George V. Reilly

Review: The Best American Crime Writing 2005

The Best American Crime Writing 2005
Title: The Best American Crime Writing 2005
Author: Otto Penzler (editor), Thomas H. Cook (editor)
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½
Publisher: Harper Perennial
Copyright: 2005
Pages: 384
Keywords: non-fiction, crime
Reading period: 9-16 December, 2007

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.


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