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The tragic and resonant story of the disappearance of eight men--the victims of serial killer Bruce McArthur--from Toronto's queer community.In…2013, the Toronto Police Service announced that the disappearances of three men--Skandaraj Navaratnam, Abdulbasir Faizi, and Majeed Kayhan--from Toronto's gay village were, perhaps, linked. When the leads ran dry, the investigation was shut down, on paper classified as "open but suspended." By 2015, investigative journalist Justin Ling had begun to retrace investigators' steps, convinced there was evidence of a serial killer. Meanwhile, more men would go missing, and police would continue to deny that there was a threat to the community. On January 18, 2018, Bruce McArthur, a landscaper, would be arrested on suspicion of first-degree murder. In February 2019, he was sentenced to life in prison for the murders of eight men. This extraordinary book tells the complete story of the McArthur murders. Based on more than five years of in-depth reporting, this is also a story of police failure, of how the queer community responded, and the story of the eight men who went missing and the lives they left behind. In telling that story, Justin Ling uncovers the latent homophobia and racism that kept this case unsolved and unseen. This gripping book reveals how police agencies across the country fail to treat missing persons cases seriously, and how policies and laws, written at every level of government, pushed McArthur's victims out of the light and into the shadows.
The astonishing true history of the kidnapping open-season that terrorized AmericaThe Great Depression was a time of desperation in America—parents…struggled to feed their children and unemployment was at a record high. Adding to the lawlessness of the decade, thugs with submachine guns and corrupt law-enforcement officers ran rampant. But amidst this panic, there was one sure-fire way to make money, one used by criminals and resourceful civilians alike: kidnapping.Jump into this forgotten history with Edgar Award-winning author David Stout as he explores the reports of missing people that inundated newspapers at the time. Learn the horrifying details of these abduction cases, from the methods used and the investigative processes to the personal histories of the culprits and victims. All of this culminates with the most infamous kidnapping in American history, the one that targeted an international celebrity and changed legislation forever: the Lindbergh kidnapping.The Kidnap Years is a gritty, visceral, thoughtfully reported page-turner that chronicles the sweep of abductions that afflicted all corners of the country as desperate people were pushed to do the unthinkable.
By Anne Somerset. 2017
'A gripping detective story ... Wonderfully dramatic ... Probably the juiciest court scandal of the past 500 years' Daily MailIn…the autumn of 1615 the Earl and Countess of Somerset were detained on suspicion of having murdered Sir Thomas Overbury. The arrest of these leading court figures created a sensation. The young and beautiful Countess of Somerset had already achieved notoriety when she divorced her first husband in controversial circumstances. The Earl of Somerset was one of the richest and most powerful men in the kingdom, having risen to prominence as the male 'favourite' of James I.In a vivid, enthralling narrative, Anne Somerset unravels these extraordinary events. It is, at once, a story rich in passion, intrigue and corruption and a murder mystery - for, despite the guilty verdicts, there is much about Overbury's death that remains enigmatic. The Overbury murder case profoundly damaged the monarchy, and constituted the greatest court scandal in English history.'This is a book about murder, witchcraft, adultery, lechery, intrigue and chicanery among the country's most powerful nobility' Time Out
By M. William Phelps. 2011
“Phelps is a true-crime veteran.” —New York PostCherry Walker was a devoted, trusting, uncommonly innocent young woman who loved caring…for a neighbor’s little boy. But when she was asked to testify in court against his abusive mother, Cherry never got the chance. She couldn’t lie if her life depended on it—and it did. Cherry’s body was found on the side of a Texas road, after being doused with lighter fluid and set aflame. Attractive, manipulative, and violent, mother of four Kim Cargill had a wealth of dirty secrets she’d do anything to keep hidden. This in-depth account by bestselling investigative journalist M. William Phelps takes you inside Cargill’s shocking trial—and into the mind of one of the most conniving female psychopaths in recent history—and on death row.“Anything by Phelps is an eye-opening experience.” —Suspense Magazine “Phelps dares to tread where few others will: into the mind of a killer.” —TV Rage“Phelps is the king of true crime.” --Lynda Hirsch, Creators Syndicate columnist“One of our most engaging crime journalists.” —Dr. Katherine Ramsland INCLUDES 16 PAGES OF DRAMATIC PHOTOS
By Ken H Fortenberry. 2020
Dubbed by The New York Times as one of the "most vexing and unexplained" mysteries in aviation history, the crash…of Pan American World Airways Flight 7 in November 1957 resulted in many deaths and remains officially unsolved to this day. But Ken Fortenberry, an award-winning journalist whose father was the copilot and navigator aboard the ill-fated plane, has devoted nearly sixty years of his life to unraveling this cold-case mystery, and has come to a staggering conclusion: that the victims of the crash were deliberately murdered. A remarkably researched book packed with information and emotion, Flight 7 Is Missing: The Search for My Father's Killer is a gripping page-turner that reads like a fast-paced murder mystery. Join Fortenberry on his crusade as he tirelessly tracks down every possible lead and eventually exposes the person he believes responsible for this tragic crime. Capt. John J. Nance, Alaska Airlines (Author and Aviation Analyst, ABC World News): To we professional pilots routinely flying the oceans of planet earth, the possibility that our loved ones back home might someday be told that our flight is missing is beyond a recurring nightmare. Author Ken Fortenberry yanks you into the dark heart of such a nightmare as he chases the missing answers to a major airline disaster across the cold trails of six decades, all to answer the key question which has haunted him since his early years: Who killed his father. This is a must-read!
