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Busted: A Tale of Corruption and Betrayal in the City of Brotherly Love Hardcover – March 11, 2014


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Harper (March 11, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062085441
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062085443
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.1 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (82 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #293,270 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Benny Martinez had been a drug informant for narcotics cop Jeff Cudjik for seven years. The two men were so close in their successful snitch-and-bust enterprise that Jeff even rented a house next to Benny and his family. When they had a falling out, Benny was on the run, fearful of police and drug dealers who knew he’d sold them out. Benny turned to Philadelphia Daily News reporters Ruderman and Laker, giving them the background on hundreds of busts, many based on fabricated evidence. The reporters, an odd couple—Ruderman, short and pugnacious, and Laker, tall and gracious—began a 10-month series that uncovered widespread abuse in the narcotics unit, from the systematic looting of bodegas to sexual assault by one officer. The series irritated the FBI, in the midst of its own investigation of police corruption, and angered the police and their sympathizers as drug crimes took a toll on the city. Prevailing against threats, intimidation, and the impending bankruptcy of their newspaper, Ruderman and Laker delivered a powerful series on police corruption, ultimately earning the Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting. This is a gritty, true-life thriller about the intersection of policing, drug dealing, and news reporting. --Vanessa Bush

Review

“Equal parts serious journalism and sisterly sass, Busted is a personable and fast-reading ride…a shoe-leather journalistic procedural set against the ticking clock of the failing newspaper industry.” (New York Times Book Review)

“The chick, noir version of All the President’s Men with a little Rocky… and a little almost anything with Rosalind Russell or Barbara Stanwyck.” (Washington Post)

“A riveting tale of two brave reporters who love what they do and are totally committed….engaging, down to earth and at times, very funny.” (USA Today)

Busted is a very good book about very bad people, a great read about great injustice.…Busted is proof that journalism still lives, still matters.” (Newsweek)

“The new book Busted: A Tale of Corruption and Betrayal in the City of Brotherly Love is the chick, noir version of All the President’s Men.” (Washington Post)

“I admire Wendy Ruderman and Barbara Laker, who are not only Pulitzer-Prize winning journalists, but fearless and fascinating women. Busted reads like a turbo-charged thriller, all the more compelling because it’s true. Pick up a copy, and you won’t be able to put it down.” (Lisa Scottoline)

“A story that not only pounds at the door to come inside, but stands as a much-needed reminder that newspapers are and always have been and, as far as I know, always will be the bedrock of the art of journalism.” (Pete Dexter, journalist and author of National Book Award-winner Paris Trout)

Busted: A Tale of Corruption and Betrayal in the City of Brotherly Love is the scorching, devastating, and action-packed story of two journalists’ journey into the dark heart of a major city.…Wendy Ruderman and Barbara Laker are true heroes…. I love this book.” (Edna Buchanan, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and bestselling author)

Busted is a thoroughly engaging…trip into Philadelphia’s underworld, where cops prey on those they are pledged to protect…. Rich with character and incident, it’s a complete original, and a love letter to newspapers in their hour of dire need.” (Mark Bowden, author of Black Hawk Down)

Busted is a taut, gritty story of drug dealers and corrupt cops written with passion, fury and what Philadelphians refer to as attitude (pronounced ‘atty-tood’). Ruderman and Laker have a lot of that, which is why they’re two of the best reporters in the country.” (George Anastasia, author of Blood and Honor and The Last Gangster)

Busted reads like a gritty crime novel, but it is a paean to journalistic professionalism.” (Michael Smerconish, columnist, MSNBC contributor, and host of The Michael Smerconish Program on SiriusXM)

“A fast-paced, well-written true crime book.” (Washington Times)

Busted is a welcome addition to the literature of journalism procedurals.” (Philadelphia Inquirer)

“Fans of The Front Page and All the President’s Men will be transfixed by this astounding tale of police corruption.” (New York Post)

“Prevailing against threats, intimidation, and the impending bankruptcy of their newspaper, Ruderman and Laker delivered a powerful series on police corruption, ultimately earning the Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting. This is a gritty, true-life thriller about the intersection of policing, drug dealing, and news reporting” (Booklist (starred review))

“This true crime book offers an impressive, crisply told account of the reporting of a police corruption scandal that yielded a Pulitzer Prize…. The book is a tough, lively lesson in how doing the right thing, the right way, may not be enough.” (Publishers Weekly)

“Ruderman and Laker provide a welcome addition to the shelves of books about the mechanics and logistics of journalistic exposés . . . . [t]he narrative offers an insightful view of high-risk, high-reward investigative journalism.” (Kirkus Reviews)

“Prevailing against threats, intimidation, and the impending bankruptcy of their newspaper, [Ruderman and Laker]…tell a story of a city the tourists seldom see.” (Booklist Online)

“As investigative reporters for the Philadelphia Daily News, this writing duo won a Pulitzer Prize for their series on police corruption in Philadelphia. The story starts with Benny Martinez, a drug informant…. It ends by exposing the dirty dealings of an elite narcotics squad.” (Houston Chronicle, “10 Books Worth Reading in 2014”)

“Part study in investigative journalism, it also delivers a commentary on the state of print journalism today, and justice.” (Daily News)

Busted is a Philadelphia classic…. It’s an easy, breezy read but that’s not to say it’s insubstantial.” (Philadelphia Magazine)

“[A] gritty, honest, often surprisingly funny book.” (Philadelphia Weekly)

“Readers of true crime and students of sociology will especially enjoy this highly engaging read about the modern realities that plague many American cities.” (Library Journal)

More About the Author

Wendy Ruderman, born in Cane Place, NY and raised in Cherry Hill, NJ has been a newspaper reporter for more than 15 years. After graduating from Western Maryland College (now McDaniel College) with a bachelor's in communications in 1991, Ruderman earned a master's from Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in 1997. She worked in the statehouse bureau of The Trenton Times, Associated Press, and Bergen Record. She joined the Philadelphia Daily News in 2007. As of May 2012, she is the police bureau chief at the New York Times.

