Thomas Cook, Linda Fairstein, and Otto Penzler, eds. The Best American Crime Reporting 2007. New York: Harper Perennial, 2007. 384pp.
This year's anthology returns to its roots with articles about bread-and-butter crimes, mostly murder. The editors have done a fine job of selecting the best of the best, and this year's picks do not disappoint. All are well-written pieces of journalism about crime, its victims and the criminals themselves. These articles ask what we all ask when we hear or read about any criminal act-- why? Most murders, it seems, are either crimes of passion or opportunity. Some crimes, like the story about a serial stealer of used books (who doesn't sell them but keeps them for his own collection), are psychological in nature. But what rings true about all these articles is that they lay bare a part of human nature most of us never see or will experience. This is what makes these stories so compelling.
The 2007 edition of this excellent series is different on one note. The series title has been changed from Best American Crime Writing to Best American Crime Reporting. It seems the previous title caused some confusion as to whether the anthology is fiction or non-fiction, this new title should make it clear that it's the latter.