Category Archives: True Crime Books

See the cover for author Elaine Shannon’s true-crime book Hunting LeRoux

The capturing of a monster is usually cause for celebration, but when the DEA arrested the murderous transnational arms and drugs dealer Paul LeRoux in 2012, it was done in total secrecy.

LeRoux, a former encryption programmer who help make organized crime harder to track and prosecute by decentralizing its business of narcotics, murder-for-hire, and high-tech blackmarket arms deals, became the key to crashing his whole blood-soaked network.

The story of his secret capture and the way he was flipped to become a weapon against his own fellow killers and outlaws is told in journalist Elaine Shannon’s new book Hunting LeRoux, which hits stores Feb. 19.

EW has the exclusive cover reveal, above, showing the hulking, dour LeRoux as he appeared in video recorded by a trusted associate who was also a DEA informant.

“He spent seven months dealing face-to-face with LeRoux, recording their phone and personal conversations and exchanging emails with him,” Shannon says. “The video was made in Monrovia on the morning of Sept 26, 2012, by a device hidden in his clothing. It became the ultimate evidence that captured LeRoux’s criminal intent to traffic in drugs and arms.”

“His eyes are alight with anticipation as he looks forward to the next meeting, in which he plans to make a lucrative deal to trade North Korean meth for Colombian cocaine offered by ‘Diego,’  who he thinks is a Colombian cartel operative in Africa,” Shannon adds. “Actually, Diego is an informant too. I love this image because I can see LeRoux for what he really is: a powerful, determined master criminal, stripped of the civility he displays in court.”

The harrowing cascade of subsequent takedowns by the DEA’s special ops 960 Group is chronicled in the book, which will also be the first title in a new publishing imprint from The Insider and Heat filmmaker Michael Mann.

“It’s one of the best detective stories and crime stories I’ve ever encountered,” Mann tells EW. “I have never read an account that places you so in the moment and in such close proximity beat by beat with a high order law enforcement operation that’s very complex and spans the world.”

One of his favorite aspects of the story is how LeRoux’s clandestine nature was used to “roll up his criminal empire.” When LeRoux was first seized by the DEA, that was just the midpoint, not the end of the operation. And it only worked because the criminal had insulated himself from his associates. They didn’t know to miss him.

“Nobody knew where LeRoux was at any one moment in time, ever,” Mann says.

The Miami Vice producer and Shannon previously collaborated in 1990 on the Emmy-winning NBC miniseries Drug Wars: The Camarena Story, about DEA agent Enrique Camarena, who was assassinated by Mexican cartels after disrupting their trafficking operations. Mann developed the show from Shannon’s 1988 book about the killing.

She began talking with him about Hunting LeRoux in 2012, when it was still an unfolding operation, and Mann served as a reader, editor, and sounding board in addition to becoming her publisher.

“He had great advice, which I always took, about how to make the narrative sharper, clearer, and more accessible. It’s a complicated story, spanning every continent but Antarctica, and many personalities,” she says. “I wrote. He read takes, with endless patience, and advised me to move this, get more of that or cut that. Sometimes writing is like painting but sometimes it’s like sculpting. You have to carve away extra stuff you don’t need so you can see the form you envision take shape. He helped me carve.”

Mann had other books he planned as his imprint’s first project but credited Shannon for her speed in finishing the story while also crafting one he couldn’t put down. That vaulted it to becoming the first title from Michael Mann Books.

Even after reading and advising for so many years, he said he’s still transfixed by the figure at the center of the story. “He did everything from designing guidance systems for the Iranians to moving North Korean meth to making undetectable explosives to contract murder to smuggling cocaine and killing people himself,” Mann says. “The reason why he was a ghost on the radar and undiscoverable is because there was no physical organization. He’s not like a Cartel based in Guadalajara or the Juarez Cartel.”

Mann’s films have always focused on the gray area between those who are driven to do wrong and those who push back to do right. This story also presented a number of heroes, particularly 960 Group point men Eric Stouch and Tom Cindric.

“Stouch and Cindric started out as street cops and then street agents, in the roughest part of Baltimore and Washington,” Shannon says. “They got to know each other on a Mid-Atlantic task force. They wound up in the 960 Group, which is like Yale’s Skull and Bones, for their investigative skills, their enterprise, their creativity, and that intangible, undefinable cop gut that great investigators have — a combination of keen instincts, obsession, crazy work ethic, and a world-class bullsh— detector. They are never off the job.”

“Stouch and Cindric don’t seem to fear the violent people whom they chase down…or much of anything,” she adds. “Instead, they’re focused and motivated by the psychological parrying of their job. Call it playing chess with the Devil.”

Mann says the interesting thing about LeRoux is, he was motivated more by the thrill than the spoils of his crimes. “What’s unusual is the ego-drive he had towards audacious criminality,” he says. “The sheer audacity of it is what appealed to him. The money he made was just points on a scoreboard.”

The book imprint started, Mann said, as a way to tell the stories he wasn’t necessarily able to put on the big screen. One of the upcoming projects, for instance, is a prequel to Heat, co-written with Reed Farrel Coleman.

Nonetheless, he has hopes for taking Hunting LeRoux from the page to the screen. “I want to do a motion picture on this guy and what he means as a completely new kind of antagonist,” Mann says.

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BOOK REVIEW: ‘Hunting Charles Manson’ by Lis Wiehl with Caitlin Rother

By Paul Davis – – Wednesday, August 22, 2018



By Lis Wiehl with Caitlin Rother

Thomas Nelson, $29.99, 336 pages

Having read Los Angles prosecutor ’s book on the trial, “Helter Skelter,” in 1974, I thought the case was closed on . But then I read Jeff Guinn’s excellent biography, “: The Life and Times of ,” (which I reviewed here in August of 2013).