By Jake Anderson. 2020
A Fortune Magazine &“Most Anticipated Books of 2020&” SelectionA Goodreads Featured Release for February 2020Oxygen&’s List of &“Best True Crime Books of…2020&” Selection &“The Cecil Hotel in Los Angeles is a palpable presence in Gone at Midnight: The Mysterious death of Elisa Lam by Jake Anderson… While allowing for other possible interpretations (and minimizing the daunting logistics), Anderson believes that Lam was murdered, the victim of a &“traumatic sexual attack&” by one or more assailants. Or something. Given the checkered history of the Cecil Hotel (which was recently named to the Los Angeles registry of historic landmarks), I wouldn&’t rule out Jack the Ripper.&”—The New York TimesA Los Angeles hotel with a haunting history. A missing young woman. A disturbing video followed by a shocking discovery. A cold-case mystery that has become an internet phenomenon—and for one determined journalist, a life-changing quest toward uncomfortable truths. Perfect for Murderinos looking for their next fix… Twenty-one-year-old Vancouver student Elisa Lam was last heard from on January 31, 2013, after she checked into downtown L.A.&’s Cecil Hotel—a 600-room building with a nine-decade history of scandal and tragedy. The next day, Elisa vanished. A search of the hotel yielded nothing. More than a week later, complaints by guests of foul-smelling tap water led to a grim discovery: Elisa&’s nude body floating in a rooftop water tank, in an area extremely difficult to access without setting off alarms. The only apparent clue was a disturbing surveillance video of Elisa, uploaded to YouTube in hopes of public assistance. As the eerie elevator video went viral, so did the questions of its tens of millions of viewers. Was Elisa&’s death caused by murder, suicide, or paranormal activity? Was it connected to the Cecil&’s sinister reputation? And in that video, what accounted for Elisa&’s strange behavior? With the help of web sleuths and investigators from around the world, journalist Jake Anderson set out to uncover the facts behind a death that had become a macabre internet meme, as well as a magnet for conspiracy theorists. In poring through Elisa&’s revealing online journals and social-media posts, Anderson realized he shared more in common with the young woman than he imagined. His search for justice and truth became a personal journey, a dangerous descent into one of America's quiet epidemics. Along the way, he exposed a botched investigation and previously unreported disclosures from inside sources who suggest there may have been a corporate conspiracy and a police cover-up. In Gone at Midnight, Anderson chronicles eye-opening discoveries about who Elisa Lam really was and what—or whom—she was running from, and presents shocking new evidence that may re-open one of the most chilling and obsessively followed true crime cases of the century. &“Outstanding…true crime buffs won&’t want to miss this gripping search for the truth.&” —Publishers Weekly STARRED REVIEW
By A.J. Griffiths-Jones. 2020
Durante más de un siglo, el Dr. Thomas Neill Cream fue un potencial sospechoso de ser Jack el Destripador. Era…un personaje siniestro, que se alimentaba de las almas desafortunadas que se veían obligadas a ganarse la vida como prostituta en el Londres victoriano, y que finalmente llevó a esas pobres mujeres a una muerte prematura y tortuosa. Estos crímenes finalmente lo señalaron como el "Envenenador de Lambeth". Sin embargo, durante la época de los atroces asesinatos del Destripador, el Dr. Cream fue encarcelado en la prisión de Joliet, Illinois. A lo largo de las décadas, este hecho por sí solo ha causado un debate sobre si merece o no estar bajo sospecha de ser el demonio de Whitechapel. ¿Era posible que el Dr. Cream sobornara para salir de la cárcel, quizás usando a un doble para tomar su lugar mientras secretamente encontraba un pasaje a Inglaterra con intenciones de asesinar? Este fascinante libro, contado desde el punto de vista del propio Cream, explica la retorcida lógica detrás de sus acciones. El autor ha hecho una considerable y meticulosa investigación, siguiendo la vida de Cream desde su adolescencia en Canadá hasta sus últimos momentos en la horca en Newgate.
