MURDERER WITH A BADGE by Edward Humes

MURDERER WITH A BADGE

The Secret Life of a Rogue Cop

KIRKUS REVIEW

 With this superbly crafted chronicle of one of the most complex, enigmatic criminals in memory, Humes (Buried Secrets, 1990) takes his place as one of our finest crime writers. ``Mild Bill'' Leasure was one of the LAPD's blandest officers- -well liked but hardly noticed. A former Marine with an unblemished record, product of a quiet childhood, he was married to an assistant district attorney with a spotless reputation. But at home, Mild Bill pursued his hobbies: tinkering with a fleet of stolen Corvettes, several private planes, and a collection of 40- odd shotguns, handguns, automatics, and silencers. Unfortunately, a mistress, assorted girlfriends, and making a living at contract murders and working on plans for the island he and his partner had purchased off Belize to set up their own sovereign nation ate up a lot of leisure time. Mild Bill never pulled the trigger himself: He assembled a cadre of groupies for that, such as ``Birdshot'' France, a welder who lived in a tiny, barred apartment under the Redondo Freeway and who loved the ride-alongs Leasure gave him in his black-and-white. In 1982, Mild Bill discovered a more lucrative avocation and started stealing yachts at $40,000 a pop, covering his tracks through paper companies, registration sleights of hand, and Cayman Island bank accounts. Humes devotes a fascinating section to the top-notch detectives who got Leasure's tortuously convoluted case--in the three murders alone, an innocent man had confessed and was doing time for one, while another murder was ten years old. When Leasure finally got 15-years-to-life, the social worker's report found absolutely no evidence of sociopathy. One almost wishes that Humes were a novelist, so deft is his writing, but his story here is far stronger and more compelling than most crime fiction. (Photographs--not seen.)

Pub Date: Nov. 10th, 1992
ISBN: 0-525-93498-7
Page count: 384pp
Publisher: Dutton
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1st, 1992




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