Home Feed
Home
Search
Search
Add Review, Blurb, Quote
Add
Activity
Activity
Profile
Profile
True Story: Murder, Memoir, Mea Culpa
True Story: Murder, Memoir, Mea Culpa | Michael Finkel
27 posts | 20 read | 48 to read
In the haunting tradition of Joe McGinniss's Fatal Vision and Mikal Gilmore's Shot in the Heart, True Story: Murder, Memoir, Mea Culpa weaves a spellbinding tale of murder, love, and deceit with a deeply personal inquiry into the slippery nature of truth. The story begins in February of 2002, when a reporter in Oregon contacts New York Times Magazine writer Michael Finkel with a startling piece of news. A young, highly intelligent man named Christian Longo, on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted list for killing his entire family, has recently been captured in Mexico, where he'd taken on a new identityMichael Finkel of the New York Times. The next day, on page A-3 of the Times, comes another bit of troubling news: a note, written by the paper's editors, explaining that Finkel has falsified parts of an investigative article and has been fired. This unlikely confluence sets the stage for a bizarre and intense relationship. After Longo's arrest, the only journalist the accused murderer will speak with is the real Michael Finkel. And as the months until Longo's trial tick away, the two men talk for dozens of hours on the telephone, meet in the jailhouse visiting room, and exchange nearly a thousand pages of handwritten letters. With Longo insisting he can prove his innocence, Finkel strives to uncover what really happened to Longo's family, and his quest becomes less a reporting job than a psychological cat-and-mouse gamesometimes redemptively honest, other times slyly manipulative. Finkel's pursuit pays off only at the end, when Longo, after a lifetime of deception, finally says what he wouldn't even admit in courtthe whole, true story. Or so it seems.
Amazon Indiebound Barnes and Noble WorldCat Goodreads LibraryThing
Pick icon
100%
blurb
Itchyfeetreader

@WanderingBookaneer @kaysworld1 I am so incredibly sorry I have not got your summer Santa in the post - I have had a terrible couple of weeeks and had half of it in work and half at home. I finally got it all to work today but then failed to get to the post office. This will absolutely go tomorrow but I am sorry you will miss opening day. I feel awful !

kaysworld1 It's ok. Did you get both of my parcel's? 6mo
Itchyfeetreader You are too kind thanks - you‘ll have a fun Saturday I promise! Re parcels not until last night but I am not home yet (4th 13 hour day this week) will check when I get in 6mo
kaysworld1 @Itchyfeetreader hahaha I've just got you mixed up with @squirrelbrain 🤦 silly me, I blame the weather! 😆 6mo
26 likes3 comments
review
Hooked_on_books
post image
Pickpick

Just as he‘s being fired by the NY Times, Michael Finkel learns he‘s been impersonated by an excused killer on the lam in Mexico. He subsequently develops a sort of friendship with the man. This was a fascinating portrait of a narcissist that I just couldn‘t look away from (train wreck style). It is also well-written true crime.

#ReadingUSA2019 #Montana (author from)

Librarybelle That sounds fascinating! 6mo
NatalieR Great review! I love true crime and haven‘t heard of this story. Stacked!! 6mo
Kaye Good book ! 6mo
squirrelbrain Sounds fab and I need a Montana book - stacked! 6mo
41 likes4 stack adds4 comments
blurb
Caroline2
post image

True story!! 😯 👏

tessavi #3 definitely! 10mo
GingerAntics All true. The third one is a definite loss. Anytime a library is burned intentionally, that‘s a huge problem. 10mo
116 likes3 comments
review
emilyhaldi
post image
Mehso-so

I ended up getting through this book mostly on audio while cleaning my house, unpacking (never-ending) boxes, and sorting through the many samples I received today to pick out blinds for the house 🤪 While this bizarre story did keep me entertained, I docked a ⭐️ due to my strong dislike for the author. He seems to be an egomaniac and is repeatedly dishonest in his journalistic career as well as in his relationships. His personal story left me 🙄

