Crime Buff's Guide To OUTLAW LOS ANGELES by Ron Franscell
In CRIME BUFF’S GUIDE TO OUTLAW LOS ANGELES, author Ron Franscell has produced an annotated list of the most lurid murders and other crimes in the Los Angeles area. One thing that makes this book unique—and the feature that attracted me to the book is how the author includes the exact GPS location of each site. Just for fun, I checked one of the GPS locations to see if it was accurate. It was indeed.
For example, when discussing the deaths of famous criminals, and where they are buried, the author notes: “The grave is at Pierce Brothers’ Westwood Memorial Park, 1218 Glendon Ave. You can find it in the middle of the lawn area at GPS 34.058405…”
You get the idea—the author provides the EXACT location. Just bring your GPS and it will take you there. I think this is really helpful when looking for exact places, like grave sites, or obscure locations.
One chapter really surprised me. I was raised in Los Angeles, and I (thought) I knew all about the Lennon Sisters, and the bizarre murder of their father by a deranged gunman. What I didn’t know was that he was murdered in my home town of Westchester! Ron explains,
“The crime scene is in the parking lot of the Westchester Golf Course (formerly Marina del Rey Golf Range), 6900 W Manchester Avenue, or GPS …”
I had no idea that Wyatt Earp lived in LA. His last home (now razed) “sat at 4004 W. 17th St., or GPS 34.042269, -118.325593. Today, it’s the site of the Johnnie Cochran Middle School in the West Adams Historical District. A plaque marks the spot.”
The above facts could be useful trivial information, “What do Johnnie Cochran and Wyatt Earp have in common?”
Another chapter that interested me was The Watts Riots. My hometown is very close to Watts, although I was too young to remember anything about them. The author explains that “The epicenter of the rioting is at the intersection of Avalon Boulevard and East 116th Street, or GPS 33.929330, -118.265242. “
I was also surprised to find out that my Orange County home was just down the street from Richard Ramirez’s “last known crime scene.” This was in Mission Viejo:
“Serial killer Richard Ramirez’s last known crime scene is at 24411 Chrisanta Drive, or GPS 33.608332 , -117.674136. This is a private home. “
This is right next to the high school where I graduated!
All in all, I found OUTLAW LOS ANGELES to be a fascinating book, full of lurid details. Okay, I admit I found it a captivating read—especially since LA is my home town. I spent quite a while reviewing the various crime scene locations, to see which ones I knew about. I would have liked to see a map of the locations, although there is a good index that lists the key sites.
Advance Review Copy courtesy of the publisher.