Book Review: Uncle John’s True Crime by Bathroom Readers’ Institute

Book Review: Uncle John’s True Crime by Bathroom Readers’ Institute

It’s Thursday, almost the weekend!
You know what that means?
It’s time for this week’s book review: Uncle John’s True Crime: A Classic Collection of Crooks, Cops, and Capers by the Bathroom Readers’ Institute!

Book Description

Title: Uncle John’s True Crime: A Classic Collection of Crooks, Cops, and Capers
Series: Uncle John’s Facts and Trivia
Author: Bathroom Readers’ Institute
Edition: Ebook > Libby
Length: 288
Genre/s: Nonfiction, Crime, True Crime, Reference > Trivia
Rating: 4 Golden Eggs

Blurb (Goodreads)

You’ll be on the edge of your seat reading tales of cops, robbers, criminals, and lawyers with this little tome that packs a lot of heat.

Do you like to read great stories? This book is loaded with them! We’ve rounded up the best cops-and-robber articles we’ve ever done–plus a rogue’s gallery of new offenders. You’ll read about dumb crooks and criminal masterminds, mafia henchman and low-level goons, ancient warriors and Old West gunslingers, crazed cops and jovial judges, and even a few loony lawyers and crooked Wall Street types. It’s the True Crime book that only Uncle John could make! Here are some of the unusual suspects . . .

* New York City’s “Mad Bomber”
* The Biddle Brothers and the Queen of the Jail
* Law and Order: Special Pants Unit
* Dopes who hide their dope in the strangest places
* America’s first private eye
* NASCAR’s bootlegging beginnings
* The real pirates of the Caribbean
* Why CSI makes the cops’ job even harder
* Billy the Kid and other outlaws who died with their boots on
* George Luger, Samuel Colt, and other fathers of guns
* The greatest train robberies
* Arrested for farting
* And much more!


A book that I picked up on the whim, I’d taken a quick peek at the sampler in Libby before clicking on borrow. I had snuggled up to the ebook that very night.

A trivia book full of true crime, this book is full of all sorts of different crime cases. Here, you’ll read about the dumbest criminals mixed with some genius masterminds. Every few pages, there’s a tiny little box of random fun fact (often unrelated to the story) revolving around crime or the law. There’s small trivia and funny quotes sections and there are stories of all sorts, through different points in history such as New York City’s “Mad Bomber”, America’s first ever private eye that paved the way for future PIs, train heists, pirate stories, and more!

Amongst my favorite tales here are the stories about New York City’s Mad Bomber, getting “Shanghaied”, the bait-cars of Canada, the disappearing crew and passengers of the Mary Celeste, the serial killer Belle Gunness of La Porte, and the stories about the Yakuza. A good balance between humor and seriousness, there’s also a dose of some pretty sad facts and some depressing stories, such as the entire chapter titled “Falsely Accused.”

This collection varies pretty greatly. One chapter you’re reading about a train heist, the next about the Yakuza, followed by “How to Rig a Coin Toss.” Ever since I’ve taken a liking to anthologies, I’ve been enjoying short stories more and more, but this is probably one of the few times I’ve ever picked up a trivia book. While not a hefty and long in length, it keeps you well entertained with the sheer amount of different stories. There’s enough content to have kept me scrolling through the table of contents, to pick out my favorite stories, something I don’t usually do with my other books. In between the short stories, which would be the book’s longer pieces/chapters, there are smaller trivia chapters in between. The stories themselves aren’t that long either, but coming to a treat of the tinier chapters that follows is always a joy.

Of the smaller trivia chapters, there are sections such as: the dumbest 9-1-1 calls, weapons concealed as everyday items (like a gun in the shape of a gun!), dumb crooks, strange laws, how to make prison wine, ironic moments, and being attacked with strange objects such as…a fish…a pooper scooper, and even a…pork chop!

True to Uncle John and The Bathroom Readers’ Institute’s name, this book feels just right for the loo. Sit down for a quick second and each chapter, whether it’s the “longer” story chapters or the shorter trivia chapters, every section feels just right; not too long to lose your attention and not too short either. While there were some stories that lost my attention, most of it kept me very engaged. I even read some out loud to my brother, over dinner, because they were such crazy stories!

I like to listen to true crime videos and often have either podcasts or Buzzfeed Unsolved marathons running in the background as I work, so I’ve heard of some of the more famous stories, but I’d say a majority of the book were of events and crime stories that I have ever even heard of. There are some tales that were shocking!

I’m not usually one to pick up a “big book of facts” styled trivia book, but this one really caught my eye and attention, especially with the cool looking cover (you know I love rubber ducks!) and the fun formatting. Uncle John has a whole collection of these Bathroom Reader books, some for kids and some with facts on the go. I’ll be giving their other books a look in the future too.

4 Shiny Shiny Eggs

4 thoughts on “Book Review: Uncle John’s True Crime by Bathroom Readers’ Institute

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