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$19.77 $19.74 list($29.95)
41. Bloodletters and Badmen
$16.29 $2.83 list($23.95)
42. Hunting the Jackal : A Special
$10.50 $7.99 list($14.00)
43. Death's Acre: Inside the Legendary
$6.29 $4.33 list($6.99)
44. Homicide
$7.99 $4.75
45. She Wanted it All: a True Story
$7.19 $4.87 list($7.99)
46. Wiseguy
$9.75 $8.59 list($13.00)
47. Party Monster : A Fabulous But
$7.19 $4.87 list($7.99)
48. Inside the CIA
$7.19 $4.70 list($7.99)
49. Mindhunter : Inside the FBI's
$18.45 list($27.95)
50. Spymaster: My Life In The Cia
$17.13 $14.49 list($25.95)
51. Between Good and Evil : A Master
52. The Hoax
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53. Sunk Without a Sound : The Tragic
$9.75 $4.99 list($13.00)
54. Dead Reckoning: The New Science
55. Slow Death
$7.19 $4.62 list($7.99)
56. Donnie Brasco: My Undercover Life
$10.50 $9.37 list($14.00)
57. Doctor Dealer: The Rise and Fall
$17.13 $16.95 list($25.95)
58. Witness: For the Prosecution of
$9.75 $2.99 list($13.00)
59. Dead Man Walking
$10.17 $4.12 list($14.95)
60. Catch Me If You Can: The True

41. Bloodletters and Badmen
by Jay Robert Nash
list price: $29.95
our price: $19.77
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 087131777X
Catlog: Book (1995-04-25)
Publisher: M. Evans and Company, Inc.
Sales Rank: 25306
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

A narrative encyclopedia of American criminals from the pilgrims to the present. ... Read more

Reviews (9)

5-0 out of 5 stars A crime not to buy this!
This book is so big and fantastic I have read it twice. Each criminal and gangster is a story in their own right, and most are dispicable as one can come. The only problem is I wish Nash would put recent killers in his book, ala O.J. Simpson. (or the one armed man who framed him).

5-0 out of 5 stars A must for true crime readers
I originally purchased this book some years back and refer to it frequently.It includes all the notable criminals, Jesse James, John Dillinger, more recent serial killers, etc.It is well-researched and Nash has the ability to make even the most mundane facts interesting.

4-0 out of 5 stars My Fave Book as A Kid
Who cares if the book is histrionic and innacurate?It has excellent pictures and juciy crime tidbits like the depraved housewife who branded "I AM A PROSTITUE AND PROUD" with a hot needle on the belly of the young girl left in her charge (while the girl's parents travelled with the circus, no less).You also get stagecoach robbers, confidence men, joy killers and petty thieves all descibed in a feverish, tabloid tone.Gotta love it!

The book definitely influenced my tender, young sensibilities and helped develop my life-long fascination with crime and the American prison industrial complex.This should be in every American pre-teen's bookshelf!

5-0 out of 5 stars Tons of good crime stuff!
Lately I've been reading about how inaccurate this book is, and that Nash is pretty much a "write what ya want" kind of author. The reason I give this book five stars is because of the influence it had on myinterest in true crime books. This massive tome sat in the library of myhigh school, where it was frequently read by myself and my friends. Weactually stole the book right before we graduated! Thank God the statute oflimitations on that crime ran out years ago.

The copy I have now is therevised 90's edition, and I can read through it with more of a critical eyethen I once did. The best thing about the book is the photos. This book isa virtual cornucopia of great pics of criminals, crime scenes and the like.Some of the best pictures are of the Mafia, a particular strain of criminalthat Nash has a lot of interest in, judging by the huge amount of entriesdevoted to that group.

A reader will also notice how temporal the bookis. Who has heard of Gretchen Baniszewski? Anyone who hasn't read this bookwould be in the dark about this sicko. Baniszewski might have been a bigname when she committed her crimes, but readers now will scratch theirheads trying to figure out why she is in this book. (Baniszewski, by theway, helped murder a young girl left in her charge). Other entries arepretty tabloidy, and don't really belong in an encyclopedia of crime, in myopinion.

Some entries are absolutely fascinating, however. Alfred Packeris always worth a chuckle, and be sure and read about the Old Brewery inNew York. You'll be dumbfounded that such a place ever existed in America,although it was New York, after all.

I recommend the book for the photosand obscure cases. Be wary of the factual information, however.

3-0 out of 5 stars HAS ITS MOMENTS
Depending on what you enjoy in a true crime, this one has just about everything.It would be better if more was known about certain ones that made a major impact on some peoples lives.But there are other parts thatare very good.Yet it doesn't need to have so many mafia/mobsters in it. Capone, Massacres and things of that nature are fine, But hinchmen who justhad a scary name need not be involved.As well as bodyguards and so-on. ... Read more

42. Hunting the Jackal : A Special Forces and CIA Ground Soldier's Fifty-Year Career Hunting America's Enemies
by Billy Waugh, Tim Keown
list price: $23.95
our price: $16.29
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0060564091
Catlog: Book (2004-07-01)
Publisher: William Morrow
Sales Rank: 24689
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Billy Waugh is a Special Forces and CIA legend, and in Hunting the Jackal he allows unprecedented access to the shadowy but vital world he has inhabited for more than fifty years.

From deep inside the suffocating jungles of Southeast Asia to the fetid streets of Khartoum to the freezing high desert of Afghanistan, Waugh chronicles U.S. Special Operations through the extraordinary experiences of his singular life. He has worked in more than sixty countries, hiding in the darkest shadows and most desolate corners to fight those who plot America's demise. Waugh made his mark in places few want to consider and fewer still would choose to inhabit. In remarkable detail he recounts his participation in some of the most important events in American Special Operations history, including his own pivotal role in the previously untold story of the CIA's involvement in the capture of the infamous Carlos the Jackal.

Waugh's work in helping the CIA bring down Carlos the Jackal provides a riveting and suspenseful account of the loneliness and adrenaline common to real-life espionage. He provides a point-by-point breakdown of the indefatigable work necessary to detain the world's first celebrity terrorist.

No synopsis can adequately describe Waugh's experiences. He spent seven and a half years in Vietnam, many of them behind enemy lines as part of SOG, a top secret group of elite commandos. He was tailed by Usama bin Laden's unfriendly bodyguards while jogging through the streets of Khartoum, Sudan, at 3 A.M. And, at the age of seventy-two, he marched through the frozen high plains of Afghanistan as one of a select number of CIA operatives who hit the ground as part of Operation Enduring Freedom.

Waugh came face-to-face with bin Laden in Khartoum in 1991 and again in 1992 as one of the first CIA operatives assigned to watch the al Qaeda leader. Waugh describes his daily surveillance routine with clear-eyed precision. Without fanfare, fear, or chance of detection, he could have killed the 9/11 mastermind on the dirty streets of Khartoum had he been given the authority to do so.

No man is more qualified to chronicle America's fight against its enemies -- from communism to terrorism -- over the past half-century. In Hunting the Jackal, Billy Waugh has emerged from the shadows and folds of history to write a memoir of an extraordinary life for extraordinary times.

... Read more

Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars Disregard Publisher's Weekly Review
I used to subscribe to Publisher's Weekly, willing to put up with some of that publication's obvious left-leaning sympathies in order to get the most recent publishing news. But no more. I have just cancelled my subscription based on the incredibly biased and belittling review of American patriot Billy Waugh's book. I can only assume that the review was written by the same editor that reviews (negatively, of course) anything that is positive about America, our current President, conservatives, or the military. The author of this poison pill of a review chooses his adjectives as carefully as if he was attempting to craft fine literature. It is obvious that even a well-told tale of a life lived making sure that rags like PW can be published will never receive a fair review from the commissars at Reed Elsevier, Inc. Billy Waugh is not "a one dimensional, blustering character" and anyone who knows him will attest to that. What he is represents what the left so hates: a man who has devoted his entire life to the defense of this Nation, our Nation, his Nation . . . and you ought to be damn proud that he has.

5-0 out of 5 stars Required reading for all who enjoy freedom
Harvard Law School professor Alan M. Dershowitz last April complained to Publishers Weekly about its negative review of his new book. Amazingly, the editor-in-chief agreed and had the book re-reviewed. Billy Waugh should have them do the same. HUNTING THE JACKAL is an incredible look into the world of secret warriors working around the clock to safeguard our freedom. He has hunted--and found--terrorists who top the Most Wanted lists. And here he writes about Carlos the Jackal and Osama bin Laden and others. He's done the dirty work in the world's hellholes (just the descriptions of which seem to upset book reviewers). It is not pretty work, and what they do and how they do it is not particularly appropriate for some polite conversations. But that is the point. This is a well-written book--better than most--that lays out the real underworld in a clean, engaging fashion. You're quickly taken along on an amazing life, and before you know it, you're at the last page, overwhelmed at what you've "witnessed" ... and wanting more. The best-selling author W.E.B. Griffin said it best: "Waugh is the warrior's warrior. From Special Forces missions in Vietnam to black ops work around the world, he has fought our worst enemies hellbent on harming America in ways unimagined. We sleep soundly, our freedoms defended, thanks to men like Waugh. This is his remarkable story -- read it and understand what too few do." ... Read more

43. Death's Acre: Inside the Legendary Forensic Lab-The Body Farm-Where The Dead Do Tell Tales
by Bill, Dr. Blass, Jon Jefferson
list price: $14.00
our price: $10.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0425198324
Catlog: Book (2004-09-01)
Publisher: Berkley Publishing Group
Sales Rank: 23534
Average Customer Review: 4.23 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Dr. Bill Bass, one of the world's leading forensic anthropologists, gained international attention when he built a forensic lab like no other: The Body Farm. Now, this master scientist unlocks the gates of his lab to reveal his most intriguing cases-and to revisit the Lindbergh kidnapping and murder, fifty years after the fact. ... Read more

Reviews (26)

5-0 out of 5 stars Must read for forensic science buffs
I am from Knoxville, TN, and have grown up with the "mystery" of the body farm. The book is wonderful in its detail of how and why the research facility was started. I read the book in two days, and was left with wanting more. For those in the southeast area, you might recognize some of the case studies mentioned in the book, and it's interesting to find out how much UT's anthropology department was involved in those cases.

It was also nice to learn more about Dr. Bass' personal life, not just his vital stats. He is a bit of a local legend, so it was nice to see the "human" side of him in this book.

For anyone interested in forensic science, don't pass up this chance to learn more about it!

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent
This is a book that is hard to put down. Those who have read Patrica Cornwell's novel, "The Body Farm", are already familiar with the forensic lab set up by Dr. Bill Bass that studies decomposition of the human body. In "Death's Acre" Bass tells the non-fiction account of how the body farm came to be. Along with the forensic details, are interesting cases that Bass has worked. The cases explain the need for this often gruesome line of study. Thomas Noguchi and Michael Baden used this method very effectively in educating the public about forensic pathology. Bass now opens the eyes of the public by explaining more about the world of forensic anthropology. This is a fascinating and entertaining book, as Bass is able to convey his story with intelligence, humor, and compassion.

5-0 out of 5 stars Engaging, though not for the faint of heart
This is an utterly fascinating book describing a series of case studies taken from the career of the first author, Bill Bass, who is one of the nation's leading forensic anthropologists and the founder of the Body Farm. I had first encountered the Body Farm from reading about it in the book by Mary Roach, "Stiff: The Curious Life of Human Cadavers" (a wickedly funny and interesting book in its own right). I have also had a life-long interest in true crime books, so when I found out about "Death's Acre" I ordered it promptly.

And I was not disappointed. A previous reviewer expressed some dissatisfaction that the book did not deal solely with the work done at the Body Farm. While it is true that the title of the book is perhaps misleading in this regard, I personally am glad that the book focused as much as it did on the variety of cases that Dr. Bass consulted on throughout his career. I find it more interesting to hear about how forensic anthropology can help bring a murderer to justice than to read clinical data regarding just how many maggots can hatch in a body after 30 minutes in what temperature.

