True story murder memoir mea culpa
True Story: Murder, Memoir, Mea Culpa by Michael FinkelIn the haunting tradition of Joe McGinnisss Fatal Vision and Mikal Gilmores Shot in the Heart, True Story: Murder, Memoir, Mea Culpa weaves a spellbinding tale of murder, love, and deceit with a deeply personal inquiry into the slippery nature of truth.
The story begins in February of 2002, when a reporter in Oregon contacts New York Times Magazine writer Michael Finkel with a startling piece of news. A young, highly intelligent man named Christian Longo, on the FBIs Ten Most Wanted list for killing his entire family, has recently been captured in Mexico, where hed taken on a new identity -- Michael Finkel of the New York Times.
The next day, on page A-3 of the Times, comes another bit of troubling news: a note, written by the papers editors, explaining that Finkel has falsified parts of an investigative article and has been fired. This unlikely confluence sets the stage for a bizarre and intense relationship. After Longos arrest, the only journalist the accused murderer will speak with is the real Michael Finkel. And as the months until Longos trial tick away, the two men talk for dozens of hours on the telephone, meet in the jailhouse visiting room, and exchange nearly a thousand pages of handwritten letters.
With Longo insisting he can prove his innocence, Finkel strives to uncover what really happened to Longos family, and his quest becomes less a reporting job than a psychological cat-and-mouse game -- sometimes redemptively honest, other times slyly manipulative. Finkels pursuit pays off only at the end, when Longo, after a lifetime of deception, finally says what he wouldnt even admit in court -- the whole, true story. Or so it seems.
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By Michael Finkel. HarperCollins Publishers. In February , a talented freelance journalist named Michael Finkel, who'd just been caught inventing a character in an article for The New York Times Magazine, got a telephone call. It wasn't one he expected. It wasn't asking him about the episode, which was about to be made public in an editors' note in The Times. Instead, it was a reporter at The Oregonian in Portland, who called with the news that a man named Christian Longo, accused of murdering his wife and three young children in Oregon, had been arrested by the F. At the time, Finkel was coming to terms with the fact that he would receive no more assignments from The Times Magazine, where he had written a series of ambitious globe-trotting features that made him a star in his early 30's.
Finkel had originally pitched a child slavery story to The New York Times , but his subsequent reporting did not uncover proof of enslavement, although he did encounter teenagers working for meager wages in difficult conditions. After his dismissal from The New York Times , Finkel learned that Christian Longo , an Oregon man who had murdered his wife and three children in December , had used "Michael Finkel" as an alias during his several weeks as a fugitive. After Longo's capture the next month, Finkel communicated with him. Finkel says that, before the trial, Longo had hoped the journalist would bring out "the real story" to help him win acquittal; after conviction, the convict gave Finkel interviews admitting his guilt. Finkel is also the author of The Stranger in the Woods which tells the story of Christopher Thomas Knight , a hermit who lived alone in woods in the North Pond area of Maine for 27 years.
At 10pm on February 2 , the phone rang at the home of Michael Finkel. The caller, not unexpectedly, was a journalist. A few days before, Finkel, himself a journalist, had been sacked by the New York Times Magazine for writing a story about child slavery in Ivory Coast whose main character was an invention — a composite based on children Finkel had interviewed, but a fabrication none the less. The next day Finkel was due to be publicly shamed in the Times — the journalist must have already latched on to the story, he assumed. But the reason for the call, it turned out, was something else entirely: a man passing himself off as Michael Finkel of the New York Times had just been charged with four murders.