''Crime Beat'' magazine -- The title tackles all the ''true crime'' stories readers can?t turn away from

As if the flood of true-crime books and real-life cop shows weren’t enough, there’s now CrimeBeat magazine, a glossy monthly with the macabre allure of a highway accident: You’d like to look away but you just can’t.

”Joseph Conrad called it the ‘fascination with abomination,”’ says editor T.E.D. Klein, a former fiction editor at the magazine Twilight Zone and an author of horror-pulp fiction. ”There is a fascination with people like Jeffrey Dahmer; (they represent) the extremes of human behavior.”

But CrimeBeat, which describes itself as the ”first newsmagazine of crime” offers more than the expected gore-filled accounts of murders. The premiere issue of the magazine, which will be sold at newsstands, supermarkets, and chain stores across the country, includes a critique of the American prison system, an analysis of the professional expertise of the lawyers on L.A. Law, a profile of lawyer-turned-novelist Andrew Vachss (Hard Candy, Strega), and an article on home security.

Klein came up with the idea at lunch about two years ago when he and some friends were talking about magazines they’d like to see. Klein admitted he scanned newspapers for crime stories, and a consultant suggested he write up a proposal for a magazine that would indulge his obsession.

”It didn’t take a genius to see there’s a niche there that hasn’t been filled,” says Klein, who put together a small group of investors and hopes to have a circulation of 350,000 by the end of the year. ”My suspicion is that there are a lot of secret crime fans out there in all walks of life.”