This is probably a good time to offer a gentle warning: This is a great book and totally fascinating, but if that last sentence about maggots upset you, you should probably forego buying and reading this book because that is only a mild taste of what you will encounter inside its pages. What happens to a human body after death isn't pretty, and the authors do a great job of describing it clinically and in terms that a lay audience will understand. But you need a pretty strong stomach to deal with it, especially when what is being described is, say, the brutally murdered body of a four-year-old girl. The book also contains a section of photographs, some of which involve decaying bodies (naturally enough given that this is the subject matter of the book), but if you do not particularly want to see pictures of decaying bodies, find another book to read.

But I would not want prospective readers to think that this book is gory just for the sake of sensationalism. The authors draw a compelling portrait of the role of forensic science in solving crimes and convicting the perpetrators of the crimes. The tone of the book is always scientific and the attitude toward the victims and research subjects at the Body Farm highly respectful.

The writing is also terrific. I think Dr. Blass made an excellent decision when he enlisted Jon Jefferson as co-author, as the writing is more literary and enjoyable than you expect from most mainstream academicians. The only suggestion for improvement I would make is that I wish the authors had included a few more pictures or diagrams of some of the more important diagnostic cues that are relied on in determining gender, age, and race. For example, we are repeatedly told of structural differences in the pelvis and skull that help to determine sex; it would have been helpful to see diagrams illustrating those differences.

Bottom line: Terrific book, one that left me half-wishing I had become a forensic anthropologist instead of a psychologist.

5-0 out of 5 stars The BEST book I've read in a long time!
Excellent read - HIGHLY RECOMMEND!

4-0 out of 5 stars Great book! Written for a wide audience. Easy read.
Dr. Bass has created a very interesting and directly written book in Death's Acre. Written in an unconventional format this book tells the history of the Body Farm, contemporary forensic anthropology, and Dr. Bass himself. Interspersed in the historical chronologies are specific forensic cases relating to the events (conception of the Body Farm, etc.) or research they spawned (larval life cycles, etc.). The cases themselves are very compelling stories, but the wonder is that they all relate to events of modern forensic innovation and discovery. Dr. Bass was not the first Forensic Anthropologist, but between his research and his patronage, he has been a leading passenger and teacher in the modern age of discovery. ... Read more

44. Homicide
list price: $6.99
our price: $6.29
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0804109990
Catlog: Book (1993-01-23)
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Sales Rank: 11512
Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars
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This 1992 Edgar Award winner for best fact crime is nothing short of a classic. David Simon, a police reporter for the Baltimore Sun, spent the year 1988 with three homicide squads, accompanying them through all the grim and grisly moments of their work--from first telephone call to final piece of paperwork. The picture that emerges through a masterful accumulation of details is that homicide detectives are a rare breed who seem to thrive on coffee, cigarettes, and persistence, through an endlessly exhausting parade of murder scenes. As the Washington Post writes, "We seem to have an insatiable appetite for police stories.... David Simon's entry is far and away the best, the most readable, the most reliable and relentless of them all.... An eye for the scenes of slaughter and pursuit and an ear for the cadences of cop talk, both business and banter, lend Simon's account the fascination that truth often has." ... Read more

Reviews (42)

5-0 out of 5 stars Can't get any closer than this
Homicide does an amazing job of taking the reader inside the day-to-day operations of the Homicide unit in Baltimore. Reading this book, you gain an appreciation not only for the investigative work done by the detectives, but also for the troubles they encounter. Simon gives you a detailed account of the inner-workings that you cannot learn anywhere else. From the murder to the trial, Homicide shows how the real-world criminal justice system works with all of its flaws. This is a page-turning whodunit in every form, and the best part is that it is true!

I am concerned to see other people claiming that this book does not deserve 5 stars because it does not live up to the characters in the T.V. show and because it has too much vulgarity. If these are the only criticisms (weak ones at that) that one can find within Homicide, then it deserves every star offered.

Read Homicide and you won't be dissapointed.

4-0 out of 5 stars A Candid look at a Year in the Life of a Homicide Division
I picked up this book without realizing that it was the genesis of the television program by the same name, and I was immediately dragged in to the stories. Written as a yearlong narrative of the events and personalities of the Baltimore Police Homicide Division, it really gives the reader a feeling of being along for the investigation. The dialogue and descriptions are so realistic and insightful that I found myself wondering how the Detectives felt to read this objective reflection of themselves. The pacing of the book contributes to the overall effectiveness of the narrative by educating the reader slowly as to the characters, the lingo and the mentality of a Baltimore homocide detective. By the end (and I was sorry to have it end) I felt like I knew the detectives and the criminals and the victims and their families. If you like true crime, this is the book for you!

5-0 out of 5 stars Not just for fans of the show...
This book is brilliant. As a would-be journalist, I would say "life-altering". Not only is the subject matter compelling, the style is sweet enough to make Ann Rule cry like a little girl. And to think I only bought it to play "Match The Composite" with the series.

5-0 out of 5 stars Brilliant and readable
Here's a book that gets into the minds of homicide detectives like no other. The author is insightful and thorough, but his writing style is a celebration of brevity. Working within the law and sometimes around it or even in spite of it, the detectives are revealed as all-too-human but praiseworthy individuals. Read this with Randy Sutton's "True Blue : Police Stories by Those Who Have Lived Them" and you'll have the best writing on cops and crime available today.

5-0 out of 5 stars One of the best books I have ever read
If you are interested at all in the criminal justice, police, CSI, law enforcement, or legal MUST read this book!!! I had to read it for a CJA class I took a while back and all I can say is WOW! Simon gets into the minds of the detectives so well, the book almost reads like a fiction novel!!! ... Read more

45. She Wanted it All: a True Story of Sex, Murder, and a Texas Millionaire
by Kathryn Casey
list price: $7.99
our price: $7.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0060567643
Catlog: Book (2005-04-01)
Publisher: Avon Books
Sales Rank: 28650
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (9)

5-0 out of 5 stars Couldn't put it down!
Just read "She Wanted it All" by Kathryn Casey. It was excellent, a very interesting read.I couldn't put it down, it went very fast. The fact it is a TRUE story made it even more facinating.I loved it.

Sue from Houston

5-0 out of 5 stars Texas Greed 'She Did Not Get It All"
After reading the story of Celeste Beard bu Kathryn Casey, I have to place her writing in the category with my top crime authors, James Patterson, Stephen King, Mario Puzo, and Dean Koonz to name a few.

Here is this crazez psychotic woman who literally came "up out of the swamp" to a life of luxury in the Texas hill country with a rich man, Steve Beard, and took advantage of her husband and flaunted her riches and made an attempt on his life just to try to "Get it All.Although the book refers to the area as "Austin's Hollywood Hills" Sinc I live in California, Hollywood is not the luxury area in California.It is "old" and there are more luxurious area in CA that outrun Hollywood.

Instead of enjoying her life of luxury with her husband, this woman conspired with two unscrupuious woman to make an attempt to murder her husband just for greed.One a lesbian, obsessive, love-struck, psychotic,and a beauty salon receptionist who absconded with large amounts of money give to her by Celeste in an attempt to get rid of Celest's husband.Throughout the ordeal, the misused and abused her two young daughters from early childhood to maturity and had them so brainwashed that they literally had to go into hiding because of fear of their crazed mother.But in the nd, justic prevailed and they are both locked up and will not harm anymore men, women or children.Great book

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent Book!!!
I have been reading true crime for years, and I must say that this is one of the best books I have ever read. This book had me riveted. This book shows Celeste Beard for what she truly is, pure evil. Great book. I will be purchasing more of Ms. Casey's books.

Kathryn Casey did her research on this book.In the beginning it started out a little slow but got better and better as time went on!However, I must say with out the beginning there would be no way for the reader to 'understand' and 'comprehend' the abuse that Celeste occured during childhood.Nor would you see that innocent children lived horrendous lives!
Towards the middle of the book Casey really lays it on. You don't want to put the book down and are wanting to find out every detail!
One of the best True Crime books I have read!

5-0 out of 5 stars A Must Read!
Kathryn Casey did a tremendous job of recounting this crime and of accurately portraying all involved and affected by it.Casey is an articulate and ethical writer, and her latest novel reflects this in every way.This novel stands in stark contrast to the other, recently released account of this crime.To get a true feel for this story, She Wanted It All is THE book to read. ... Read more

46. Wiseguy
by Nicholas Pileggi
list price: $7.99
our price: $7.19
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0671723227
Catlog: Book (1990-09-01)
Publisher: Pocket
Sales Rank: 7686
Average Customer Review: 4.71 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

"At the age of twelve my ambition was to become a gangster. To be a wiseguy. Being a wiseguy was better than being President of the United States. To be a wiseguy was to own the world." -- Henry Hill

Wiseguy is Nicholas Pileggi's remarkable bestseller, the most intimate account ever printed of life inside the deadly high-stakes world of what some people call the Mafia. Wiseguy is Henry Hill's story, in fascinating, brutal detail, the never-before-revealed day-to-day life of a working mobster -- his violence, his wild spending sprees, his wife, his mistresses, his code of honor.

Henry Hill knows where a lot of bodies are buried, and he turned Federal witness to save his own life. The mob is still hunting him for what he reveals in Wiseguy: hundreds of crimes including arson, extortion, hijacking, and the $6 million Lufthansa heist, the biggest successful cash robbery in U.S. history, which led to ten murders. A firsthand account of the secret world of the mob,

Wiseguy is more compelling than any novel. ... Read more

Reviews (82)

5-0 out of 5 stars Readable and Gripping
Pileggi's gripping narrative gives an inside view of life in the New York crime syndicate. Ex-mobster Henry Hill describes his 25-year career as a hijacker, arsonist, and thief. Hill and his associates operated via a combination of bribes, intimidation, crooked cops, and greedy businessmen eager for stolen merchandise (swag). Lest readers be misinformed, Hill's associates (if not Hill) murdered not just renegade mobsters, but ordinary citizens who got in the way. This book both glamorizes and attacks the swaggering, fast-money Mafia lifestyle. Hill entered FBI witness protection in 1980 after his bust for narcotics distribution left him a marked man for having violated syndicate rules against drug trafficking. Director Martin Scorsese turned this book into the superb 1990 movie "Goodfellows." Pileggi followed with "Casino," another fine narrative (and Scorsese movie) that investigates Midwest mob influence in Las Vegas. "Wiseguy" is a very absorbing and informative read.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Best of its Type
Anyone who may have seen the movie Godfellas, might have thought the movie too fast paced to follow. That is not the case for this book from which the movie was made. This non-fiction tale of Henry Hill, a soldier in one of the smaller New York crime families is very easy to follow as well as extremely difficult to put down once you start. You actually develop a liking for the main character, who is way more passive then his two partners who kill without compunction or remorse. Though none of them ever becomes a 'made' man, they seem to be right on the cusp of a lot of big Mafia related events that happened in the 1970's and 80's. Having read The Valachi Papers and Sammy Gravanno's autobiography, I find this book the best of the bunch.

5-0 out of 5 stars Memoir of a "Frontline" mafioso
Wiseguy is the story of Henry Hill, a relatively minor associate member of the Luchese crime family of New York. Henry Hill is a half-Irish, half-Sicilian boy, who knew from a very early age that he wanted to be a wiseguy, a gangster. The movie "Goofellas", starring Ray Liotta as Henry Hill, is a rather good adaptation of this book. The book tells the story of Henry Hill, how he eventually becomes an errand boy for the Varios, a family of mafioso under the umbrella of the Lucheses (one of the Five Families in New York) and works his way up the ladder, making bigger heists, bigger scores, and loving every minute of it. Only when his involvement as a drug dealer and his subsequent arrest threaten to put him away for a long time does Hill finally make the decision to rat out his friends of 25 years and enter the Witness Protection Program in exchange for information leading to the conviction of bigger fish.

