Slightly blurred carbon copy of The Corpse Had a Familiar Face, Buchanan's riveting 1987 report on crimes she'd covered...

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"NEVER LET THEM SEE YOU CRY: More from Miami, America's Hottest Beat"

Slightly blurred carbon copy of The Corpse Had a Familiar Face, Buchanan's riveting 1987 report on crimes she'd covered during her nearly 20 years as a Pulitzer-winning reporter for The Miami Herald. Novelistic tones still vibrating from Buchanan's less compelling 1990 police procedural, Nobody Lives Forever--particularly those emanating from plucked heartstrings--are what distinguish this new crime roundup from Corpse. Again, Buchanan proclaims her love affair with Miami (""The hot-blooded heartbeat of this passionate and mercurial city touches my soul"") and only whispers of her checkered romantic life--but where in Corpse the hundreds of case histories took a hard edge, focusing on drugs, the perils of reporting, etc., here they emphasize sentiment, focusing often on heroes, mostly fallen, and love, usually gone terribly awry. The opening chapter, ""Putting It in the Newspaper,"" for instance, is a litany of cases in which Buchanan effected good by reporting stories--of a missing person, a homeless woman, etc. The second chapter, a clutch of heroic dog and other animal tales, also makes an emotional pitch--delivered, however, in solid declarative prose that firms the mush (""Few four-footed heroes receive accolades. Most are unsung, many without a home""). A flurry of cases--of criminal Christmases, historic crimes, homicidal love, cop heroes, rescuers, odd occurrences (such as that of the barbiturate-soaked gunman who took 26 direct hits from cops' guns and kept shooting until a 27th round took him down)--follows, sometimes so fast and furious that impact is lost. More moving are the longer ""stories"" that close the book, particularly that of the Southerland family--not a crime chronicle at all, but a testament to one family's courage in the face of cancer. Distinctly middle-drawer files--but still a generous bonanza for crime buffs, presented by one of the sharpest writers in the field.

Pub Date: March 1, 1992

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 1991