Monthly Archives: May 2014

“Busted” in the NYT Book Review

Screen Shot 2014-05-25 at 10.36.26 AMThanks to Charles Graeber for including “Busted” in his True Crime edition of The Shortlist in today’s New York Times Book Review:

Equal parts serious journalism and sisterly sass, “Busted” is a personable and fast-reading ride along with two Philadelphia Daily News journalists as they chase a police corruption story down the rabbit hole, from reportage to Pulitzer Prize. Along the way, Ruderman and Laker knock on hundreds of doors in Philly’s drug-ravaged “Badlands,” endure threats, flea bites, bad dates, bullying lawyers, demanding editors and a couple of solid slaps by a former stripper. This is a shoe-leather journalistic procedural set against the ticking clock of the failing newspaper industry.

For the full review and to see what other kinds of True Crime company we keep, read the full Shortlist section of reviews here. 


Oh, Canada hears the “Busted” story on CBC Radio One

Screen Shot 2014-05-16 at 9.57.36 AM“Busted” met the Rob Ford story today on Canadian radio! Thanks to Anna Marie Tremonti, guest host Tom Harrington and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation for including us on this morning’s edition of The Current, on CBC Radio One. We were interviewed by stellar guest host Harrington. The Current’s Eye on The Media project looks at how a major scandal is pursued by local media, and we were two of the three investigative journalists on the show.  The third reporter was Robyn Doolittle of the Toronto Star, who helped break the Mayor Rob Ford crack-cocaine story and, like us, knows what it feels like to get death threats and knock on the door of someone who might not want to hear from you. Listen to the 24-minute program by going to this program link. We enter the broadcast at the 5:00 minute mark.


“Busted” in the Washington Times

Screen Shot 2014-05-15 at 12.34.37 PMThanks to Paul Davis for his review of “Busted” in the Washington Times.  He took the time not only to read and review the book, but also to call and interview us. He also may have produced the first review that mentions the police commissioner’s decision to fire one of the cops and punish the others.   Read the full Washington Times review here.  A few sentences from what Barbara told him:

“In the book, we describe how we found 22 merchants from all corners of the city, speaking all different languages, independently telling us the same story that these officers came in with guns drawn, smacked the video-surveillance cameras, and cut wires,” Ms. Laker said. “They all told us that the cops took thousands of dollars from the stores. They ate sandwiches there, guzzled drinks, and they took things like batteries, cellphones and lottery money. And they all independently told us the exact same story. For the women, we knocked on door after door where Tolstoy had been present during the raids. I would bet my children’s lives on the fact that they are telling the truth. Two of the three complained that very night and the third woman, the one we call ‘Naomi,’ she went to the hospital, and they did a rape kit. She could not name the officer. She didn’t know it was Tolstoy, but Internal Affairs knew it was him, because they pulled him off the street that very night.”

“Ode to a Daring Team”

Screen Shot 2014-05-11 at 9.59.09 PM“As storytelling, Busted succeeds on two levels: its stated purpose, in showing the challenges of finding and telling these stories of police corruption, and in the backstory — performing this difficult work at a newspaper, and in an industry, that is crumbling before our eyes. More than dropped investigations, that’s the postscript to this story that I find so disheartening. As difficult as it was in a shrinking newsroom to perform this work, imagine doing it today, just five years later. Or next year. Or 10 years from now.” Thanks so much, Mark. The full blog post from Mark is here. 


“Anger at the damage done”

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“The authors’ passion for the truth and anger at the damage done to innocent people seep out around the edges of the story, no less effective for being restrained. Inspired since childhood by Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein’s uncovering of Watergate, they want to see themselves as being in that tradition of great, tough big-city journalism.”  Thanks to Kate Buford for her sparkling review of “Busted,” which you can read in full here. 

8 minutes on Al Jazeera America

Thanks to Antonio Mora of “Consider This with Antonio Mora” on Al Jazeera America for a broadcast interview that expertly covers “Tainted Justice” the series, our book “Busted,” and the latest twist in the saga, in which prosecutors announced they had no plans to indict. Quite an accomplishment to get the whole ball of wax wrapped up in eight minutes! The video excerpt isn’t available online anymore, but thanks, Al Jazeera America, for sharing our stories.


Bad Apples

Thanks, Signe, for helping to keep this in the public eye. #unshrugPhilly

Signe Wilkinson's cartoon of May 2, 2014

From Signe’s post on her Facebook feed: “Apparently it’s OK in Philadelphia for cops to clip surveillance camera cords in little bodegas. Police may not be held responsible, but there are still repercussions.”

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