cover image Among the Bros: A Fraternity Crime Story

Among the Bros: A Fraternity Crime Story

Max Marshall. Harper, $30 (304p) ISBN 978-0-06-309953-1

In this sobering debut, journalist Marshall digs into the deadly hubris underpinning an organized crime ring at the College of Charleston. In 2016, a task force busted five Charleston Kappa Alpha fraternity members and three of their friends for running a $400,000 narcotics network. After the news broke, Marshall—fresh out of college himself—flew to Charleston, S.C., to interview key players in the story, including family and friends of the arrested, and the group’s ringleader, Mikey Schmidt, who’s currently serving a 10-year prison sentence for drug trafficking. Schmidt, who knew he wanted to pledge Kappa Alpha before he knew what he wanted to study, fit the Southern frat boy stereotype to a tee, but unlike his peers, he didn’t stop at selling weed to procure party money: fueled by a sense of entrepreneurial greatness, he built a major operation that supplied Xanax, cocaine, and other drugs to a chain of colleges across the South. As Marshall spent more time with Schmidt and his accomplices, he pieced together a lurid tale of adolescent ego (Schmidt cops to much of his criminal activity, but bristles when Marshall suggests that a rival frat had more clout than Kappa Alpha) and unchecked privilege that culminated in the murder of one of the ring’s distributors. Through chilling, candid conversations with his sources, Marshall convincingly illustrates how these young men allowed greed to wreck their lives. The result is a fast-paced and frightening campus crime saga. Agent: Luke Janklow, Janklow & Nesbit Assoc. (Nov.)