Jeff Guinn‘s new book about infamous killer and cult leader Charles Manson is getting plenty of praise from critics, including Janet Maslin at The New York Times.

The Los Angeles Times review was lukewarm but overall it looks like Guinn has a critical success on his hands. One of the many new stories revealed in the book — a relative once forced Manson to wear a dress to school in the first grade as punishment for crying in class.

Manson: The Life and Times of Charles Manson explores the killer’s formative years like no previous books have done, and includes interviews with relatives who hadn’t sat for interviews.

Manson follows Guinn’s previous page-turner of nonfiction crime Go Down Together (2009) about the lives of murdering bank robbers Bonnie and Clyde.

Guinn has also written The Autobiography of Santa Claus and How Mrs. Claus Saved Christmas, so he sounds a little crazy too.

Locals might remember Guinn for his interesting series on the homeless that he wrote many years ago while working at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Guinn spent a week living as a homeless man on the streets day and night and wrote about his escapades in gripping detail.