Tamra Yes, I felt the same. 11mo
Cinfhen I didn‘t like his writing then so I might have the same problem as you!!! By the way HAPPY BIRTHDAY 🎊💗🍷😘 11mo
See All 19 Comments
TrishB Happy birthday 🎉🎉 11mo
Kalalalatja Happy happy birthday! Hope you get to take a break from unpacking and celebrate a bit 🎉🎉🎉 11mo
RachelO Happy Birthday 🥳🎉🌸 11mo
cathysaid Yes. Perfectly said. So clearly dishonest/unethical that I thought, “Does he actually read what he‘s written?!?” 11mo
Hollie Happy birthday! 🎊🎉🎈 11mo
kspenmoll Happy birthday!!! 🎁🎂🎉🎈 11mo
emilyhaldi It is?!? @Cinfhen wow I had no idea 😆 I loved Stranger in the Woods but this one included way too much of his personal baggage 😝 11mo
MicheleinPhilly Happy Birthday!!!! 11mo
ProfReader Happy birthday 🎉🎁🎈 11mo
LeahBergen Happy Birthday, my friend!!! 📚📚📚📚📚 11mo
DivineDiana Wishing you s fantastic year! 🎉🎈🎂 11mo
emilyhaldi @Reviewsbylola please see my convo with @Cinfhen above 👆🏻 11mo
Reviewsbylola 😂😂😂 The comments only loaded up to Michele‘s. 11mo
Mdargusch I have this book in my TBR - Lori gave it 5 stars! He was also featured quite a bit in that tv series that just aired - Lake Erie Murders 11mo
97 likes19 comments
review
Tamra
post image
Mehso-so

Well written true crime, but I‘m uncomfortable with it. Reads as redemption of a disgraced journalist, which Finkel explicitly acknowledges. However, A. I didn‘t really care for Finkel‘s story (not that interesting and only tangentially relevant) or character (egotistical) and B. Finkel uses the tragic murders of 4 people in what he knows to be a cat & mouse game for his own ends. Writers write for a living, but there is something tacky here.

Izai.Amorim Happy new year! 11mo
Tamra @Izai.Amorim to you as well! 11mo
64 likes2 comments
review
Reviewsbylola
post image
Pickpick

Clearly I have a problem with over indulging in baths and immersing myself in true crime.

This is the utterly fascinating account of Chris Longo, who murdered his wife and three children, and Michael Finkel, who was fired from the NYT just days before he discovered that Longo stole his identity while on the run. If you are into true crime memoirs, this is a must read.

If you followed the Chris Watts murders recently (ahem @Bklover ) read this!

Tamra I‘m listening to this now! 👍🏾 11mo
OrangeMooseReads I have this one on my shelf. I should read it soon-ish. 11mo
cathysaid This was really well written. I‘ve found I like a journalistic style with true crime. 11mo
See All 10 Comments
Crazeedi Adding! 11mo
Bklover Oh hot damn!!! Gonna have to get this one! 👍😘 11mo
Cinfhen This is the guy who wrote about the hermit in the woods ~ right??? 11mo
Reviewsbylola Yes! I didn‘t realize that initially. @Cinfhen 11mo
Reviewsbylola It‘s crazy how similar Chris Longo is to Chris Watts in a way. And I think this book is proof that we‘ll never know the exact series of events in the Watts case. @Bklover 11mo
Bklover I still can‘t get Chris Watts out of my head. I keep wondering if at some point it ever really hit him with what he had done. Any wait to get lost in a Longo obsession. 😉 11mo
emilyhaldi Hmmm add this to my stack of books I need to borrow 11mo
144 likes12 stack adds10 comments
blurb
Reviewsbylola
post image

Another day, another bubble bar. 💁🏼‍♀️🛁

#bathandbook

Tamra In placed a hold on this one! 11mo
Megabooks I wish I had a bubble bar and a larger tub! 11mo
106 likes1 stack add2 comments
blurb
Reviewsbylola
post image

I just started this true crime book (written by the same author as Stranger in the Woods!!) and its #awinterstale that starts days before Christmas in 2001 when Chris Longo murders his three children and wife and then flees to Mexico, where he assumes the identity of NYT writer Michael Finkel.

