By Stephen Kurkjian
The definitive story of the greatest art theft in history.In a secret meeting in 1981, a low-level Boston thief gave career gangster Ralph Rossetti the tip of a lifetime: the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum was a big score waiting to happen. Though its collections included priceless artworks by Rembrandt, Vermeer, Degas, and others, its security was cheap, mismanaged, and out of date. And now, it seemed, the whole Boston criminal underworld knew it.Nearly a decade passed before the Museum museum was finally hit. But when it finally happened, the theft quickly became one of the most infamous art heists in history: thirteen works of art valued at up to 500 million, by some of the most famous artists in the world, were taken. The Boston FBI took control of the investigation, but twenty-five years later the case is still unsolved and the artwork is still missing.Stephen Kurkjian, one of the top investigative reporters in the country, has been working this case for over nearly twenty years. In Master Thieves , he sheds new light on some of the Gardner's most abiding mysteries. Why would someone steal these paintings, only to leave them hidden for twenty-five years? And why, if one of the top crime bosses in the city knew about this score in 1981, did the theft happen in 1990? What happened in those intervening years? And what might all this have to do with Boston's notorious gang wars of the 1980s?Kurkjian's reporting is already responsible for some of the biggest breaks in this story, including a meticulous reconstruction of what happened at the Museum museum that fateful night. Now Master Thieves will reveal the identities of those he believes plotted the heist, the motive for the crime, and the details that the FBI has refused to discuss. Taking you on a journey deep into the gangs of Boston, Kurkjian emerges with the most complete and compelling version of this story ever told.
By John Dickie
MAFIA. CAMORRA. 'NDRANGHETA.The Sicilian mafia, known as Cosa Nostra, is far from being Italy's only dangerous criminal fraternity. The country hosts two other major mafias: the camorra from Naples and, from the poor and isolated region of Calabria, the mysterious 'ndrangheta, which has now risen to become the most powerful mob group active today.Since they emerged, the mafias have all corrupted Italy's institutions, drastically curtailed the life-chances of its citizens, evaded justice, and set up their own self-interested meddling as an alternative to the courts. Yet each of these brotherhoods has its own methods, its own dark rituals, its own style of ferocity. Each is uniquely adapted to corrupt and exploit its own specific environment, as it collabourates with, learns from, and goes to war with the other mafias.Today, the shadow of organized crime hangs over a country racked by debt, political paralysis, and widespread corruption. The 'ndrangheta controls much of Europe's wholesale cocaine trade and, by some estimates, 3 percent of Italy's total GDP. Blood Brotherhoods traces the origins of this national malaise back to Italy's roots as a united country in the nineteenth century, and shows how political violence incubated underworld sects among the lemon groves of Palermo, the fetid slums of Naples, and the harsh mountain villages of Calabria. Blood Brotherhoods is a book of breathtaking ambition, tracing for the first time the interlocking story of all three mafias from their origins to the present day. John Dickie is recognized in Italy as one of the foremost historians of organized crime. In these pages, he blends archival detective work, passionate narrative, and shrewd analysis to bring a unique criminal ecosystem,and the three terrifying criminal brotherhoods that have evolved within it,to life on the page.
JFK: The Smoking Gun
By Colin McLaren
The murder that shocked the world. On 22nd November 1963, the 35th president of the United States, John Fitzgerald Kennedy, and his wife Jackie were taking part in a presidential motorcade through Dallas. Thousands lined the streets cheering; others hung out of windows to catch a glimpse of the much-loved First Lady and President. Suddenly, the unthinkable. Three shots: bang...bang, bang rang out. In front of the world, John F Kennedy was fatally wounded. Lee Harvey Oswald was caught. But did he pull the trigger?'Who really killed JFK?'Fifty years after the tragic events in Dallas, JFK: The Smoking Gun solves the ultimate cold case. With the forensic eye of a highly regarded ex-cop, Colin McLaren has gathered the evidence, studied 10,000 pages of transcripts, and found the witnesses the Warren Commission failed to call, and the exhibits and testimonies that were hidden, until now. JFK: The Smoking Gun proves, once and for all, who did kill the President. And the answer is far more shocking than any fanciful conspiracy could ever be.
