Sunday, April 5, 2009

Book Note: The Best American Crime Reporting 2008, edited by Jonathan Kellerman

The guest editor changes from year to year, but the book stays pretty much the same: Consistently entertaining nonfiction crime essays from The New Yorker (always), plus nods to the likes of The Atlantic Monthly and Esquire, but also to more obscure publications--this time, The Cleveland Free Times and OC Weekly make the cut--just to keep things a little bit honest. Most years, I find that once particular essay makes the book worth its price of admission. This time, it's Malcolm Gladwell's "Dangerous Minds" (fromThe New Yorker, natch), which argues that John Douglas and other FBI criminal profilers are charlatans who operate like cold-reading psychics. For anyone who has ever enjoyed Red Dragon or The Silence of the Lambs or true crime in a similar vein, it should be required reading.

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