I have now almost finished the close to 700 page epic that is Helter Skelter; and it has not been a light undertaking. In many ways, this book is everything one could want and expect from a good crime novel, except that its basis in true events adds to the impact of the story. It’s not comfortable reading, and I felt saddened and chilled as I made my way through it.
The author was the prosecuting DA on the case against Manson and the Family for the Tate/LaBianca murders in 1970, and as such, the density of legal and factual detail is relentless. There are excerpts from court transcripts, crime scene reports, and the like, and these serve to make the text all the more compelling.
But ultimately, Helter Skelter is most memorable as an indirect biography of Charles Manson, and the mystery surrounding both his motives, and his charismatic hold over the Family. Fascinating reading for lovers of (true)crime, and anyone who’s interested in such an iconic figure.