The murder plague in south Los Angeles. The global cocaine trade. The heroin and prescribed opiate epidemic in the US. And the one-man killing machine of Anders Breivik. All the subject matter of powerful and compelling crime books I read in 2015. And each of them non-fiction stories.
Many of the authors may not be household names, but they ought to be. Two of them (Jill Leovy and Sam Quinones) are journalists from the same publication, the Los Angeles Times. They are a testament to everything that is admirable of great newspaper men and women: dedication to research, to hard work, to the lives of ordinary people and to holding powerful institutions to account – and, not least, to crafting a good story.
Another is Roberto Saviano, a man under constant police protection from the Italian mafia, after his first book (and subsequent film) Gomorrah. Asne Seierstad has also made an important contribution to society, in her powerful portrayal of Anders Breivik and the murder of 77 people – 55 of them teenagers – on the darkest of days for Norway and Europe.
During the year, I reviewed these books for the Irish Examiner and I’ve given the links below.
If I was to pick one book as my favourite it would be Jill Leovy’s outstanding Ghettoside.