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The Crime Lady: SCOUNDREL Is Published Today
Dear TCL Readers:
At long last, my newest book, Scoundrel: How a Convicted Murderer Persuaded the Women Who Loved Him, the Conservative Establishment, and the Courts to Set Him Free is published today by Ecco/HarperCollins and Knopf Canada. An excerpt of the book — a piece that includes what one reviewer already judged as “a questionable use of the book’s photo space” — ran yesterday at The Cut, and a second, shorter excerpt is coming later, to run at CrimeReads.
You can also read more about the story in a New York Post feature from last weekend. And for those who prefer audiobooks, here’s a snippet as read by Gabra Zackman, the amazing actor who also co-narrated my anthology Unspeakable Acts. Finally, for now, I have an essay up at Literary Hub on the friendship between Vladimir Nabokov and William F. Buckley, a rather nifty way to connect two principals of my two nonfiction books.
Scoundrel has been a long time coming — more than seven years from start to finish — and the research, reporting, writing, and editing bracketed so many major events in my life and well, the world at large. Also, this is the second time I’m publishing a book in pandemic times, and it’s just different than it was for The Real Lolita and the earlier anthologies. Weird, exhilarating, exhausting, exciting, all of it tuned to an alternate frequency.
I am so grateful to be launching the book in-person at Books Are Magic in Brooklyn tonight, in conversation with Alexis Coe (author of the NYT bestseller You Never Forget Your First: A Biography of George Washington.) It’s ticketed, and the bookstore is capping live attendance, but you can still join us at 7 PM via livestream at this link. You can also catch up on last night’s wonderful pre-launch Mystery & Thriller Mavens event with Sara DiVello and Murder by the Book over here.
On Thursday, February 24 at 7 PM, I’ll be in conversation with Casey Cep (author of the NYT bestselling Furious Hours) at a virtual event hosted by Politics & Prose. Signed copies of Scoundrel will be available for purchase, too. Then the Syosset Public Library is hosting a lunchtime virtual talk on Friday, February 25 at noon.
On Wednesday, March 2 at 6 PM, I’ll be at Mysterious Bookshop (in-person!) in conversation with Abbott Kahler and Gilbert King. And on Wednesday, March 9 at 1 PM Mountain/3 PM Eastern, Poisoned Pen hosts me for a virtual event.
More events to be announced, including at least one book festival I’m pleased to be returning to, and one I’m glad to take part in for the first time.
REVIEWS AND PRESS
The reception, advance and present, for Scoundrel continues to be stellar. Nothing gets much better than a starred review from Publishers Weekly calling it an “instant classic”, two other starred mentions from Library Journal and Booklist (and a pretty good review from Kirkus), and BookPage saying (in its own starred review) the book is a “chilling and deeply satisfying read” and that I’m a “superb crime writer.”
Reviews are also starting to come in from newspapers and magazines, including from the New York Times Book Review (my, uh, employer) whose reviewer, Katherine Dykstra, aptly summarizes Scoundrel’s main point, that it’s “about who receives the benefit of our doubt and the privileges that attend that trust, whether or not it is warranted.”
Some more coverage, with more on the way:
“[Scoundrel] certainly excels at being an in-depth exploration of how outside influence and support can affect the criminal justice system's slow-moving cogs, as well as the narrative of a con artist who managed to hurt a great deal of people.” — NPR.org
“Provocative and unsettling….It compels the reader to ponder weighty questions: Did a savage thug exploit smart, decent people? Can altruism sometimes be as lethal as psychopathology? Evil pervades this book, but it makes for a terrific read.” — AirMail
“Scoundrel is at its most compelling when it details Smith’s wooing of the otherwise implacable, self-assured Buckley, who, in convincing himself of his protégé's innocence, whipped past a series of red flags like an Olympic slalomer.” — The Globe & Mail
“Weinman’s absorbing and highly readable book succeeds in capturing the full story behind a notorious murderer’s brazen quest to avoid the death penalty by any means possible.” — NY Journal of Books
“Weinman, rightly acclaimed for The Real Lolita, again examines the misogyny inherent in true-crime culture, then and now.” — The Los Angeles Times
"Weinman does an impeccable job with this wild story of murder, celebrity, politics, and the American ability to put unsavory characters on a pedestal." — Literary Hub
Finally, as always, thanks to all of you for reading. Be it books, anthologies, my NYTBR Crime column (the next one will run this weekend, because deadlines never stop), past features, and whatever is in store in the future, it means so much and always will. Now the journey of the published author begins anew, one more time.
Until next time, I remain,
The Crime Lady