RARA-AVIS: Wambaugh wobbles, but he don't fall down...

Kevin Smith (kvnsmith@colba.net)
Mon, 6 Jul 1998 11:34:25 -0500 Speaking of hardboiled non-fiction, I'm not sure if Joseph Wambaugh
qualifies, since his writing is more strict police procedural than
hardboiled, IMHO, but there is an interesting article in GQ (I don't read
this mag, honest!) on how an open murder investigation may have been
tainted to make for a better ending to the book he was writing...the
accused, found not guilty, is now suing the head investigating detective
and Wambaugh.

The accused sounds like a wrongo, but he may have a case...it looks like
the police investigation was severely botched, and, same old story, the
cops may have made the case fit the suspect, not the other way around...

Perhaps the best true crime book I read was Redrum by Kirk Makin, about a
guy accused of murdering the little girl next door. He's since been proved
innocent by DNA, but he went through a couple of trials, and served time,
before eventually being cleared of all charges... (No double jeopardy in
Canada; if it had been the States, he's probably have fried by now...).
It's an utterly fascinating book, full of incompetent cops, lawyers, small
town predjudice, grandstanding victims, families torn apart, media frenzy,
and tantalizing leads that were completely ignored, all swirling around an
innocent man... The style isn't really hardboiled, but the situation
is...in fact, the book, which won the Arthur Ellis award for true crime
(sorta a Canadian Edgar), was the spark that led the way for a new trial...

It makes you think about all these true crime books out there, and how
"true" they really are...

"Don't it make ya feel ashamed,
To live in a land where justice is a game..."

from Hurricane by Bob Dylan
(which, I guess, is a true crime song...)

P.S. How's the crossword going, Pete? How about posting it for all of us?

Kevin Smith
The Thrilling Detective Web Site

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