By John J. Dunphy. 2021
Southwestern Illinois experienced a plethora of violence during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Settlers and Native Americans clashed at the…Wood River Settlement, while Abraham Lincoln dueled on a Mississippi River island. Racial strife led to the lynching of a Black schoolteacher in Belleville in 1903 and a deadly riot in East St. Louis fourteen years later. Benbow City was a latter-day Wild West town of saloons, gambling dens and brothels, and Pere Marquette State Park screened a cache of Nike missiles. From the birthplace of Martin Luther King Jr.'s killer to the mystery surrounding Jean Lafitte's grave, John Dunphy examines the bloody ledger of southwestern Illinois.
By Peter Zablocki. 2021
Denville in the 1950s was an idyllic place to live, yet a dark chapter in the era's history has remained…uncovered. During the summer of 1953, a wealthy traveler with a secret rap sheet as a convicted sex offender arrived in town to continue his misdeeds. A group of thirteen local boys ranging in age from fourteen to twenty-two took it upon themselves to teach the man a lesson and drive him out of town. What resulted was his brutal death and the largest number of people ever indicted for murder in the nation at the time. The harrowing trial and its aftermath revealed a town forced to grapple with how to protect its youth and come to terms with the gruesome incident. Local historian Peter Zablocki covers the crime and a small town's path to redemption.
By Linda Wolfe. 1998
Acclaimed true-crime journalist Linda Wolfe recounts a powerful true-life crime story of her own--her search for the serial killer who…murdered her friendIn 1983 Jacqui Bernard was found dead. She was a philanthropist, a writer, an activist, and a friend of Linda Wolfe's. Two years after she was killed, the police had a name: Ricardo Caputo, a handsome, charming Latin American man who had stabbed, choked, and strangled his first three victims. He had tortured his next two victims and beaten them to death. The target of an international FBI manhunt, Caputo enjoyed a twenty-plus-year crime spree that took him all throughout America and across the Mexican border. In 1994 Caputo turned himself in, confessing to the slayings of four women, but not to the murder of Jacqui Bernard. Seeking closure, Wolfe embarked on a journey that took her into police precincts, lawyers' and psychiatrists' offices, the homes of the victims' families, and prison, where she conducted three interviews with Caputo as he awaited trial. At once intimate and visceral, Love Me to Death is an enthralling true tale of crime and punishment and the evil that resides in the darkest corners of the human psyche.
By Linda Wolfe. 1989
Five torn-from-the-headlines true crime books from an Edgar Award–nominated author and “one of our best reporters” (John Leonard). Linda Wolfe…delves deep into the crimes that defy explanation—and the twisted minds of those who commit them. In these five books, she combines masterful storytelling with brilliant psychological insight. Wasted: On an August night in 1986, Jennifer Levin left a Manhattan bar with Robert Chambers. The next morning, her strangled, battered body was found in Central Park. This New York Times Notable Book provides a “fascinating, horrifying, and heart-breaking” account of the so-called Preppie Murder, the crime that shocked a city and a nation (Ann Rule). The Professor and the Prostitute: The chilling case of a college professor who bludgeoned to death the prostitute he loved—plus eight other true crimes, including the bizarre story of the Marcus brothers, twin gynecologists, that inspired the David Cronenberg film Dead Ringers. Double Life: The riveting story of how the chief judge of the New York State Court of Appeals was brought down by his sexual obsession with a stunning socialite. The Murder of Dr. Chapman: Wolfe skillfully weaves court transcripts, love letters, and period recollections into an edge-of-your-seat historical thriller about a notorious crime of passion that rocked pre–Civil War America. Love Me to Death: Wolfe embarks on a search for the serial killer who murdered her friend in this “intriguing insider’s look into the convoluted mind of a killer” (The Plain Dealer).