#winterwonderland #bathandbook

JennyM That sounds fascinating. Hope you enjoyed your soak 11mo
Cinfhen This book sounds fascinating 11mo
TrishB Wow 😮 11mo
See All 6 Comments
Tamra Very interesting! 11mo
Callemarie Want this made into a movie? With..... jonah hill and... James franco(?)? 11mo
Callemarie *wasnt 11mo
123 likes6 stack adds6 comments
blurb
Reviewsbylola
post image

I‘m still wading through the documents of the Chris Watts murder case, and I really need to take a break and read something a little more chill. I‘m not sure why I‘m drawn to these #freakyfreaks that murder their whole family, but sitting next to me is this book about Christian Longo, who murdered his whole family almost 20 years ago. Please will someone save me from myself. 😂 #nofemmeber

JennyM Lol...I love how you love these murder crime books 📚 13mo
BookNerd9906 🤣🤣🤣 13mo
Cinfhen I‘m adding this one #stacked and I fear your obsession is leading me on a crooked path😆I literally had 19 TRUE CRIME books in my #BookOutlet cart yesterday 🙄I did not hit send.... yet 13mo
See All 15 Comments
Kaye This is good ! @Cinfhen Buy all 19. We wanna see what you pick. 13mo
Cinfhen Thanks @Kaye I‘m going to have to cull that list because hubby will freak out and I can‘t imagine how im getting all those books to Israel!! #BookNerdProblems (edited) 13mo
Cinfhen I need to check which books are available on #overdrive & #kindleUnlimited @kaye 13mo
emilyhaldi Oh dear 13mo
britt_brooke Maybe you‘re the freaky freak?? 🤔😉 Btw, have you been following the New Jersey Mansion fire? That‘s a weird one. 13mo
Billypar I feel like the Criminal Minds team should hire you: your backstory is you became an expert profiler after reading excessive amounts of true crime 😂 13mo
Reviewsbylola The people at BO and your husband may be worried at why you need 19 true crime books. 🤣🤣🤣 @Cinfhen 13mo
Reviewsbylola I for sure am not right. 🤣 @britt_brooke I have followed it a little but have been consumed with this crime to the point where I have little time for others. 😆😆 13mo
Cinfhen I keep thinking if the FBI ever checked my computer history or book searches I‘d have A LOT of explaining to do!!!! And I‘m not sure “it‘s for my Litsy challenge” would explain it 😜😜😜 (edited) 13mo
Bklover I‘m right there with you! I feel like I know Chris Watts personally! 13mo
108 likes5 stack adds15 comments
blurb
CuriousG
post image

Falling into this audiobook hard! I very literally have at least 100 tasks to do for work, and this is making it very difficult to get out of the car and go into the building. Truly bizarre circumstances

review
KimHM
post image
Pickpick

This is a very strange book, very . . . instructive for people interested in journalism, enlightening for those intrigued by the nature of falsehood, convincing on the question of psychopathy. Definitely worth the $1.99 for the e-version. Though I don‘t usually, I will offer a trigger warning as Finkel‘s subject murdered his children. 💡💡💡💡

KimHM Addendum: the above isn‘t a spoiler, it‘s part of the premise. 2y
11 likes1 comment
blurb
KimHM
post image

I gave in to #tbrtemptation. Because how could I not ^

😍📚❤️

blurb
KimHM
post image

This is the same guy who wrote The Stranger in the Woods (about the hermit). I am soooo tempted. 📚📚📚📚📚📚

QueenJen Go for it! There are NEVER too many stories! 😉🥃 2y
9 likes1 comment
blurb
cathysaid
post image

Since the weather is far too warm for #SockSunday here in the southern states...I bring you #SteakSunday !

