Kitty Genovese: A True Account of a Public Murder and its Private Consequences

Kitty Genovese: A True Account of a Public Murder and its Private Consequences




“I didn’t want to get involved.”


Written in a flowing narrative style, Kitty Genovese: A True Account of a Public Murder and its Private Consequences presents the story of the horrific and infamous murder of Kitty Genovese, a young woman stalked and stabbed on the street where she lived in Queens, New York in 1964. The case sparked national outrage when the New York Times revealed that dozens of witnesses had seen or heard the attacks on Kitty Genovese and her struggle to reach safety but had failed to come to her aid or even call police until after the killer had fled.
This audiobook cuts through misinformation and conjecture to present a definitive portrait of the crime, the aftermath, and the people. Based on six years of research, Catherine Pelonero’s audiobook presents the facts from the police reports, archival material, court documents, and first-hand interviews. Pelonero offers a personal look at Kitty Genovese, an ambitious young woman viciously struck down in the prime of her life; Winston Moseley, the killer who led a double life as a responsible family man by day and a deadly predator by night; the consequences for a community condemned; and others touched by the tragedy.
Beyond just a true crime story, the audiobook embodies much larger themes: the phenomenon of bystander inaction, the evolution of a serial killer, and the fears and injustices spawned by the stark prejudices of an era, many of which linger to this day.
©2014 Catherine Pelonero (P)2014 Audible, Inc.


Sociologists have been studying the case of Kitty Genovese from practically the day she was murdered. Indeed, her murder is quite extraordinary due to the number of witnesses who heard or saw the attack and chose to do nothing. It was this revelation in the media shortly after Genovese’s murder, particularly in the New York Times, that led to social experiments and the theory known as of the Bystander Effect.
In ‘Kitty Genovese’ author Catherine Pelonero takes on a reconstruction of the crime and examines the investigation, the arrest, the trial, and the media coverage. Pelonero profiles Genovese, her killer, and a few more of the people who played a part in the saga.
Something amazing about the coverage of the Kitty Genovese murder and the reported 38 witnesses who did not call the police or come to her aid is that it took place in the era before 24-hour news cycles and the Internet. If a case like that of Genovese were to happen today, the news media might explode. You have an African American male attacking a white woman who happened to be a lesbian, several witnesses who did not contact police, and you’ve got a recipe for the perfect storm of media coverage. Even with it taking place primarily in the newspaper at first, the Genovese case has moved from the murder of a young woman to a criticism of “yellow journalism,” as Pelonero points out in her book.
‘Kitty Genovese’ does not paint the best picture of the human condition. The phrase “I didn’t want to get involved” gets repeated several times throughout the narrative, and one can’t help but wonder what would have had to occur to make those people decide to get involved.
Pelonero does her best to remind everyone of Kitty Genovese the person as opposed to Kitty Genovese the social experiment. She offers a biography of Kitty Genovese as daughter, sister, friend, acquaintance, free spirit and lover. The death of Kitty Genovese led to a lot of changes. Ehe 911 system in place today is traced back to this event, but for those closest to her it is not a question of social inaction but a story of personal loss.


Catherine Pelonero delivers a thorough retelling of the entire Kitty Genovese saga from the night of the murder to the investigation and arrest, the trial, the media coverage, and the aftermath which has continued for decades. Pelonero deserves credit for reminding readers that despite all things the case has become over the years from social experiment to criticism of yellow journalism, the fact remains that Kitty Genovese was a real person and her loss is felt by real people.


Dina Pearlman narrates with a firm and businesslike approach to the subject matter. Her voice carries with it a tone of authority. She has a very powerful voice and uses it to great effect here.


The track sounds as great as you would expect it to, considering it was recorded in 2014. There are no music cues or other sound effects to be found, and again that is as you would expect given the subject matter. The audio tracks match up with the book chapters for the most part, but some of the book chapters are quite long, and as a result there are a few that are split into multiple audio chapters.


Since the events of March 13, 1964, the case of Kitty Genovese has been covered extensively. Pelonero mentions in ‘Kitty Genovese’ that one of Kitty’s brothers had to read about his sister’s murder in high school and college textbooks. That small revelation served as a sharp reminder that underneath everything this is still a personal tragedy.
It will only grow more and more difficult as time passes to be sure of anything surrounding the Kitty Genovese murder and what actions were taken by the witnesses, if any. The more time passes, the fewer people who were there are around to talk and to answer critics. However, Catherine Pelonero’s ‘Kitty Genovese’ stands as the most thorough examination of the case as we will probably ever get.


Title Author Narrator Publisher Genre Release Date Running Time Score
Kitty Genovese: A True Account of a Public Murder and its Private Consequences Catherine Pelonero Dina Pearlman Audible Studios True Crime 03/04/2014 13 hours, 8 minutes 7.5/10


A copy of ‘KITTY GENOVESE: A TRUE ACCOUNT OF A PUBLIC MURDER AND ITS PRIVATE CONSEQUENCES’ was borrowed from Kindle Unlimited for review.