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The Napoleon of Crime
Profiles the most famous safe cracker, bank robber, and art thief of the Victorian Age and the model for Professor Moriarty in the Sherlock Holmes mysteries.
Exposed: The Secret Life of Jodi Arias (Large Print)
On June 9, 2008, the butchered body of Travis Alexander was found in his Arizona home with twenty-nine knife wounds, his throat slit, and a gunshot to the head. The prime suspect was Alexander's ex-girlfriend, Jodi Arias, who lied for years about her involvement before finally resting on an appalling claim: she had killed Travis in self-defense. Soon, graphic stories about the Mormon couple's relationship and their lurid sexual encounters emerged, launching a trial filled with sex and deception and raising substantial questions about Arias's deceit-filled world. Now, with unbridled access to the case, award-winning broadcast journalist Jane Velez-Mitchell unearths Jodi's history to illustrate the disturbing pattern of a murderer in the making. Using insider accounts from those closest to Travis and Jodi, she separates fact from fiction, reporting on the bizarre and explicit stories that have shocked and fascinated the American public. Complete with photos and Velez-Mitchell's fresh insights, Exposed takes readers behind closed bedroom doors to uncover the truth behind the secret life of Jodi Arias.
The Map Thief
Once considered a respectable rare-map dealer, E. Forbes Smiley made millions and was highly esteemed for his knowledge; until he was arrested for slipping maps out of books in the Yale University library. Though pieces of the story have been told before, Blanding is the first reporter to gain access to Smiley himself after he'd gone silent. Although Smiley swears he has admitted to all of the maps he stole, libraries claim he stole hundreds more, and offer evidence to prove it. Using interviews, Blanding teases out the tale of deception.
The Trial of Lizzie Borden
When Andrew and Abby Borden were brutally hacked to death in Fall River, Massachusetts, in August 1892, the arrest of the couple’s younger daughter Lizzie turned the case into international news and her murder trial into a spectacle unparalleled in American history. Reporters flocked to the scene. Well-known columnists took up conspicuous seats in the courtroom. The defendant was relentlessly scrutinized for signs of guilt or innocence. Everyone - rich and poor, suffragists and social conservatives, legal scholars and laypeople - had an opinion about Lizzie Borden’s guilt or innocence. Was she a cold-blooded murderess or an unjustly persecuted lady? Did she or didn’t she?Based on transcripts of the Borden legal proceedings, contemporary newspaper articles, previously withheld lawyer's journals, unpublished local reports, and recently unearthed letters from Lizzie herself, The Trial of Lizzie Borden is definitive account of the Borden murder case and offers a window into America in the Gilded Age, showcasing its most deeply held convictions and its most troubling social anxieties.
American Desperado: My Life--from Mafia Soldier to Cocaine Cowboy to Secret Government Asset
In 2008 veteran journalist Evan Wright began a series of conversations with super-criminal Jon Roberts, star of the fabulously successful documentary Cocaine Cowboys. Those conversations would last three years, during which time Wright came to realize that Roberts was much more than the de-facto "transportation chief" of the Medellin Cartel during the 1980s, much more than a facilitator of a national drug epidemic. As Wright's tape recorder whirred and Roberts unburdened himself of hundreds of jaw-dropping tales, it became clear that perhaps no one in history had broken so many laws with such willful abandon. Roberts, in fact, seemed to be a prodigy of criminality - but one with a remarkable self-awareness and a fierce desire to protect his son from following the same path. American Desperado is Roberts' no-holds-barred account of being born into Mafia royalty, witnessing his first murder at the age of seven, becoming a hunter-assassin in Vietnam, returning to New York to become - at age 22 - one of the city's leading nightclub impresarios, then journeying to Miami where in a few short years he would rise to become the Medellin Cartel's most effective smuggler. But that's just half the tale. The roster of Roberts' friends and acquaintances reads like a Who's Who of the latter half of the 20th century and includes everyone from Jimi Hendrix, Richard Pryor, and O.J. Simpson to Carlo Gambino, Meyer Lansky, and Manuel Noriega. Nothing if not colorful, Roberts surrounded himself with beautiful women, drove his souped-up street car at a top speed of 180 miles per hour, shared his bed with a 200-pound cougar, and employed a 6"6" professional wrestler called "The Thing" as his bodyguard. Ultimately, Roberts became so powerful that he attracted the attention of the Republican Party's leadership, was wooed by them, and even was co-opted by the CIA for which he carried out its secret agenda. Scrupulously documented and relentlessly propulsive, this collaboration between a bloodhound journalist and one of the most audacious criminals ever is like no other crime book you've ever read. Jon Roberts may be the only criminal who changed the course of American history.