As for the book, I am midway through and enjoying it. Finkel writes in a fast paced, engaging fashion. While sometimes he seems to take responsibility for his plagiarism (hence the "mea culpa"), in others he seems to try and avoid total responsibility. It's as if he hasn't fully made peace with his actions. Otherwise, it's a great read.

RebelReader That steak looks amazing! I liked his book A Stranger in the Woods, but I haven't heard of this one. 2y
Kaye Good book, I felt the same. I think he gave a reasonable explanation of what happened regarding his job.. Very good story. I have yet to read his second one. 2y
55 likes2 stack adds2 comments
blurb
cathysaid
post image

I went to the library to pick up ONE hold that came in yesterday. The rest are from my Litsy TBR...therefore I AM NOT RESPONSIBLE!! Those are the rules, right? #blameitonlitsy #libraryhaul

britt_brooke Littens = Enablers (of the best kind) 2y
cathysaid That's my defense! 2y
Soubhiville Yes, those are the rules. Also, library=Free=no guilt! 2y
See All 9 Comments
Desha 🤣😂😂 and of course remember if you still feel guilt, there‘s always #MrBook to blame! 😄📚📚☺️ (edited) 2y
batsy White Tears ❤️ 2y
MicheleinPhilly Eeny Meeny! 🙌🏼 2y
cathysaid @MicheleinPhilly Yes, on your recommendation! 2y
cathysaid @batsy It does look good. 2y
cathysaid @Soubhiville @Desha Such validating bookish friends! 2y
79 likes1 stack add9 comments
blurb
Skyler
post image

Monty's current toy obsession. I'll catch him at different points during the day just wandering around or lounging with that thing in his mouth. As for the book, I just started it, and it already has me hooked!
#dogsoflitsy

Nebklvr Adorable 2y
AlaMich 🤣🤣 2y
Zelma He‘s ready for a trip! 😆 2y
EvieBee So cute!!! 2y
11 likes4 comments
blurb
Mdargusch
post image

Congratulations @niha923 🎉🎉🎉! You are the winner of my giveaway #3!
Please send your mailing address to me at mdargusch at aol dot com.

niha923 OH MY GOD THIS CANT BE TRUE IM HALLUCINATINGGGGGGG 2y
niha923 THANKS SO MUCH ❤❤❤❤ I'll send it asap 2y
99problemsbutabookaint1 Congrats @niha923 🎉🎉🎉📖 2y
See All 15 Comments
niha923 @99problemsbutabookaint1 Thanks a lot ❤❤❤ 2y
emilyhaldi Congrats! @niha923 - I heard they are both great books! 🎉🎉 2y
niha923 @emilyhaldi Thanks sm ❤❤❤ looking forward to read these great books 2y
Mdargusch Haha! @niha923 ! I‘m glad you are so excited! 2y
ElishaLovesBooks Congratulations @niha923 🎉 I really liked 2y
niha923 @Mdargusch Thanks again ❤ this made my day 2y
niha923 @ElishaLovesBooks Thanks ❤❤❤ Can't wait to read them 2y
Reviewsbylola 🎉🎉🎉 2y
niha923 ❤❤❤ 2y
Mdargusch @niha923 can you please send me your address? I don‘t think I got it. 2y
niha923 Is it okay if I send it tomorrow @Mdargusch ? 2y
96 likes1 stack add15 comments
blurb
Megabooks
post image

1. Gravy 😝
2. I‘m sick of mystery thanks to BOTM, so let‘s go sci fi.
3. Twitter
4. 1 dog ❤️😍🐩
5. Absolutely

#friyayintro

Reviewsbylola BOTM sure loves their mysteries. 😂 2y
Megabooks @Reviewsbylola I know! 🙄🙄 2y
Cinfhen Truth on #2 2y
Megabooks @Cinfhen Right?!? 2y
85 likes4 comments
blurb
Purrfectpages
post image

HotMessJess 🙌🏻🙌🏻🙌🏻 2y
valeriegeary 👏👏👏 2y
ReadingSusan 🤣 2y
mrozzz 😆😄🤓 2y
72 likes5 comments
review
Mdargusch
post image
Pickpick

