I was twelve years old when I scooped Joe McGinniss' Fatal Vision from my parents' stash of true crime books and stayed up late into the night, reading.
Not such a good idea, really.
This riveting, suspenseful story of brutality and betrayal impeccably masked was probably not the sort of glimpse into the world of adults one needs when she herself is on the cusp of growing up. The story stayed with me, first because it scared the bejeezus out of me and kept me awake more than a few nights, contemplating the deceit of which humans are capable. Later, as a student of writing, I found it curious to consider the way McGinniss assumed so many roles in the process of authoring Fatal Vision: investigator, journalist, storyteller, character.
Before and after Fatal Vision, McGinniss came under fire for his approach to journalism - most notably when he moved in next door to Sarah Palin and her family in Alaska while working on a scathing book about her. Todd Palin accused McGinniss of stalking and having a "creepy obsession" with his wife. (There are so many things I could say here, but I'm working on my karma.)
Love him or hate him, when Joe McGinniss passed away on Monday, he left what every writer hopes to leave: a legacy in print that will last long after we are all gone.