The book also takes down the recollections of Henry Hill's wife, Karen, who, despite an upper-crust upbringing, is irresistably drawn to the danger and excitement Henry brings into her otherwise humdrum, yet comfortable life.

Overall, this book paints an interesting portrait of life as a career criminal, where larceny, armed robbery, and intimidation are all in a day's work. This is in stark contrast to those familiar with "The Godfather" which is more about the lives of Mafia "royalty" and how the problems of wealthy, pwerful people are similar, whether they are kings, heads of state, or leaders of crime syndicates.

4-0 out of 5 stars great book
I admit that this book is really good, but "life inside a mafia famiy" is a stretch considering Hill wasn't even a made man.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great book, better movie.
This of course is the all time classic that the best movie of the 90's was based on - Yes Im talking about Goodfellas. A lot of the exact quotes and dialogue of this book can be found in the movie. I loved the book and I have read it a few times in the past 10 years or so but I have probably seen Goodfellas no fewer than 50 times. Real life events make better stories than fiction sometimes and this proves it. Check out Henry Hills website. I think its called or something like that. He has "threat of the week" on there and everyone emails him calling him a rat. Fun stuff. ... Read more

47. Party Monster : A Fabulous But True Tale of Murder in Clubland
by James St. James
list price: $13.00
our price: $9.75
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0743259823
Catlog: Book (2003-09-01)
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Sales Rank: 10614
Average Customer Review: 4.27 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Murder Was Never So Much Fun!

When Disco Bloodbath was first published, it created a storm of controversy for its startlingly vivid, strikingly fresh, and outrageously funny depiction of the hedonistic world of the New York City club kids, for whom nothing was too outré -- including murder. Nominated for the Edgar Award for best true-crime book of the year, it also marked the debut of an audaciously talented writer, James St. James, who himself had been a club kid and close friend and confidant of Michael Alig, the young man convicted of killing the drug dealer known as Angel.

Now the book has been brought to the screen as Party Monster, with Macaulay Culkin playing killer Michael Alig and Seth Green as author/celebutante James St. James. ... Read more

Reviews (15)

4-0 out of 5 stars An adventure
I had no idea what world I was about to enter when I started this adventure with James St. James. His use of storytelling is absolutly fabulous, at times I felt like I was right there in NYC with the rest of the club kids. Prior to reading this book I knew nothing of the New York City club life St. James writes about, but his story of Michael Alig doesn't just tell of the murder of Angel Melendez, but instead tells you of their lives, and lifestyles. I was absolutly amazed, and couldn't put the story down. A must read, but may be only for the open-minded.

4-0 out of 5 stars Must Read for Any Hipster or Wannabe
How funny that other reviewers have been surprised or even disappointed at how self-indulgent James St. James is in this book. He's a DRAG QUEEN! Drag queens are all about self-indulgence or maybe you've never known one. The story-telling is good, if not all over the place. It's an entertaining read, to be sure. Of course, the subjects aren't what society would call "entertaining" (you know... murder, drugs, etc), but it's very real for a lot of people. JSJ's southern upbrining shines through in his story-telling. Sure, he says he's from Michigan but the dear old thing spent plenty of time with his wealthy and quite southern father in South Florida. (Yes, there are VERY southern southerners in South Florida... maybe just not plopped in a club in South Beach). Something tells me James will be out with a book about this highly entertaining southern family... or at least he should. And being the self-indulgent queen he is, I'm sure he reads every last review of his books and if he's reading this one, James, please get on with writing the fabulous story of Broward County kin. In the meantime, anyone else should absolutely buy this book. It's just a shame that beautiful shoe no longer graces the cover.

5-0 out of 5 stars Skrod-la-da!
After seeing the movie Party Monster, I decided to pick up a copy of the book Disco Bloodbath, which was featured near the end of the movie. The paperback edition has been renamed Party Monster, which I think is unfortunate, since this book is really more than just a paperback version of the movie. A quick, highly entertaining romp, this book is certainly not for everyone. It takes a certain amount of openminded acceptance to be able to read a book detailing the rise and fall of clubkid-turned-murderer, Michael Alig; however, if you can stomach the descriptions of rampant drug use and its aftermath, then what you find is a wholly engaging and addictive read.

4-0 out of 5 stars A Tasty Appetizer
This book is a breezy, entertaining read, full of dishy giddiness. St. James definitely has mastered the art of queeny commentary, rendering 'Disco Bloodbath/Party Monster' as enjoyable and decadent as cream puff with chocolate sauce.

If, however, you are looking for a meatier account of the Alig/Melendez fiasco, don't expect Disco Bloodbath to furnish it. This is an insider's glib take on the events, not a factual accounting, and for those who want to twist their minds around the 'why/how?' of the events leading up to the grisly murder, this book will prove unsatisfying. My advice is to treat it as the deliciously entertaining literary profiterole that it is.

I've just ordered Frank Owen's 'Clubland', which I understand is the yang to St. James' yin; clinical, factual, and stripped of glamour - I'm still out on this one until I read it. One wonders if one will ever be able to get to the bottom of the debacle - perhaps because there IS no bottom?

In any case, YOU ARE TOO MUCH, JAMES ST. JAMES! I concur with the reviewer who encouraged you to write about those Southern family roots, and I expect you could be a master of Southern Gothic with an acid twist. Fabulous!

5-0 out of 5 stars Crazy!!!
This based on a true story book is AMAZING!!
From murder, disco, drugs, love, hate...this book has it all!!!
If you like the book you should defintley check out the shockumentry film as well as the new film starring Mac Culkin and Seth Green.
Warning: when you pick up this book you wont be able to put it down!! ... Read more

48. Inside the CIA
by Ronald Kessler
list price: $7.99
our price: $7.19
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Asin: 067173458X
Catlog: Book (1994-02-01)
Publisher: Pocket
Sales Rank: 9145
Average Customer Review: 3.62 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (29)

4-0 out of 5 stars Don't Worry This Book Won't self-destruct after you read it
Ever since it's formation in the 1950's the CIA. has been one of the most intriguing and at times most controversial organizations of all time. Ronlad Kessler's investigative novel: Inside The CIA offers to shed some much-needed light on the agency's purpose. Using information gathered from interviews with retired CIA and KGB officers, Kessler reveals more about the CIA's structure, policies, and personnel than any James Bond movie ever could.

Kessler explains that the CIA is divided into four chief directorates: operations, intelligence, administration, and science and technology. He goes on to say that these four departments work in unison to keep the CIA runnning smoothly. The CIA could not withstand the loss of any one of these divisons; if the directorate of administration was taken away no one would get employed, paid, or terminated. Likewise if the directorate of intelligence was eliminated the CIA's main role (gaining information about other countries and using that information to protect national security) would not be fulfilled. At the head of all these directorates and sub-directorates is the office of the director of the Central Intelligence Agency.

Movies like James Bond and Misson: Impossible may give people the wron idead about the CIA. Kessler states that "When the public or the media cannot know something they immediately assume that the agency has make a mistake." Many people think that classified information is something the CIA doesn't want to acknowlege; in reality the CIA classifies information to protect the US and its citizens.

I picked up this book looking foward to pages full of clever gadgets and shadowly double agents. What i found was long drawn out procedures and policies that often confused me. However the book was occasionally spiced up with an intresting fact or two. For instance did you know that former president George Bush was once director of the CIA? Or that in the past the CIA hired US citizens vacationing over seas to spy on foreign emmbassies? These seldom facts combined with the agency's interesting history kept me reading. This book might appeal to someone who wants to clear up some of the speculation of the CIA.

3-0 out of 5 stars Pretty good, but not exactly revealing
evidently, this guy's book about the FBI created quite the stir. when i got this book for x-mas, i expected a lot of information on the operations aspect of the CIA, but was somewhat disappointed. i was pleased with some of the operational history and how the agency evolved through the years to become one of the most skilled, and respected intelligence agencies in the world. but, this book didn't reveal much that couldn't already be found online. aside from his detailed operations accounts and interviews of CIA personnel, just about everything this guy discusses is somewhere online -- most of it on the CIA website. furthermore, i expected at least something on the collection management aspect of the clandestine service, but kessler didn't mention that job at all, preferring to spend a whole chapter on the CIA's games in cuba and with castro.
don't expect to find anything too exciting in here. there's some good operations history, and he does a good job detailing different areas of the CIA, their responsibilities, and how they all work together. but it read like a series of somewhat nonsensical stories told by someone more interested in the garnishes than the entree. if you want to know more about the CIA, you would be better off going to their website first and then reading this guy's book for some 1st person accounts and operations.

2-0 out of 5 stars Quick overview, lacks substance and gets repetetive
This book gives a good overview of the CIA structure, depicting each department individually. In doing so, the author jumps chronologically and repeats himself. This book had very few accounts of what CIA actually does, apart from a lot of references to the Inran-Contra affair (not exactly explained in the book). Apart from explaining how CIA is structured and giving a couple of semi-bios CIA directors this book leaves you wanting to read something else on the subject.

4-0 out of 5 stars interesting and entertaining, starting to become dated
This 1992 book by Kessler is quite similar to his more recent book on the FBI, but without the quantity or quality of interesting inside stories. Not surprisingly, despite having excellent access to the CIA, there are fewer details. Again, however, he comes across as remarkably fair-minded--quite critical of failings of the agency, and not afraid to point out flaws and foibles of its leadership--but also sympathetic, refuting some inaccurate charges that have been made. The book has a very amusing and horrible typo in the title of Chapter 24: it is given as "X-Rated Chowder" in the table of contents, at the beginning of the chapter, and at the top of every page in the chapter. In fact, it was supposed to be (as you learn when you read the chapter) "X-Rayed Chowder." A good introduction to the CIA, but it's now over a decade out-of-date.

4-0 out of 5 stars A large puzzle pieced a bit a time.
It is obvious from reading this book that Kessler did his homework along with the work assigned to other classes. The book is filled with anecdotes and details that help complete the extensive history and organization of the CIA. At times, he gets a little too specific such as when unnecessarily stating the room and floor of the building for a particular meeting. At other times, these minute details gives credibility and invokes a tour-guide-feel to the author. In addition, the author exhibits an overall positive view of the modern CIA though he does not hesistant to mention the CIA's failures.
As for my personal experience, due to the large number of persons discussed, I found myself flipping back and forth to find out trying to recall a name I passed over before. By the last chapter, the final pieces of the puzzle are put together and what I'm left with is a clear picture of the organization of the CIA along with a slightly blurry image of its history. (I just can't remember all those names.) ... Read more

49. Mindhunter : Inside the FBI's Elite Serial Crime Unit
by John E. Douglas, Mark Olshaker
list price: $7.99
our price: $7.19
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Asin: 0671528904
Catlog: Book (1996-08-01)
Publisher: Pocket
Sales Rank: 8060
Average Customer Review: 4.03 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

During his twenty-five year career with the Investigative Support Unit, SpecialAgent John Douglas became a legendary figure in law enforcement, pursuing some of the most notorious andsadistic serial killers of our time: the man who hunted prostitutes for sport in the woods of Alaska, theAtlanta child murderer, and Seattle's Green River killer, the case that nearly cost Douglas his life.

As the model for Jack Crawford in The Silence of the Lambs, Douglas hasconfronted, interviewed, and studied scores of serial killers and assassins, including Charles Manson,Ted Bundy, and Ed Gein, who dressed himself in his victims' peeled skin. Using his uncanny ability tobecome both predator and prey, Douglas examines each crime scene, reliving both the killer's and the victim'sactions in his mind, creating their profiles, describing their habits, and predicting their next moves.

Now, in chilling detail, the legendary Mindhunter takes us behind the scenes ofsome of his most gruesome, fascinating, and challenging cases -- and into the darkest recesses of ourworst nightmares. ... Read more

Reviews (148)

4-0 out of 5 stars Biographic story of John Douglas and the Serial Crime unit
I read this book because of a reference in the book by Candice DeLong called: "Special Agent : My Life on the Front Lines As a Woman in the FBI". In Ms. Delong's book she made many references to work that John Douglas' group did and cited this book many times. This book gave me further insight into how the Serial Crime unit evolved.

