Edited by Jeffrey Toobin, CNN’s senior legal analyst and New York Times bestselling author of The Nine, The Best American Crime Reporting 2009 is a must-have for the true crime reader, complete with the most gripping, suspenseful, and brilliant stories of the year by the masters of crime reporting. Featuring stories of fraud, murder, theft, and madness, the Best American Crime Reporting series has been hailed as “arresting reading” (People) and the best mix of “the political, the macabre, and the downright brilliant” (Entertainment Weekly).
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About the Author
Jeffrey Toobin has been a staff writer at The New Yorker since 1993 and is the senior legal analyst for CNN. In 2000 he received an Emmy Award for his coverage of the Elián González case. He is the author of The Nine: Inside the Secret World of the Supreme Court, which spent more than four months on the New York Times bestseller list. Before joining The New Yorker, Toobin served as an Assistant United States Attorney in Brooklyn, New York. He lives in Manhattan.
Otto Penzler is the proprietor of the Mysterious Bookshop, the founder of the Mysterious Press, the creator of Otto Penzler Books, and the editor of many books and anthologies.
Thomas H. Cook is the author of twenty-three books, including The Chatham School Affair, which won the Edgar Allan Poe Award for best novel, and, most recently, The Last Talk with Lola Faye.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This is a collection of 15 true crime stories originally published in 2008 in periodicals such as The New Yorker, The Atlantic and Rolling Stone. Most of the crimes are murders but there are also articles about fraud, robbery, identity theft and shoplifting. In fact, the article on shoplifting was my favorite. It's fascinating to learn how the shoplifters try to outwit all the devices the stores put in place to thwart them and the vast operations of the stores' "asset-protection departments." I had to chuckle at a discussion of the way "agents" are trained to recognize behaviors that indicate a person's intention to steal. "Men shopping alone and carrying any kind of bag always draw a second look from agents . . . because it is assumed that most men will go shopping only when dragged by a wife or girlfriend." (p. 276) Another thing that was interesting was that, more than organized retail crime and e-fencing (eBay and Craigslist are described at the world's largest pawnshops), employee theft was the biggest problem faced by stores. "You stare at this expensive stuff all day as an employee--stuff you can't afford to buy. It's a temptation." (p. 294) Another good, although very depressing, article was about crime rates decreasing in big cities but increasing in midsize ones, such as Memphis, Tennessee. "Why has Elvis's hometown turned into America's new South Bronx?" (p. 252) The answer has to do with the well-intentioned effort of demolishing big city public-housing projects "to free the poor from the destructive effects of concentrated poverty." Unfortunately, the results of the studies detailed in this article show that crime has gone along with the people who have moved out of the projects but it's such a politically sensitive issue that it's hard to get people to even acknowledge it, let alone deal with it. I'm giving this book 4 stars. I enjoyed most of the articles but not all. It's a great book for picking up occasionally when you want an interesting read but don't have alot of time.
Some of the articles are really well-written and interesting, some not so much. My favorite, like the other reviewer's, was the article on shoplifting. The others were hit-or-miss. It's a good book to read in pieces as the sections are all rather short, and pretty interesting for the most part.
Great books are hard to find anymore. All too much focus on style and not much substance.