Book critic Maureen Corrigan on the year's best books (that she's read): "Cold Mountain" by Charles Frazier; "Matters of Chance" by Jeannette Haien; the reprint "Independent People" by Haldor Laxness; the short stories "Publish and Perish" by James Hynes, "Lives of the Monster Dogs" by Kirsten Bakis; for non-fiction: "Big Trouble" by J. Anthony Lukas; "Halfway Heaven" by Melanie Thernstrom; "The Gay Metropolis" by Charles Kaiser; volume 2 of "W.B. Yeats" a biography by R.F.
Book Critic John Leonard reviews Wasted, an investigation of last year's `Preppie Murder' trial in New York City. Robert Chambers, son of a wealthy New York City couple, was charged with the murder of Jennifer Levin, herself the product of wealthy parents and New York's finest private schools. The trial was a headline-grabber for Chambers' controversial defense and for its exposure of the aimless, dissolute lifestyle of the children of the wealthy.
Writer Jack Olsen. He's been called a master of the `true crime' genre, and in his new book, Doc, he tells the story of how Dr. John Story, one of the most respected citizens of Lovell, Wyoming, systematically raped his patients, and how, in this ultra-conservative, God-fearing environment, the women either couldn't speak up, or, when they did, were dismissed. Lovell is set in Mormon country, and many of the women the doctor victimized feared excommunication for "fornication" if they when to the authorities, who, invariably, were also elders in the Mormon church.
Journalist Teresa Carpenter. Her new book, Missing Beauty, is the story of the obsession of a medical professor for a Boston prostitute, and obsession that ended with the prostitute's murder. Carpenter is a staff writer for The Village Voice and won the 1981 Pulitzer Prize for her reports on three murders, including those of former congressman Allard Lowenstein and Playmate Dorothy Stratten.
Writer Gerald Clarke. Clarke's biography of writer Truman Capote has just been published. Capote was the author of the seminal work In Cold Blood, but his writing was overshadowed by the excesses of his lifestyle and his reputation as the clownish fixture of the talk show circuit. Clarke's biography was 14 years in the making and was undertaken with Capote's full cooperation. Clarke has written extensively for Time magazine.
Seymour Shubin is a novelist whose previous work "Anyone's My Name," was a best seller. Shubin is the former managing editor of Official Detective Stories, and has written for medical and psychological journalists. His new novel, "The Captain," is a suspense story that explores the anger and resentment a retired detective living in a nursing home feels towards the nurses, doctors, and the family members who put him there. The novel has been nominated for an Edgar Award.
Ann Rule was a writer for True Crime magazine when she was assigned a story about a serial killer who turned out to be a former acquaintance of Rule's. Rule worked with Ted Bundy at a suicide prevention center. She had even reported suspicions about Bundy to police. Her account of Bundy's crimes and her time working with him is called "The Stranger Beside Me."