The Best Books Of True Crime Meets True Coverup

The Books I Picked & Why

We Own This City: A True Story of Crime, Cops, and Corruption

By Justin Fenton

We Own This City: A True Story of Crime, Cops, and Corruption

Why this book?

Fenton climbed a mountain here and reached the top. Freddie Gray has died in the back of a police van in Baltimore. Something’s wrong with that picture, but who’s going to question the city’s elite Gun Trace Task Force—a vanguard unit in the war on crime—when most civic leaders hold it in awe? Fenton, a reporter for the Baltimore Sun, digs in, doing the meticulous research and insightful writing that expose powerfully guarded secrets and plant a flag for accountability.


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All the President's Men

By Carl Bernstein, Bob Woodward

All the President's Men

Why this book?

It started with that most ordinary crime—a burglary. But the coverup traced to the White House—and brought down a presidency. This is the classic, the granddaddy of investigative reporting, along with a hair-on-fire story of getting the story. Riveting, precise, and hugely consequential, it set the standard that a generation of journalists like me has sought to follow. Now, almost 50 years after publication, it still feels current—a standout among books of true crime in America’s political history.


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The Bluegrass Conspiracy: An Inside Story of Power, Greed, Drugs & Murder

By Sally Denton

The Bluegrass Conspiracy: An Inside Story of Power, Greed, Drugs & Murder

Why this book?

I was wowed by this book. Denton looks beyond the immaculate white fences and princely politics of Lexington, Kentucky’s thoroughbred horse culture and sees into a drug ring run by a thoroughly corrupt former cop. Her account of a lone police investigator’s confrontation with powerful forces bent on keeping their secrets stands the test of time. It’s a look at how justice too often runs offtrack—a harrowing tale well told.


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The Infiltrator: The True Story of One Man Against the Biggest Drug Cartel in History

By Robert Mazur

The Infiltrator: The True Story of One Man Against the Biggest Drug Cartel in History

Why this book?

The movie based on this book featured the drama of Mazur’s undercover work as a U.S. Customs agent penetrating the money laundering behemoth known as BCCI, the bank that served crooks and governments around the world. What the film didn’t capture was the difficulty Mazur faced from federal officials who refused to act on the evidence he’d risked his life to obtain. After a state prosecuting attorney finally won indictments that brought down BCCI, Mazur testified that Department of Justice officials had ignored “hundreds of leads” that might have linked the institution to other cases of drug money, arms deals, and secret ownership of American banks.


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Moneyland: The Inside Story of the Crooks and Kleptocrats Who Rule the World

By Oliver Bullough

Moneyland: The Inside Story of the Crooks and Kleptocrats Who Rule the World

Why this book?

Ever wonder why, from one end of the world to the other, people are taking to the streets to reclaim their governments from the expanding reach of kleptocrats? Bullough literally follows the money into a realm few of us ever imagine—the rarified, nationless atmosphere where laws written for most mortals do not apply. His picture of Moneyland is a heads-up for the rest of us, a warning that whenever moguls in that world shake hands with public officials we commoners had better take notice.


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