I am an avid eclectic reader.
Why were so many agents in the USSR being compromised to the KGB and executed? Sandra Grimes and Jeanne Vertefeuille, longtime veterans of the CIA were in the forefront of a small group assigned to the mission, in early 1991 to expose the traitor (mole) in their midst. They give a detailed step by step account of the hunt and the arrest of Aldrich Ames. Ames was a 30 year veteran of the CIA and Directorate of Operations. They give credit to the people both CIA and FBI that worked with them on the project. They also discuss some of the other traitors uncovered during the time. I found it interesting that in the beginning of the book it was revealed that both women were college graduates, spoke several languages, but the only jobs open in the CIA to women at the time was as typist and secretary. They were hired and had to work their way up as areas were opened to women as the years went by. As I was from the same time frame I was well aware of this problem. It is nice to have the note in passing, written in a book, cause a look back at how far women have come in the work place. The book reveals it was the tedious attention to detail and the following of the money that finally caught Ames. They note Ames was a man that thought women were of no value in the work place so it was great he was caught by two women. I am sure that a lot of information was censored by the CIA but this book is of interest to us history buffs. Janet Metzger did a good job narrating the book.
“Devil in the Grove” won the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for non-fiction. Gilbert King did a lot of research to write the story; he goes into painstaking detail about the tactics used by Thurgood Marshall (future Supreme Court Judge) and his co-NAACP attorney Franklin Williams to chip away at the foundations of the Jim Crow Law. He documents in detail the reign of terror conducted in Lake County by the KKK and Sheriff Willis McCall who is portrayed as a ruthless brutal man. The book is about four black men falsely accused of raping Normal Lee Padgett, a 17 year old white woman in Groveland Florida in 1949. King’s research shows that there was no physical evidence and two of the Groveland Four were not even within a day’s drive of the area Padgett claimed the rape took place. Sheriff McCall killed two of the men while in his custody. He was never charged for the shootings. The other two were badly beaten many times but no one was ever charged with the beatings. The KKK burned to the ground the black community in Groveland. King details the complicated case involving 4 defendants, several trials, various appeals, numerous defense attorneys, multiple judges and different points of law. I learned a few pearls from the story 1) more black man were lynched in Florida than any other Southern State and 2) these were the type of cases that evidentially lead to removing the death penalty from rape cases. I was appalled at the treatment of black people by the white in Lake County, if the blacks were the main pickers of the oranges, I just cannot understand why they were beaten and killed. Dead men do not pick oranges. Also it is a disgrace to have Sheriff McCall be re-elected to office for over 20 years. I read this book because I am reading books about the Supreme Court Justices and even though this book takes place before Marshall was appointed to the court I thought it would provide me with an insight into the man, which the book did. Peter Francis James did an excellent job narrating the book.
I found this book fascinating. I was most interested in all the various scientific specialties that were utilized and the basic research done by the group.
Necrosearch was founded in 1991 as a not for profit forensic investigation team. They specialize in homicide cold cases where a body cannot be produced.
The team members are from a wide range of experts, from chemists, geophysicists, behaviorists, medical examiners, forensic anthropologist, photography, retired police officers to cadaver dogs. Jackson reveals in the book the burden of scientific proof with exciting stories of forensic field work and basic police work.
Steve Jackson is a crime journalist based in Colorado. He is now a member of the team. His first book was a true crime story called “Monster” written in 1998. He also writes fiction along with New York ADA Robert K. Tanenbaum for a series called Butch Karp.
The first part of the book provides the history of forensics. I was surprised to learn that the French police were the first to us forensics and teach it in police training.
The middle part of the book is about the original members of Necrosearch telling about the expertise and how it was first used by the group. The group’s research teams used pigs buried in different ways and depths to learn about the changes in graves over time so that they have provable information to look for such as changes in the soil, plants, insects, animals and in the electrical flow and chemical gases of graves. I found this absolutely fascinating.
The last half of the book is about some of the field projects they under took such as the discovering the body of Michael Wallace who disappeared near Gunnison Colorado. The author covered this in depth from her disappearance, search and police work at the time to the Det. Young working it as a cold case twenty years later. Jackson covers the step by step work Young did to narrow the search area so Necrosearch had a reasonable search area. The author then covered the step by step procedures of the search and then the detailed work after the found parts of the body to local the entire body. Jackson then covered in depth the trial of the murderer and the role the team played in helping toward the conviction. Jackson covered a number of other cases in almost as much detail as the Wallace case.
The book is well written and moves at a fast pace. I understand another book about the team is on the way. Kevin Pierce narrated the book.