Daniel Fromson at the New York Times offers a piece on Marilyn Stasio, who writes a crime round-up column for the New York Times.
On a recent morning, Marilyn Stasio’s Upper West Side living room contained at least two dozen piles of books — arranged on shelves, peeking from bags and boxes, heaped in precarious leaning towers. “Books to the right of me, books to the left of me, books in front of me, books behind me,” she declared. “It’s terrible!”
Ms. Stasio entered her equally book-filled office and sat before a desk on a red stool that belonged to her grandmother. Outside, a soft rain fell and a blue jay sang. It did not seem like the sort of place where she might write about, say, a serial killer who tears out his victims’ throats with metal teeth and drinks their blood.
But for Ms. Stasio, who has written The Times Book Review’s Crime column since 1988, the tales of atrocity and mystery in every corner fuel an everyday labor of love. A good murder novel, she once wrote, can be “a portal to a wider world.” Here she is literally at home among them, windows into alternate realities as familiar and vital to her as they can be strange and sinister to others.
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Ms. Stasio has always gravitated to darkness. As a student growing up in Revere, Mass., she liked the morbid and horrible: “Dracula,” for instance. She came to New York for graduate school and never left, reviewing theater for Cue magazine in the 1970s. (In addition to writing for The Times, she is now the chief theater critic for Variety.) A devourer of mystery novels, she began reviewing them in a syndicated column, which eventually led to her position at The Times.
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