Many cased were cited in this book and the profiles that were tied to them. However, still after reading this book, I did not come away with an understanding on how they established that the potential culprit was early 20's, did not know the victim, drove a VW beetle (this can't be too great for sales), lived with his Mom and used to be a bed wetter. I can hypothesize, how this was derived, but the book only gives you that much. I imagine many hours of correlating details of solved crimes helps provide the statistical information, they use. This data I'm sure is also closely guarded. One thing they did state was some serial killers were quite bright and no doubt this date could be used as a blueprint to hide your identity. Thus, the need not to publish it. Ironically too many serial killers, were police buffs. All the more reason, not to share it here as well.

Ironically, common sense prevails. Why not ask some of the perpetrators now that have nothing to lose and a lot of time on their hands. The unit begins interviews with some of the more nototious killers to see what their thoughts were when they committed the crimes they did. As predicted some offenders were less than candid, but even in their lies some insight was gained.

THE LOGIC AND STRUCTURE OF MANY SOLVED INVESTIGATIONS WAS DETAILED. Here you can see where involving this unit may be able to save precious time. From evidence gathering, questioning and staking out various locations associated with the crimes. There is a pattern we all follow. As humans, we are all creatures of habit and compulsion. Those of us driven to crime and horrible acts of violence even more so. John Douglas discusses this in many situations they dealt with.

Covers many high profile cases in broad strokes and deals with the logic behind profiling, while also
showing the people and the process involved in building a department devoted to this, this is the book for you.

Detail case specifics and how all that profiles are generated, this is not it.

JOHN DOUGLAS DOES A NICE JOB WRAPPING UP THE DETAILS OF HIS LONG CAREER AND A PART OF IT HE FEEL PASSIONATE ABOUT. We should all be so lucky to have an opportunity to shape the world around us as he has. He has paid the price with health and family issues, but the outcome, I'm sure he would never change. Bravo.

3-0 out of 5 stars The Amazing Douglas!
This is the first of Douglas' books I've read. After having read Robert Ressler's 2 books, I found this to be more of the same serial killer profiles, with a different spin on the same cases that Ressler reviews in his books. "Mind Hunter" has more of Douglas' personal & professional journey woven into his case studies. It's somewhat boastful of his accomplishments, and, at times, self congratulatory, but still very interesting. The book achieves a good level of insightfulness into the minds and psychopathology of the serial killers profiled. The disappointment lies, however, in that Douglas casually glosses over exactly how his profiles are derived and constructed from the particular facts of each case. Little to no analytic methodology is presented. (I mean, it's not as if readers are gonna run out and take his job away from him if he reveals too many tricks of his trade). In fact, Douglas presents his ability to profile as if he's a magical psychic, pulling personality theories out of his hat. Low and behold! - once the investigations are complete, he ends up with an accurate profile, and people are amazed by him! Nonetheless, it's an enjoyable and very interesting book. If you're intersted in criminal profiling, it's worth a read, but it's not as in-depth as say, Michaud and Hazelwood's "The Evil that Men Do".

5-0 out of 5 stars LOVED IT
If your a true crime buff, buy it. If you've already read his book Obsession, don't....a lot of the same stories and material.

5-0 out of 5 stars Discriminating readers
What many reviewers of John Douglas and Mark Olshaker's book seemed to have overlooked is the tie-in between the biographical information and the profiling techniques John helped to develop. The story of John's mother inquiring into his sex life leads directly to his 'everybody has a rock' theory. The story of betting on raindrops clearly shows why criminals continue to commit crimes: because they can.

John's other biographical stories help illustrate how diffcult life inside the FBI can be. The list of victims in a murder isn't limited to the one murdered; they include the family, neighbors, friends, investigators working a case and Federal law enforcement officers and their families. Anyone considering a career in law enforcement or with the Bureau, should take this into consideration before signing on.

In the context of writing, there are two ways to tell a story; telling vs showing. Mark and John chose to write this book by showing the reader how profiles are constructed. No, you won't find a step-by-step instruction manual within these pages, but you will find the method fully illustrated. An example is the Trailside Killer profile. Carpenter approached his victims in isolated areas and used a blitz attack from the rear to disable them. John Douglas wondered why and took the reader through the steps; the killer didn't attempt to lure or trick his victims as had Bundy. Instead, the killer felt the need to take the victims by surprise even in isolated areas of Tamalpais Park. This told John the killer felt awkward, possibly had a handicap. A physical impairment or disfigurement would have been noticed by others in the park at the time of the murders. That left a speech impediment. The rest of the reasoning behind the profile is detailed quite clearly.

John's methods aren't magic but a result of years of studying human nature, a creative way of thinking about a problem and a background based on intensive interviews with hundreds of convicted killers.

Ego plays a large part in the life of any law enforcement officer. Had John Douglas or Robert Ressler, or Roy Hazelwood spoken to police departments in an unsure manner, would any of those agencies have paid attention? That confidence carries over into real life and to the written word.

For those seeking an inside look at the FBI, there are other books available. Mindhunter, however, is the story of the FBI's first profilers (All of them, not just Douglas) and a look at the Behavioral Science Unit.

Mindhunter, along with John's other books co-authored with Mark Olshaker, show the impact of murder on those closest to the crimes --the families and loved ones. John Douglas' caring for the surviving victims shines from every page in which he talks about that impact, the friendships formed through tragedy, the advocacy of victim's rights and his push to have VICAP become mandatory.

If I could give a higher rating, I would rate Mindhunter a 10.

5-0 out of 5 stars Profiles in Courage
John Douglas is a retired FBI agent who, along with collegues Rob Ressler and several others, developed a new strategy to catch some of America's (and the world's) most deplorable but elusive killers: Profiling. This new behavioral science took a look at a crime scene and the victim her/himself and after piecing these clues along with the clues left at similar murder sites, detectives were able to come up with a "profile" of the perpetrator of the crime. How? Because Douglas and others had gone to the heart of the matter: the criminals themselves. By interviewing them in prison, they were able to see why they killed, what drove them to it, their preferences, backgrounds, and fantasies. Often, the profiles were so eerily accurate that it seemed like witchcraft. Eventually, it was embraced by law enforcement and came to be a most invaluable tool for which all of us in society should be grateful for.
John Douglas describes his beginnings and his own story is as interesting as that of the sick men he later profiles for the reader. There are many insider-anecdotes for us to live vicariously through and plenty of bone-chilling (but not overly-sensationalistic) details of horrific crimes to keep us awake at night.
Luckily, a lot of these guys are locked up for life and some have even kept their dates with death (like America's most charming serial killer, Ted Bundy, who was fried on the electric chair after years of appeals and dozens of murders). But it's not that there aren't still antisocial personalities out there, waiting to explode; the apparent decline in such crime I think is due to men like Douglas, who have made studying these men his cause so that he can stay one step ahead of them. Also, Douglas and his contemporaries worked tirelessly for victim's rights and have made it possible to track cases all over the country via computer so that people can never get away with running away accross the country--to kill anew--ever again. (Bundy did just that, and because things like VICAP were not instituted yet, he went from Washington to Florida and killed more women in the southern state where no one had heard of the vicious killer.)
This book is not for the weak- it will scare you. But it is also an empowering way to look into the minds of the men (it's mostly men who turn into mass killers) who committed the crimes and become aware. I feel I learned how to "defend" myself at least psychologically.
And I consider John Douglas a real hero. ... Read more

50. Spymaster: My Life In The Cia
list price: $27.95
our price: $18.45
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Asin: 157488915X
Catlog: Book (2005-02-01)
Publisher: Brassey's Inc
Sales Rank: 596053
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51. Between Good and Evil : A Master Profiler's Hunt for Society's Most Violent Predators
by Roger L. Depue, Susan Schindehette
list price: $25.95
our price: $17.13
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Asin: 0446532649
Catlog: Book (2005-02-03)
Publisher: Warner Books
Sales Rank: 33106
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The FBI's former top serial-killer hunter shares his unique perspective as both a lawman and a member of the clergy counseling convicts--revealing the dangerously thin line between good and evil.

Roger L. Depue spent decades tracking down America's most depraved criminals. First as a small town police chief, then as a S.W.A.T. team member, and ultimately as head of the FBI's famed Behavioral Sciences Unit--the unit responsible for profiling and hunting serial killers--where he pioneered revolutionary law enforcement programs and techniques that remain in use today by the FBI and police departments across the globe. In his quest to comprehend the true nature of good and evil, Depue embarked on a mid-career spiritual sabbatical to become a Brother of the Missionaries of the Holy Apostles, counseling maximum security inmates. With his combined experiences as both a law enforcement professional and a member of the clergy, Depue explores the criminal mind and soul as no one has ever done before. ... Read more

Reviews (11)

5-0 out of 5 stars Fascinating......
What an excellent book.Besides what has already been said, it is extremely well written and not self-indulgent in the least.It is easily as good as John Douglas's books and maybe better, from a different standpoint.It's more autobiographical, as opposed to a case by case study. For those of us who enjoy this subject, you won't be disappointed.

5-0 out of 5 stars outstanding, excellent, powerful
A gripping autobiography of a former FBI profiler's experience and cases that are sometimes too much for the evening news. He explores the concept of evil and its existance in some of the worst humans who committed unthinkable crimes. I just couldn't put it down, it was an easy and motivating read. We should be thankful for the men and women like roger depue who hunt the hunters and bring justice to grieving families like ones found throughout the book. A must read!!!

5-0 out of 5 stars WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO BE A PROFILER????
TV and film have romanticized the men who are able to profile serial killers.Men who are able to get inside the heads of these criminals and know their motivations and use those to track and eventually capture them.But what is the emotional toll for dealing the the day-to-day horror of this job?It's hardly glamorous.They've seen things and more importantly, have to solve things that would drive the average person to flee in stark terror.Roger Depue wasn't just a profiler, he was one of the profilers of the science.He is the one who helped write the book on the science of tracking these people down.

His accounts are exciting, horrifying, fulfilling, and deeply depressing.This was work so overwhelming that DePue actually left the world behind for a few years and joined a seminary.I was deeply moved and deeply horrified by the book.This is the true to life tragedies that TV and film never take you to.The real thing.Highly recommended.

5-0 out of 5 stars Exellent Insight
This book gives incredible insight to anyone who reads it. It doesn't matter if it's leisure reading on an interesting topic or someone looking to gain knowledge for a possible future career in this field. DePue lends his expertise and countless years of experience to write a very informative and heartbreaking book. There are many people who attempted to enter into profiling and couldn't stick with it. Witnessing chilren being murdered brutally and raped savagely and the same crimes acted out onadults. How many people can honestly do that and not become psychologically affected eventually? He joined the seminary to relieve the years of demented cases he had to work. I have to applaud him for doing something that most people could never think about doing but has to be done. He has saved many lives and when that couldn't be done, he at least gave peace to many families who had family members taken from them. This book is inspiring and deserves two thumbs up! I highly recommend it!!

4-0 out of 5 stars Law Enforcement at its Best
This narrative is primarily an autobiography.It is interesting reading because the author had an impressive career in law enforcement and the criminal justice system beginning as a policeman in a small Michigan town.Among his significant accomplishments were his contributions to the profiling of criminals.This activity started while he was with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Chief of the Behavioral Science Unit.By examining the evidence at a crime scene investigators were able to establish a profile of the criminal and thus narrow down the search.

In the depiction of some of the horrible crime scenes witnessed by the author, not a great deal was left to the imagination.

After the death of his wife, he entered a Catholic seminary and became concerned with looking at crime from the criminal side in order to determine what went wrong with the individual.It is his belief that some criminals are just evil.However, he believes there are some who made one wrong turn in life.Except for that one occurrence they may not have entered into the world of crime.

