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Twisted Confessions: The True Story Behind the Kitty Genovese and Barbara Kralik Murder Trials [Hardcover]

Charles E. Skoller


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Book Description

April 2008
In the early 1960s, the quiet borough of Queens was rocked by the violent and brutal murders of Barbara Kralik, Annie Mae Johnson, and Kitty Genovese. These murders shocked not only Queens and New York, but the entire nation, especially when newspapers disclosed Kitty's neighbors heard her screams and looked on without calling the police.

Two suspects were apprehended and indicted, Winston Moseley for the Genovese murder and Alvin Mitchell for the Kralik murder. Before the trials, Moseley claimed to have committed the Kralik and Johnson murders as well, not taken seriously by the police and DA until Moseley disclosed details only the actual killer could have known. Charles E. Skoller, the young prosecutor assigned to these trials was then faced with a prosecutor's nightmare. In Twisted Confessions, he details the murders and relives his investigations and trials that followed in the almost impossible task of revealing and convicting the actual killer.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 228 pages
  • Publisher: Bridgeway Books (April 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1934454176
  • ISBN-13: 978-1934454176
  • Product Dimensions: 2 x 15.9 x 24.1 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 295 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,498,657 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.2 out of 5 stars  13 reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Twisted Confessions A great read!!! May 29 2008
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I could not put this engrossing true mystery down and was delighted to read it in just 2 days. It tells a very important story of a DA's search for justice in the face of conflicting confessions involving the widely publicized murders of a young woman and a young girl in NYC in the 1960's. An excellent book well worth reading and more enthralling than current detective fiction. Many of us remember the horrific controversy over the terrible public murder of the young woman Kitty Genovese heard and seen by over 30 neighbors who did nothing to report it or attempt to aid the victim. This is the true tale of the prosecutions which followed.Do buy it and read it.
6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Author 5 Stars -- Publisher Gets My Dirty Laundry Aug. 13 2010
By Boo - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Mr. Skoller has written a real-life thriller here that combines courtroom drama and police investigation. I am not a fan of true crime books. But I lived about  mile away down Austin Street from where Kitty Genovese was killed. I was 15 at the time. I often visited Bernie Titowski's bookstore. Kitty was stabbed right in front of it in 1964. So I had a curiosity about precisely what went down there some 46 years ago.

I was expecting the usual bland, from a notebook, kind of drab recital of events usual in such books. Instead Mr. Skoller's narrative reads like a John Grisham novel, but with far more interesting detail of just how murder trials are conducted by the prosecuting attorney. The details of just how Kitty Genovese was murdered are the most horrific I have ever encountered, even including the Manson massacre. The animal that stabbed her nine times in the course of a 30 minute attack, was in the process of raping her after stabbing her as the girl lay dying. It is hard to fathom a more horrific death.

I could not put the book down even when the sun was coming up through my window.

Yet I do have a couple of material complaints.
First, his coverage of the Genovese case ends before the book is half way through. The much less famous Kralik case takes up most of the pages, though in the final outcome the incidents had nothing in common whatsoever, outside of the prosecutor assigned to the cases. I wish Mr. Skoller had spent more detail on the Genovese case. Since the Kralik information is so well-done and riveting, perhaps a longer book would have been in order.

My second complaint is really serious. There are NO pictures and NO diagrams of any kind in the book. I am sure this is the publishers' call and not Mr. Skoller's. This deficiency is really irritating. A diagram of the layout of the Genovese outrage is critical to understanding who saw what when, and from where etc. But the lack of photos is even more serious with the Kralik case. We have no idea what this girl, her house, her murderer, or anyone or anything connected to the case looks like. There are no pictures of Barbara Kralik or the murder scene on the internet. I simply cannot understand how Mr. Skoller could allow his book to be published with such a paucity of super-relevant material. It is tantamount to an art book without illustrations. Imagine trying to visualize the paintings the author is talking about without pictures of them.

Fortunately, there are diagrams of the Genovese murder scene, and a few pictures of the poor girl available through a Google search. Nada on Kralik, and nada on the other murder case included in the book. Be sure to look the Genovese maps and pictures up before starting the book. Skoller's book does not even have the mug photo of her murderer, who is still alive and kicking by the way.

Despite the glaring insufficiency of no photos, Mr. Skoller's narrative is so well done, that it shouldn't be missed. There is not a dull moment, with a lot of surprises along the way.

Mr. Skoller gets 5 stars. His publisher Bridgeway Books gets my dirty socks. Their cheapskate lack of photos is unforgivable. What's next, no ink?
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars WALKING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF A PROSECUTOR May 29 2008
By ALLEN GOLDSTEIN - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
" Twisted Confessions" reads like a novel but is the true story of two crimes linked together-two men confessed to the same murder. The Kitty Genovese death was reported country wide- timid, negligent neighbors did not alert anyone to her death screams. The Barbara Kralik killing had
Kitty's killer confessing subsequent to someone else also admitting guilt.
The author weaves these two crimes so that even though you might suspect the outcome you're still anxious to get to the next page.
Skoller is a dedicated professional whose concern for the victims' families is balanced with his hand on "LADY JUSTICE".
This book should be required reading for aspiring law students AND those already admitted to practice. "True Confessions" shows the system works and Charles Skoller is the "turn key".
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting and Compelling Crime Story in Queens, NY June 6 2010
By Linnea J. Whitman - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I had heard about this book before it was published and was very interested in obtaining a copy for myself. Why? I was Barbara Kralik's friend and neighbor who lived down the street from her in Queens, New York. I had been out of the country when she was brutally murdered and all the information I had about the crime was gleaned from the New York City newspapers and neighbor's gossip.

This book helped to answer a lot of questions that I had even to this day! I was disappointed, however, that there were no photos of Barbara or of her house. And, as other readers, I also wondered whatever happened to her murderer, Alvin Mitchell.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not really complete May 3 2010
By Cayuga - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This writer seems to have been a bit lazy. In the first paragraph on page 22 he states that Catherine Genovese was twenty nine years old when she was murdered. He could have easily found out that Ms. Geneovese was born on July 7, 1935, which would have made her twenty eight years old at the time of her murder. That discrepancy may be a small thing, but it shows a lack of thoroughness and makes one wonder what other material in the book is lacking in accuracy.

The book contains no photos of the individuals who played roles in these two dramas, not even a photo of Skoller himself at that time. This is a disappointment. Photos could have been obtained if Skoller had extended the effort to do some searching of newspaper archives.

The bulk of the book's text is devoted to describing Skoller's prosecution of Alvin Mitchell for the murder of Barbara Kralik. At the denouement of the trial, Skoller reports Mitchell's sentence but nothing more. Skoller did not do the small bit of research it would have taken to find out just how many years Alvin Mitchell served for his murder of Barbara Kralik or if Mitchell was rearrested for other crimes. If justice for Kralik was so important, then why didn't Skoller find out what happened to Mitchell? To me, these lazy omissions make the book less than great.

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