Re: RARA-AVIS: Re: Hardboiled Journalists

Date: 07 Jan 2006

I looked up what I guessed at earlier: John Katzenbach wrote In the Heat of the Summer, which was made into the movie The Mean Season with Kurt Russell (not Jeff Bridges, but I've always had a theory these two are the same person).

I also thought of another very good hardboiled journalist book, J.J. Maloney's I Speak for the Dead (his prison novel, The Chain, is also very good, rivals Edward Bunker's work). Turns out he knew of what he spoke, both as a crime reporter and as a felon. I found this fascinating obit on the internet Crime Magazine he launched
(, which has links to the investigative articles mentioned:

J. J. Maloney, an award-winning journalist and founder and editor of Crime Magazine, passed away December 31, 1999, at his mother's home in Webster Groves, Mo. He was 59. Mr. Maloney, who lived in Kansas City, had been visiting his mother for the holidays. He suffered from acute bronchial congestion and had recently undergone a bout with pneumonia. He was an inveterate smoker. Mr. Maloney launched Crime Magazine, an Internet publication, on October 26, 1998. He described the site ( as "an encyclopedia of crime: from prisons and parole to serial killers and assassinations, books and movies to unsolved murders and fugitives, from gangsters to cops." Crime Magazine is one of the Internet's most frequently visited sites about true crime. The site has garnered seven Internet awards, including the Medaille d'Or for Web Site Excellence and the Gold Star for Outstanding Quality from Juno Enterprises. In addition, Mr. Maloney was crime editor for ODP, an Internet clearinghouse. Born in St. Louis in 1940, Mr. Maloney spent 3 1/2 years in reform schools and 13 years in prison, serving four life sentences for a murder and armed robbery he committed at age 19. As a convict, Mr. Maloney educated himself and became an artist, poet and eventually a book reviewer for the Kansas City Star. In 1972 he was paroled and began work the next day as a reporter for the Kansas City Star. By January of 1973, Mr. Maloney had been hired full-time as a reporter for The Star. The prison series he co-authored with Harry Jones, Jr., won the American Bar Association's Silver Gavel, and the Kansas Bar/Media Award. By 1977, Mr. Maloney was one of the newspaper's top investigative reporters, and did most of the paper's coverage of the Mafia's infiltration of River Quay.
"When The Kansas City Star hired J. J. Maloney as a reporter in 1972, it hired more than a convicted murderer with literary talent. It hired a lightning rod," said Arthur Brisbane, then the editor and now the publisher of The Star, upon the publication in 1992 of Mr. Maloney's book The Pariah's Handbook, A Literary Guide to the Underworld.
"For six years, Maloney managed to be where the fire and thunder raged. Sometimes he sparked trouble himself. He was a controversial figure who battled crooks and editors, not necessarily in that order. He also inspired loyalty in some, who saw in him the stuff of greatness," Brisbane said. In early 1980, Mr. Maloney, as a reporter for The Register in Orange County, Calif., broke the Freeway Killer Story and coined the phrase
"Freeway Killer." At one point the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department publicly said the Freeway Killer was a figment of The Register's imagination. William Bonin was subsequently arrested, convicted of 14 murders, and executed in early 1996. After Bonin's arrest, Maloney went on television and revealed the existence of a second freeway killer and that man, Randy Craft, is presently awaiting execution in California. Mr. Maloney had two stints as editor of the New Times, an alternative newspaper in Kansas City that ceased publishing at the end of October 1997. From September 1991 through December 1993, he was the paper's first editor. After working five years as a paralegal and investigator for Willard Bunch, a criminal defense attorney, Mr. Maloney returned to the New Times in May of 1997 to write a two-part investigative report based on his final case with Mr. Bunch. In the understated, straight-forward, piston-driving prose that distinguished his writing from as far back as his prison days, he recounted in scrupulous detail how an ATF agent and an assistant U.S. attorney conspired to frame five innocent people in the deaths of six Kansas City firefighters tragically killed in 1988. The articles further revealed the charade of a trial a U.S. District judge presided over that culminated in the convictions of all five defendants, and their subsequent sentencing to life in prison without the possibility of parole. For these articles, the Missouri Bar Association awarded Mr. Maloney its "Excellence in Legal Journalism Award." The complete text of these articles, along with many other of Mr. Maloney's articles and essays, is available on this web site. In the course of working for The Kansas City Star and The Register in Orange County, Mr. Maloney was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize five times. He won the American Bar Association's highest award, The Silver Gavel, and he was the winner of the American Society of Newspaper Publishers award for the Best Investigative Story. Mr. Maloney is the author of two novels, I Speak for the Dead (1982) and The Chain (1986) and a volume of poetry, Beyond the Wall (1973). He is survived by his mother, Bernice Siebel of Webster Groves, Mo., who visited her son in prison every month without fail and who wrote him a letter every single day he was incarcerated. Mr. Maloney was buried in Sunset Cemetery in Afton, Mo.

RARA-AVIS home page:
  Yahoo! Groups Links

<*> To visit your group on the web, go to:

<*> To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:

<*> Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to:

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : 07 Jan 2006 EST