Two of the more notable cases discussed in the book were that of Jon Benet Ramsey and the case of Ted Bundy.
... Read more

52. The Hoax
by Clifford Irving
list price: $22.00
our price: $22.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0932966144
Catlog: Book (1981-06-01)
Publisher: Permanent Press (NY)
Sales Rank: 151264
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The ultimate caper story, novelist Clifford Irving's no-holds-barred account of the literary hoax of our time--his "autobiography" of Howard Hughes--was published in Great Britain in 1997, where it became a bestseller.But no American hardcover house would touch THE HOAX until now. One major publisher offered a $500,000 advance when the book was nearing completion, drew up the contract?then abruptly bowed out.Why?The answer is implicit in this classic tale of daring, treachery, and corruption. As fast-paced and exciting as any spy novel, it involves the reader at every devilish twist and turn. In this first U.S. hardcover edition, Clifford Irving tells how the hoax developed, like a Chinese puzzle, from its madcap beginning to the final startling confession--a witty and nail-biting story of international intrigue and beautiful women, of powerful corporate executives and jet-set rogues, of cover-ups and headlines. ... Read more

Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars Truth is more Complex than Falsity
This book has the ring of truth to it, and that is unmistakeable. It's the story of a writer who hoodwinked the world by writing the hoax autobiography of billionaire Howard Hughes, and paid the price by going to prison. It reads like a novel, in the sense that it's thrilling, and you understand Clifford Irving to the bone. It's well-paced, filled with memorable characters and incidents, and if there were ever a book to nail down the sin of greed in both individuals and corporations, this is it. I loved it.

2-0 out of 5 stars At Least This One was (Maybe) Honest
This is a good read, a good read about a master forger and a man who refuses to repent. A sociopath in action. Mr Irving claims this book is honest, the truth, but since he is writing about a giant lie, it's hard to believe this is as honest as he would have us believe. If you are are interested in the mind of a sick man, then this book is for you. ... Read more

53. Sunk Without a Sound : The Tragic Colorado River Honeymoon of Glen and Bessie Hyde
by Brad Dimock
list price: $18.00
our price: $15.30
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1892327988
Catlog: Book (2001-02-21)
Publisher: Fretwater Press
Sales Rank: 42569
Average Customer Review: 4.57 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The mystery of Glen and Bessie Hyde is whitewater navigation's equivalent to Mallory and Irvine's disappearance on Everest in 1924. Just four years later in October 1928, the Hydes, a bright, attractive, and talented young couple built their own wooden sweep scow and launched on a honeymoon voyage down the Green and Colorado Rivers through Grand Canyon. Bessie was the first woman to ever attempt the river. Halfway through Grand Canyon they talked to the press, then disappeared into the gloomy November depths of the gorge. They were never seen again.Despite an extensive series of searches, no trace was found except, eerily, their boat: upright, intact, fully loaded, and snagged in calm water. Glen and Bessie had vanished without a trace. For the next seven decades their tale evolved from simple facts to convoluted folklore and myth. A woman appeared on a river trip in 1971 claiming to be Bessie, having murdered Glen and hiked out. In 1976 a skeleton was found at Grand Canyon with a bullet through the skull. Size, age and circumstance suggested it was the body of Glen Hyde. In 1985 a woman surfaced with a tale of her father, Glenn Hyde, who had disappeared in 1928, but reappeared seven years later with tales of having rafted rivers. He said he had attempted the Colorado through Grand Canyon but "it didn't work out." And he carried a scar on his back from a knife wound, delivered by a woman named Bessie. And in 1992, when Georgie Clark, the most famous of all river runners, died, her past was discovered to be pure fiction. She had been born Bessie, and her lingerie drawer held a marriage record for Glen and Bessie Hyde. And a pistol. Author and boatman Brad Dimock tackled this story with an obsession, tracking each clue, lead, and rumor, even going to the extreme of building a replica of the Hydes' archaic sweep scow for a harrowing journey through Grand Canyon with his own bride. The resulting book, a masterful interweaving of past and present, of pathos and humor, is a classic in outdoor adventure, mystery writing, literary nonfiction, and investigative journalism. With 304 profusely illustrated pages, this beautiful book is not only a joy to look at, but a true page turner. ... Read more

Reviews (14)

5-0 out of 5 stars An Amazing Book With Sweepage!
I'm no expert about the Grand Canyon or whitewater rafting - I've visited the canyon about 5 times over the last 30 years, spending 6 days on a spring break backcountry hike on one of the trips, and I've been on one float trip down the San Juan River [Bluff to 'Lake Foul'] on the spring break before or after the canyon hike - so I'm reviewing Sunk Without A Sound by Brad Dimock as an interested and knowledgable layperson. This book is an amazing adventure story, a gripping mystery, a brave piece of experimental historical investigation, the end product of extensive research, and an extremely rational and fair reading of the available evidence.

The book is a tapestry of stories sewn together with several strong threads. The main thread is the story of the failed [?] honeymoon Colorado River trip of Glen and Bessie Hyde in 1928 and the subsequent attempts to find a solution to their disappearance. It is the story of RC Hyde, Glen's father, and his obsessive, but loving, attempts to find his son and his daughter-in-law. It is the story of author Brad Dimock and his wife, Jeri Ledbetter, and their enlightening version of the original Hyde trip [they recreated the original journey in a version of the original sweep scow]. Dimock ties all these pieces together in one seamless piece of non-fiction.

I enjoyed the book immensely, especially the fact that Dimock told the most reasonable story that the research and the evidence supported. I recommend you take a ride throught the twists, the turns, and the rapids of this excellent book.

5-0 out of 5 stars an exceptionally good read
It's obvious that Dimock has done his homework in researching and writing this superbly crafted book detailing the disappearance of Glenn and Bessie Hyde, the 'honeymoon couple' who attempted a run through Grand Canyon in their sweep scow--Rain-in-the-Face--during 1928. Here we find three great stories packed concisely into one exceptionally good book. It is part mystery novel, part an historical account replete with colorful and obscure Grand Canyon characters, and part the telling of Dimock's own run down the Colorado River in the sweep scow he built to recreate the Hyde's histroic trip. SUNK WITHOUT A SOUND is also, and more importantly, a thorough biography of the life and times of Glen and Bessie Hyde. Their family members appear in startling detail, their history is laid out in a colorfully woven chronology, and their ultimate end is surmised in vivid fashion. Beyond that, the many folk tales surrounding their disappearance are debunked and kindly dismissed with considerable research. Illustrated with maps, diagrams, and an interesting variety of historic Grand Canyon and Hyde family photos, Dimock ultimely takes the reader on a whitewater trip not to be forgotten. Dimock's first book, THE DOING OF THE THING, a biography of riverman Buzz Holmstrom, won the National Outdoor Book Award in 1998. However impressive that my be, SUNK WITHOUT A SOUND is, obviously, destined for much higher accolades.

5-0 out of 5 stars Just Get Past The Ugly Cover
I think, at first, the cover scared me away, but once I started reading I was involved. I must applaud Brad Dimock's writing skill. He has written a book with the timbre and cadence of a Jon Krakauer about an episode of which we know very little. While Glen Hyde's life was well documented by his family, very little is known about Bessie Hyde or how the Hyde's marriage was holding up under the pressure of their Colorado River float. Despite this dearth of information, Dimock has succeeded in bringing Glen and Bessie to life. We care about these two people, who disappeared over 75 years ago, and we follow the scanty thread of facts that Dimock has been able to gather, hanging on to each clue in the hope of learning their fate even though we know from the beginning that the Hyde's were never found.

Sunk Without a Sound can stand side-by-side with the best of Jon Krakauer and David Roberts.

1-0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Mystery!
This book is one of those can't put it down books. It is well written and keeps you on the edge of your seat. You end up with all kinds of ideas on what happened to Glen and Bessie. It is full of actual photos from Glen and Bessie on this trip. If you like true life mysteries, get this book.

5-0 out of 5 stars Fascinating adventure story
You know from the beginning that they don't make it. The book explores the mystery of who Glen and Bessie were and what happened to them on their honeymoon adventure through the Grand Canyon. HIGHLY recommended. ... Read more

54. Dead Reckoning: The New Science of Catching Killers
by Michael Baden, Marion Roach
list price: $13.00
our price: $9.75
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0684852713
Catlog: Book (2002-09-04)
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Sales Rank: 11501
Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

For most people, the forensic sciences are something reported on the news when a crime is solved through DNA evidence, or used as a plot twist for television shows. But behind the crime-scene tape and the doors of the morgue is a world never seen by the public. Now famed pathologist and medical examiner Dr. Michael Baden and award-winning writer Marion Roach take readers into the laboratory, above the autopsy table, onto the witness stand and out in the field to show how advances in forensic science can solve crucial questions in a criminal case, often with startling accuracy.

Baden and Roach reveal how a key clue to the killer of Nicole Brown Simpson was lost when her body was moved to the morgue, and why the JonBenet Ramsey case can never be solved. They show how no clue is too small to be analyzed and no case too old to be reopened. Full of behind-the-scenes drama and surprising revelations, Dead Reckoning is a fascinating look at how forensic science is changing the way we convict the guilty and free the innocent. ... Read more

Reviews (41)

5-0 out of 5 stars Stunning information, entertainingly delivered!
This is what you get when you mix a brilliant and principled scientist with a passionately curious and witty writer. Dr. Baden and Ms. Roach educate and entertain the reader, yet never let you forget that these are the stories of real people, victims and their families who deserve justice. How science can serve up justice in many new and old cases and why it has failed, or been prevented from doing so in others, makes for some very good story-telling. I was fascinated to learn about "Blood School" in Corning, New York and the eccentric, fun-loving forensic entomologist who teaches the relationship between corpses and bugs on his farm in Indiana. There is new information on the Nicole Brown/Ronald Goldman and the Jon Benet Ramsey murder cases, as well as details about Princess Diana's death, but the writing is never exploitive or sensational, just an honest review of mistakes made and lessons learned. Anyone whose work brings them this close to deep and devastating tragedy on a daily basis could be forgiven if they exhibited a "scientific detachment" or even a degree of dark humor about the work. I was however impressed throughout with what I would describe as Dr. Baden's "scientific attachment" and non-waivering respect in handling and describing the remains of victims. There is welcome dark comic relief mixed into Ms. Roach's descriptions of the aformentioned Blood School, Bug School and the Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences in Reno, Nevada which will let you in on a secret passion of Wayne Newton's that I promise will surprise and amuse. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, was educated by it and comforted by the dedication to justice of the authors and their colleagues in this fascinating profession.

5-0 out of 5 stars Read How Dead Men Tell Tales
"The new tools of forensic science are only as incisive as those who use them, which is why forensic pathology is in many ways as much an art as a science." Dr. Michael Baden was chief forensic pathologist for the investigation by the Congressional Select Committee on Assassinations into the deaths of President John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr.

Herb MacDonnell teaches a course on bloodstain evidence. He wields a hatchet, casting off drops of blood in the direction of his thrust and backswing (p.37). He is the world's leading authority on blood pattern analysis. He tells his students to save their homework for future reference. They didn't read about it in a book, this is firsthand knowledge (p.56).

Page 62 tells the story of a couple who went wandering into the woods; the girlfriend never returned. When a hand was found, the boyfriend was indicted and tried for murder. Fortunately for him, she showed up at the trial with both hands intact!

Some people are born with large arteries, which gives an advantage in longevity over people with narrow ones. This does not correlate with physical height (p.107). There is no study to see if this size is hereditary, or is the result of chance.

Since 90% of what we eat moves out of the stomach in 2 to 3 hours, time of death is estimated from the last meal (p.109).

After the Nicole Brown Simpson - Ron Goldman murders were discovered the medical examiner wasn't notified until ten hours later. By then critical evidence had vanished forever. Pages 150-153 discuss this topic. The low-velocity blood droplets on Nicole's back could have come from the killer, but were lost. A medical examiner doesn't know what he is looking for until he finds it.

