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Rogues: True Stories of Grifters, Killers, Rebels and Crooks

Review

Rogues: True Stories of Grifters, Killers, Rebels and Crooks

Patrick Radden Keefe, the bestselling author of EMPIRE OF PAIN and SAY NOTHING, ferrets out the most intriguing stories about people behaving badly, writing about their exploits so effectively that it is hard to put down his books and articles. In ROGUES, Keefe compiles 12 of his most celebrated pieces from The New Yorker. They span a dozen years, and at the end of each one, he provides an update on the individuals and events that were talked about.

While he manages to uncover compelling and often somewhat crazy stories, and his research is meticulous, Keefe’s true genius is his ability to braid each narrative together in a way that keeps readers engaged and dying to know what happens next. And his focus is broad; the stories cover a wide range of topics, from drug cartels to the Lockerbie bombing to vintage wine fraud to a financial scandal. The subject matter is all over the map in terms of both content and location.

"ROGUES is chock full of stories about crime, greed and corruption --- some of which are so bizarre that it’s hard to believe they’re true. If the fabulous cover doesn’t draw you in, these 12 enthralling pieces will."

Keefe says that he tries “to tell the complete and definitive version of the tale. I want to capture the reality of a story, in all its vivid, dynamic glory, and pin it down, like a lepidopterist with a butterfly, arranging it under glass, just so.” This is why his stories are so satisfying to read. His attention to detail, word choice and narrative brings his writing to life in a way that few writers can pull off.

Each article will resonate a bit differently. Some chronicle events that will intrigue readers but follow incidents that occur half a world away and may fade from memory in the not-too-distant future, like “Swiss Bank Heist” and “The Prince of Marbella.” Some, like “The Jefferson Bottles,” which is about the rampant fraud existing in the vintage wine market, will cause readers to think long and hard about making more exclusive purchases --- not only wine but other items that easily can be tampered with or duplicated in today’s world.

Other stories will leave lasting impressions, such as “Winning,” which recounts the manner in which producer Mark Burnett resurrected Donald Trump’s career and helped position him to win the 2016 election, which has completely altered the path of American politics. “A Loaded Gun” revolves around a mass shooter’s tragic past and the people who ignored the many signs that he was extremely troubled. With mass shootings occurring so frequently these days, this article is particularly chilling.

ROGUES is chock full of stories about crime, greed and corruption --- some of which are so bizarre that it’s hard to believe they’re true. If the fabulous cover doesn’t draw you in, these 12 enthralling pieces will.

Reviewed by Cindy Burnett on July 1, 2022

Rogues: True Stories of Grifters, Killers, Rebels and Crooks
by Patrick Radden Keefe

  • Publication Date: June 28, 2022
  • Genres: Nonfiction, True Crime
  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Doubleday
  • ISBN-10: 0385548516
  • ISBN-13: 9780385548519