And now I’m drawn once again to another book about , who died in prison this past November. Lis Wiehl, a former prosecutor and legal commentator on Fox News and other networks, and Caitlin Rother, a true crime author and investigative reporter, look back on ’s life and crimes in “Hunting : The Quest for Justice in the Days of Helter Skelter.”

“In taking on the quest for justice in the tragedy that was the summer of 1969,

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Ex-Gangster Paul Ferris snubs book signing in Glasgow over fears cops would shut it down

EX-GANGSTER Paul Ferris has snubbed a launch of his new book in Glasgow over fears cops would shut it down.

The convicted gun-runner has just published his explosive new work Unfinished Business which contains bombshell claims of shocking police corruption.

 Ferris will avoid book signing in Glasgow
Ferris will avoid book signing in Glasgow

But he has opted against any signings in Glasgow over concerns police and authorities would block any events relating to the book after an incident before a signing in 2006.

Instead signed copies of the book have been donated to St Roch’s Junior Football Club to raise much needed funds.

Ferris, 54, said 12 years ago cops told him “they would close the bookshop down as a public safety and security issue”.

He added: “We were signing books for the readership – where is the crime in that?”

The convicted

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Des Moines Public Library announces 2019 AViD author series

Six award-winning and best-selling authors will travel to Des Moines this spring as part of the Des Moines Public Library’s AViD author series. 

The Authors Visiting in Des Moines program began in 2001 as a way to bring local and nationally renowned writers to the city. 

“The idea was to provide our patrons with a way to see these national, accomplished authors for free without reservations or tickets,” said Tim Paluch, the library’s community engagement supervisor. “They can hear from these people on a more personal level.”

The AViD series is funded by the Des

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Pulitzer Prize-Winning Journalist Explores Flaws Of The Justice System In ‘Burned’



A Story of Murder and the Crime That Wasn’t

by Edward Humes

Hardcover, 307 pages |


True crime enthusiasts have long known that there are serious flaws in the institutions meant to keep society safe and functional.

The latest season of the podcast Serial, for instance, exposes the many bureaucratic complexities, human errors, and clear bias of the American justice system as seen through a year’s coverage of a single courthouse in Cleveland, Ohio.

Edward Humes, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, broadens this kind of criticism further, exploring the issues of expert testimony and junk science in his new book, Burned: A Story of Murder and the Crime that Wasn’t.

Humes’s investigation

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The Best New Books To Read This Week: "Thick" And More

Here’s the thing: I don’t believe in New Year’s resolutions. I’m sure they’re highly motivating and work wonders for some people, but I’ve never gotten on board; there’s too much pressure. But I am on board with reading resolutions. If you’re resolving to read more books in 2019, this list of the best new books of the week is the perfect place to start.

Every January, an increased number of dark mysteries and thrillers hit bookshelves. Winter is the perfect time of year to pick up something especially twisted, and these titles don’t disappoint. Along with them are nonfiction essay collections and memoirs that you’ll feel deeply.

Here are the 11 best new books to read this week:

1An Anonymous Girl by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen, out January 8th

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2019 Spring Read: Book List & Discussion Leaders—It’s a Mystery to Me!

All right, HPPR Radio Readers! It’s time to crack open those mystery novels as we move into the 2019 Spring Read: It’s a Mystery to Me! This season will surely delight with a huge list of stories, covering classic noir novels, true crime nonfiction, vintage whodunnits, regional mysteries, and so much more. Click here to see the printable, two-page reader’s guide with all of the discussion leaders, as well as the books they’re covering. We look forward to your feedback, and stay tuned to HPPR for a new batch of BookBytes. 

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2019 Spring Read: Book List & Discussion Leaders—It’s a Mystery to Me!

All right, HPPR Radio Readers! It’s time to crack open those mystery novels as we move into the 2019 Spring Read: It’s a Mystery to Me! This season will surely delight with a huge list of stories, covering classic noir novels, true crime nonfiction, vintage whodunnits, regional mysteries, and so much more. Click here to see the printable, two-page reader’s guide with all of the discussion leaders, as well as the books they’re covering. We look forward to your feedback, and stay tuned to HPPR for a new batch of BookBytes. 

15 Creepy New Nonfiction Books To Keep You Up At Night With Bird Box and Bandersnatch

With Bird Box and Bandersnatch captivating audiences all over, everyone is looking for the next spooky thing. I’ve got 15 creepy new nonfiction books to keep you up at night, once Netflix’s new horror movies have lost their scares for you.

Between My Favorite Murder and Lore, Making a Murderer and Serial, we’ve hit a true-crime boom. What’s more, we’re all clamoring for scares, whether they’re based in fact or in fiction. Scary movies and creepy cryptid podcasts have taken over our airwaves, and the resultant horror boom — Yes, another boom! — keeps churning out more and more visceral frights.

Whether you love true crime, microhistories, or works of pop science, there’s something on this list that will interest you. What creeps one person out might not faze another, so don’t expect every book

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13 Books Like ‘YOU’ To Read When You’re Finished Marathon-Watching The Show

Lifetime’s adaptation of Caroline Kepnes’ YOU just hit Netflix in December, and fans are already clamoring for more. On the list below, I’ve got 13 books to read if you love YOU and can’t wait for season two, so keep scrolling to find out what you can read to pass the time.

Caroline Kepnes’ 2014 novel, YOU centers on Joe Goldberg, played by Penn Badgley, a bookstore employee who becomes obsessed with one of the shop’s patrons: an aspiring writer named Guinevere Beck. Stalking Guinevere online is easy — she’s the only person by that name in NYC — but manipulating her life in ways that lead her into a romantic relationship with him takes planning. Keeping Guinevere attached to him, however, might require Joe to kill, but it’s not like that’s anything new for him.


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