Start reading The Best American Crime Writing: 2003 Edition: The Year's... on your Kindle in under a minute. Don't have a Kindle? Get your Kindle here.

Deliver to your Kindle or other device

Enter a promotion code
or gift card

Try it free

Sample the beginning of this book for free

Deliver to your Kindle or other device

Anybody can read Kindle books—even without a Kindle device—with the FREE Kindle app for smartphones, tablets and computers.
Sorry, this item is not available in
Image not available for
Image not available

To view this video download Flash Player


The Best American Crime Writing: 2003 Edition: The Year's Best True Crime Reporting (Vintage Original) [Kindle Edition]

Otto Penzler , Thomas H. Cook
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $15.00
Kindle Price: $9.99
You Save: $5.01 (33%)
Sold by: Random House LLC


Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle Edition $9.99  
Hardcover --  
Paperback $13.50  
Highly Rated Kindle Books
Discover your next great read with these literature & fiction picks and more. Learn more

Book Description

This year’s worth of the most powerful, the most startling, the smartest and most astute, in short, the best crime journalism. Scouring hundreds of publications, Otto Penzler and Thomas H. Cook have created a remarkable compilation containing the best examples of the most current and vibrant of our literary traditions: crime reporting.

Included in this volume are Maximillian Potter’s “The Body Farm” from GQ, a portrait of Murray Marks, who collects dead bodies and strews them around two acres of the University of Tennessee campus to study their decomposition in order to help solve crime; Jay Kirk’s
“My Undertaker, My Pimp,” from Harper’s, in which Mack Moore and his wife, Angel, switch from run-ning crooked funeral parlors to establishing a brothel; Skip Hollandsworth’s “The Day Treva Throneberry Disappeared” from Texas Monthly, about the sudden disappearence of a teenager and the strange place she turned up; Lawrence Wright’s “The Counterterrorist” from The New Yorker, the story of John O’Neill, the FBI agent who tracked Osama bin Laden for a decade—until he was killed when the World Trade Center collapsed. Intriguing, entertaining, and compelling reading, Best American Crime Writing has established itself as a much-anticipated annual.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Surpassing even last year's acclaimed inaugural collection, Penzler and Cook, with guest editor Berendt (Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil), return with another candid and powerful selection of true crime reporting. The editors have pulled together an array of essays distinguished as much by their insight and intelligence as by their riveting tales of bizarre and unnerving criminality. Articles such as "The Accused" by Paige Williams (which exposes the legacy of suspicion that has haunted a wrongfully accused man since 1978) and "The Terrible Boy" (Tom Junod's brilliant and compassionate portrait of an unlucky kid who swung a fateful punch and became a poster child for antibullying movements across the nation) transcend the genre to explore the disregarded costs of justice and lives destroyed in moments of thoughtlessness. Some of the essays confront depraved atrocities, but others are only marginally associated with crime. "A Woman's Work" by Peter Landesman recounts how Pauline Nyiramasuhuko, the former national minister of family and women's affairs for Rwanda, masterminded the rape and slaughter of thousands. While "The Boy Who Loved Transit" by Jeff Tietz tells the story of a harmless, lovable man with Asperger's syndrome whose obsession with trains leads him to repeatedly impersonate a New York City Transit Authority employee. This excellent collection covers Web-cam pornography, the Enron debacle, forced prostitution in Europe, killer attack dogs, the murder of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, bumbling Nazi saboteurs and the science of rotting corpses-so there is sure to be something here for everyone.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.


“An artful mix of the political, the odd, the macabre, and the downright brilliant... The entire collection is an even mix of 'why didn't I clip that?' and 'how did I miss that?' Avid true-crime readers, take note.” –Entertainment Weekly

“Compelling, well written . . . a riveting collection.” –The Boston Sunday Globe

“Jammed with good prose, fascinating stories and probing investigative work . . . all first rate. . . . ‘Best’ really belongs in the title.” –Star Tribune

From the Trade Paperback edition.

Product Details

  • File Size: 1214 KB
  • Print Length: 511 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: B009IA9766
  • Publisher: Knopf Group E-Books (August 4, 2010)
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #563,298 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
  •  Would you like to give feedback on images?

Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
4.0 out of 5 stars
Share your thoughts with other customers
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This Collection is Hard to Put Down January 23, 2004
Simply stated, the "Best American" series is a national treasure. This is only the second volume of the Crime Writing entry, and it is already up there with Best American Mystery Stories and Best American Sports Writing in terms of quality. All of the Best American books feature great use of the written word, regardless of subject matter. In that sense, this book is a home run.
The book starts out with "Big Shot," the tragic tale of former NBA star Jayson Williams, and of the less famous man he unfortunately killed while showing off a gun in his home. "The Counterterroist" is about a wourld renowned FBI counterterrorism expert who retired to become head of security at the World Trasde Center, only to die in the attacks two weeks later. "The Last Ride of Jesse James Hollywood" is a disturbing spectacle of bored modern youth. "The Enron Wars" provide a great insiders view of that scandal. "How Two Lives Met in Death" is a heartbreaking tale of an Israeli and Palestinian teenager, one of whom killed the other in a senseless suicide bombing. And "The Bully of Toulon" describes how a psychotic resident of a small town instituded an atmosphere of fear among his neighbors until it exploded into violence.
These great tales and much more await those who decide to sit down with the 2003 edoition of Best American Crime Writing.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Mixed Bag of True Crime May 27, 2005
This book is a compilation of a number of true crime articles written during 2002. The influence of 9/11 and terrorism is abundant. But many of the other stories delve into a more "bizarre" area of crime and the criminal mind. While none of the articles blew me away, all were solid and interesting. Anyone looking for true crime from a slightly different angle should look here.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
5.0 out of 5 stars one of my favorites in the series! December 3, 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
this is one of the best in the crime writing series the stories "the last ride of jesse james hollywood" and "mad dogs and lawyers" are must reads! it is such a shame that this series has been discontinued i looked forward to picking up a new edition each year i have them all (except 2002) once you read one you will want them all. If you are a true crime fan these are a must for your collection!
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?

More About the Author

Otto Penzler (born July 8, 1942) is an editor of mystery fiction in the United States, and proprietor of The Mysterious Bookshop in New York City, where he lives.[1]

1 Biography
2 Works
2.1 Publisher
2.2 Series Editor
2.3 Editor (Recent Books)
2.4 Guest appearances
2.5 Awards
3 References
4 External links


Penzler, who graduated from the University of Michigan, is the co-author the "Encyclopedia of Mystery and Detection: for which he won an Edgar Allan Poe Award in 1977. He also wrote 101 Greatest Movies of Mystery and Suspense (2000). For the New York Sun, he wrote The Crime Scene, a popular weekly mystery fiction column that ran for five years. He has worked with authors including Elmore Leonard, Nelson DeMille, Joyce Carol Oates, Sue Grafton, Mary Higgins Clark, Robert Crais, Michael Connelly, James Lee Burke and Thomas H. Cook.

He founded The Mysterious Press, a publishing house devoted entirely to mystery and crime fiction, in 1975. Among the authors it published (works published in America for the first time, not reprints) are Eric Ambler, Kingsley Amis, Isaac Asimov, Robert Bloch, James M. Cain, Raymond Chandler, Jerome Charyn, Len Deighton, James Ellroy, Patricia Highsmith, P.D. James, H.R.F. Keating, Peter Lovesey, Ed McBain, Ross Macdonald, Marcia Muller, Ellis Peters, Ruth Rendell, Mickey Spillane, Ross Thomas, Donald E. Westlake and Cornell Woolrich. In the 1980s it was publishing more than 100 books a year and the imprint was affiliated with major publishers in England (Century-Hutchinson-Arrow), Japan (Hayakwa Publishing), Italy (Mondadori) and Sweden (Bra Bocker). The Mysterious Book Club became a division of the Book of the Month Club and Mysterious Audios an imprint with Dove Audio.

After selling The Mysterious Press to Warner Books in 1989, he created an Otto Penzler Books imprint for Macmillan (later Scribner). He moved the imprint to Carroll & Graf, then to Harcourt (later Houghton Mifflin Harcourt). He also established the Otto Penzler Books imprint in London, first with Quercus, now with Atlantic/Corvus. He reacquired The Mysterious Press name from Hachette in 2009; it is now an imprint at Grove Atlantic.

Penzler founded The Mysterious Bookshop in mid-town Manhattan and after twenty-seven years moved to Tribeca. It is now the oldest and largest mystery specialist bookstores in the world.

