Mark Bowden on Turning Over a Cold Case’s “Last Stone”

Book review: The Last Stone, by Mark Bowden (Amazon / Book Depository) Mark Bowden is a gem in narrative journalism. I’ve so often been sucked into reading a longread, that kind of lose-track-of-time story, and see it’s his after finally checking the byline. He’s a wonderfully compelling storyteller and a thorough, detail-oriented journalist. In The Last Stone, he revisits the recently solved disappearance of the … Continue reading Mark Bowden on Turning Over a Cold Case’s “Last Stone”

Genesis of the “Mindhunter”

Book review: Mindhunter, by John Douglas and Mark Olshaker (Amazon / Book Depository) It isn’t always easy, and it’s never pleasant, putting yourself in these guys’ shoes —or inside their minds. But that’s what my people and I have to do. We have to try to feel what it was like for each one. When I mentioned FBI profiler John Douglas’s upcoming book with his … Continue reading Genesis of the “Mindhunter”

An Unusual Investigation Reveals Sweden’s “Dark Heart”

Book review: The Dark Heart, by Joakim Palmkvist (Amazon / Book Depository) At summer’s end in 2012, an older, miserly farmer went missing from his farm in the Swedish countryside. The surrounding region is dubbed the “dark heart of Smaland,” in reference to its traditional conservatism and religious background. Palmkvist points out that it’s an apt expression for this story, at the heart of which … Continue reading An Unusual Investigation Reveals Sweden’s “Dark Heart”

New York City’s 16-Year Manhunt and Criminal Profiling’s Beginnings

Book review: Incendiary, by Michael Cannell (Amazon / Book Depository) In 1956 there was no such thing as criminal profiling; nobody could recall an instance when the police had consulted a psychiatrist. It was a collaboration fabricated in detective novels, but never found in real life. Every one of today’s profilers, real or televised, traces his or her lineage back to the psychiatrist who depicted the … Continue reading New York City’s 16-Year Manhunt and Criminal Profiling’s Beginnings

A Case Study of Justice and Racial Politics in Florida

Book review: Beneath a Ruthless Sun, by Gilbert King Amazon Gilbert King, 2013 Pulitzer winner for Devil in the Grove: Thurgood Marshall, the Groveland Boys, and the Dawn of a New America, returns to the setting of that book: mid-20th century Florida and the intersection of justice and race relations, to tell a new story from the era in this extensive work of history. The book, which … Continue reading A Case Study of Justice and Racial Politics in Florida

Janet Malcolm Observes a Murder Trial

Book review: Iphigenia in Forest Hills, by Janet Malcolm (Amazon / Book Depository) Iphigenia in Forest Hills is a well reported account of a 2009 murder trial by renowned journalist Janet Malcolm. The victim at the center was dentist Daniel Malakov, who in 2007 was shot on a playground allegedly on the orders of his wife, Mazoltov Borukhova, a respected doctor in Forest Hills, Queens. Malakov’s death … Continue reading Janet Malcolm Observes a Murder Trial

Southern Corruption and the Flawed System Allowing Injustice

Book review: The Cadaver King and the Country Dentist, by Radley Balko and Tucker Carrington (Amazon / Book Depository) Despite the relatively low pay of the state positions in forensic pathology, a doctor willing to bend the profession’s guidelines to help supply meet demand could make good money. There are quite a few places across the country where that’s exactly what happened – where doctors have … Continue reading Southern Corruption and the Flawed System Allowing Injustice

A Crucial, Timely Work of Narrative Reportage on Rape Investigation

Book review: A False Report, by T. Christian Miller and Ken Armstrong Amazon / Book Depository It’s early, but I’ll call it – this will be one of the most important nonfiction titles released this year. Pulitzer Prize-winning journalists T. Christian Miller and Ken Armstrong discovered every reporter’s nightmare – they were chasing nearly the same story. It was that of a serial rapist recently caught and … Continue reading A Crucial, Timely Work of Narrative Reportage on Rape Investigation

Case Histories of an Unusual Investigative Group

Book review: No Stone Unturned, by Steve Jackson In 1988, several criminalists and other scientists sat down in a Denver-area restaurant and came up with the idea of burying pigs to study changes to environments caused by the graves and their contents. Disturbed by what they’d witnessed of outdated techniques for locating clandestine burial sites and the recovery of the remains of murder victims, their idea … Continue reading Case Histories of an Unusual Investigative Group

Infamy in Italy

Book review: A Death in Italy, by John Follain Amazon London Times journalist John Follain was on the scene early in Perugia, Italy in November 2007 (ten years ago this month) when one of the country’s most infamous cases in recent memory started unfolding. In 2012, after the eventual acquittal of accused American student Amanda Knox and her former Italian boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, he published … Continue reading Infamy in Italy

Reasonable Doubt Abounds: Reexamining a Conviction

Book review: Convenient Suspect, by Tammy Mal (Amazon / Book Depository) Rereading the synopsis before starting this book, it dawned on me that I’d heard of the case, although I hadn’t initially recognized it when I got the book. And I’d never realized it was as complicated as it is. I saw it covered on HBO’s Autopsy, an excellent docuseries (most of which is on YouTube) that … Continue reading Reasonable Doubt Abounds: Reexamining a Conviction

Another Side of a Much-Discussed Story

Book review: Avery, by Ken Kratz Grim and plain – that was the nature of these truths. They may not be as exciting as conspiracy theories, but they do have the virtue of being supported by facts. Former Wisconsin special prosecutor Ken Kratz is kind of a sleazebag and he knows it. In 2010, his professional and personal lives unraveled over a reprehensible sexting incident: sending harassing … Continue reading Another Side of a Much-Discussed Story