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THE YEAR'S BEST AMERICAN CRIME WRITING 2005


Edited by Otto Penzler and Thomas H. Cook
Harper Perennial Press, 2005, ($14.95) Trade paperback format.

ISBN: 0060815515

Reviewed by Rick McMahan

THE YEAR'S BEST AMERICAN CRIME WRITING 2005 is a collection of non-fiction pieces from various periodicals. In the Post-9/11 world, as one would expect several of the articles are about the Radical Islamic Terrorist Threat, but even this topic has very diverse articles collected in this anthology. Robert Draperís "The Ones That Got Away" focuses on the bombing of the USS Cole and the pursuit (or lack thereof) of the perpetrators of this crime while Lawrence Wrightís "The Terror Web" shows how fundamentalist Al Quaeda groups are using the Internet, not only to communicate with but to recruit converts. There are stories about the computer hacker underground; a thief who eluded authorities for years but was the most devoted family man and neighbor; as well as one authorís discourse on the rules and etiquettes of bar-fights and getting your ass-kicked. The article that resonated with me the most was Peter Landesmanís expose on human traffickers who smuggle their human cargo around the world, including into the United States for forced labor or sexual slavery. "The Girls Next Door" shows how a brothel of illegal immigrants operated in Every-Where-America. People saw the women but no one really paid attention until authorities raided the brothel in the suburb. In non-fiction "true crime" many times a lurid or spectacular crime carries a book to publication written by a mediocre author. Itís a challenge to truly make "true-life" come alive on the page and not just report facts and police reports. The anthologyís editors, Otto Penzler and Thomas Cook have a discriminating eye for the best of the best crime writing.

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