In 2002, he hosted a television series of great mystery films for the Turner Classic Movies channel.

He has edited more than fifty anthologies of crime fiction of both reprints and newly commissioned stories, including the prestigious Best American Mystery Stories since 1997.

Penzler served on the Board of Directors of the Mystery Writers of America for fourteen years and was awarded the organization's Ellery Queen Award and a Raven (its highest non-writing award. He won a second Edgar for editing "The Lineup," a collection of profiles of famous detectives, written by their creators.

On April 8, 2010 Swann Galleries auctioned The Otto Penzler Collection of British Espionage and Thriller Fiction. The sale represented a select portion of Penzler's private library with works by Eric Ambler, Ian Fleming, Graham Greene, John Le Carre, William Le Queux, H. C. McNeile, E. Phillips Oppenheim, and Dennis Wheatley. Penzler also befriended many noted authors including Ambler, Ken Follett, John Gardner and others, who inscribed copies of their works. "British spy novels are among the greatest of all works in the mystery genre," Penzler said in the introduction to the Swann auction catalogue. "This is the first auction ever devoted entirely to this important literary genre."

Penzler lives in New York City and in Connecticut with his wife, Lisa Atkinson.

Otto Penzler Books. An imprint at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (2005-2010).
The Armchair Detective Library. Reprinted classic crime fiction for collectors and libraries.
The Mysterious Press. Established in 1975. Sold to Time/Warner in 1989; reacquired by Penzler in 2009 and now an imprint at Grove/Atlantic.
The Armchair Detective. A quarterly journal for studies of mystery and suspense fiction (17 years).

Series Editor

The Best American Mystery Stories. Annual series since 1997, with guest editors. Writer Robert B. Parker wrote "Otto Penzler knows more about crime fiction than most people know about anything, and proves it once more in this brilliant anthology."
The Best American Crime Writing. Annual series since 2002, with Thomas H. Cook and guest editors.

Editor (Recent Books)

"The Big Book of Ghost Stories" (2012)
The Big Book of Adventure Stories (2011)
"Christmas at the Mysterious Bookshop" (2010)
"The Greatest Russian Stories of Crime and Suspense" (2010)
"The Best American Noir of the Century" (2010)
"The Black Lizard Big Book of Black Mask Stories: (2010)
"Agents of Treachery" (2010)
The Lineup: The World's Greatest Crime Writers Tell the Inside Story of Their Greatest Detectives (2009)
The Vampire Archive (2009)
Black Noir: Mystery, Crime, and Suspense Stories by African-American Writers (2009)
The Black Lizard Big Book of Pulps (2007)
Dead Man's Hand: Crime Fiction at the Poker Table (2007)
The Vicious Circle: Mystery and Crime Stories by Members of the Algonquin Round Table (2007)
Murder in the Rough (2006)
Murder at the Racetrack (2006)
Murder at the Foul Line (2006)
Murder is My Racquet (2005)
Dangerous Women (2005)
Murderer's Row (2001)
Murder On the Ropes (2001)
Best American Mystery Stories of the Century. Edited with Tony Hillerman. (2000)
Murder and Obsession (1999)
The 50 Greatest Mysteries of All Time (1998)
Murder For Revenge (1998)
Murder For Love (1996)
The Crown Crime Companion : The Top 100 Mystery Novels of All Time. Edited with Mickey Friedman. (1995)

Guest appearances

Author Lawrence Block wrote a Christmas story, "The Burglar Who Smelled Smoke", set in The Mysterious Bookshop, where Otto Penzler appeared in character.[2]

Author Elmore Leonard's novel, Up In Honey's Room, features an escaped World War II German soldier, a Waffen SS major named Otto Penzler.[3][4]


2010. Edgar Award from Mystery Writers of America. For The Lineup. Best Biographical/Critical Work
2003. Raven Award from Mystery Writers of America. As owner of Mysterious Bookshop.
1994. Ellery Queen Award from Mystery Writers of America. Contributions to mystery publishing.
1977. Edgar Award from Mystery Writers of America. For The Encyclopedia of Mystery and Detection. Best Critical/Biographical Work.

External links

Mysterious Bookshop
Otto Penzler

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?


There are no discussions about this product yet.
Be the first to discuss this product with the community.
Start a new discussion
First post:
Prompts for sign-in

Look for Similar Items by Category