In 1998, William Queen was a veteran law enforcement agent with a lifelong love of motorcycles and a lack of patience with paperwork. When a "confidential informant" made contact with his boss at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, offering to take an agent inside the San Fernando chapter of the Mongols (the scourge of Southern California, and one of the most dangerous gangs in America), Queen jumped at the chance, not realizing that he was kicking-starting the most extensive undercover operation inside an outlaw motorcycle gang in the history of American law enforcement. Nor did Queen suspect that he would penetrate the gang so successfully that he would become a fully "patched-in" member, eventually rising through their ranks to the office of treasurer, where he had unprecedented access to evidence of their criminal activity. After Queen spent twenty-eight months as "Billy St. John," the bearded, beer-swilling, Harley-riding gang-banger, the truth of his identity became blurry, even to himself.Despite the constant criminality of the gang, for whom planning cop killings and gang rapes were business as usual, Queen also came to see the genuine camaraderie they shared. When his lengthy undercover work totally isolated Queen from family, his friends, and ATF colleagues, the Mongols felt like the only family he had left. "I had no doubt these guys genuinely loved Billy St. John and would have laid down their lives for him. But they wouldn't hesitate to murder Billy Queen."From Queen's first sleight of hand with a line of methamphetamine in front of him and a knife at his throat, to the fearsome face-off with their decades-old enemy, the Hell's Angels (a brawl that left three bikers dead), to the heartbreaking scene of a father ostracized at Parents' Night because his deranged-outlaw appearance precluded any interaction with regular citizens, Under and Alone is a breathless, adrenaline-charged read that puts you on the street with some of the most dangerous men in America and with the law enforcement agents who risk everything to bring them in.
Orange Is the New Black
With a career, a boyfriend, and a loving family, Piper Kerman barely resembles the reckless young woman who delivered a suitcase of drug money ten years before. But that past has caught up with her. Convicted and sentenced to fifteen months at the infamous federal correctional facility in Danbury, Connecticut, the well-heeled Smith College alumna is now inmate #11187-424 - one of the millions of people who disappear "down the rabbit hole" of the American penal system. From her first strip search to her final release, Kerman learns to navigate this strange world with its strictly enforced codes of behavior and arbitrary rules. She meets women from all walks of life, who surprise her with small tokens of generosity, hard words of wisdom, and simple acts of acceptance. Heartbreaking, hilarious, and at times enraging, Kerman's story offers a rare look into the lives of women in prison - why it is we lock so many away and what happens to them when they're there.
Playing Dead: A Journey Through the World of Death Fraud
Is it still possible to fake your own death in the twenty-first century? With six figures of student loan debt, Elizabeth Greenwood was tempted to find out. So off she sets on a darkly comic foray into the world of death fraud, where for $30,000 a consultant can make you disappear - but your suspicious insurance company might hire a private detective to dig up your coffin...only to find it filled with rocks.Greenwood tracks down a British man who staged a kayaking accident and then returned to live in his own house while all his neighbors thought he was dead. She takes a call from Michael Jackson (no, he’s not dead - or so her new acquaintances would have her believe), stalks message boards for people contemplating pseudocide, and gathers intel on black market morgues in the Philippines, where she may or may not obtain some fraudulent goodies of her own. Along the way, she learns that love is a much less common motive than money, and that making your death look like a drowning virtually guarantees that you’ll be caught. (Disappearing while hiking, however, is a way great to go.)Playing Dead is a charmingly bizarre investigation in the vein of Jon Ronson and Mary Roach into our all-too-human desire to escape from the lives we lead, and the men and women desperate enough to give up their lives - and their families - to start again.
