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included priceless artworks by Rembrandt, Vermeer, Degas, and others, its security was cheap, mismanaged, and out of date.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.
And Hell Followed With Her
By David Neiwert
It began with a frantic 911 call from a woman in a dusty Arizona border town. A gang claiming to be affiliated with the Border Patrol had shot her husband and daughter. It was initially assumed that the murders were products of border drug wars ravaging the Southwest until the leader of one of the more prominent offshoots of the Minutemen movement was arrested for plotting the home invasion as part of a scheme to finance a violent antigovernment border militia. And Hell Followed With Her: Crossing to the Dark Side of the American Border is award-winning journalist David Neiwert's riveting account of the life and death of America's Minutemen- and the terrifying story and psychology of movement leader Shawna Forde. A compulsive and brilliant portrait of cold-blooded killers and true believers, And Hell Followed With Her is at once a horrifying crime story and a frontline report on America's nativist foot soldiers.
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?
Life After Murder
By Nancy Mullane
Once a murderer, always a murderer? Or can a murderer be redeemed? Who do they really become after they have served decades in prison? What does it take for a killer to be accepted back into society? What is the chance that he will kill again? award-winning journalist Nancy Mullane found herself facing these questions when she accepted an assignment to report on the exploding costs of incarceration. But the men she met behind the walls astonished her with their remorse, introspection, determination, and unshakable hope for freedom and forgiveness. Life After Murder is an intimately reported, utterly compelling story of five convicted murderers sentenced to life with the possibility of parole, who discover after decades in prison that their second chance, if it comes at all, is also the challenge of a lifetime. It follows their struggle for redemption, their legal battles to make good on the state's promise of parole, and the lives they found after so many years inside.
Snipers And Shooters
By Bill Wallace
To kill with one shot needs a specialist. In war, choosing a perfect concealed position and knowing exactly when to pull the trigger takes a special talent. But some such as John Wilkes Booth, murderer of president Abraham Lincoln, prove that any madman with a gun can make history in a random moment. In 1963 President John F. Kennedy was killed by shots to his back and head. Despite being surrounded by security and in a public place, his killer knew where to hide and when to shoot. For three weeks in October 2002, a sniper in a Chevrolet Caprice terrorised Washington DC, Maryland and Virginia. In these three weeks, and at various times and locations, ten people were shot dead and three were critically injured after being struck by the mysterious marksman. Two days after the last murder police identified the sniper and his accomplice - their murderous road trip was over.
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.
Gangland: The Contract Killers
By James Morton
The realm of the contract killer is a murky and murderous underworld where the price for the removal of a top villain is £100,000. A world where the killers range from Mafia to millionaires, from FBI informants to ordinary housewives; where the methods range from garrotting to shooting, induced overdoses to burning. Mostly the bodies are never found. Sometimes they're made an example of: tied to juke boxes or left on street corners as 'examples'. In the latest addition to his Gangland series, James Morton lifts the lid on the hidden world of the contract killer. Who are these people? Where can they be found? How do the best of them commit untraceable crimes? Is the female more deadly than the male? And how true is it that the FBI, the police and others organisations devoted to solving crime have aided, abetted and even instigated contracts to kill?
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.
Scary Monsters and Super Freaks
By Mike Sager
Mike Sager is to drugs, porn, and crimes of desperate delusion what Dominic Dunne is to the society murder. In addition to his long-classic Rolling Stone story "The Devil and John Holmes" (which helped inspire the upcoming Val Kilmer film, Wonderland) and his ground-breaking GQ piece about murdered Irish investigative reporter Veronica Guerin (also the subject of a major film starring Cate Blanchett), Scary Monsters and Super Freaks is a wonderful rogue's gallery of up-close pieces about the most public failures of the American dream. From Rick James and his drug-fueled detour into white slavery to the life and suicide of porn starlet Savannah, from deep inside the beating of Rodney King and the Heaven's Gate cult suicides to Chuck Berry's sexual predilections, this book brings to high-profile true crime a highly identifiable voice and style. Currently Esquire's Writer-at-Large, Sager takes us along for the ride with a raft of other figures including the late NWA Rapper Easy E. Winner, the FBI agent who fell in love with his informant, and the highest ranking DEA agent to be busted for drug trafficking. This is a brilliant debut collection by one of America's most respected and stylish crime writers.