Female sex slaves, Ukrainian oligarchs, an obsessive silver thief, white-collar criminals facing jail time, virus writers, self-destructive surgeons, and the Madrid bombers, are just some of the stories in this collection of non-fiction writing on crime and criminals, published in various magazines in 2005.
The book is bracketed by two pieces by James Ellroy. In the foreword, he argues that "true-crime writing offers a less kineticized and more sobering set of thrills [than crime fiction]—chiefly couched in human revelation". In the concluding essay, he pays homage to Joseph Wambaugh, whose writing inspired him to become a writer himself.
The other pieces are gripping articles, ranging from the picayune—human trackers following a tiny fraction of the illegal immigrants crossing a remote stretch of the Rio Grande—to billion-dollar Ponzi schemes.