Certain bugs can tell us when and where someone was killed, and they do it with an accuracy that no man-made system will ever reproduce (p.162). Traffic deaths in NY resulting from people swatting at bees in their cars will disappear in winter and reappear in summer (p.163).

Since the late 18th century when Paul Revere identified the body of Dr. Joseph Warren (killed on Bunker Hill), teeth have been used to identify bodies (p.212). Dental insurance has generated millions of X-rays and a database of identification for forensic odontologists. Pages 220-225 tell how faces are recreated from skulls, a technique that originated in 1960s Russia.

English police are compiling the largest computer database of ear prints, and plan to use them like fingerprints in identification. This is a modernization of the Bertillon System, which measured specific parts of the body (p.224). Lip prints are also unique to each individual.

Chapter Ten discusses the obverse side of this science. What if the forensic scientist cheats and lies about the evidence? Fingerprints can be created, a glove and blood evidence planted, etc. This shows the need for an assigned forensic scientist, like a Public Defender, for the indicted. Or an independent crime lab that can be trusted by both Prosecution and Defense. "Man prefers to believe what he wants to be true" said Francis Bacon. "Emotion in numerous, often imperceptible ways pervades and infects our understanding" (p.231). Forensic scientists, as humans, can be motivated by greed, stress, naivete, ambition, fear, money, or just following orders ("a team player"). Dr. Baden recommends using medical examiners in all counties of all states, who should all be forensic pathologists (p.235). This sounds true, but what if the low bidder chosen is like Fred Zain or Ralph Erdmann? All rules do not ensure equal results. Bad science can contaminate evidence by creating an assumption of guilt. The real perpetrator will escape, and prosecution will claim the accused was "let off on a technicality"! As Randall Dale Adams, who spent twelve years in prison for a murder he didn't commit. "Forensic Animation" is used to recreate an event for viewing by a jury; but it is only as reliable as its assumptions. It can be manipulated as easily as any other evidence (p.246).

A 1996 DOJ report said DNA evidence excluded 25% of those charged in rape and rape-and-murder cases! And other crimes do not involce DNA evidence. Prosecutors conceal evidence of innocence, or present knowingly false evidence, in many cases.

This is a very readable and educational book. The first sentence of the second paragraph on p.167 has a misspelled word.

4-0 out of 5 stars Gruesome but informative
Like sex and psychology, we all know something about death. As a forensic pathologist, Baden is an expert. He shares his expertise and fascination with cause and mode of death in this enthralling book. As a frequent expert-witness in his field, Baden has mastered the art of expressing his science in easy-to-understand terms, without patronising the reader. His passion for his subject spills onto the page like so many bodily fluids seeping inextricably into the text.

Our authors revel in the gruesome and grotesque subspecialties of forensic pathology. The reader is invited to the Blood School where practising crime investigators go to learn about the ballistics of blood splatter. The course includes esoteric experiments where participants find themselves blowing mouthfuls of blood at each other to demonstrate what evidence may result. The squeamish among you may have your stomachs turned by a weekend trip to a leading forensic entomologist's ranch, where pigs are slaughtered and then, later, are re-examined for evidence of insect activity: this science helps to estimate the time since death of a corpse. As a source of many clues, heads warrant a chapter of their very own: the skull may be subject to facial reconstruction; dental histories can lead to identification of the deceased; DNA and evidence of drug use or poisoning can be extracted from hairs from the scalp.

All of these stories are told with zeal, but also with an underlying gravity. Our authors take the scientific processes of collecting and preserving evidence seriously - experience tells them that any evidence may turn out to be essential in the examination an unnatural death. Vitally, it is truth that the investigator seeks here - regardless whether he has been employed by the prosecution or defence for a case.

Baden and Roach take a potentially interesting subject and make it fascinating - and highly readable. The breadth of fields studied in the search of truth, and subsequently justice, is broad and continues to evolve. I wonder what form evidence will be found in next? Baden and Roach are surely qualified to tell us.

5-0 out of 5 stars If you love a good book, You will love this one!
Fasten your seatbelts. Get ready for the exciting trip into the world of a medical examiner, who is known for having a part in the investigation of some of the country's most recent and most publicized criminal cases. There is nothing better than reading an excellent book, capable of sending chills down your spine. In this informational, attention-grabbing paper-back, Dr. Michael Baden walks us science lovers through various crime scenes and popular crime cases, throwing us readers into a frenzy as we try to speculate the truth. With the help of Baden's colleagues, this book gives an amazingly interesting insight into crime scene investigation and "the new science of catching killers".

As part of our human nature, there is some part of us that finds the death of a human somewhat intriguing. Especially me, a freshman in college, hoping to one day become a forensic pathologist myself, the readers' mind is almost over stimulated with the cracking open of this piece of work. I could barely wait to turn the page to absorb the interesting facts reiterating the importance of blood stain patterns and even bugs to the determination of time of death or even the solving of a crime case.

I must admit, this grisly text is almost guaranteed to churn the stomachs of the weak and frighten away even the average medically-curious individual. Dr. Baden seamlessly depicts images of corpses and their appearance after the decomposition process has begun. He is not ashamed to throw at you the monstrous illustration of a single head apart from its being.

Even for those readers that have no prior interest in forensics, this book is capable of quickly persuading the minds of the vulnerable. Things that one may have once found horrid and gruesome may now be the motivation to read on. This book is an open door that provides the reader an enormous opportunity to explore a completely new world in medicine.

For those that are even slightly intrigued by the disgusting but amazingly tempting tone of this book, it is a must-read. But beware; the journey might be a rough one. Be sure you are wearing your seatbelts.

5-0 out of 5 stars GREAT INFORMATION

55. Slow Death
by Jim Fielder
list price: $6.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0786011998
Catlog: Book (2003-01-01)
Publisher: Kensington Publishing Corporation
Sales Rank: 204623
Average Customer Review: 3.29 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (7)

3-0 out of 5 stars Another Suggestion
If you did not like the way this book was written but would like another version, try reading Cries in the Desert by John Glatt. He tells the same story, but it is very well written.

1-0 out of 5 stars lacking
in the book they have the fbi claiming this creep David Parker Ray killed anywhere from 60 to 90 people...and it's probably true...but where is the full story? you won't find it here. frustrating and tiresome. a confederacy of halfwits. the woman who helped DA Yontz in the second trial appears so be fairly sharp, so does the second judge--but the rest? not too bright. i mean even the serial killer actually appears to be a better writer than the guy who wrote this book. i'd like to see the whole/complete horror tale written by someone better suited than this particular writer.

1-0 out of 5 stars not very effective
Not well done at all. The writer jumps around needlessly, therefore destroying any suspense in the telling. Also too many halfwits in this tale, and that includes the attorneys--it's because of the prosecutor that the first trial ended in a hung jury, mistrial.
Hate to say this, but about the only individual with any intelligence at all appears to be the twisted sicko named David Parker Ray.

yes, there is definitely a powerful, gut churning story here and ought to be told/written by someone who knows how to do it.
About 15, 20 percent of this is worth reading--as far as the rest? A waste of time. Exchanges beyween DA Yontz and teen reporter Frances Baird are tiresome and go nowhere, never add to the story or keep moving it along at all.
We also feel that the whole story was not told here; too much was left out, pieces missing. someone needs to tell this story from the very beginning of Rays' childhood, and track down all the people who knew him, etc.and keep the story moving in chronological order. As it stands, this book is a frustrating mess. Fielder hops around too much. This writer should go back and re-read Truman Capote's In Cold Blood to see how it's done. Slow Death is one of the dullest true crime books I have ever read.

5-0 out of 5 stars Mind-Numbing: You'll Never be the Same After Reading This
I like true crime for the puzzle of how they're solved, and was drawn to this one out of morbid curiousity. I thumbed through it for a good half-hour, then backed away in horror after reading the opening paragraph, which made clear what the story was about. There's nothing sensual about this story, folks, and for the FBI to claim snuff films aren't real is a tragedy. I thumbed through this book 2 months ago, and it's imprinted my psyche unlike anything else. I had to take sleeping pills to fall asleep for 2 nights, and the images from this book continue to haunt me. (And I thought nothing would bother me after watching "Texas Chainsaw Massacre.") What do we do about people like David Ray? How can we prevent others from becoming like him? I have no idea, only that nothing on this Earth can punish such cruelty and wickedness.

4-0 out of 5 stars The real story
The account of this case by Jim Fielder is the closest you can get without having access to the case files of the State Police and the FBI. Fielder did not get his information from court transcripts but was present for the hearings, trials and sentencing in this case. While other books and articles guessed as to what the items in David Ray's "toy box" looked like, Fielder gained acces to the photos used as evidence and presents them to his readers.

The information and accounts are accurate. His fresh approach to the book, as a story rather than "just the facts" gives the reader some insight into the persons who participated in this case which lasted 2 1/2 years. While Fielder takes some license as far as the interaction between the participants in this case, nothing about the case is factually inacurate. Jim Fielder takes you on an eye-opening journey into the world of criminal sexual sadism practiced by David Ray, a man the FBI described as so dangerous that if he were ever released from custody "he would re-offend before he got home." How do I know how accurate the book is - I prosecuted the case. Jim Yontz, Deputy District Attorney, Albuquerque, New Mexico ... Read more

56. Donnie Brasco: My Undercover Life in the Mafia
by Joseph D. Pistone
list price: $7.99
our price: $7.19
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0451192575
Catlog: Book (1997-02-01)
Publisher: Signet Book
Sales Rank: 15306
Average Customer Review: 4.57 out of 5 stars
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In Donnie Brasco, FBI agent Joseph D. Pistone tells the story of working so deep undercover in the Mafia that the truth of his identity became blurry even for him. For six years, Pistone posed as jewel thief Donnie Brasco in order to pull off one of the most audacious sting operations ever.Because any small detail could blow his cover, Pistone adjusted his personality and habits to earn the trust of Mafia soldiers, connected guys, captains, and godfathers. He was so successful that many FBI surveillance teams assumed that he was yet another Mafia guy. This memoir paints a vivid portrait of the underworld of wise guys by revealing their code of honor, their treacherous dealings, their relationships with their wives and mistresses, and their lavish money habits. The suspense in Pistone's story builds as he unfurls his experience of life on the edge of good and evil and on the verge of death. ... Read more

Reviews (49)

5-0 out of 5 stars A day to day life of a mob guy
Joe D. Pistone an FBI agent by the code name Donnie Brasco goes deep down in the mafia's inner circle. This is one of the best mafia books's written. Brasco goes so deep in the Bonnano family with his partner in crime Lefty Guns and how Brasco contributed to bringing down mafia members not only in New York but in Florida and Chicago as well. He also tells how his real family dealt with this. Know Bonnano living in hiding with his wife and childern under different names and a 500,000 dollar contract on his life.

4-0 out of 5 stars From Family Man to Mafia Man
I am not really a reader but Donnie Brasco is a book that really caught my eyes from the first page. I was stuck to it like glue. 3 hours had gone by and I did not notice it because it was so in interesting, but one fault that it has is that it takes too long to get to the point and to the action. Being that it is based on a true story in the 70's is has a realistic view.

The most interesting part to me in the beginning was the way he had to change his life from a standard F.B.I agent to Mafia man. He has to find a new place to live and take time off from his family. Also the way he has to set his mood and become someone else. He is no longer Joe Pistone (F.B.I agent) he is now Donnie Brasco (jewel thief) and he has to live of, and become, a Mafia man.

5-0 out of 5 stars Good Non-fiction
I just finished reading this book and it was worth it. I love non-fiction, and this is a great true story of an FBI agent who successfully infiltrated the Mob for 6 years in the late 1970s to early 1980s. Joseph Pistone aka Donnie Brasco, took his time, and slowly but surely, got to know characters in organized crime and moved up in the hierarchy. He had some close calls along the way, and it amazes me that he never got whacked (mob term). Pistone even took the mobsters on a nice boat ride on a boat owned by the FBI - his partner Lefty later found out about the boat - and yet Pistone/Brasco was able to talk his way out of it! Amazing. This guy was so quick on his feet. Talk about guts - this guy was something else. But also, Lefty and Sonny Black, another mobster, really liked Donnie Brasco. Reading this book showed me that being well liked by at least two influential mobsters could go a long way to save you from being whacked.

