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The Best American Crime Writing: 2002 Edition: The Year's Best True Crime Reporting Paperback – August 13, 2002

4.3 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Penzler, founder of the Mysterious Press and Otto Penzler Books, and true-crime writer Cook (Blood Echoes), inaugurate a new annual series with this first-rate collection of the best crime writing published in 2001. William Langewiesche delivers both the human and the technical events in "The Crash of EgyptAir 990"; Alex Prud'homme investigates the dilemma facing the state of Texas, which condemned Johnny Paul Penry, a retarded man, to death in its busy execution chamber; Julian Rubinstein portrays Jacob "Cookie" Organ, an Israeli who was "the Pablo Escobar of Ecstasy"; while Nancy Gibbs conjures a frightening September 11 play-by-play in "The Day of the Attack." The majority of the pieces have a finger on the cultural pulse, but the best offer something more. Robert Draper's portrayal of a troubled girl who eventually kills her two children includes a scathing criticism of society at large ("Strangely, the Texas authorities insist upon viewing Tina Marie's dirty-laundry list of boyfriends as the handiwork of a manipulative black widow.... The tsk-tsks fly"). E. Jean Carroll's "The Cheerleaders" is a morose and darkly ironic account of suicide, torture and murder in a town rumored to have been the model for Bedford Falls in It's a Wonderful Life. Charles Bowden immerses readers in the muddled and too familiar world of a DEA agent slipping across the line in Mexico. This is an important book for crime buffs, but will appeal to general readers as well. The only complaint and it's minor is that, though the editors say they scoured "nearly two hundred so-called little magazines, reviews and journals," most of these articles come from such national magazines as the New Yorker, GQ and the Atlantic Monthly.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Fans of true crime will welcome this new anthology series, which each year will compile the best articles of the genre into one volume. The 17 selections in this first volume of the series come from a wide variety of sources, including Spin, GQ, The New Yorker, Texas Monthly, and Details. Editors Penzler (founder of Mysterious Press and editor of The Best American Mystery Stories of the Year) and Cook (author of 18 books, one of which was nominated for an Edgar) have assembled a diverse assortment of writing, with subjects both well known, such as O.J. Simpson (Pat Jordan's "The Outcast"), and not so well known, such as members of the Oklahoma Gamefowl Breeders Association (Mark Singer's "The Chicken Warriors"). Nancy Gibbs's moving "The Day of the Attack," written within approximately 30 hours of the attack on the World Trade Center on September 11, is included as a representative of reporting on this historic crime. Because these well-written articles vary widely, this work should appeal to all true-crime enthusiasts. Recommended for all public libraries. Sarah Jent, Univ. of Louisville Lib.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; 1st Vintage Books ed edition (August 13, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375712992
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375712999
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 1.1 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #737,535 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This book is a wonderful read!! It contains 17 articles written in the past year by excellent journalists from various magazines such as: GQ, SPIN, THE NEW YORKER, ATLANTIC MONTHLY, ESQUIRE, VANITY FAIR and more. The variety makes it nice because you get to read different styles of writing by different authors on different subjects. The subjects too are a variety in range: "The Cheerleaders" focuses on a town in New York hit by tragedy after tragedy; "A Prayer For Tina Marie" is a wonderful article about a woman who murdered her two kids in an unthinkable way (much worse than Andrea Yates); "Flesh and Blood" is about the murder-for-hire by pro football player Rae Carruth... AND MUCH MORE!! With such quality of writing, you don't want to miss this book. I am really hoping that more of these will be published!!
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Format: Paperback
As fan of non-fiction with a leaning towards true life mysteries; I was thrilled to find the 2004 edition of Best American Crime Writing on my library shelves- I ate the whole book up in a few days. I was thrilled to learn that there were additional years of "Best' books, right now I am finishing the 2002 compilation ... I decided to dash off a review before I had forgotten.What is so much fun is that the articles themselves are twenty or thirty pages so it's easy to finish one or two in a sitting. Great book for commuters and travelers.As well, if there are any stories that center on a topic that one doesn't find interesting, it's a cinch to simply skip on to the next story.Other reviewers have noted what I will repeat, the writing is first rate, not sensationalised or prurient, and the topics cover such diverse subjects as Insurance fraud in the high stakes world of Horse racing, a Capra-esque town beset with a series of tradgedies,a wacked out super charming serial killer con-man, as well as an investigation into the Crash of Egyp Air 990.I found particularly insightful , Doug Most's Judgement Day which introduces the reader into the point of view of a contrite convict serving time for murder in Massachusetts, and his experiences with the parole board-I have never read anything quite like it.

Kudos to the editors, they've done a wonderful job pulling together the best of True crime from the magazine world, this should give exposure and acclaim to a much aligned genre and its authors...
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Format: Paperback
Best American Crime Writing: 2004 Edition, $14.00 US, is an anthology of twenty crime stories gathered by Otto Penzler and Thomas H. Cook. These yarns were originally published in magazines -- such as Atlanta, Details, GQ, and The New Yorker -- that were sold in 2003. Some are similar in topic, but each story is extremely unique as told from the vantage point of its author. Some big name writers happened to appear in this issue, such as James Ellroy, Jon Krakauer, and Scott Turow, but I prefer the original tack of "lesser known authors" that the Editors pursued in previous issues. This edition also includes an introduction by Joseph Wambaugh, whom discusses the need for tort reform to protect crime writers from frivolous lawsuits in a concise six page case -- but it seems that with these buzz words, he's really trying to score points with politicians in this, an election year.

My favorite story in this collection is "Ciudad de la Muerte," a feature that first appeared in Texas Monthly, and that was written by Cecilia Balli. "Ciudad de la Muerte," is both chilling and riveting -- a story of the disappearance of more than three hundred women from Juarez, Mexico, over the last eleven years. But more specifically -- it narrows in on an incident whereby eight bodies were found in canals and irrigation ditches of a cotton field in 2001, and the aftermath of that specific grisly discovery. It's a particularly strong piece, because the writer examines her own fears as she explores the city of Juarez, the shady justice system of Mexico, and the final fate of these women. I'm curious about one thing though, and it's not really clear from the writing, or at least to me.
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I have read every single "Best American Crime Writing" book published by Otto Penzler and associates. I am not going to comment on every annual publication. I have read them all and always look forward to the next year's release.
The short story content is great in my opinion. Granted, a very few of the short stories were not much to my liking, but none so bad that I would trash any one of these books. One mediocre short story does not diminish the excellence of the overall content.
I love these short stories because given my work and life schedule, I can so easily pick-up, leave off and pick up again without needing to re-read the last 10 or so pages to refresh my memory from where I last left off. My only wish is this was a monthly publication versus an annual!
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