Dissertations and Theses @ UNI


Open Access Thesis


This thesis studies the shift of the true crime genre from art to inescapable propaganda. This change is due, in part, to the politization of the genre by modern society. This includes the concept of the “most dead” seen within the true crime genre over the past several decades. The idea of the most dead is the belief that some victims of crimes are more or less dead depending on how marketable their demographic is. For instance, a blonde, Caucasian child would be considered the most dead while a woman of color in the sex work industry would be the least dead. This is because the latter isn’t considered a valuable member of society and is therefore not seen as marketable by investigators or true crime authors.

By underreporting and misrepresenting members of demographics that would be considered least dead, there has been a further spread of misinformation about these groups. However, in recent decades there has been a shift in the way society views these demographics, which has led to a change in how true crime writes about them. This shift has caused readers’ views on these groups to change. Which has led to the entire genre becoming politicized and making it now arguably more propaganda than art.

Further into my thesis, I describe why and how this has happened by analyzing different examples of true crime literature. I focus specifically on contemporary pieces of the murder subgenre that take place within North America. I place them on a scale from most politically correct to least, or “cancelable” or not. This allows me to compare the pieces and how they discuss the demographics seen within the least dead.

Year of Submission


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Department of Languages and Literatures

First Advisor

Jeremy Schraffenberger, Chair, Thesis Committee

Date Original


Object Description

1 PDF file (vi, 82 pages)