A beloved crime reporter revisits some of her biggest assignments and passes judgment on our judicial system—and especially its judges - in this national bestseller.When Christie Blatchford wandered into a Toronto courtroom in 1978 for the start of the first criminal trial she would cover as a newspaper reporter, little did she know she was also at the start of a self-imposed life sentence. She has been reporting from Canadian courtrooms for the Toronto Star, The Globe and Mail and the National Post ever since. Back in '78, she loved the courts, lawyers and judges, and that persisted for many years. But slowly, surely, she suffered a loss of faith. What happened? It was at the recent Mike Duffy trial she had the epiphany: That judges are the new senators, unelected, unaccountable and overly entitled. Yet unlike senators, they continue to get away with it because any questioning by government or its agents is deemed an intrusion onto judicial independence. In her explosive new book, Christie Blatchford revisits trials from throughout her career and asks the hard questions--about judges playing with the truth--through editing of criminal records, whitewashing of criminal records, pre-trial rulings that kick out evidence the jury can't hear. She discusses bad or troubled judges--how and why they get picked, and what can be done about them. And shows how judges are handmaidens to the state, as in the Bernardo trial when a small-town lawyer and an intellectual writer were pursued with more vigor than Karla Homolka.For anyone interested in the political and judicial fabric of this country, Life Sentence is a remarkable, argumentative, insightful and hugely important book.
The Man in the Monster: Inside the Mind of a Serial Killer
An astonishing portrait of a murderer and his complex relationship with a crusading journalist Michael Ross was a serial killer who raped and murdered eight young women between 1981 and 1984. In 2005, the state of Connecticut put him to death by lethal injection. His crimes were horrific, and he paid the ultimate price for them. When journalist Martha Elliott first heard of Ross, she learned what the world knew of him--that he had been a master at hiding in plain sight. Elliott, a staunch critic of the death penalty, was drawn to the case when the Connecticut Supreme Court overturned Ross's six death sentences. Rather than fight for his life, Ross requested that he be executed because he didn't want the families of his victims to suffer through a new trial. Elliott was intrigued and sought an interview. The two began a weekly conversation--and developed an odd form of friendship--that lasted over a decade, until Ross's last moments of life. Over the course of his twenty years in prison, Ross had come to embrace faith for the first time in his life. He had also undergone extensive medical treatment. The Michael Ross whom Elliott knew seemed to be a different man from the monster who was capable of such heinous crimes. This Michael Ross made it his mission to share his story with Elliott in the hopes that it would save lives. He was her partner in unlocking the mystery of his own evil. In The Man in the Monster, Martha Elliott gives us a groundbreaking look into the life and motivation of a serial killer. Drawing on a decade of conversations and letters between Ross and the author, readers are given an in-depth view of a killer's innermost thoughts and secrets, revealing the human face of a monster--without ignoring the horrors of his crimes. Elliott takes us deep into a world of court hearings, tomblike prisons, lawyers hell-bent to kill or to save--and families ravaged by love and hate. This is the personal story of a journalist who came to know herself in ways she could never have imagined when she opened the notebook for that first interview.
