10 Chilling True Crime Books to Feed Your American Crime Story Fix
As American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson comes to a close, true crime junkies everywhere will need to find a new well from which to tap their courtroom fodder (Judge Judy, anyone?). The Internet is already abuzz with second season rumors of everyone’s 2016 Netflix obsession Making a Murderer, but with the fates of its most integral figures still up in the air, there’s no telling how long the wait may be. Never fear — we’ve compiled a list of 10 new true crime books (released within the last year) that are filled with enough mystery and suspense to tide even the most clever of Nancy Drew-bies over in the interim. Better get crackin’ – these whodunits require some serious sleuthing!
1. Gitchie Girl by Phil and Sandy Hamman ($11): This harrowing tale of a Midwest campfire-gone-wrong in the 1970s is sure to send chills down your spine. Five teenagers, alone in the woods, at night? What on Earth could go wrong? Gulp.
2. Alligator Candy by David Kushner ($17): Alligator Candy is unique in the sense that it’s written from the perspective of a victim (the author’s missing brother is the subject of the book) and a renowned reporter — the terms are not mutually exclusive, as David Kushner proves here.
3. The Midnight Assassin: Panic, Scandal, and the Hunt for America’s First Serial Killer by Skip Hollandsworth ($19): Before H.H. Holmes was dubbed “America’s first serial killer,” an unknown assassin was making the rounds in Austin, Texas, where at least eight would lose their lives and eight more would be injured. Some say this may have even been the work of none other than London’s very own Jack the Ripper. Creepy much?
4. Then No One Can Have Her by Caitlin Rother ($8): If you’ve already used your super-sleuthing skills to deduce that this one miiiiiight be about a jealous boyfriend based on its title, you’d be correct, but not to worry — there’s still enough twists and turns in the plotline to keep you plenty invested in this dark tale of slayage — and for once, we don’t mean the term in a good way.
5. The Borden Murders: Lizzie Borden and the Trial of the Century by Sarah Miller ($14): Almost everyone has heard of the infamous Lizzie Borden murders (or, at the very least, watched Christina Ricci’s adaptation of them in the Lifetime movie-turned-series), but what really happened on that fateful day in Fall River, Massachusetts? That’s just what author Sarah Miller intends to find out.
6. While the City Slept: A Love Lost to Violence and a Young Man’s Descent into Madness by Eli Sanders ($19): Eli Sanders, a journalist who received a Pulitzer prize for his coverage of a shocking 2009 Seattle crime, relives the gruesome incidents all over again while shining a spotlight on important mental health issues avoided for too long.
7. A Murder Over a Girl: Justice, Gender, Junior High by Ken Corbett ($21): Those awkward teenage years were rough on all of us, no doubt, but they were especially brutal for young Leticia King — whose life was cut short as she was not only coming into her own as a young adult, but also as a transgendered woman.
8. Blind Rage: A True Story of Sin, Sex, and Murder in a Small Arkansas Town by Anita Paddock ($13): This tale of a small town scandal has it all: murder, wealth, family secrets, intrigue — unfortunately, the events that unfolded here were anything but scripted.
9. Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson ($10): Imagine, if you will, a tell-all written by the likes of Steven Avery’s former defense team —aka Internet heartthrobs Dean Strang and Jerry Buting — detailing their collective experiences representing a client they believed was innocent, and you more or less have the premise of Bryan Stevenson’s Just Mercy. Just like Strang and Buting, Stevenson was tasked with representing a man sentenced to die for a crime he swore he didn’t commit — or did he?
10. Without a Doubt by Marcia Clark ($13): If you still believe O.J.’s guilty, you’re not alone: This re-release by trial prosecutor Marcia Clark offers insight from the other flip of the coin.
Which one are you most excited to read? Let us know at @BritandCo!
(Feature image via Getty)
Welcome to Selfmade Finance School, our new money series with Block Advisors to help small business owners with their tax, bookkeeping, and payroll needs year-round. This week, we explore the tax implications of bringing family members into your business.
The question for today is this: Does hiring your family members make sense for your business? Let me be clear. This is not a piece about whether hiring your family members makes sense for your relationships with those family members. As someone who is part of a family business, I could fill up a lot more than 600 words on my opinions about that. For today's purposes, we focus on whether it makes sense from an overall "good business and tax implication" perspective. As it turns out, there is a decent amount of tax nuance when it comes to employing your family. Let's break it down based on relationship to the employee:
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Spouses Who Are In Business Together
Personally, if I had to be in business with my husband, it would not go well. However, many couples build viable, strong businesses together and I say, good for them! Depending on how you have your business entity structured, it will make a big difference on the tax treatment of you and your spouse working as partners. Because a business jointly owned and operated by a married couple is generally treated as a partnership for Federal tax purposes, the spouses must comply with filing and record keeping requirements imposed on partnerships and their partners. The election to file two Schedule C (Form 1040) forms, (one for each spouse) permits certain married co-owners to avoid filing partnership returns, provided that each spouse separately reports a share of all the businesses' items of income, gain, loss, deduction, and credit. Under the election, both spouses will be subject to self-employment tax and on net earnings from self-employment and receive credit for Social Security earnings.
One Spouse Employs Another
If you have a dynamic where your spouse is an employee of your business, then your spouse's wages are subject to income tax withholding, Social Security and Medicare taxes. If you are self-employed (not a corporation or a partnership), your spouse's pay does not have to be included in your federal unemployment tax account (FUTA) contributions and payments. However, if your business is a corporation or a partnership you must include that spouse's pay in your unemployment tax contribution calculation.
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You Employ Your Child
First, let's be clear. I work in my family business, but I am an adult, so I am treated just like a normal employee. However, if you, for example, run a family restaurant and want to hire your children under 18 to work for you, there are some tax benefits. But first, you should check with your state for rules on how many hours minors can work (in non-agricultural jobs) and reference the Fair Labor Standards Act for information on limitations on the kinds of work children can perform.
"This is an often overlooked or under-utilized strategy. Paying your children for true services they provide in your business can be a powerful tax-saving tool," says Cathi Reed, Block Advisors Regional Director. "If you are a sole-proprietorship or single member LLC, and the child is less than 18 years of age, the business is not required to withhold FICA or payroll taxes. The child can use his or her standard deduction against income you pay."
You Hire Your Parent
Oh dear. If you are brave enough to do this, know that you will need to pay Social Security and Medicare taxes on your parent's wages and make the appropriate withholdings, but you don't have to pay unemployment taxes. Now all you have to do is convince your parent that you are the boss. Have fun with that!
Is Hiring Family Members Worth It For The Tax Benefits?
"There are some positive tax advantages to hiring family members. It's important to treat a family member like any other employee. Hiring your children can result in substantial savings for businesses. Make sure your child has real, age-appropriate work to do and a reasonable pay rate, comparable to other employees. Consult with a Block Advisors small business certified tax pro to ensure that you are complying with all requirements," advises Reed. "Block Advisors, a team within H&R Block, is dedicated to meeting the tax, bookkeeping and payroll needs of small business owners year-round. To start working with the tax experts at Block Advisors, visit blockadvisors.com."
In my opinion, you should not hire a family member solely because of the tax benefits. You should always hire based on whether that person is right for the job and keep in mind how this hire could materially impact your relationship with that person and others in your family. Finally, as I mentioned, make sure you have a tax professional on your team when making these determinations. As you can see, things can get a little tricky!
*All details were sourced from IRS.gov and blockadvisors.com