THE CORPSE HAD A FAMILIAR FACE: Covering Miami, America's Hottest Beat by Edna Buchanan
Kirkus Star

THE CORPSE HAD A FAMILIAR FACE: Covering Miami, America's Hottest Beat

By
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

From veteran Miami Herald reporter Buchanan, winner of a Pulitzer in 1986, a lively and tough-talking anecdotal autobiography focusing on her 15 wild years on the police beat. Buchanan packs this memoir with punchy accounts of scores of the stories she's covered, clustering them around headings such as ""Cops,"" ""Drugs,"" and ""Getting the Story,"" syncopating them with personal notes on her N.J. childhood, her two failed marriages, her passion for cats and dogs. Streamlined by no-nonsense, high-flair prose (""It was my day off, but it was murder. Again.""), her narrative cascades through tales running from the killer-brothers both named Terrance Beecham to the still-at-large ""Pillowcase Rapist""; from the rich, beautiful, and driven ""Lady Law,"" whose ambitions ended in a fatal car crash, to Jack ""Murph the Surf"" Murphy; from the decade-old search for Amy Billig, kidnapped by bikers, to the incredible tale of ""dashing, spirited, flamboyant"" Emilio, drug-runner turned federal informant. Fascinating stories all, highlighting the bizarre: Buchanan's Miami, as she acknowledges, isn't the picture-postcard town of retirees who ""lunched at Burdine's tearoom, where they. . .indulged in the famous Snow Princess dessert""; it's a sweltering disco where murder, rape, drugs, and the odd noble deed twist the days and nights away--and Buchanan loves every adrenaline-pumped minute of it. Finally, it's her lust for her job, her energy, bounce, and grit--and the compassion that bursts out when writing of the tragedies she's witnessed--that captivate, and elevate this at times bumpy, overly episodic carnival of Miamian weirdness into a memorable report on a life lived at full throttle, on the edge, with courage. A Walt Disney Productions film of Buchanan's memoir is scheduled for production; expect a sizeable audience for this high-gear, gripping work.

Pub Date: Oct. 31st, 1987
ISBN: 1416503277
Publisher: Random House