Monster City: Murder, Music and Mayhem in Nashville’s Dark Age

Michael Arntfield. Little A, $24.95 (344p) ISBN 978-1-5039-5288-1
In this overwrought true-crime narrative, criminologist Arntfield (Mad City) investigates various high-profile murders in Nashville over the past 50 years. Anchoring the account is Pat Postiglione, a Queens, N.Y., native who joined the Nashville police department in 1980 and became one of the most successful and innovative police detectives in the nation. Though Postiglione entered law enforcement at a time of skyrocketing crime rates, his intense commitment and willingness to embrace then-novel technologies involving DNA allowed him to solve baffling cases. He tracked down and arrested Michael Scott Magliolo, known as the Motel Killer, as well as Tom Steeples, who murdered a young California couple and whose DNA was taken after a DUI arrest. Appointed to lead Nashville’s nascent Metro Cold Case Unit in 2002, Postiglione continued to develop his use of DNA testing and other innovative techniques. Unfortunately, Arntfield relies too heavily on law-enforcement terminology and cliched hard-boiled diction (Postiglioni “knew he needed to tighten the noose on Steeples and officially upgrade him to prime suspect”). While it’s hard to fault the author’s enthusiasm and expertise, the over-amped tone and cartoonish characters can grow monotonous. However, aficionados of true-crime histories should enjoy learning about Postiglione’s formidable career. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 05/14/2018
Release date: 09/01/2018
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 978-1-5039-5435-9
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