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Murderer with a Badge: The Secret Life of a Rogue Cop (True Crime) Mass Market Paperback – December 1, 1993


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Product Details

  • Series: True Crime
  • Mass Market Paperback: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Onyx (December 1, 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0451404025
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451404022
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 4.1 x 1.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,214,969 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

As a Los Angeles police offer, Bill Leasure was so lacking in ambition that he was content to be a traffic cop who hardly ever gave out tickets. As a thief, he ran six-figure scams stealing yachts, and collected guns and cars, but also stockpiled worthless goods such as other people's linens. He was involved in murder for hire, but didn't pull the trigger himself, and never seemed to care much about the outcome. Was he a thrill seeker? Did he get off on hanging out with criminals and planning elaborate schemes? As the New York Times writes, "In Murderer with a Badge, Edward Humes presents us with a puzzle.... Despite [his] admirable assembling of the facts, the secret of William Leasure remains inviolate." Perhaps the "secret" is that "Mild Bill" is the type of psychopath who's so completely self-contained and empty on the inside that there is no secret. Even Leasure's savvy wife, a city prosecutor, was bamboozled by him. Murderer with a Badge is a well-crafted, absorbing story.

From Publishers Weekly

Humes's suspenseful and well-researched portrait of a mild-mannered L.A. traffic cop who secretly carried out contract murders and car theft. Photos.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.

More About the Author

QUICK STORY: A Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author, Edward Humes' latest books are A MAN AND HIS MOUNTAIN (Public Affairs, October 2013), the biography of winemaking legend Jess Jackson, and GARBOLOGY: Our Dirty Love Affair With Trash (Avery/Penguin, April 2012). His other books include the PEN Award-winning NO MATTER HOW LOUD I SHOUT: A Year In the Life of Juvenile Court, the bestseller MISSISSIPPI MUD, FORCE OF NATURE: The Unlikely Story of Wal-Mart's Green Revolution, and MONKEY GIRL: Evolution, Education, Religion and the Battle for America's Soul.

BACK STORY: When I was six I decided I wanted to be a writer, and I've been at it ever since. I started my writing career in newspapers, and I think I probably would have paid them, instead of the other way around, for the thrill of seeing my first byline in print. As a newspaper reporter, I gravitated toward stories that allowed me to dig behind the scenes and beneath the surface, looking for questions others hadn't asked or imagined. For me, the job amounted to this: license to find out the things I had always wanted to know, about anything and everything that interested, touched or outraged me. Then, within the space and time limitations of a daily newspaper, I had the chance to mold it all into a story to pass onto others. I loved that work.

When I left newspapers to write nonfiction books, I suddenly had weeks or months, rather than hours or days, to immerse myself in the inner workings of the places, characters and events I seek to understand and write about. I had found the greatest job I can imagine.

In my books, I try to take readers inside worlds most don't get to visit or see close up on their own. My first stories were about crime -- real-life murder mysteries-- and I still enjoy reading and writing true crime. But I've pursued broader and more varied narratives in my more recent books. I've written about the nation's crumbling juvenile justice system, the California high school that went from worst to best in the state, the harrowing but surprisingly humane world of a neonatal intensive care unit, the front lines of a modern-day Scopes Monkey Trial, a Gulf Coast murder mystery solved by the victims' own daughter.

Lately - in ECO BARONS, FORCE OF NATURE and GARBOLOGY - I've focused on narratives about the environment and sustainability. I believe this to be the most important story of our age - for ourselves, and for our children.

But after immersing myself in trash for GARBOLOGY, I dove into the very different world of wine and undertook my very first biography. I feel privileged to tell the classic American success story behind the founder of Kendall-Jackson Wines, Jess Jackson, in A MAN AND HIS MOUNTAIN.

OTHER WRITING: I've written for numerous publications, including Los Angeles Magazine, Sierra Magazine, Readers Digest, California Lawyer, the Oxford American, the Los Angeles Times, and The New York Times. I have taught writing and journalism at the University of California, Irvine, Chapman University, and the University of Oregon.

SPEAKING: I enjoy speaking about my work, and have been invited to address a wide range of groups and organizations:the National Education Summit, the National Steinbeck Center, the ALOUD series, the National Association of District Attorneys, the National Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys, the National Association of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, the Dole Center for Politics, the National High School Journalism Conference, the National College Newspaper Convention, the National Association of Teachers of English, the California Department of Corrections, the California Appellate Project, the American Psychology and Law Society, the Investigative Reporters and Editors, the Poynter Institute, the Crichton Club and numerous universities and other schools. I was called to testify about my reporting on juvenile court before the U.S. Senate and a joint session of the California Senate and Assembly. I've had the pleasure of delivering a commencement address at Hampshire College in Amherst, my alma mater, and have enjoyed speaking at venues throughout California as a contributing writer to MY CALIFORNIA, an anthology from which all proceeds were donated to the California Arts Council to support arts and writing programs for the state's school children. I served as a Regents Lecturer at the University of California, Irvine, and taught writing workshops at the University of Oregon graduate program in literary nonfiction.

HONORS: I received a Pulitzer Prize for my newspaper coverage of the military, a PEN Center USA award for NO MATTER HOW LOUD I SHOUT, a Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism for "The Forgotten," my LA Magazine account of life inside Los Angeles's nightmarish home for neglected children, and a Silver Gavel honor for MONKEY GIRL. The Washington Post named SCHOOL OF DREAMS a best book of 2003; the Los Angeles Times named MEAN JUSTICE a best book of 1999.

