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Finding Chandra: A True Washington Murder Mystery Hardcover – May 11, 2010


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Scribner; 1 edition (May 11, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1439138672
  • ISBN-13: 978-1439138670
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.4 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (68 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,230,265 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The 2001 disappearance of Washington, D.C., intern Chandra Levy, and the discovery of her remains a year later in a remote area of D.C.'s Rock Creek Park, made headlines, especially when her affair with Congressman Gary Condit became known. Pulitzer Prize–winning reporters Higham and Horwitz expand on their 13-part Washington Post investigation that in 2008 identified Levy's likely killer, delivering a meticulous study of the case and the media circus surrounding it. The police immediately focused on Condit in Levy's disappearance. Though the California Democrat eventually admitted to the liaison, he denied involvement in her death. Higham and Horwitz draw attention to the critical mistakes of law enforcement and the media's dogged pursuit of Condit despite the lack of evidence linking him to Levy's murder. In their Post reporting, the authors pointed instead to Salvadoran immigrant Ingmar Guandique, already convicted of two similar assaults on women committed in the same park around the time Levy disappeared. Guandique is now facing trial on first-degree murder charges; he has pleaded not guilty. Higham and Horwitz's compelling story brings hope that justice may finally come for Levy. Photos. (May)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

“A remarkably detailed, straight-up exposé of bureaucratic incompetence and human folly, set against the alluring backdrop of Washington. It’s an impressive feat of reporting and storytelling, full of the kind of plot elements that seem unbelievable and are made all the more engrossing because they’re true.”
--The New York Times Book Review

“[A] triumph of investigative journalism. Its authors did what the D.C. police and the FBI had not done: They exonerated Condit and identified Guandique as Levy's likely killer. Their reporting was thorough and focused, and they provide readers with detailed notes about where their facts come from.”
--San Francisco Chronicle

“An exhaustive and authoritative account.”
--Wall Street Journal

"A meticulous study of the case and the media circus surrounding it... Higham and Horwitz's compelling story brings hope that justice may finally come for Levys."
– Publisher's Weekly

"Fine reporting and behind-the-scenes drama; a must for true-crime fans."
– Booklist

"Essential for those interested in true crime mysteries or the world of Washington, DC, politics."
– Library Journal

"A well-reported, well-written chronicle of a botched criminal investigation and its disturbing aftermath."
– Kirkus

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Customer Reviews

This book is certainly worth the quick read that it is.
John Standiford
I thought this book was very well-written, and that the authors did an excellent job in re-visiting this "cold case".
Loribee
Also, there is way too much glorification and explanation of the media role here.
Brad Smith

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By reading widely on May 11, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
We watch the nightly news, we turn the pages of the morning paper, and we forget these are real people, those whose lives go by us. We're glad we're not they, that they're not our children, that we don't have the job of finding out who did this, and why. And then comes a book like Finding Chandra and we cannot turn away.
The authors take characters (police, FBI, reporters, TV personalities, a murder victim, survivors) and turn them into people. The authors take what was a sensationalistic news event and turn it into a compelling, maddening, intriguing story.
Highly recommended -- a savvy, well-written study of police work, Washington, DC, and the media.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By John Standiford VINE VOICE on July 2, 2010
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Before delving into my review, I want to make it clear that I liked this book. It's well-researched and well-written and could probably be finished by most people in about the same time it takes to fly across the country.

What bothers me somewhat about liking the book is a question that was posed by many and raised by the authors of the book as well, "Was this story truly worth the attention that it received?"

Eventually, many people forgot about Chandra Levy because of the 9/11 tragedy, until her body was found in Rock Creek Park and the Washington Police finally unplugged their collective heads from you know where to solve the case.

For the parents of Chandra Levy, it was important to keep the case in the media, otherwise it might never have been solved. Her parents are truly victims and what they went through in losing a daughter was horrible. On the other hand, there were other perpetrators too - a family member who believed an unfounded rumor about Congressman Condit, the media hordes who decided to convict the Congressman on mere rumors, and then our own failure to keep the illegal alien who committed this murder from being in the country in the first place.

To their credit, the authors of this book never added to the tabloid nature of the case, and this book is an excellent recounting of not only the case, but also the various reactions that took place because of it.

To answer the case that I first asked, I'm not sure there is an answer. Chandra's murder is tragic. Unfortunately there are many other stories of innocent people being killed that never see the light of day. Hopefully, as is the case in every tragedy, something is learned so cases like this can be prevented in the future.

This book is certainly worth the quick read that it is.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By DC native on May 12, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I picked up a copy of Finding Chandra yesterday and I could not put it down. It is so compelling you would think it was a novel, if it weren't for the obvious care and attention to detail of its authors. I highly recommend this to anyone who's interested in how the police, politicians, lawyers, prosecutors and the press interact -- or in seeing how two dogged reporters find the truth that eluded everyone else.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By MJS on September 6, 2010
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Once upon a time, the Chandra Levy case was the most important news story in the United States. Ok, not exactly important more highly covered. Why? Well, she was white, missing and middle class, and she was having an affair with a congressman. Naturally this made things like war, famine and pandemics fell by the wayside in the land of cable news. Something very much like hysteria was building around the Levy-Condit case and then 9/11 happened. Now reporters Shari Horwitz and Scott Higham have gone back, nine years later, to sort out the fact from the tabloid fiction. What they have written is less true crime and more social commentary. They examine the case itself but they also examine the media coverage of it, and how the media coverage impacted the investigation.

The result is excellent reporting and good writing. Higham and Horwitz know how to bring individuals to life without resorting to extensive inventories of closets. They also don't fall into the "this story was SO hard to report" cliches. They even manage to humanize Gary Condit. He's no more likable at the end of the book than he was before but his actions seems much less sinister though still remarkably bone-headed. The most fascinating aspect is how quickly law enforcement fell under the sway of the media coverage. If Rita Cosby reported something, the police had to follow up.

There remains the issue of whether the Chandra Levy case received disproportionate media coverage and even police attention because she was white and middle class. Well, of course it received more media coverage. Her family was able to work the system and was able to afford advice to help them better work the system. Bully for them. If my child was missing I'd do everything I could to get whatever help I could.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Tracy Hodson VINE VOICE on August 9, 2010
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
"Finding Chandra," the new book by Washington Post investigative reporters Scott Higham and Sari Horowitz, neatly lays out the saga of the Chandra Levy missing-persons-cum-murder case. In clean, concise prose, the two journalists (who had seemingly unlimited access to all the players) detail the story from the initial events in May 2001 when Ms. Levy disappeared, through the allegations of the involvement of married U.S. Congressman Gary Condit in that disappearance, ending up finally at the most recent developments involving the man charged with her murder. Updating and expanding what was initially a 13-part story in the Washington Post in 2008 when the case was all but forgotten by the media, the writers have put together what becomes a tale of object lessons in the dangers of seeking quick, easy answers by nearly everyone involved in this frustrating case. Whatever their intentions, the police investigators who, in addition to making a number of significant errors on their own, focused their attentions on Congressman Condit to the exclusion of all other leads (ignoring related attacks on other young women in the process), the gluttonous 24-hr "news" channels titillated by the involvement of a U.S. Congressman in the disappearance of the 24-year old intern, the self-serving evasions of the Congressman himself, the rage-driven parents of Ms. Levy, who continued to accuse Mr.Read more ›
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