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The Best Nonfiction Crime Books of the Month

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The CrimeReads editors select the month’s best new releases in nonfiction crime.



Ali Winston and Darwin Bondgraham, The Riders Come Out At Night

In this searing history of police violence and civil rights activism in Oakland, two longtime investigative journalists unpack the circumstances that led to Oakland’s massive amount of police shootings and other officer misconduct over the past half century. The book also goes into the many half-hearted attempts to hold officers accountable and curb their violent behaviors. Monumental and not to be missed! –MO


Jeff Guinn, Waco: David Koresh, the Branch Davidians, and a Legacy of Rage
(Simon & Schuster)

As the 30th anniversary of the Waco siege approaches this February, there’s plenty to read about the subject, including Jeff Guinn’s authoritative new account of the events leading up to, including, and after the siege. Of particular fascination to me was the way Guinn takes us into the beliefs of the Branch Davidians in a way that connects them to the Great Awakening of the 1840s all the way through the growing issue of white supremacists today. –MO


Jim Popkin, Code Name Blue Wren: The True Story of America’s Most Dangerous Female Spy—and the Sister She Betrayed
(Hanover Square)

This new account of the life and crimes of Ana Montes is timed to coincide with her January release from prison. Montes was a celebrated DIA analyst on a fast-track through the American intelligence community, when she was revealed to be a Cuban double agent. Popkin tells the story of her long-running operation, with special emphasis on her family’s connections to the FBI and American military. –DM


James Bamford, Spyfail: Foreign Spies, Moles, Saboteurs, and the Collapse of America’s Counterintelligence

Bamford’s latest is a provocative account of massive and ongoing foreign espionage inside the U.S. Counterespionage failures take center stage, and soon the larger systemic inadequacies are exposed, revealing an unnerving look at modern America’s preparedness (or lack thereof) to deal with foreign agents hungry for the country’s technological and military secrets. –DM

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Michael Neff
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