The Best American Crime Reporting 2010

Otto Penzler, Author, Thomas H. Cook, Author
Edited by Stephen J. Dubner, Ecco, $14.99 paper (384p) ISBN 978-0-06-149086-6
Reviewed on: 06/28/2010
Release date: 09/01/2010
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From sitting face-to-face with a cartel hitman to an unsolved kidnapping, the stories collected here are some of the best depictions of the worst of humanity. Guest editor Dubner (co-author of Freakonomics) wisely opens with a pair of pieces from long-time New Yorker staff writer Calvin Trillin, which demonstrate the wide scope of the collection: a darkly humorous poem about Roman Polanski's defenders against a statutory rape charge, and a small-town crime story about a Michigan man who gunned down a group of teenagers at a local swimming hole because he had "nothing to lose." Other standouts include Lisa R. Cohen's New York magazine piece about the 1979 disappearance of 6-year-old Etan Patz from his SoHo street and the protracted battle to bring his suspected killer to trial; Peter Savodnik's unsettling report from GQ of the Russian serial killer Alexander Pichushkin (known as the "The Maniac"), who was convicted of murdering 48 people but claimed to have killed 63; and Charles Bowden's unnerving account in Harper's of interviewing an assassin who "disappeared" hundreds of people in Mexico. Series editors Otto Penzler and Thomas H. Cook continue to deliver top-notch collections of crime stories big and small. (Sept.)
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