Murderer with a Badge

Diversion Publishing Corp.
1
Free sample

From the Pulitzer Prize–winning author: “The story of L.A.’s dirtiest cop . . . A riveting glimpse of the dark side of human behavior” (Flint Journal).
 
Bill Leasure was among the least ambitious officers ever to wear the badge for the Los Angeles Police Department. He was content to work the traffic beat and only rarely gave out tickets.
 
He also ran scams that netted him countless riches, from stealing yachts to collecting guns and cars. And he further enriched himself by setting up a murder-for-hire ring. Was he in it for the thrills? Was he a cop playing both sides of the law for the fun of it? Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Edward Humes explores the lies and psychopathy that enabled Bill Leasure to fool even the most savvy of city prosecutors, his own wife.
 
“Rife with vivid description. Disturbing.” —The Miami Herald
 
“Fascinating . . . A superbly crafted chronicle of one of the most complex, enigmatic criminals in memory. Far stronger and more compelling than most crime fiction.” —Kirkus Reviews
 
“Excellent . . . Authoritative, impeccably documented and disturbing.” —The Orange County Register
 
“Painstaking research and hair-trigger pacing.” —Publishers Weekly
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About the author

Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist and author Edward Humes has written thirteen nonfiction books, including true crime bestseller Mississippi Mud, acclaimed enviro-chronicle Garbology: Our Dirty Love Affair with Trash, and PEN Award–winning No Matter How Loud I Shout: A Year in the Life of Juvenile Court. He writes for Los Angeles Times, Sierra, Wall Street Journal, Forbes, and others, and has taught writing at the University of California, Chapman University, and the University of Oregon’s literary nonfiction masters program. His latest book is the biography of winemaking legend Jess Jackson: A Man and His Mountain. Humes lives in Southern California with his wife, two children and three rescued racing greyhounds.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Diversion Publishing Corp.
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Published on
Mar 11, 2014
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Pages
512
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ISBN
9781626812567
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Language
English
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Genres
History / United States / State & Local / West (AK, CA, CO, HI, ID, MT, NV, UT, WY)
True Crime / Con Artists, Hoaxes & Deceptions
True Crime / Murder / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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New York Times–bestselling author: “In the art of true-crime reportage, Jerry Bledsoe is the best in the country . . . Before He Wakes has the suspense of a novel” (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution).
 
Barbara Stager was known as a devoted mother, loving wife, and dedicated church leader in her Durham, North Carolina, community. When she “accidentally” shot her husband, popular high school coach, Russ, the police were inclined to believe her—until they learned that ten years earlier, her first husband had died in a strangely similar way.
 
Sgt. Rick Buchanan’s relentless investigation into Stager’s life revealed a stunning vortex of compulsive lying, obsessive spending, and sexual promiscuity. With every new discovery, more of Barbara’s impeccable image unraveled. But the greatest shock—a damning piece of evidence Russ Stager left behind—revealed the nightmare truth about Barbara. With “the fine-toothed-comb reporting of [an] ace crime journalist,” this book takes us deep into a spellbinding case of double life, lethal lust, and almost perfect murder (Kirkus Reviews).

“A shocking and well-written portrait of a dangerous woman.” —The New York Times

“Mesmerizing.” —Ann Rule, New York Times–bestselling author of The Stranger Beside Me
 
“This account of manipulation, compulsive spending, lying, promiscuity, and murder is made even more chilling by the fact that appearances are often deceiving.” —Library Journal

“A profile of evil . . . Fascinating.” —The Baltimore Sun

“Jerry Bledsoe is the master of true crime, the conclusion to what Truman Capote began. . . . Another stunning success.” —Patricia Cornwell, New York Times–bestselling author of Chaos
North of Los Angeles - the studios, the beaches, Rodeo Drive - lies a sparsely populated region that comprises fully one half of Los Angeles County. Sprawling across 2200 miles, this shadow side of Los Angeles is in the high Mojave Desert. Known as the Antelope Valley, it's a terrain of savage dignity, a vast amphitheatre of startling wonders that put on a show as the megalopolis burrows northward into the region's last frontier. Ranchers, cowboys, dreamers, dropouts, bikers, hikers, and felons have settled here - those who have chosen solitude over the trappings of contemporary life or simply have nowhere else to go. But in recent years their lives have been encroached upon by the creeping spread of subdivisions, funded by the once easy money of subprime America. McMansions - many empty now - gradually replaced Joshua trees; the desert - America's escape hatch - began to vanish as it became home to a latter-day exodus of pilgrims.

It is against the backdrop of these two competing visions of land and space that Donald Kueck - a desert hermit who loved animals and hated civilization - took his last stand, gunning down beloved deputy sheriff Steven Sorensen when he approached his trailer at high noon on a scorching summer day. As the sound of rifle fire echoed across the Mojave, Kueck took off into the desert he knew so well, kicking off the biggest manhunt in modern California history until he was finally killed in a Wagnerian firestorm under a full moon as nuns at a nearby convent watched and prayed.

This manhunt was the subject of a widely praised article by Deanne Stillman, first published in Rolling Stone, a finalist for a PEN Center USA journalism award, and included in the anthology Best American Crime Writing 2006. In Desert Reckoning she continues her desert beat and uses Kueck's story as a point of departure to further explore our relationship to place and the wars that are playing out on our homeland. In addition, Stillman also delves into the hidden history of Los Angeles County, and traces the paths of two men on a collision course that could only end in the modern Wild West. Why did a brilliant, self-taught rocket scientist who just wanted to be left alone go off the rails when a cop showed up? What role did the California prison system play in this drama? What happens to people when the American dream is stripped away? And what is it like for the men who are sworn to protect and serve?

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