Customer Reviews

Being damn good newspaper reporters.
David C. Hackney
You will zoom through this incredible tale of two women in relentless pursuit of the story.
Joseph Berkery
Simply Put: it's the best damn book I've read in a long, long time.
L. Charles Wimer III

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By David C. Hackney on March 13, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If you have ever wondered why newspaper reporters continue to work for low pay, under terrible conditions, and in an industry that is reportedly on hospice, then this excellent book will tell you. Especially one line on page 72. "Barbara (Laker) began to feel the endorphins of a reporter's high, a blend of panic attack, sugar rush, too much caffeine, and great sex."

Ms. Laker and her "slime sista" colleague, Wendy Ruderman, demonstrate while we need newspapers willing to commit to investigative reporting. This fast paced, easy to read book shows that some times the only thing protecting the public from corrupt officials is reporters willing to take risks, absorb physical and mental abuse, and make sacrifices that can damage their personal lives.

Ms. Laker and Ms. Ruderman are reporters for the Philadelphia Daily News, a feisty tabloid proud to be known as The People Paper. The Daily News, and its sister broadsheet,The Philadelphia Inquirer, are struggling financially like all other big city papers. As the two work on their "Tainted Justice" series of stories, rumors abound that the papers will be sold or the Daily News shuttered or some other disaster awaits just after the next edition. They must put aside this daily dose of despair and focus on what they know how to do; follow a story wherever it takes them. And this is quite a story indeed.

It is filled with real life characters right out of Damon Runyon.
Read more ›
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By L. Charles Wimer III on March 17, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
Need I say more??? I honestly don't remember the last time I read an entire book in one day. My wife left for a craft show and I was in the same chair and wearing the same clothes as she did when she left 7 hours earlier. If there was one positive thing about the local golf courses being closed (due to snow), it was the fact I wouldn't have to put this book down. It is extremely rare that a book grabs and pulls me in. Fantastic story. Real life Nancy Drew/Hardy Boys action. This book is told in such a personal way, you'd swear Wendy and Barbara were sitting next to you describing the whole scene and the going-ons in there lives. It doesn't matter that I read the Philadelphia Daily News every day or the fact I live in the western Philadelphia suburbs but work in Center City. You could live in Tibet and still feels the essence of this treasured book. You'd swear this was fiction but the fact that this is real life drama playing out makes this story even more compelling. Simply Put: it's the best damn book I've read in a long, long time.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Michelle on March 14, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
It took me three sittings to read Busted, and each time I had to force myself to put it down. Wendy and Barbara's story about uncovering police corruption and misdeeds is riveting. You feel their anxiety as they knock on doors or wander down streets in the heart Philadelphia's worst neighborhoods. Balanced against their intense investigative work is the plight of the Daily News and their personal lives. I am very tempted to read it all over again. Outstanding!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Michelle B Kohn on April 1, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
With vivid descriptions of a cast of Philly characters and the neighborhoods they live in this reads like a great work of fiction. The fact that's its real and the result of two tireless reporters makes it even more powerful. Dual stories of the work that goes into a Pulitzer winning story and the demise of the industry that supports it make this a truly compelling read.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Writergirl on March 28, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
You may already be aware that Busted is a harrowing tale of Wendy Ruderman and Barbara Laker's dog-on-a-bone pursuit of one of the biggest police corruption stories in Philadelphia history (even regular history), a feat that won them the Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting, while at a scrappy beleaguered "regional" tabloid that was in bankruptcy and hanging on for life. And that's all true. But what wowed me most about the book were other things entirely: The glorious writing; the gorgeously drawn characters (from pimps to editors, not always the same thing); the humor (omg, the humor!); the best depiction I've ever read about the adrenaline rush, kinda like sex, that is reporting; and the BALLS. Pure balls. What these two did in pursuit of a story leaves me in awe and makes me, a fellow journalist, feel like schlepper. BUT BUT, the best part? Don't take this the wrong way because I mean it as the utmost compliment: but this is a chick book of the finest order. At its heart, it's the story of two incredibly fabulous, wacky, brilliant, quirky, fearless broads--and best friends--who pull off the ultimate prize, while also navigating their complicated personal lives (husbands, ex-husbands, children, Match.com dates--I mean, hilarious Match.com dates--etc), all of which they write about with the same passion and candor as they devote to their pursuit of "justice." This is Thelma and Louise for journalists (without anyone going off a cliff). This is Watergate for chicks (and dudes too). This book is extraordinary. Oh, and it's not just a Philly book. Buy it. Savor it. Love it.
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