BORN: Philadelphia.

EDUCATION: Hampshire College, Amherst, Mass.

CURRENT WHEREABOUTS: Southern California

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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See all 15 customer reviews
A great read - I could not put it down.
Rick
Told in an intelligent manner, suspenseful, an intriguing story that keeps you guessing about the culpability of the main character.
Margaret Braley
I really enjoyed reading this book and I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys reading true crime or fictional police novels.
Sam I Am

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Mcgivern Owen L on July 27, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
Those familiar with Author Humes know that his stories are lengthy and detailed. "Murderer with A Badge" is no exception. The central character is Bill Leasure, a quiet, mild mannered, unassuming Los Angeles traffic cop. Outwardly, he could put in his 20 years, qualify for a pension and quietly pass from the scene. That is the picture Leasure would paint for the public. His accusers in the DA's office and LAPD would present a different portrayal. They believe that Officer Leasure is guilty of arranging murder, committing murder, a WIDE range of burglaries, possession of stolen goods and even adultery. The formal charges against Leasure are extensive with many charges,incidents, witnesses, and accomplices to sort through. They were so extensive that several hard core low life criminals were granted immunity to testify against him. How the author, the trial judge, the District Attorney and the defense counsel kept the real life maze of facts, truths, lies, contradictions and witnesses straight are a wonder. MWB is a complicated tale and very challenging for the average reader. This reviewer admits to simply losing track toward the end. Author Humes still does a wonderful job of trying to make sense of it all but in truth MWB could easily have been compressed into a shorter story. The ending is somewhat muddled but so are many true crime resolutions. Life is like that and MWB is no exception. Please note that this reviewer did not reveal the ending, as did at least one reviewer below. MWB is a 5 star tale with one deducted for its' extensive length. It is arguable whethet even hard core true crime mavens would add back the fifth star. Two closing notes: 1) I purchased MWB "used". Amazon and the previous owner handled the transaction from a previous owner. 2) The "Ann Rule rule" can be suspended for MWB. The centerfold pictures are not giveaways to the ending and may actually assist in sorting out the action and characters.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Rick on July 9, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The kind of cop i would like to pull me over - he liked to give traffic violators a verbal warning instead of a ticket, wish we had traffic cops like that here in Reno. But he built an 8 car garage and filled it up with stuff stolen from yachts. He had a WWII trainer plane, several corvettes, and his own yacht. A mild mannered cop who slept around on his wife, stole and was involved in three murders, but he hated to write tickets! His wife was an LA prosecutor, but she claimed she did not know about her hubbie cops illegal activities. She did not even know about his affair with a young Chinese woman. A great read - I could not put it down.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Sam I Am VINE VOICE on October 24, 2008
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Murderer With A Badge reads like a good work of fiction, but the story is completely true. In a story filled with numerous details, plot twists and a long list of shady characters, author Edward Humes does an excellent job of keeping everything tied together.

Most fascinating is the way that Humes portrays the complicated LAPD officer named Bill Leasure, who was regarded as a nice guy by his co-workers, his neighbors and most everyone else who knew him.

While he was a great cop on the outside, in secret, he was a yacht thief, swindler and murderer, and because he seemed like such a nice guy, he was able to cover up his inner demons for most of the 17 years that he was with the LAPD.

I really enjoyed reading this book and I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys reading true crime or fictional police novels.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 20, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I have read all of Edward Humes' other books and was delighted when Amazon.com recently added this one. Its a fascinating tale of a mild-mannered traffic cop who moonlights as a hired killer and even steals yachts on the side. Reminds me of the 1980s movie about the LAPD starring Richard Gere, but this story is true. It's a real page-turner.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Mcgivern Owen L on July 27, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
Those familiar with Author Humes know that his stories are lengthy and detailed. "Murderer with A Badge" is no exception. The central character is Bill Leasure, a quiet, mild mannered, unassuming Los Angeles traffic cop. Outwardly, he could put in his 20 years, qualify for a pension and quietly pass from the scene. That is the picture Leasure would paint for the public. His accusers in the DA's office and LAPD would present a different portrayal. They believe that Officer Leasure is guilty of arranging murder, committing murder, a WIDE range of burglaries, possession of stolen goods and even adultery. The formal charges against Leasure are extensive with many charges,incidents, witnesses, and accomplices to sort through. They were so extensive that several hard core low life criminals were granted immunity to testify against him. How the author, the trial judge, the District Attorney and the defense counsel kept the real life maze of facts, truths, lies, contradictions and witnesses straight are a wonder. MWB is a complicated tale and very challenging for the average reader. This reviewer admits to simply losing track toward the end. Author Humes still does a wonderful job of trying to make sense of it all but in truth MWB could easily have been compressed into a shorter story. The ending is somewhat muddled but so are many true crime resolutions. Life is like that and MWB is no exception. Please note that this reviewer did not reveal the ending, as did at least one reviewer below. MWB is a 5 star tale with one deducted for its' extensive length. It is arguable whethet even hard core true crime mavens would add back the fifth star. Two closing notes: 1) I purchased MWB "used". Amazon.com and the previous owner handled the transaction quite capably. 2) The "Ann Rule rule" can be suspended for MWB. The centerfold pictures are not giveaways to the ending and may actually assist in sorting out the action and characters.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
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