I found this story of the heinous murder of a wife and three children tragic. There are two stories here - one of murder by Chris Longo and another of the firing of the author from the New York Times when he made up part of an article he wrote. Neither man knew each other, yet the author gets involved in this story due to Longo using Finkel's identity after the murders. The ending had me completely disgusted in Longo and shocked by his testimony.

emilyhaldi Sounds depressing 😔 2y
Mdargusch Yes it was @emilyhaldi 😢 2y
Reviewsbylola The dual story line sounds interesting. 2y
89 likes6 stack adds3 comments
review
Kaye
post image
Pickpick

The author was a successful writer for the NY Times. He got fired for false reporting in his last story . At the same time, a man was captured in Mexico , for murdering his entire family. When captured, he told them he was Michael Finkel, the NY reporter. After his arrest, he said the only person he'd tell his story to was the real Mike Finkel. What follows is a reporter trying to make a comeback and a killer wanting to play games with him.

Kaye *Authors newest one is Stranger in the Woods, which I haven't read yet. 2y
Cinfhen Interesting- he alludes to his demise at The NY Times in his newer book, which I thought was just ok (edited) 2y
Kaye Yes, it's hard to tell how much to blame he was for the story that got him fired. He explained what happened , which didn't make him sound all that bad, but there's always 2 sides to every story. I haven't heard glowing reviews about the second book , so wasn't in a hurry to read it. I think the first may be more interesting, just guessing. 2y
Suet624 When you say "second book" do you mean Stranger in the Woods? I thought that book was terrific. The author was a bit of a hustler in order to get the story, but I loved the hermit. 2y
Kaye Oh, thanks. I'm glad to hear that is was so good. I've kinda heard mixed reviews. It's one of those that gets some 5 stars ,then 1 or 2 stars, so I'm always a bit on edge with those. I never know which way to lean. I bought the book since I liked his first one so much. Thanks for letting me know how good it is. 2y
30 likes1 stack add5 comments
review
Julsmarshall
Mehso-so

Hmm, definitely a so-so for me. While I found the story fascinating, the way the author inserted himself into the story was a little off putting. Both the author and the murderer seemed narcissistic and spent most of the book more focused on justifying their mis deeds than becoming better people.

Julsmarshall @Cinfhen Yes, but his writing was strong enough that I still want to read it! 3y
Cinfhen It's interesting bc people who criticized Stranger in the Woods had the same issues you did about the journalist inserting himself in the story. Seems, he has gotten any better at remaining objective 😶 3y
Julsmarshall Really @Cinfhen that is interesting. I mean I get that writing styles are different but objectivity is pretty important! 3y
44 likes1 stack add4 comments
blurb
Julsmarshall
post image

This book is fascinating!

Cinfhen Sounds good, wonder why the Litsy rating is so low?!? Eager to hear your final review! 3y
MyNamesParadise For what it's worth I remember enjoying the movie and James and Jonah did well in their dramatic roles. 3y
47 likes1 stack add2 comments
blurb
Julsmarshall
post image

A dark book on a beautiful day! The tag line, Some Mysteries are Beyond Belief sold me! #currentread

Kalalalatja Looks lovely! 3y
audiobooklover I always find True Crimes about someone that kills their own family very interesting 2y
51 likes2 comments
review
Muniav
Mehso-so

Not sure how I expected to feel after reading a book about two narcissistic liars, one of whom murdered his entire family. While this was somewhat interesting, I mainly feel like I want to take a shower.

Sydsavvy Eek! 3y
2 likes1 comment
blurb
Muniav
post image

Very interesting so far.

review
Texasblues
post image
Pickpick

Hey - a book where I hated everybody, but still couldn't put it down. Compulsively readable, even if everyone is awful. Also, James Franco is probably perfect as one of the main characters in the movie because he's kind of creepy.

MyBookLife This book sounds great!!! 4y
7 likes1 comment