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True Story

Michael Finkel was a top New York Times Magazine journalist publicly fired and disgraced for making up a composite character for a big investigative news piece about Africa. This book is about how this brilliant, hardliving, high achieving journalist found himself at that point in his life; but in parallel it's also about Christian Longo, a man accused of the multiple murder of his own wife and 3 children (their bodies were found in Oregon waterways, the largest and the smallest in suitcases), who then passed himself off as Michael Finkel, NY journalist, while on the run in Mexico. These two weird stories come together as Finkel in turn becomes fascinated (obsessed, even) with Longo the accused murderer, who while in prison would talk only to Finkel. Who is using whom? It's all about truth and lies, and where journalistic truth deviates from reality; and about lives that take a wrong turning. It's very well written, disturbing in many ways and utterly gripping. There is an acknowledged moral ambiguity about the whole venture which makes it problematic but even more interesting- And in April 2003 Longo, who had pleaded guilty only to 2 counts of murder, was sentenced to death for a
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Brilliant journalism meets true crime in the heart of America - now a major film starring James Franco, Jonah Hill and Felicity Jones, directed by Rupert Goold.

About the Author

A young journalist in his mid-thirties who raises chickens and grows hay at his home in Montana. He had a highflying job on the New York Times Magazine until he was publicly fired in February 2002. He was married at the end of July 2004.


"Its a gripping tale, plainly told but artfully constructed, and the twists continue right up to and beyond the climax of the trial" -- Blake Morrison Guardian "A thrilling, unforgettable book... Wonderful" Spectator "An absorbing examination of human frailty, the nature of truth and the power of pride... It is also a stonking good read... Extraordinary and terrifying journalism" The Times "A fine, beautifully choreographed addition to the macabre three-legged race linking murderers with writers... Horribly readable" Mail on Sunday "'Utterly compelling'" Irish Times

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