Crime Time
September 30, 2009 11:28 AM   Subscribe

The 2009 anthology of The Best American Crime Reporting is out. Each year this series collects examples of exceptional and diverse true crime journalism. Many of the entries are available in their online magazines. Starting with "Dan P. Lee, Body Snatchers - Philadelphia magazine" (part of the story previously discussed here), a ghoulish tale of stolen corpses and the market behind him.

Continuing with the sad life of a spree killer: Mark Boal, Everyone Will Remember Me as Some Sort of Monster - Rolling Stone
A pathological spree of consumerism is recounted in Sabrina Rubin Erdely's, The Fabulous Fraudulent Life of Jocelyn and Ed - Rolling Stone.
A surgeon recalls The Day Kennedy Died - Michael J. Mooney, D Magazine.
Charles Bowden writes about drug wars in Mexico's Red Days - GQ magazine
A hate crime or not a hate crime? R. Scott Moxley, Hate and Death - OC Weekly.
A hedge fund trader is found floating face down in his swimming pool in Stephen Rodrick, Dead Man's Float - New York magazine.
Hanna Rosin's, American Murder Mystery previously discussed here - The Atlantic.

Not generally available, but in The New Yorker archives for subscribers,
Calvin Trillin, The Color of Blood - The New Yorker
John Colapinto, Stop, Thief! - The New Yorker
David Grann, True Crime - New Yorker (recommended)
Alec Wilkinson, Non-Lethal Force - The New Yorker

And finally, only available in the book:
Matt McAllester, Tribal Wars - Details
Mark Arax, The Zankou Chicken Murders - Los Angeles magazine
L. Jon Wertheim, Breaking the Bank - Sports Illustrated

posted by dances_with_sneetches (15 comments total) 36 users marked this as a favorite
Now for the editorializing. I really enjoy this series and own all of them. Even though many of the chapters are available for free, I recommend buying the book. Each year there are several entries that are not only rousing good stories, but help change my understanding of the world.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 11:37 AM on September 30, 2009

I'm going to have to pick up this book since I'm almost done reading CRIME by Alix Lambert.
posted by JBennett at 11:45 AM on September 30, 2009

Thanks dances_with_sneetches. I have jury duty tomorrow (I'm an alternate....Zzzzzz) and was wondering what I'd bring to read. This anthology will be perfect.
posted by applemeat at 11:51 AM on September 30, 2009

If you like this stuff, you will love the Tony Green Orchestra. He was a police reporter.
posted by snofoam at 12:12 PM on September 30, 2009

From the second page of Body Snatchers:

"But what was once exclusively the province of families — literally, next of kin — has morphed into a $15 billion annual business in America. "

Why emphasize next of kin? Is this some sacred phrase? Why exclude the forgotten uncle and unknown second cousin twice removed? And I think burial services have been performed by other people than the family for quite a while, be it with a church and gravediggers, or cremation ceremonies going back thousands of years. The vast amount of money surrounding the practice may be new, but that's also the case for other traditional services that have blossomed into money trees (not literally).

Oh, and I found it odd that there was so much build-up around one of the stolen bodies, when the article was apparently focused on the body snatchers. Plucking heart strings and all that, I guess. Otherwise, an interesting read =)
posted by filthy light thief at 12:15 PM on September 30, 2009

I'm going to have to pick up this book since I'm almost done reading CRIME by Alix Lambert.

I kinda wanted to read that (Lambert was a writer on Deadwood, so...well, Lambert was a writer on Deadwood!), but it's really overpriced for some reason and...and she interviews Ben Affleck? Seriously, is that like a joke or something?
posted by kittens for breakfast at 12:38 PM on September 30, 2009

Great post...I read all these books and it tipped me off that I need to order it for our library (i'm a librarian).
posted by snap_dragon at 12:48 PM on September 30, 2009

Nice... thanks for the heads up. I really dig this series.
posted by ph00dz at 12:48 PM on September 30, 2009

Kittens… no joke. I think it's worth the price. It's a nice package (hardcover with red painted page edges, nice photos throughout) that is expensive and excessive. It deserves a budget printing. The Ben Affleck interview made me roll my eyes too, but it wasn't bad. He was working on that movie Gone Baby Gone at the time and held his own with Lambert.

I love the book for it's style. Though it is all interviews, the text is arranged so you don't see Lambert's questions. The subject's side of the discussion is woven into a seamless narrative, usually in a very casual and direct conversational tone. I'm sure there is a word for that style of journalism/interview, but I don't know it.

Anyway, CRIME is a great read and worth the price.
posted by JBennett at 1:37 PM on September 30, 2009

The Crime Log put out by the Arcata Eye (Arcata, CA), is usually a fun read.

This guy at the NY Times usually manages to work in some zingers, too.
posted by notyou at 1:40 PM on September 30, 2009 [1 favorite]

FWIW: The Best American Sport Writing series is also quite awesome. I've devoured every one for well over a decade and they're pretty much all home runs.
posted by GatorDavid at 2:27 PM on September 30, 2009

I'm also quite partial to the Da Capo Music Writing series.
posted by dizzymisslizy at 4:24 PM on September 30, 2009

This will be very useful on my plane trip on Fri. Good post.
posted by reenum at 7:19 PM on September 30, 2009

Thank you dances_with_sneetches. I'm halfway through Grann's True Crime and I'm fascinated.

Any other stories from the New Yorker you can recommend? I just got a subscription and am just itching to dive into the archives.
posted by papafrita at 1:49 PM on October 1, 2009

papafrita - from the above, I would say Calvin Trillin's was the second best. The other two have aspects about them that make them interesting, but certainly not riveting.
From the 2008 edition, Malcolm Gladwell's Dangerous Minds was excellent, but then I find the subject intriguing. Beyond that, I would have to search through the previous editions to find which were New Yorker. (You can do a search for posts at MeFi using "Yorker" (253 posts) or the Newyorker tag (136 results) and look for which ones interest you.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 8:51 AM on October 2, 2009

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