Best American Crime Writing

By Otto Penzler, Thomas H. Cook, Nicholas Pileggi
A riveting new anthology series–a year’s worth of the most powerful, the most startling, the most astute and smartest, in short, the best crime journalism. Included in this first volume are Mark Singer’s “The Chicken Warriors” from The New Yorker: an up-close look at the tawdry, wildly popular, illegal world of cock-fighting; E. Jean Carrol’s “The Cheerleaders” fromSpin: the story of how an idyllic town–the model for Bedford Falls in It’s a Wonderful Life–was ravaged by murders, rapes, and suicides; and David McClintick’s “Fatal Bondage” from Vanity Fair: the tale of a grifter with an attraction to sado-masochistic sex and serial killing. Intriguing, entertaining, compelling reading, The Best American Crime Writing is sure to become a much-anticipated annual.
Paperback: 432 pages
Publisher: Vintage; Vintage edition (August 13, 2002)
ISBN: 0375712992

From Publishers Weekly

Penzler, founder of the Mysterious Press and Otto Penzler Books, and true-crime writer Cook (Blood Echoes), inaugurate a new annual series with this first-rate collection of the best crime writing published in 2001. William Langewiesche delivers both the human and the technical events in “The Crash of EgyptAir 990”; Alex Prud’homme investigates the dilemma facing the state of Texas, which condemned Johnny Paul Penry, a retarded man, to death in its busy execution chamber; Julian Rubinstein portrays Jacob “Cookie” Organ, an Israeli who was “the Pablo Escobar of Ecstasy”; while Nancy Gibbs conjures a frightening September 11 play-by-play in “The Day of the Attack.” The majority of the pieces have a finger on the cultural pulse, but the best offer something more. Robert Draper’s portrayal of a troubled girl who eventually kills her two children includes a scathing criticism of society at large (“Strangely, the Texas authorities insist upon viewing Tina Marie’s dirty-laundry list of boyfriends as the handiwork of a manipulative black widow… The tsk-tsks fly”). E. Jean Carroll’s “The Cheerleaders” is a morose and darkly ironic account of suicide, torture and murder in a town rumored to have been the model for Bedford Falls in It’s a Wonderful Life. Charles Bowden immerses readers in the muddled and too familiar world of a DEA agent slipping across the line in Mexico. This is an important book for crime buffs, but will appeal to general readers as well. The only complaint and it’s minor is that, though the editors say they scoured “nearly two hundred so-called little magazines, reviews and journals,” most of these articles come from such national magazines as the New Yorker, GQ and the Atlantic Monthly.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

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