The Trial of Lizzie Borden
The Trial of Lizzie Borden tells the true story of one of the most sensational murder trials in American history. When Andrew and Abby Borden were brutally hacked to death in Fall River, Massachusetts, in August 1892, the arrest of the couple’s younger daughter Lizzie turned the case into international news and her trial into a spectacle unparalleled in American history. Reporters flocked to the scene. Well-known columnists took up conspicuous seats in the courtroom. The defendant was relentlessly scrutinized for signs of guilt or innocence. Everyone - rich and poor, suffragists and social conservatives, legal scholars and laypeople - had an opinion about Lizzie Borden’s guilt or innocence. Was she a cold-blooded murderess or an unjustly persecuted lady? Did she or didn’t she?The popular fascination with the Borden murders and its central enigmatic character has endured for more than one hundred years. Immortalized in rhyme, told and retold in every conceivable genre, the murders have secured a place in the American pantheon of mythic horror, but one typically wrenched from its historical moment. In contrast, Cara Robertson explores the stories Lizzie Borden’s culture wanted and expected to hear and how those stories influenced the debate inside and outside of the courtroom. Based on transcripts of the Borden legal proceedings, contemporary newspaper accounts, unpublished local accounts, and recently unearthed letters from Lizzie herself, The Trial of Lizzie Borden offers a window onto America in the Gilded Age, showcasing its most deeply held convictions and its most troubling social anxieties.
A Burglar's Guide to the City
Encompassing nearly 2,000 years of heists and tunnel jobs, break-ins and escapes, A Burglar's Guide to the City offers an unexpected blueprint to the criminal possibilities in the world all around us. You'll never see the city the same way again.
Little Shoes: The Sensational Depression-Era Murders That Became My Family's Secret
In the summer of 1937, with the Depression deep and World War II looming, a California triple murder stunned an already grim nation. After a frantic week-long manhunt for the killer, a suspect emerged, and his sensational trial captivated audiences from coast to coast. Justice was swift, and the condemned man was buried away with the horrifying story.But decades later, Pamela Everett, a lawyer and former journalist, starts digging, following up a cryptic comment her father once made about a tragedy in their past. Her journey is uniquely personal as she uncovers her family's secret history, but the investigation quickly takes unexpected turns into her professional wheelhouse.Everett unearths a truly historic legal case that included one of the earliest criminal profiles in the United States, the genesis of modern sex offender laws, and the last man sentenced to hang in California. Digging deeper and drawing on her experience with wrongful convictions, Everett then raises detailed and haunting questions about whether the authorities got the right man. Having revived the case to its rightful place in history, she leaves us with enduring concerns about the death penalty then and now.A journey chronicled through the mind of a lawyer and from the heart of a daughter, Little Shoes is both a captivating true crime story and a profoundly personal account of one family's struggle to cope with tragedy through the generations.
Creepy Crawling: Charles Manson and the Many Lives of America's Most Infamous Family
"Creepy crawling" was the Manson Family's practice of secretly entering someone's home and, without harming anyone, leaving only a trace of evidence that they had been there, some reminder that the sanctity of the private home had been breached. Now, author Jeffrey Melnick reveals just how much the Family creepy crawled their way through Los Angeles in the sixties and then on through American social, political, and cultural life for close to fifty years, firmly lodging themselves in our minds. Even now, it is almost impossible to discuss the sixties, teenage runaways, sexuality, drugs, music, California, and even the concept of family without referencing Manson and his "girls."Not just another history of Charles Manson, Creepy Crawling explores how the Family weren't so much outsiders but emblematic of the Los Angeles counterculture freak scene, and how Manson worked to connect himself to the mainstream of the time. Ever since they spent two nights killing seven residents of Los Angeles—what we now know as the "Tate-LaBianca murders"—the Manson family has rarely slipped from the American radar for long. From Emma Cline's The Girls to the recent TV show Aquarius, the family continues to find an audience. What is it about Charles Manson and his family that captivates us still? Author Jeffrey Melnick sets out to answer this question in this fascinating and compulsively readable cultural history of the Family and their influence from 1969 to the present.
Putin's Kleptocracy: Who Owns Russia?
The raging question in the world today is who is the real Vladimir Putin and what are his intentions. Karen Dawisha’s brilliant Putin’s Kleptocracy provides an answer, describing how Putin got to power, the cabal he brought with him, the billions they have looted, and his plan to restore the Greater Russia.
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