By Deanne Stillman
North of Los Angeles - the studios, the beaches, Rodeo Drive - lies a sparsely populated region that comprises fully one half of Los Angeles County. Sprawling across 2200 miles, this shadow side of Los Angeles is in the high Mojave Desert. Known as the Antelope Valley, it's a terrain of savage dignity, a vast amphitheatre of startling wonders that put on a show as the megalopolis burrows northward into the region's last frontier. Ranchers, cowboys, dreamers, dropouts, bikers, hikers, and felons have settled here - those who have chosen solitude over the trappings of contemporary life or simply have nowhere else to go. But in recent years their lives have been encroached upon by the creeping spread of subdivisions, funded by the once easy money of subprime America. McMansions - many empty now - gradually replaced Joshua trees the desert - America's escape hatch - began to vanish as it became home to a latter-day exodus of pilgrims. It is against the backdrop of these two competing visions of land and space that Donald Kueck - a desert hermit who loved animals and hated civilization - took his last stand, gunning down beloved deputy sheriff Steven Sorensen when he approached his trailer at high noon on a scorching summer day. As the sound of rifle fire echoed across the Mojave, Kueck took off into the desert he knew so well, kicking off the biggest manhunt in modern California history until he was finally killed in a Wagnerian firestorm under a full moon as nuns at a nearby convent watched and prayed. This manhunt was the subject of a widely praised article by Deanne Stillman, first published in Rolling Stone , a finalist for a PEN centre USA journalism award, and included in the anthology Best American Crime Writing 2006. In Desert Reckoning she continues her desert beat and uses Kueck's story as a point of departure to further explore our relationship to place and the wars that are playing out on our homeland. In addition, Stillman also delves into the hidden history of Los Angeles County, and traces the paths of two men on a collision course that could only end in the modern Wild West. Why did a brilliant, self-taught rocket scientist who just wanted to be left alone go off the rails when a cop showed up? What role did the California prison system play in this drama? What happens to people when the American dream is stripped away? And what is it like for the men who are sworn to protect and serve?
By Asale Angel-Ajani
Strange Trade tells the compelling stories of Mary, a Liberian drug courier with a college education, and Pauline, a Ugandan wife, mother, and drug cartel boss. A leading expert on women and organized crime, Asale Angel-Ajani spent years interviewing these women in Italy's notorious Rebibbia Prison,and gained unprecedented access into the narcotics trade. Herself the daughter of a drug trafficker, Angel-Ajani brings a wrenching, deeply personal perspective to the account of these women's lives, and offers a nuanced understanding of the global context within which African women are entering the drug trade in ever-increasing numbers. Strange Trade follows Pauline and Mary as they traverse three continents, survive wars, poverty, and shattered families, secure drug shipments, and commit murder. Angel-Ajani paints rich, intimate, and profoundly surprising portraits without glamorizing, sanitizing, or offering judgment. The result is an unvarnished journey into a world that, until now, has remained hidden and a glimpse into the motives that led these women to risk,and ultimately lose,everything.
A Bright and Guilty Place
By Richard Rayner
In the roaring twenties Los Angeles was the fastest growing city in the world, mad with oil fever, get-rich-quick schemes, celebrity scandals, and religious fervor. It was also rife with organized crime, with a mayor in the pocket of the syndicates and a DA taking bribes to throw trials. In A Bright and Guilty Place, Richard Rayner narrates the entwined lives of two men, Dave Clark and Leslie White, who were caught up in the crimes, murders, and swindles of the day. Over a few transformative years, as the boom times shaded into the Depression, the adventures of Clark and White would inspire pulp fiction and replace L.A.'s reckless optimism with a new cynicism. Together, theirs is the tale of how the city of sunshine got noir. When A Bright and Guilty Place begins, Leslie White is a naïve young photographer who lands a job as a crime-scene investigator in the L.A. district attorney's office. There he meets Dave Clark, a young, movie-star handsome lawyer and a rising star prosecutor with big ambitions. The cases they tried were some of the first "trials of the century," starring dark-hearted oil barons, sexually perverse starlets, and hookers with hearts of gold. Los Angeles was in the grip of organized crime, and White was dismayed to see that only the innocent paid while the powerful walked free. But Clark was entranced by L.A.'s dangerous lures and lived the high life, marrying a beautiful woman, wearing custom-made suits, yachting with the rich and powerful, and jaunting off to Mexico for gambling and girls. In a shocking twist, when Charlie Crawford, the Al Capone of L.A., was found dead, the chief suspect was none other than golden boy Dave Clark.A Bright and Guilty Place is narrative non-fiction at its most gripping. Richard Rayner portrays an L.A. controlled by organized crime, where brutal murders, spectacular trials, political misdeeds, and the sexual perversities of Hollywood starlets are chronicled in graphic detail in the tabloids; where writers like Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett transformed a dark reality into gripping fiction; and whose events would inspire the shadowy L.A. of film noir.
