Editorial Reviews

“I admire Wendy Ruderman and Barbara Laker, who are not only Pulitzer-Prize winning journalists, but fearless and fascinating women. Busted reads like a turbo-charged thriller, all the more compelling because it’s true. Pick up a copy, and you won’t be able to put it down.”

— Lisa Scottoline

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“A story that not only pounds at the door to come inside, but stands as a much-needed reminder that newspapers are and always have been and, as far as I know, always will be the bedrock of the art of journalism.”

— Pete Dexter,
journalist and author of
National Book Award-winner Paris Trout

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Busted: A Tale of Corruption and Betrayal in the City of Brotherly Love is the scorching, devastating, and action-packed story of two journalists’ journey into the dark heart of a major city.…Wendy Ruderman and Barbara Laker are true heroes…. I love this book.”

— Edna Buchanan,
Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist
and bestselling author

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Busted is a thoroughly engaging…trip into Philadelphia’s underworld, where cops prey on those they are pledged to protect…. Rich with character and incident, it’s a complete original, and a love letter to newspapers in their hour of dire need.”

– Mark Bowden,
author of Black Hawk Down

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Busted is a taut, gritty story of drug dealers and corrupt cops written with passion, fury and what Philadelphians refer to as attitude (pronounced ‘atty-tood’). Ruderman and Laker have a lot of that, which is why they’re two of the best reporters in the country.”

— George Anastasia,
author of Blood and Honor
 and The Last Gangster

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Busted reads like a gritty crime novel, but it is a paean to journalistic professionalism.”

— Michael Smerconish,
columnist, MSNBC contributor, and host of
The Michael Smerconish Program on SiriusXM

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“Prevailing against threats, intimidation, and the impending bankruptcy of their newspaper, Ruderman and Laker delivered a powerful series on police corruption, ultimately earning the Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting. This is a gritty, true-life thriller about the intersection of policing, drug dealing, and news reporting”

— Booklist (starred review)

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“This true crime book offers an impressive, crisply told account of the reporting of a police corruption scandal that yielded a Pulitzer Prize…. The book is a tough, lively lesson in how doing the right thing, the right way, may not be enough.”

— Publishers Weekly

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“Ruderman and Laker provide a welcome addition to the shelves of books about the mechanics and logistics of journalistic exposés . . . . [t]he narrative offers an insightful view of high-risk, high-reward investigative journalism.”

— Kirkus Reviews

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“Prevailing against threats, intimidation, and the impending bankruptcy of their newspaper, [Ruderman and Laker]…tell a story of a city the tourists seldom see.”

 Booklist Online

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“As investigative reporters for the Philadelphia Daily News, this writing duo won a Pulitzer Prize for their series on police corruption in Philadelphia. The story starts with Benny Martinez, a drug informant…. It ends by exposing the dirty dealings of an elite narcotics squad.”

— Houston Chronicle, “10 Books Worth Reading in 2014”

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From the Back Cover

Although Busted reads like a thriller, the breathtaking story it tells—of two journalists’ quest to unmask corrupt police officers and a warped justice system, the reporting of which culminated in a Pulitzer Prize—is absolutely true. One afternoon in late 2008, a man walks into the offices of the local tabloid the Philadelphia Daily News and asks to speak with reporter Wendy Ruderman. An imminent casualty of the foundering print industry, the paper is on the brink of bankruptcy, and its anxious staff members are plagued with dwindling resources. But what Benny Martinez tells Wendy and her colleague Barbara Laker is too shocking to ignore; his career as a confidential informant for a member of the Philadelphia Police Department’s narcotics squad has drawn him into a horrifying web of corruption, and now he is afraid for his life.

The decision they make that day to believe Benny’s saga will lead the two journalists to uncover a truth darker than they could have imagined. Busted is Ruderman and Laker’s riveting account of their explosive investigation into the acts committed by rogue members of the narcotics squad. By dint of perseverance, ingenuity, and good old shoe-leather reporting, the women unravel a tapestry of lies almost six years in the making. Starting with a scheme to fabricate search warrants, the scandal soon encompasses the systematic, citywide looting of immigrant-owned businesses and allegations of brutal sexual assault.

The remarkable lengths Ruderman and Laker go to for the story—chasing down witnesses on the city’s grimmest streets, sifting through archive boxes and hours of surveillance tape for crucial clues, and coaxing reluctant victims to come forward—put their determination to balance motherhood with the career they love to the ultimate test. But when they produce a devastating series of articles that blows the lid off the scandal—prompting civil lawsuits against the city and the reexamination of hundreds of convictions (although none of the officers have been charged or convicted of any crime)—they not only win the fight for justice; they also win a Pulitzer Prize for Investigative Reporting, an unthinkable achievement for two city reporters at a beleaguered regional paper.

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