a Chicago accent. The city is very much a part of the story but I didn't hear Chicago's distinctive voice. Otherwise it was terrific.

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Judy
  • 2017-08-31

Disgusting Piece of Humanity

Authors Breo and Martin provide a comprehensive discussion of the vicious murder of eight nurses in the bedrooms of their Chicago residence. Their murderer, Richard Speck, is clearly both stupid and depraved, a dangerous combination.

For the most part, the book holds the reader's interest, except for the account of the pre-trial arguments. This section is lengthy and boring, and contributes nothing to the reader's understanding of the sorry events. You'll know it when you get there. Skip it.

Delaine's narration is fine except where it comes to her voicing of Richard Speck's comments. Her exaggerated Texan drawl hovers between laughable and annoying. She could have checked out You-Tube Speck interviews in preparation for this assignment.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • ron
  • 2017-06-09

Narration fair but acceptable

The narration with the female voice took from the effective import of the story.othewwise a good job was dome

3 people found this helpful