The Brothers Bulger
By Howie Carr
A portrait of two kids from South Boston who grew up to control a state: Whitey, in his position as Boston's most feared mobster, and Billy, from his gavel-wielding bastion in the Massachusetts State Senate. Eventually, Whitey becomes the FBI's second most wanted man behind Osama Bin Laden but Billy, though his influence put even presidents and governors at his beck and call, would eventually resign the Senate and take over the presidency of the University of Massachusetts. To those on the outside the storyline has always been the same: Whitey, 'the bad son', blazes a murderous trail to the top rung of the organized crime ladder and eventually goes on the lam; Billy, 'the good son', embraces the value of education, studies the classics and uses his mastery of the state's political machine to effect positive change in people's lives. This book shows that the real story is far more complex and that the brothers enjoyed an unholy and destructive alliance for decades, working both sides of Boston's Street of Power: political corruption and deadly force.
By James Ellroy, Jack Webb
Before Charlie's Angels, Miami Vice, or NYPD Blue, there was Dragnet. From 1951 to 1959, Jack Webb starred as Sergeant Joe Friday in the most successful police drama in television history. Webb ("Just the facts, ma'am") was also the creator of Dragnet, and what made the show so revolutionary was its documentary-style format and the fact that each episode was "ripped" from the files of the LAPD. But 1950s television censors deemed many of the stories in the LAPD's files too violent or sensational for the airwaves. The Badge is Webb's collection of stories that could not be presented on TV: untold, behind-the-scenes accounts of the Black Dahlia murder, the Brenda Allen confessions, Stephen Nash's "thrill murders," and Donald Bashor's "sleeping lady murders," to name just a few. Case by case, The Badge takes readers on a spine chilling police tour through the dark, shadowy world of Los Angeles crime. It is a journey that, even four decades after it originally appeared in print, no reader is likely to forget.
By Daniel Glick
In October, 1998 an arson caused 12 million in damage at Vail, the country's largest ski area. A shadowy radical environmental group called the Earth Liberation Front claimed credit for what the FBI called the costliest act of ecoterrorism in U.S. history. But as it turns out, credible suspects were everywhere, since Vail was owned by a New York investment firm that had alienated a wide swath of Colorado's high country residents."Who couldn't have done this?" wondered a local sheriff's investigator. More than a clever whodunit, Powder Burn scrapes away the glitz of America's premier ski destination to reveal a cautionary tale about runaway opulance and rapid change in the New West. As the Denver Post put it, "Vail is a microcosm of the disputes over growth raging across the Rockies, and Glick's take on the fire helps to fan the flames." Packed with odd characters and paranoia, with beautiful mountains and despicable actions, Powder Burn is about corporate greed, the environment, a small town and a mysterious unsolved crime. As Vail celebrates its fortieth anniversary with a full season of hoopla and self-promotion, this book makes compelling reading for skiers, true crime enthusiasts, or anyone interested in the environmental, social, and political issues raised by the evolution of the new West.
And Never Let Her Go
By Ann Rule
From America's most celebrated true-crime writer comes the heartbreaking real-life drama of a doomed young woman hopelessly trapped in a web of sexual intrigue, political manipulation and emotional deception by her charming and successful - but ultimately deadly - lover. In the most complex and shocking book of her long career, Ann Rule delves into the motivation that drove a seemingly successful man to kill, and she explores hitherto unknown aspects of a fatal affair between a beautiful young woman who moved confidently in the heady world of the upper echelons of government and a widely admired millionaire attorney who was an immensely popular political figure. Ann Rule brilliantly traces the lives of both Ann Marie Fahey and Tommy Capano as she discloses the intimate details of their ill-fated bonding. A vulnerable, trusting woman becomes spellbound by a charming, duplicitous married man, and what begins as a seemingly unremarkable affair is slowly transformed into an obsessive, convoluted and deadly relationship.