This year’s worth of the most powerful, the most startling, the smartest and most astute, in short, the best crime journalism. Scouring hundreds of publications, Otto Penzler and Thomas H. Cook have created a remarkable compilation containing the best examples of the most current and vibrant of our literary traditions: crime reporting.
Included in this volume are Maximillian Potter’s “The Body Farm” from GQ, a portrait of Murray Marks, who collects dead bodies and strews them around two acres of the University of Tennessee campus to study their decomposition in order to help solve crime; Jay Kirk’s
“My Undertaker, My Pimp,” from Harper’s, in which Mack Moore and his wife, Angel, switch from run-ning crooked funeral parlors to establishing a brothel; Skip Hollandsworth’s “The Day Treva Throneberry Disappeared” from Texas Monthly, about the sudden disappearence of a teenager and the strange place she turned up; Lawrence Wright’s “The Counterterrorist” from The New Yorker, the story of John O’Neill, the FBI agent who tracked Osama bin Laden for a decade—until he was killed when the World Trade Center collapsed. Intriguing, entertaining, and compelling reading, Best American Crime Writing has established itself as a much-anticipated annual.
About the Author
Thomas H. Cook (b. 1947) is the author of nearly two dozen critically lauded crime novels. Born in Fort Payne, Alabama, Cook published his first novel, "Blood Innocents", in 1980 while serving as the book review editor of "Atlanta "magazine. Two years later, on the release of his second novel, "The Orchids", he turned to writing full-time.Cook published steadily through the 1980s, penning such works as the Frank Clemons trilogy, a series of mysteries starring a jaded cop. He found breakout success with "The Chatham School Affair" (1996), which won an Edgar Award for best novel. His work has been praised by critics for his attention to psychology and the lyrical nature of his prose. Besides mysteries, Cook has written two true-crime books, "Early Graves "(1992) and the Edgar-nominated "Blood Echoes" (1993), as well as several literary novels, including "Elena" (1986). He lives and works in New York City.
Otto Penzler is the proprietor of the Mysterious Bookshop in New York City. He is the founder of the Mysterious Press and Otto Penzler Books, and has received an Edgar Award, an Ellery Queen Award, and a Raven Award for his contribution to the mystery field. His anthology The Black Lizard Big Book of Pulps was a New York Times Bestseller.
The son of two writers, John Berendt grew up in Syracuse, New York. He earned a B.A. in English from Harvard University, where he worked on the staff of The Harvard Lampoon. After graduating in 1961, he moved to New York City to pursue a career in publishing. Berendt has written for David Frost and Dick Cavett, was editor of "New York" magazine from 1977 to 1979, and wrote a monthly column for "Esquire" from 1982 to 1994.
Berendt first traveled to Savannah in the early 1980s, when he realized that he could fly there for a three-day weekend for the price of "a paillard of veal served on a bed of wilted radicchio" [p. 24] in one of New York's trendier restaurants. Over the ensuing eight years his visits became more frequent and extended, until he was spending more time in Savannah than in New York.
Part of the appeal, Berendt says, lay in the city's penchant for morbid gossip: "People in Savannah don't say, 'Before leaving the room, Mrs. Jones put on her coat.' Instead, they say, 'Before leaving the room, Mrs. Jones put on the coat that her third husband gave her before he shot himself in the head." ("Entertainment Weekly," 3/11/94, p. 52)
Since the publication and unprecedented success of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, Berendt has become a Savannah celebrity and was even presented with the key to the city. "I took it down to City Hall one night to see if it would work, but it didn't." ("Syracuse Post Standard," 4/5/1994)
"From the Trade Paperback edition."
“An artful mix of the political, the odd, the macabre, and the downright brilliant... The entire collection is an even mix of 'why didn't I clip that?' and 'how did I miss that?' Avid true-crime readers, take note.” –Entertainment Weekly
“Compelling, well written . . . a riveting collection.” –The Boston Sunday Globe
“Jammed with good prose, fascinating stories and probing investigative work . . . all first rate. . . . ‘Best’ really belongs in the title.” –Star Tribune