Kids for Cash: Two Judges, Thousands of Children, and a $2.8 Million Kickback Scheme by William Ecenbarger
Over the course of two years, two juvenile court judges were taking kickbacks from a for-profit juvenile detention center. Ecenbarger’s investigation started with his initial investigation for The Philadelphia Inquirer but as the scope of the story grew he couldn’t just walk away. The fact that these judges made millions while children’s lives were ruined will infuriate you.
Nightmare: Women and the Dalkon Shield by Susan Perry and Jim Dawson
Who Killed the Candy Lady?: Unwrapping the Unsolved Murder of Helen Brach by James Ylisela Jr.
One of the wealthiest women in the world vanished on February 17, 1977. After leaving a doctor’s appointment, Helen Brach was never seen again. Who Killed the Candy Lady? dives into the frustrating case to break down the possible suspects and a number of theories that have been tossed around throughout the years. After 40 years the case remains open and Helen’s body has never been found. This story reads like a movie-of-the-week, but at least in the movies you almost always get a happy ending.
The Smartest Guys in the Room: The Amazing Rise and Scandalous Fall of Enron by Bethany McLean and Peter Elkind
The founders of Enron came from humble beginnings, as is often the case of incredibly successful companies, and they used their drive and ambition to create a highly respected and sought after company. Hiring only the most gifted and elite of prospects and creating an impossible bonus structure created a culture of intense competition. Is that what led to the demise of the company? Was “creative accounting” to blame? The Smartest Guys in the Room presents a comprehensive look at the beginning, middle and end, along with all the lives that were destroyed as a result.
The Hit Charade: Lou Pearlman, Boy Bands, and the Biggest Ponzi Scheme in U.S. History by Tyler Gray
Lou Pearlman was the man behind some seriously big acts in the ’90s. Without his work you may have never heard of the Backstreet Boys and *NSYNC and could you really imagine a world without the gift that is Justin Timberlake? As the only journalist given access to Lou during his time in jail, Tyler Gray was allowed unprecedented access into the thoughts and strategies behind the 20-year Ponzi scheme. Gray also interviewed key players – investors, friends and relatives – for an in-depth foray into the rise and fall of one of the most successful music producers of his time.