By Linda Wolfe. 1986
Acclaimed true-crime journalist Linda Wolfe presents the chilling case of a college professor who bludgeoned to death the prostitute he…loved--plus eight other true stories that expose the psychological forces that drive seemingly respectable people to commit violent, unexpected crimesA professor at Tufts University School of Medicine, a suburban husband, and father of three, William Douglas secretly frequented Boston's Combat Zone, a world of pimps, pushers, and porn shops. One night in 1982 he met twenty-year-old prostitute and former art student Robin Benedict, with whom he began a torrid affair that would end in murder. With the revealing psychological insights that made her previous books such riveting character studies, Wolfe depicts the catastrophic results of Douglas's living out his secret love fantasies and the complex police investigation that brought the professor to justice. Among the eight shorter true-crime stories included in this volume is the case of the notorious Marcus twins, Manhattan gynecologists and drug addicts who were found dead together in an Upper East Side apartment. Wolfe also takes readers into the gay and transsexual clubs of 1980s New York for a twisted story of love and murder, and to the Texas suburbs, where a privileged fourteen-year-old boy takes a semiautomatic to his parents one sweltering July morning.
By Linda Wolfe. 1989
In this New York Times Notable Book, acclaimed true-crime journalist Linda Wolfe delivers a riveting, comprehensive account of the Preppie…Murder, a crime that shocked a city and a nation It was called the Preppie Murder--a killer and a victim who were attractive, smart, privileged teenagers. On an August night in 1986 Jennifer Levin left a Manhattan bar with Robert Chambers. The next morning, her strangled, battered body was found in Central Park. Linda Wolfe, hailed by critic John Leonard as "one of our best reporters," goes beyond the headlines and media hype to re-create a story of privilege and excess, sex and partying--of a teenager whose immigrant mother was determined to make a better life for her son, a petty thief and drug user who'd been expelled from the best schools. It's all here, from the initial police investigation, during which Chambers claimed Levin died accidentally during rough sex, to the media frenzy of the courtroom, where Chambers took an eleventh-hour plea. Wolfe also delivers heartbreaking portraits of Levin's grief-stricken father, Chambers's in-denial mother, and the women who dated the accused Preppie Killer while he was out on bail. A finalist for the 1990 Edgar Award for Best Fact Crime, Wasted also powerfully depicts the freewheeling 1980s society that spawned a generation steeped in violence and the fatal impulses that drove Robert Chambers to kill.
By Sonia Faleiro. 2021
A shattering, utterly immersive work of investigative journalism, The Good Girls slips behind political maneuvering, caste systems and codes of…honour in a village in northern India to tell the real story behind the tragic deaths of two teenage girls and an epidemic of violence against women.In the early dawn one day in 2014, a man discovered the dead bodies of 14-year-old Lalli Shakya and 16-year-old Padma Shakya hanging from a mango tree on the edge of their village in Uttar Pradesh. When the inseparable cousins hadn't returned from a walk to the fields to relieve themselves the evening before, their families had begun searching for them. Upon hearing of the discovery and reaching the bodies, the grief-stricken women of the family formed a protective shield around the tree. They knew that if their girls were taken down immediately, they would be forgotten, lost in a brutally inefficient and prejudiced system; but if media arrived, and photos of the bodies went viral, those in power could not ignore the deaths and justice would be served. Dramatic images of the Shakya girls spread across India and the world, inciting horror and despair. Padma and Lalli died two years after the Delhi bus rape, and many saw the cousins as victims of an ongoing epidemic of violence, one that was emerging in rural villages. The reality that Sonia Faleiro deftly illuminates,wrapped in pressures of caste, gender, technology and teenage desire, proves to be more complicated, and just as devastating. Intimate, mesmerizing, based on years of meticulous reportage, The Good Girls uncovers the heartbreaking truth of what happened that night through the voices of the girls' families, those who saw them last and the legal and medical officials who touched the case.
