If you’ve read anything by Toronto Sun crime writer Brad Hunter, then you know the 1976 murder of his baseball coach, Frank Calder, is what led him to where he is today.
“I’ve probably covered about 400 murders, if not more,” said Hunter. So the 20 cases he delves into in his new book, Cold Blooded Murder: Shocking True Stories of Killers and Psychopaths, are real doozies.
“What readers are going to find are deep dives into 20 high-profile crimes, a really great cross-section of homicide in North America,” he added. “There are some serial killers there, there are some insurance murders, just some of the most sensational homicides in the last 25 years in the United States.”
Like the Blake Leibel case, which Hunter covered for the Sun.
“He was a Canadian rich kid who murdered his Ukrainian girlfriend in Los Angeles,” he recalled. “The LAPD said it was the worst murder they’d seen since the Black Dahlia.”
Speaking of which, if Hunter could go back in time to cover any case, it would be to 1947 when Elizabeth Short, known posthumously as the “Black Dahlia,” was found murdered in L.A.
Her body was found mutilated but despite an extensive investigation that produced over 150 suspects, no arrests have been made.
“It’s the most famous unsolved homicide in the U.S. and [to go back to that time], I’d put my thinking cap on, match wits and try to figure out what led this poor woman on the path to the morgue,” he explained. “That remains endlessly fascinating, and the case is still extremely interesting.”
As for current cases, Hunter has a few on his radar, including Ghislaine Maxwell’s sex trafficking case (“I’m following it pretty intensely”); and the murder of Toronto hairstylist Fabio Sementilli in L.A. (“the trial’s coming up, his wife and her boyfriend are charged, and it’s a murder allegedly about sex and money.”) There’s also the “Millennial Bonnie and Clyde” — the catchy nickname Hunter came up with — about a couple recently tracked down in Hungary during a months-long international manhunt following the death of a man in Stoney Creek, Ont.
All one has to do is check out what Netflix is recommending to know true crime is hot right now — so it’s a perfect time for Hunter to release his collection of crime stories, hundreds of which were just sitting around.
“These are some of the most profound murder cases in North American history,” he said. “People are fabulously interested in true crime, and I’ve had a front-row seat for three decades.”
Cold Blooded Murder is available now in the U.K. and the U.S. An e-book is also available internationally.