Compulsion: A Novel by Meyer Levin has completely sucked me in. I am currently about half-way through the 456-page book. It is based on the infamous Leopold and Loeb case of 1924 in Chicago where two wealthy young men, Nathan Leopold, Jr. and Richard Loeb, murdered 14-year-old Robert Franks.
Often referred to as the crime of the century, the Leopold and Loeb case opened people’s eyes to the growing violence in Chicago. Meyer Levin was actually a budding reporter at the time and was involved in the case as it unfolded. Years later, he wrote Compulsion going back in time to relive the case.
However, Compulsion isn’t merely a repetition of facts. Instead, it is a fictionalized account of the case written from different perspectives, including those of the murderers. Names have been changed and gaps have been filled. What I find particularly intriguing is that this book isn’t like other murder mysteries. Rather, you know from the start who killed Paulie Kessler (the fictionalized Robert Franks) and you know that Judd Steiner and Artie Straus will eventually be caught. Still, it’s such a journey as you follow along how they planned the murder, how they were caught, and the psychology behind it all.
To be continued …