By Tanya Selvaratnam. 2021
Award-winning filmmaker Tanya Selvaratnam bravely recounts the intimate abuse she suffered from former New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman,…using her story as a prism to examine the domestic violence crisis plaguing America.When Tanya Selvaratnam met then New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman at the Democratic National Convention in July 2016, they seemed like the perfect match. Both were Harvard alumni; both studied Chinese; both were interested in spirituality and meditation, both were well-connected rising stars in their professions—Selvaratnam in entertainment and the art world; Schneiderman in law and politics. Behind closed doors, however, Tanya’s life was anything but ideal. Schneiderman became controlling, mean, and manipulative. He drank heavily and used sedatives. Sex turned violent, and he called Tanya—who was born in Sri Lanka and grew up in Southern California—his “brown slave.” He isolated and manipulated her, even threatening to kill her if she tried to leave. Twenty-five percent of women in America are victims of domestic abuse. Tanya never thought she would be a part of this statistic. Growing up, she witnessed her father physically and emotionally abuse her mother. Tanya knew the patterns and signs of domestic violence, and did not see herself as remotely vulnerable. Yet what seemed impossible was suddenly a terrifying reality: she was trapped in a violent relationship with one of the most powerful men in New York. Sensitive and nuanced, written with the gripping power of a dark psychological thriller, Assume Nothing details how Tanya’s relationship devolved into abuse, how she found the strength to leave—risking her career, reputation, and life—and how she reclaimed her freedom and her voice. In sharing her story, Tanya analyzes the insidious way women from all walks of life learn to accept abuse, and redefines what it means to be a victim of intimate violence.
By Tori Telfer. 2021
A thoroughly entertaining and darkly humorous roundup of history’s notorious but often forgotten female con artists and their bold, outrageous…scams—by the acclaimed author of Lady Killers.From Elizabeth Holmes and Anna Delvey to Frank Abagnale and Charles Ponzi, audacious scams and charismatic scammers continue to intrigue us as a culture. As Tori Telfer reveals in Confident Women, the art of the con has a long and venerable tradition, and its female practitioners are some of the best—or worst. In the 1700s in Paris, Jeanne de Saint-Rémy scammed the royal jewelers out of a necklace made from six hundred and forty-seven diamonds by pretending she was best friends with Queen Marie Antoinette.In the mid-1800s, sisters Kate and Maggie Fox began pretending they could speak to spirits and accidentally started a religious movement that was soon crawling with female con artists. A gal calling herself Loreta Janeta Velasquez claimed to be a soldier and convinced people she worked for the Confederacy—or the Union, depending on who she was talking to. Meanwhile, Cassie Chadwick was forging paperwork and getting banks to loan her upwards of $40,000 by telling people she was Andrew Carnegie’s illegitimate daughter. In the 1900s, a 40something woman named Margaret Lydia Burton embezzled money all over the country and stole upwards of forty prized show dogs, while a few decades later, a teenager named Roxie Ann Rice scammed the entire NFL. And since the death of the Romanovs, women claiming to be Anastasia have been selling their stories to magazines. What about today? Spoiler alert: these “artists” are still conning. Confident Women asks the provocative question: Where does chutzpah intersect with a uniquely female pathology—and how were these notorious women able to so spectacularly dupe and swindle their victims?
By Justin Fenton. 2021
The astonishing true story of &“one of the most startling police corruption scandals in a generation&” (The New York Times),…from the Pulitzer Prize–nominated reporter who exposed a gang of criminal cops and their yearslong plunder of an American city&“A work of journalism that not only chronicles the rise and fall of a corrupt police unit but can stand as the inevitable coda to the half-century of disaster that is the American drug war.&”—David Simon, author of Homicide, co-author of The Corner, and creator of The Wire Baltimore, 2015. Riots are erupting across the city as citizens demand justice for Freddie Gray, a twenty-five-year-old Black man who has died under suspicious circumstances while in police custody. Drug and violent crime are surging, and Baltimore will reach its highest murder count in more than two decades: 342 homicides in a single year, in a city of just 600,000 people. Facing pressure from the mayor&’s office—as well as a federal investigation of the department over Gray&’s death—Baltimore police commanders turn to a rank-and-file hero, Sergeant Wayne Jenkins, and his elite plainclothes unit, the Gun Trace Task Force, to help get guns and drugs off the street. But behind these new efforts, a criminal conspiracy of unprecedented scale was unfolding within the police department. Entrusted with fixing the city&’s drug and gun crisis, Jenkins chose to exploit it instead. With other members of the empowered Gun Trace Task Force, Jenkins stole from Baltimore&’s citizens—skimming from drug busts, pocketing thousands in cash found in private homes, and planting fake evidence to throw Internal Affairs off their scent. Their brazen crime spree would go unchecked for years. The result was countless wrongful convictions, the death of an innocent civilian, and the mysterious death of one cop who was shot in the head, killed just a day before he was scheduled to testify against the unit. In this urgent book, award-winning investigative journalist Justin Fenton distills hundreds of interviews, thousands of court documents, and countless hours of video footage to present the definitive account of the entire scandal. The result is an astounding, riveting feat of reportage about a rogue police unit, the city they held hostage, and the ongoing struggle between American law enforcement and the communities they are charged to serve.
