Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Best American Crime Writing, 2004

I have been presenting links to those articles available on-line from the true crime reporting series, The Best American Crime Writing. (So far, 2008, 2007, 2006, and 2005) This is a fantastic series with many must-read pieces. Below are links to the articles selected for the 2004 edition.

2004. Edited by Otto Penzler and Thomas H. Cook. Introduction by Joseph Wambaugh.

Ciudad De La Muerte: Cecilia Balli, Texas Monthly
In the city of Juarez, 300 women have gone missing or have been found dead. The journalist has kept after this story and her investigations have become part of her doctoral dissertation. Here is her 2011 follow-up piece.
To Kill Or Not to Kill: Scott Turow, New Yorker
The lawyer and author's personal reflections on the death sentence.
A Miscarriage of Justice: Robert F. Kennedy Jr., The Atlantic
Kennedy makes a plea for innocence in the notorious murder case which sent his cousin to prison.
Not Guilty by Reason of Afghanistan: John H. Richardson, Esquire
Jawed Wassel, an Afghani businessman was murdered by his business partner, who pled not guilty by reason of 9/11.
Code of Dishonor: Clara Bingham, Vanity Fair.
The rape scandal at the Air Force Academy and their lack of response.
The Professor and the Porn: Elisabeth Franck
A New York Law School professor is discovered to have a stash of child pornography. Only those who uncovered it were fired.
Chief Bratton Takes on LA: Heather Mac Donald, City Journal
NYPD Chief comes to the City of Angels.
Who Is the Boy in the Box? Sabrina Rubin Erdely, Philadelphia Magazine
A retired detective still pursues the answer to one of Philadelphia's most infamous cases.
Lord of the Drug Ring: Charles Bowden, GQ
The story of a billionaire drug lord.
Who Shot Mohammed Al-Dura? James Fallows, The Atlantic Monthly
Forensic researchers look into where the bullets came from that shot a Palestinian boy.
The Dark Art of Interrogation: Mark Bowden, The Atlantic Monthly
A look at torture.

As with each year, there are several stories that are not available online.

Stephanie: James Ellroy, GQ
"Murder files hook you fast and drag you in slow." Ellroy reinvestigates a 60s murder.
For the Love of God: Jon Krakauer, GQ
Examines the murder of Brenda Lafferty by Mormon fundamentalists.
Watching the Detectives: Jay Kirk, Harper's Magazine
The Vidocq Society and their campaign to solve cases.
Unfortunate Con: Mark Schone, Oxford American
A writer claims to have uncovered evidence of presidential drug use. His story unravels and he appears to have committed suicide. Or was he murdered?
Megan's Law and Me: Brendan Riley, Details Magazine
A sex offender provides his perspective on the Megan Law registry.
CSC: Crime Scene Cleanup: Pat Jordan, Playboy
The professionals involved in cleaning up crime scenes.
Night of the Bullies: Robert Draper, GQ
The lives of three bullies and their victim, twenty-four years later.
Possessed: Luke Dittrich, Atlanta Magazine
A Neo-Nazi continues to investigate a murder and stalks a woman at her home.

The Old Man and the Gun: David Grann, New Yorker
An elderly bank robber continues to ply his trade. Available in full for New Yorker subscribers. A preview is available at the above link.

 Martin Hill Ortiz, also writing under the name, Martin Hill, is the author of A Predatory Mind. His latest mystery, Never Kill A Friend, is available from Ransom Note Press. His epic poem, Two Mistakes, recently won second place in the Margaret Reid/Tom Howard Poetry Competition. He can be contacted at


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