If it's good, I'll read it! Instagram: @crystenasbooks
Told from the perspective of the two women who won the Pulitzer for their reporting, this is the true story of a police scandal in Philidelphia in 2003.
It was pretty good reading-wise. Wendy Ruderman and Barbara Laker recount the investigation and reporting they did during that time. Complete with tense moments and fears that would go along with exposing police corruption, this book was definitely a page-turner. It was disheartening to hear the level of corruption and pain caused to the victims because they thought no one would notice - or care.
What was interesting in all this was one of the reporters admits to giving gifts and presents to her main source and his family - a police informant. To be fair, she said they needed groceries and other items and it was never money. But I immediately thought, "Wait - is she supposed to do that?" Later in the book, she tried to justify what she did and contrast it with some of the accusations leveled at the police. I was uneasy. Not that I didn't believe bad things had happened to these victims but I couldn't figure out how her actions- whatever their motive - wouldn't complicate things.
When I was done with the book I went to google the final outcome of all this - and sure enough - she was taken to task for this and had to, at least in the public eye, defend the series "Tainted Justice" as their reporting series was called.
The expose on their expose was done by their sister paper the Inquirer. The two papers seem to not have a good 'relationship', even in the book. What prompted another look at the series was one of the police officers accused of misconduct seemed to escape charges though he was accused of horrible acts against women. When the Inquirer decided to do a follow-up piece to see why - they were told the main witness claimed they had also received gifts from the reporters thus tainting the witness' credibility. Ruderman denies this, saying its a cop-out so they don't have to fire him. The police commissioner said the allegations against the witness stick him "with a guy who shouldn't be a cop."
My opinion? What a mess.
Of note, I also wasn't comfortable with the excitement expressed at finding more victims. It jarred me. While yes- I get you're getting more evidence to expose corruption- it seemed like the story and the adrenaline rush was first - these victims and what they went through was a not-close second.
This book leaves me with mixed feelings. Solid retell of what happened but troubling.
I gave it three stars.