By Linda Wolfe. 2004
From acclaimed true-crime journalist Linda Wolfe, a spellbinding true tale of nineteenth-century sex, scandal, and cold-blooded murderIn 1831 Lucretia Winslow…Chapman was a wife and mother of five who had founded one of Philadelphia's first boarding schools for girls. But her comfortable life and marriage to prominent local scientist William Chapman changed forever the night Lino Espos y Mina appeared at their door, requesting lodging. It wasn't long before the Cuban con artist had entrenched himself in the Chapman home and begun an illicit affair with Lucretia. A little over a month later, William Chapman was dead from a lethal dose of poison. Lino and Lucretia were eventually arrested and charged with murder--and the double trial of the century began. Wolfe skillfully weaves court transcripts, love letters, and period recollections into an edge-of-your-seat historical thriller about the crime that rocked pre-Civil War America. With its shocking verdicts that raised troubling questions about sexism and racism, this mesmerizing true-crime tale still resonates nearly two hundred years later.
By Nicole LaPorte. 2020
This entertaining exposé on how the other half gets in tells the shockingly true story of the Varsity Blues scandal,…and all of the crazy parents, privilege, and con men involved.Guilty Admissions weaves together the story of an unscrupulous college counselor named Rick Singer, and how he preyed on the desperation of some of the country's wealthiest families living in a world defined by fierce competition, who function under constant pressure to get into the "right" schools, starting with pre-school; non-stop fundraising and donation demands in the form of multi-million-dollar galas and private parties; and a community of deeply insecure parents who will do anything to get their kids into name-brand colleges in order to maintain their own A-list status. Investigative reporter Nicole LaPorte lays bare the source of this insecurity—that in 2019, no special "hook" in the form of legacy status, athletic talent, or financial giving can guarantee a child's entrance into an elite school. The result is paranoia, deception, and true crimes at the peak of the American social pyramid. With a glittering cast of Hollywood actors—including Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin—hedge fund CEOs, sales executives, and media titans, Guilty Admissions is a soap-opera-slash-sneak-peek-behind-the-curtains at America's richest social circles; an examination of the cutthroat world of college admissions; and a parable of American society in 2019, when the country is run by a crass tycoon and all totems of status and achievement have become transactional and removed from traditions of ethical restraint. A world where the rich get whatever they want, however they want it.
Acclaimed true-crime journalist Linda Wolfe presents the bizarre and riveting true story of how the chief judge of the New…York State Court of Appeals was brought down by sexual obsessionHe was the top justice of New York's highest court. She was a stunning socialite and his wife's step-cousin. In 1993 Sol Wachtler was convicted of blackmail and extortion against Joy Silverman, his former mistress. How did a respected jurist and one of the most prominent men in America end up serving time in prison? Linda Wolfe starts at the beginning--from Wachtler's modest Brooklyn upbringing through his courtship and marriage to Joan Wolosoff, the only child of a wealthy real estate developer. Joy Fererh was three and a half when her father walked out. When she and Sol met, he was fifty-five and nearing the pinnacle of his legal career. She was a thirtysomething stay-at-home mother who, with Sol's help, made a career for herself as a Republican Party fundraiser. They kept their affair a secret--until an explosive mix of sex, power, betrayal, and prescription-drug abuse set the stage for the tabloid headlines of the decade.