Even though I know what these guys were, thieves, liars, killers, I couldn't help but feel sorry for Sonny when he tells Donnie Brasco how much he trusts him - trust him more than anyone in his crew - how much he liked him. The reader knows Brasco is the last person Sonny can trust. Maybe I shouldn't care, but if you really trust and like someone, it hurts so much to be betrayed. And Sonny, who Pistone/Brasco really liked in spite of everything, doesn't have a pretty ending.

As a woman, I couldn't help but notice that Pistone never talks about women he saw or dated. In reality, he was married with children, but he was pretending to be a swinging bachelor. Lefty even accused him of wanting to lie on a beach and be a playboy. Hello! Playboy - that's a red flag word if I ever heard it. From what I can see of him in pictures, he was not a bad looking man, but from his book, you would think the mobsters never saw him (except here and there at first) with another woman. He would just say he was going to New Jersey to see his girl. I can understand keeping anything about other women out of the book since he was/is a married man, and his wife read this book I'm sure. But do I think he went six years without getting involved with another woman - and Lefty calls him a playboy? Oh well, if he pretended to be a mobster, I guess he could just pretend to be a playboy.

5-0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Look at a True American Hero
In this gripping read, Joe Pistone's story reminds us that there are still true heroes in our society, and that he is one of them. In the past two and a half years, the FBI has come under unrelenting scrutiny, mostly concerning the 9/11 attacks (with everyone looking to blame solely the big bad FBI). While there is no doubt that there are some structural problems that need the be resolved, I feel that the Bureau has been unfairly portrayed as a completely corrupt and ineffectual organization. Donnie Brasco reminds us that these people are, for the most part, true heroes, who only took on this dangerous job having the best interests of the country at heart. Not to mention this is an amazingly entertaining and fasciniating read, a wonderful foray into the life of an undercover agent. It also effectively destroys any notion that the mob is glamorous, revealing the mob for what they really are: greedy, pathetic losers. I was constantly amazed by Mr. Pistone's wit, courage, and fast-thinking in the face of emergencies. A must-read for anyone and everyone interested in the Mafia, the world of undercover agents, or simply the story of a hero. 5 stars.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Real, Genuine, True Look At The Mafia
This book is valuable because it does not glorify those who engage in organized crime. Unlike the Godfather series and, to lesser extent, The Sopranos, Donnie Brasco paints these people for what they really are: criminals, hoods, bums, evil people. And, for the most part, dumber than a red brick.

A great story, enjoyable tale, terrific reading. Just don't go out and whack anybody afterward! ... Read more

57. Doctor Dealer: The Rise and Fall of an All-American Boy and His Multimillion-Dollar Cocaine Empire
by Mark Bowden
list price: $14.00
our price: $10.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0802137571
Catlog: Book (2000-11-30)
Publisher: Grove Press
Sales Rank: 35657
Average Customer Review: 4.71 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Doctor Dealer is the story of Larry Lavin, a bright, charismatic young man who rose from his working-class upbringing to win a scholarship to a prestigious boarding school, earn Ivy League college and dental degrees, and buy his family a house in one of Philadelphia's most exclusive suburbs. But behind the facade of his success was a dark secret -- at every step of the way he was building the foundation for a cocaine empire that would grow to generate over $60 million in annual sales. Award-winning journalist Mark Bowden tells the saga of Lavin's rise and fall with the gripping, novelistic narrative style that won him international acclaim as the author of the New York Times best-seller Black Hawk Down. "Immensely readable . . . eye-popping . . . a smoothly crafted, exciting, can't-put-it-down book." -- Louisville New Voice ... Read more

Reviews (7)

5-0 out of 5 stars Essential Companion Piece With "Killing Pablo"
If you have never read a book my Mark Bowden, start right now. This guy is to current events what Ken Burns is to documentaries; he can take any subject, dig into it, and narrate in a compelling way that few people can.

I highly recommend reading "Dr Dealer" and then follow it up with "Killing Pablo." Originally written in 1987 (this edition has a 2001 epilogue), Bowden follows an unlikely cocaine dealer in Larry Lavin, a preppy dental student who loves the maverick thrill of coke dealing, yet also enjoys the high-scale suburban American lifestyle. This book emphasizes Lavin's naive rationale that while cocaine is illegal, it is a high society party drug that was accepted by a wide variety of socialites (remember when it was called the "Champagne of Drugs?"), and figured that he wasn't hurting anybody by supplying it to people who sought it out. And that seems to be the consensus of his fellow upscale dealers and clients, up until their arrests. "Who are we hurting" seems to be the dealers' key question.

Which is why "Killing Pablo" is a great companion piece to "Doctor Dealer." The story of the hunt for Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar paints a polar opposite portrayal of the cocaine trade. There are no preppy dentists, no white-collar style arrests; you see a multitude of Colombian citizens, from police to politicians to everyday folks from every walk of life, murdered by Colombian drug cartels. It is a brutal answer to the "Who are we hurting?" question, and Bowden does that very well.

Larry Lavin is a fascinating character, but not to the point that you feel sympathy for him. The more he succeeds in the illegal drug trade, the more arrogant he becomes, and the more risks he takes. On the other hand, he is not a ruthless Pablo Escobar who executes every "John Q Citizen" that he thinks might dislike him. In fact, he never kills anyone, nor even roughs anybody up. There are segments where you see some very likable and sincerely charitable sides of Larry Lavin, but they are overshadowed by the con that he truly is.

Bowden very successfully illustrates all of Lavin's fellow dealers, family and underlings, and which ones had a hand in his undoing and why. You see eccentric socialite Mark Stewart con the cons, and you will shake your head in disbelief and frustration when reading about Lavin's wife Marcia, how she stands by her man.

If it weren't for a few of the key players' fumbles, one might wonder if Larry Lavin would have eventually walked away from the cocaine trade unscathed. And while covered only minutely, you will see what role Frankie Smith played in exposing Larry Lavin and Co. to the IRS (yes, the same Frankie Smith who recorded "The Double Dutch Bus!")Mark Bowden even talks about his own personal opportunity to deal marijuana in college (which is how Larry Lavin started) and the temptation to make that quick money, but wisely deciding against it, leaving him years later to wonder if he could have stumbled into the same dangerous trap Larry Lavin thrust himself into.

This is just one of Mark Bowden's great works, and a good place to start if you want to add them to your library.

5-0 out of 5 stars Not the Typical Drug Dealer Book
This book was the first drug related book I ever read, it initially got me interested in the subject about two years ago. The original book was called Dr. Snow, which was about a doctor who became a marijuana dealer while in college to pay his way through school, but soon evolved into a multi-million dollar paranoid cocaine dealer. It's an informative book with lots of details, just what I like, on how he did he business (I think it really brings out the true life guy next door image). It tells how evaded the authorities and set up a whole new life with his family, only to be brought down by a snitching best friend. If there's one thing I've learned throughout my reading it's not to trust anyone, because they will turn. As close as you may be, as long as you have known them, when they're looking jail time square in the eyes, they're going to roll over to knock off a few precious years. Enjoy the book!

5-0 out of 5 stars Another winner from Mark Bowden - Highly recommended.
If you're a fan of Mark Bowden's, add this book to your collection. I was hooked from page 1 until the end. I believe this book was even better then Black Hawk Down (if you can believe that!). I thought the length of the book would provide tiring details about unimportant aspects of the story. Not true. This was a very focused book and I had no trouble keeping high interest througout.

5-0 out of 5 stars Larry Lavin's Old Neighbor
When we moved into Larry's Virginia Beach Neighborhood we wondered how could a man who piddles in his garage all day could afford to live in such a nice house. Well a couple months later the house was wrapped in crime scene tape and we found out how he could afford to handout full sized Snicker bars on Halloween!
Mark described him accurately during his Va Beach days. He was a good-guy and even helped my friend Kevin and I unhinge the jaws of a snapper turtle, which was trying to eat another turtle we had caught in the marshes.
Bowden scores again, with readable interesting non-fiction

5-0 out of 5 stars Fantastic !
Bowden does it again, this story is irresistible!
Dr. Larry Lavin, a charismatic fellow from humble beginnings becomes the largest cocaine dealer of Philadelphia. A family man in an affluent suburb that could easily be mistaken as your neighbor was the head of complex network of YUPPIE cocaine suppliers. His charisma and industrious caution couldn't save him from arrest and defeat. When I finished this book, I admired and pitied Larry Lavin. Bowden is one of the finest authors of our time. ... Read more

58. Witness: For the Prosecution of Scott Peterson
by Amber Frey, none
list price: $25.95
our price: $17.13
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0060799250
Catlog: Book (2005-01-04)
Publisher: Regan Books
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Book Description

1 corinthians 10:13, niv
"No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it."

Amber Frey's life was full of blessings: an exciting new business, a beautiful home, and most of all, her infant daughter, Ayiana. But Amber had been through some unhappy relationships, and she longed for a true and loving partner. In November 2002, she went on a blind date with Scott Peterson. He was handsome, charming, thoughtful, and romantic. Best of all, he was single and ready to settle down . . . or so he said.

Their connection was immediate. Over the next few weeks, Amber and Scott grew closer and closer. Scott won her over with his warmth, humor, and intelligence, and he even won the heart of little Ayiana. Before long, he began to speak of the beautiful future the three of them were destined to share as a family.

Soon enough, however, Amber began to suspect that Scott Peterson might not be the man he claimed to be. On December 9, he broke down in tears and told her that he had been married, but had "lost" his wife. This was weeks before Laci Peterson, eight months pregnant at the time, was even reported missing. Scott Peterson hadn't lost her, but clearly he was planning to.

Suddenly a relationship that seemed full of promise was turning into Amber's worst nightmare.

Amber launched an investigation of her own. The moment she was able to confirm her worst suspicions, she contacted the Modesto Police Department, in northern California, and offered to do whatever she could to help. She began secretly taping her conversations with Scott, pressing him for information but never letting on that she had heard the news of Laci's disappearance. Those conversations became the basis for the prosecution's case against Scott Peterson for the murder of his wife and unborn child.

Amber's whole world was turned upside down in the process. She lost her privacy, as every detail of her life was scrutinized by the media, who couldn't seem to get enough of this tragic, heart-wrenching story. But she soldiered on, looking deep inside herself and drawing strength from her faith.

Witness is the chilling story of how a young woman became ensnared in Scott Peterson's web of lies, then risked everything to seek justice for Laci Peterson and her unborn child, Conner. It is also a story of forgiveness and faith, and of one woman's struggle to live with an open and honest heart. ... Read more

59. Dead Man Walking
list price: $13.00
our price: $9.75
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0679751319
Catlog: Book (1994-05-31)
Publisher: Vintage
Sales Rank: 24478
Average Customer Review: 4.11 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

In 1982, Sister Helen Prejean became the spiritual advisor to Patrick Sonnier, the convicted killer of two teenagers who was sentenced to die in the electric chair of Louisiana's Angola State Prison. In the months before Sonnier's death, the Roman Catholic nun came to know a man who was as terrified as he had once been terrifying. At the same time, she came to know the families of the victims and the men whose job it was to execute him--men who often harbored doubts about the rightness of what they were doing.

