On February 2002, New York Times Magazine writer Michael Finkel received a startling piece of news: a young man named Christian Longo, wanted for killing his entire family, had 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...
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On February 2002, New York Times Magazine writer Michael Finkel received a startling piece of news: a young man named Christian Longo, wanted for killing his entire family, had 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, came another troubling item: a note from the editors explaining that Finkel, having falsified parts of an investigative article, had been fired. Nonetheless, the only journalist Longo would speak with was the real Michael Finkel, and so Finkel placed a call to Oregons Lincoln County jail, intent on getting the true story. So began a bizarre and intense relationshipa reporting job that morphed into a shrewd game of cat-and-mouse. Part mystery, part memoir, part mea culpa, True Story weaves a spellbinding tale of murder, love, and deceit with a deeply personal inquiry into the slippery nature of truth.from via
In True Story: Murder, Memoir, Mea Culpa, disgraced New York Times writer Michael Finkel recounts the story of the murderer who assumed his identity and examines the reasons for his own fall from journalistic grace, in a memoir that is gripping, perceptive, and bizarre. In 2002, Finkel, a rising star at the Times, was fired for fabricating a character in a story about child laborers in Africa. Just as the story of his downfall was about to become public, he learned that a man named Christian Longo, arrested in Mexico for the murder of his wife and three small children in Oregon, had been living under an assumed identity: Michael Finkel of The New York Times. Sensing a story--and an opportunity for redemption--Finkel contacted Longo, initiating a relationship that would grow increasingly complex over the course of Longos trial and conviction. Finkel makes no excuses for his actions. Nor does he deny his own narcissism--a narcissism that allowed him to rationalize his own lies as surely as Longo rationalized his crimes. Ultimately, Finkel says, his year with Longo taught him how a persons life could spiral completely out of control; how one could get lost in a haze of dishonesty; and how these things could have dire consequences. The lesson, Finkel need not add, applies as much to the disgraced writer as it does to the killer.