A deeply unpleasant but highly readable story of crime and punishment.

HUNTING WHITEY

THE INSIDE STORY OF THE CAPTURE & KILLING OF AMERICA'S MOST WANTED CRIME BOSS

Sherman and Wedge turn their attention to the far-flung wanderings of mob murderer and longtime fugitive Whitey Bulger (1929-2018).

Bulger was a nasty piece of work, caught up early in a life of violent crime, becoming an unrepentant contract killer for the Boston mob. He had disappeared from view when, tipped off by corrupt cops and FBI agents in his network, it appeared that he was going to be imprisoned. Sherman and Wedge begin their account with the investigative legwork undertaken in February 2008 by a team led by an assistant special agent named Noreen Gleason, who made it her personal mission to see that Bulger was brought to justice, in part because doing so would restore the Boston office’s tattered reputation. One of her colleagues had just solved the case of Etan Patz, a young boy who was kidnapped and murdered at the hands of a pedophile. Bulger went into hiding just as the team got to work, disappearing from view with a girlfriend who, the authors hold, had pursued him romantically to get revenge on the husband she was then divorcing—and, as they write, “Whitey had killed two of her husband’s brothers in cold blood.” He had untold other victims to his credit. He seemed to enjoy the game of cat and mouse, but eventually he was caught because, he complained, he and his girlfriend were animal lovers, and they went outside once too often to take care of a stray cat. The authors deliver plenty of hitherto undocumented or overlooked details, including the fact that he had been subject to CIA experiments on mind control via LSD while imprisoned in the 1960s. They also link Bulger’s murder as an elderly invalid to lack of prison policing thanks to Trump administration budget cuts.

A deeply unpleasant but highly readable story of crime and punishment.

Pub Date: May 26, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-297254-5

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2020

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A conversational, pleasurable look into McConaughey’s life and thought.

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GREENLIGHTS

All right, all right, all right: The affable, laconic actor delivers a combination of memoir and self-help book.

“This is an approach book,” writes McConaughey, adding that it contains “philosophies that can be objectively understood, and if you choose, subjectively adopted, by either changing your reality, or changing how you see it. This is a playbook, based on adventures in my life.” Some of those philosophies come in the form of apothegms: “When you can design your own weather, blow in the breeze”; “Simplify, focus, conserve to liberate.” Others come in the form of sometimes rambling stories that never take the shortest route from point A to point B, as when he recounts a dream-spurred, challenging visit to the Malian musician Ali Farka Touré, who offered a significant lesson in how disagreement can be expressed politely and without rancor. Fans of McConaughey will enjoy his memories—which line up squarely with other accounts in Melissa Maerz’s recent oral history, Alright, Alright, Alright—of his debut in Richard Linklater’s Dazed and Confused, to which he contributed not just that signature phrase, but also a kind of too-cool-for-school hipness that dissolves a bit upon realizing that he’s an older guy on the prowl for teenage girls. McConaughey’s prep to settle into the role of Wooderson involved inhabiting the mind of a dude who digs cars, rock ’n’ roll, and “chicks,” and he ran with it, reminding readers that the film originally had only three scripted scenes for his character. The lesson: “Do one thing well, then another. Once, then once more.” It’s clear that the author is a thoughtful man, even an intellectual of sorts, though without the earnestness of Ethan Hawke or James Franco. Though some of the sentiments are greeting card–ish, this book is entertaining and full of good lessons.

A conversational, pleasurable look into McConaughey’s life and thought.

Pub Date: Oct. 20, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-13913-4

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2020

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A virtuoso performance and an ode to an undervalued medium created by two talented artists.

A WEALTH OF PIGEONS

A CARTOON COLLECTION

The veteran actor, comedian, and banjo player teams up with the acclaimed illustrator to create a unique book of cartoons that communicates their personalities.

Martin, also a prolific author, has always been intrigued by the cartoons strewn throughout the pages of the New Yorker. So when he was presented with the opportunity to work with Bliss, who has been a staff cartoonist at the magazine since 1997, he seized the moment. “The idea of a one-panel image with or without a caption mystified me,” he writes. “I felt like, yeah, sometimes I’m funny, but there are these other weird freaks who are actually funny.” Once the duo agreed to work together, they established their creative process, which consisted of working forward and backward: “Forwards was me conceiving of several cartoon images and captions, and Harry would select his favorites; backwards was Harry sending me sketched or fully drawn cartoons for dialogue or banners.” Sometimes, he writes, “the perfect joke occurs two seconds before deadline.” There are several cartoons depicting this method, including a humorous multipanel piece highlighting their first meeting called “They Meet,” in which Martin thinks to himself, “He’ll never be able to translate my delicate and finely honed droll notions.” In the next panel, Bliss thinks, “I’m sure he won’t understand that the comic art form is way more subtle than his blunt-force humor.” The team collaborated for a year and created 150 cartoons featuring an array of topics, “from dogs and cats to outer space and art museums.” A witty creation of a bovine family sitting down to a gourmet meal and one of Dumbo getting his comeuppance highlight the duo’s comedic talent. What also makes this project successful is the team’s keen understanding of human behavior as viewed through their unconventional comedic minds.

A virtuoso performance and an ode to an undervalued medium created by two talented artists.

Pub Date: Nov. 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-26289-9

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Celadon Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 31, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2020

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