Out of that dreadful intimacy comes a profoundly moving spiritual journey through our system of capital punishment. Confronting both the plight of the condemned and the rage of the bereaved, the needs of a crime-ridden society and the Christian imperative of love, Dead Man Walking is an unprecedented look at the human consequences of the death penalty, a book that is both enlightening and devastating.
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Reviews (47)

5-0 out of 5 stars Powerful and thought provoking
Certainly a great book - wonderfully written and very moving. I came away feeling guilty that I had ever favoured capital punishment. I read more on the subject and came across a sentence written by John Douglas, the FBI 'profiler'. He said, "I am much more interested in giving an innocent victim a first chance than I am in giving a convicted criminal a second chance." And that, to me, is the real point. If there was REAL life imprisonment then we could feel safe knowing that some convicted killers could not be set free to kill again. It is all too easy to feel sympathy for someone waiting years to die on 'death row'. But it makes me very uneasy to think that just one could be released to harm my family. No, I am sorry Helen, but until you can lock them up for good, I'm going to support John Douglas. I am going to give my family a first chance rather than these convicted murderers a second chance. Nevertheless you are a dedicated and passionate person and a credit to the human race. God bless you.

5-0 out of 5 stars Prejean is a Pleasure
In this book Helen Prejean does a wonderful job of both enlightening and informing her reader, without boring him or her. I have always known that I was against the death penalty, and this book, along with Sr Helen's experiences, completely affirms my belief, Not only are the book & movie well-done, but Prejean is wonderful to listen to. If you ever have the chance to hear her speak live, DO IT! I had the chance to hear her this past year in college, and then was able to participate in a question/answer session with her in a small group. She was most impressive in both venues, and had excellent answers for the audience's sometimes-antagonistic questions. In fact, the night spent listening to her speak was the most spiritually moving time of my short life.

4-0 out of 5 stars A movie which shows all views, not typical for Hollywood
The movie tries to be neutral so that everyone is able to interpret it his/her own way. You can learn a lot while you see it cause no one can imagine all the (cruel) details of the execution process.
I liked the way the characters are presented, they are not
stereotype Hollywood figures but it seems like this movie really shows the true story of sister Helen and Matt without trying to make it nicer for the audience and without giving it a happy ending. Furthermore, the movie is really touching and I can't understand those people who watch it and still don't see that death penalty is no solution and does no good.

5-0 out of 5 stars Re: Florida cases: Roy Swafford and Peter Ventura:
For those interested in reading the four to three vote Florida Supreme Court opinions regarding two more death sentenced persons whose innocence is an authentic issue, please go to, then go to "Opinions and Rules", then chose the correct year and scroll down to the following two cases:

Roy Swafford: April 18, 2002 Case No. 92.173

Peter Ventura: May 24, 2001 Case No. 93.839

These two cases are findable under "Court Orders: Case Disposition Orders" and "Briefs in Other Cases" sections of the "Press Page":

Roy Swafford: March 26, 2004 Case Nos. 03.931 and 03.1153

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent selected history of Louisianna Death Row
As a former investigator on behalf of Florida death sentenced persons from 1986 - 1992, I can vouch for this book as an excellently written and informative book that is the result of the testing of wills and struggles with God. Definitely beyond any shadow of a doubt a five star book and film. ... Read more

60. Catch Me If You Can: The True Story of a Real Fake
by Stan Redding, Frank W. Abagnale
list price: $14.95
our price: $10.17
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0767905385
Catlog: Book
Publisher: Broadway
Sales Rank: 4627
Average Customer Review: 4.24 out of 5 stars
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When this true-crime story first appeared in 1980, it made the New York Times bestseller list within weeks. Two decades later, it's being rereleased in conjunction with a film version produced by DreamWorks. In the space of five years, Frank Abagnale passed $2.5 million in fraudulent checks in every state and 26 foreign countries. He did it by pioneering implausible and brazen scams, such as impersonating a Pan Am pilot (puddle jumping around the world in the cockpit, even taking over the controls). He also played the role of a pediatrician and faked his way into the position of temporary resident supervisor at a hospital in Georgia. Posing as a lawyer, he conned his way into a position in a state attorney general's office, and he taught a semester of college-level sociology with a purloined degree from Columbia University.

The kicker is, he was actually a teenage high school dropout. Now an authority on counterfeiting and secure documents, Abagnale tells of his years of impersonations, swindles, and felonies with humor and the kind of confidence that enabled him to pull off his poseur performances. "Modesty is not one of my virtues. At the time, virtue was not one of my virtues," he writes. In fact, he did it all for his overactive libido--he needed money and status to woo the girls. He also loved a challenge and the ego boost that came with playing important men. What's not disclosed in this highly engaging tale is that Abagnale was released from prison after five years on the condition that he help the government write fraud-prevention programs. So, if you're planning to pick up some tips from this highly detailed manifesto on paperhanging, be warned: this master has already foiled you. --Lesley Reed ... Read more

Reviews (236)

5-0 out of 5 stars A true and daring story of a teanaged con man
I've seen the movie and read the book and I enjoyed both. The movie stars Leonardo DiCaprio as the con man of the title being pursued by Tom Hanks as the FBI agent. The book is a true story about a 16 year old New York runaway who leads the FBI and other law enforcement on a 5 year globe trotting escapade of bouncing check, forged payroll checks and life in the fast lane. The author impersonated a Pan American pilot, a pediatric doctor, and an attorney among others. He did this mostly as a teenager who dropped out of high school. Obviously he is not your average drop out, but an intelligent and scheming confidence man. He was more that just a two-bit paper hanger, as he developed techniques using the Federal Routing identification number that had not been used before. After being caught and imprisoned in France, Sweden and United States, Frank Abagnale used his expertise and talents to improve the check banking system, help catch other criminals, work with the FBI, and start his own secure documents corporation. In the back of the book is a question and answer section with the author where he reveals that the movie is 80% accurate. Obvious you can not put a book covering 5 years into a 2+hour movie so some events were altered, and of course some events in the book were omitted from the movie. I give this book my highest recommendation as a fun and enjoyable read. I myself enjoyed all that much more knowing that this is a true story, written by the actual perpetrator, of his exploits as mostly a teenager. Adults as well as teenagers will like this book. This is a an easy read and a fun book to read, I hope you enjoy it as much as me. I'm also planning to read the author's other book, "The Art of the Steal".

Older reades will see some similarities in the true book/movie, "The Great Imposter" which starred Tony Curtis.

5-0 out of 5 stars If you liked the movie, you will love the book!
I really enjoyed the movie, but I did not believe any of it. How could a 16 year old pull off all these scams posing successfully as an airline pilot, lawyer, doctor, and FBI agent. Only in Hollywood! I had to read the book to uncover the truth. To my amazement, almost nothing in the movie was dramatized. Frank Abagnale did it all. And, this even includes the acrobatic escape from a commercial plane as it lands.

The book depicts a far richer story than the movie. At the start, the family situation is more complex. The scams are more intricate. The career path is more extraordinary. The movie skipped over interesting jobs, including a stint as a college sociology teacher.

Also amazing is that this teenager acquired far more knowledge about the meaning of every single digit on a personal check than any banker I know. And, I know, having been engaged in banking and finance for over two decades.

Frank's character development make the whole story more likely. Frank was not your regular 16 year old dude. At 16, he could easily pass for a fit 25 year old. He was 6 feet tall, 170 pounds. He also acquired quite a real world education by hanging out with his Dad. His Dad exposed him to political, business, and social circles that teenagers do not know. Thus, Frank Abagnale, being a queen observer, learned quickly how adults behave among themselves.

Frank was also strikingly handsome, and confident. So, the story includes many romantic interludes. This aspect of life is described most tastefully. There is nothing graphic here. And, it does not detract from the story. To the contrary, women were a key element in this scammer's education. They were often insiders to the professions he attempted to fake.

There are a lot of close calls, where you feel Abagnale's cover is going to peel off for good. But, invariably he recovers elegantly from what appears like desperate situations.

In the last part of the book things finally go south. But, it is still fascinating. You learn about the awful prison standards and jail terms in France and Italy. You also find out how Sweden treats their own incarcerated people so much better.

In the Afterword & Q & A section, you are relieved that everything turned out well for this likable Robin hood like figure. He now leads a very successful life as a corporate consultant on fraud, happily married with kids. Hard to believe but true.

5-0 out of 5 stars a heart-racer!
One of the most intriguing moments of this autobiography comes in the first few pages of the book. When asked why he used his dad's Mobil card in order to steal money, he responds, "It's the girls, dad. They do funny things to me. I can't explain it." The first chapter prepares the reader for the rest of the book by giving the implication that Abagnale's crimes were committed because of his out-of-control obsession with women. And not only that, but he committed crimes only because he wanted to see how much he could get away with.

This is a tale of America's "youngest and most daring con man in the history of fun and profit," a man who got away with absolutely everything before he was finally caught. The reader is brought into Abagnale's childhood and how he grew up, and follows his life in the years after he ran away from home and began his life as a criminal. The way Abagnale wrote the events as they happened is witty, charming, and has you rooting for the bad guy! The 293 pages go quick as you jump from airplane cockpits, to classrooms, to courtrooms, to hospitals, and back to the beginning again. Your head spins as you read on and find out just what he gets away with, right until the very last page.

5-0 out of 5 stars Amazing
This book relates the exploits of the young Frank Abagnale, Jr., master con-artist. When Abagnale's parents split up in the early 1960s, Frank went to live with his father. He was a teenager who was addicted to girls, and found that he needed greater and greater sums to gain their company. To get a little extra money, he hatched his first scheme to score a little extra cash with his father's credit card. This started him down the slippery slope, and before long, he moved on to passing bad checks, creating counterfeit checks, soon adopting entirely new identities and personae to assist in his paper-passing schemes. The list of aliases and assumed positions is mind-boggling, ranging from pilot to pediatrician to professor. What makes his story even more remarkable is that he was able to pass off each of these assumed identities successfully, even though he was in reality still a teenager. This book details how he was able to do so, from interviewing real pilots, to learning the lingo of the trade, forging transcripts, studying technical dictionaries in broom closets when confronted on the job with terms he did not know, to cramming for and eventually passing the Bar in Georgia (at the age of 19, as a highschool dropout!). Abagnale was certainly no slouch, and could have gone far in any field he chose to apply himself to.

Abagnale's capers become bolder and more unbelievable with every page, giving the story both suspense and comic relief at times. The book doesn't leave readers with the message that crime pays, however. Abagnale describes his foreign prison experiences in great and gruesome detail. He also relates how he eventually ended up working for the FBI, having been fired from job after job in the civilian sector after employers found out he was an ex-convict. Thanks to the efforts of the reformed Abagnale at educating bankers and clerks, kids today would have a far more difficult time pulling off the capers that he did. But now, we have the Internet. . .

3-0 out of 5 stars Reads like a well made novel, but the ending has no meaning
"Catch Me If You Can" is a fun and enjoyable read and is easily as good as many current novels. If you like the movie the book will be even more interesting because it goes into detail about Abagnale's exploits. In fact, in many ways the book is actually more interesting than the movie.

For example, many movie viewers couldn't figure out how Abagnale escaped an airplane via the bathroom toilet. This actually happened and is described in the book. Abagnale also describes in far more detail the extent to which he researched how to look and act like a real airline pilot. It's mind boggling how much effort he was willing to put into it.

Despite how fun it is to read, "Catch Me if You Can" has one huge glaring flaw: the ending.

We know that Abagnale has worked with the banking industry for many years now in helping them improve their security. What we don't really know, at least from him directly, is how he went from being a swindler to being a high paid consultant. On a psychological level this is the meat of the story. OK, he had a ball being a fake pilot, doctor and lawyer. But what did he learn? Anything? This is where the book falls into the definition of fluff. Because we have no meaning, no explanation, all we're left with are outrageous exploits and escapades.

All of this begs the question: Did Abagnale actually learn anything? Or is all of this just a further continuation of the con he started as a kid? I don't know either way. It's too bad because Abagnale likely has a few things to teach us - especially at-risk youth who tend to think they're invincible. Unfortunately, the message Abagnale seems to be giving us is that you CAN get away with it. While that's certainly true (just look at ENRON!), it doesn't help that the author shows so little remorse or an explanation of how he changed. ... Read more

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