Finding great crime writers requires detective work

PUBLISHED: 13:05 09 August 2007 | UPDATED: 14:36 07 September 2010

REEFER MEN: THE RISE AND FALL OF A BILLIONAIRE DRUGS RING by Tony Thompson, Hodder & Stoughton, £18.99 Britain s #1 True Crime Writer screams the cover but, be honest, can you name another? I couldn t even name this one. That apart, this is an entertaini

REEFER MEN: THE RISE AND FALL OF A BILLIONAIRE DRUGS RING by Tony Thompson, Hodder & Stoughton, £18.99

Britain's #1 True Crime Writer screams the cover but, be honest, can you name another? I couldn't even name this one. That apart, this is an entertaining romp, if that's the right word, in which for more than a decade a group of helicopter pilots, powerboat racers, rally drivers, deep sea salvage experts and Special Forces veterans smuggled vast shipments of marijuana - worth more than one billion dollars - into the USA and beyond. In 1988 they put together what was planned as their last and biggest operation - but it all went wrong and the ship with the dope was seized. The gang, however, were not, thus beginning a 15-year manhunt masterminded by a group of law enforcement officers every bit as determined to catch them as they were to evade being caught. Written by the former crime correspondent of The Observer it seems too incredible to be true at times but is rivetting stuff all the same.

ANTISEMITISM: THE GENERIC HATRED edited by Michael Fineberg, Shimon Samuels and Mark Weitzman, Vallentine Mitchell, £19.50

Dedicated to the memory of the 'conscience of the Holocaust', Simon Wiesenthal, to whom it offers a number of personal tributes, this book brings together essays by a wide variety of authors on antisemitism and related forms of intolerance, racism and xenophobia. It ought to be an informative and fascinating look at a disturbing but relevant subject. The trouble is, it doesn't seem to be meant for casual reading and much of it seems impenetrable to all but the most distinguished scholar. As a text book it may have pride of place on your shelves. But it doesn't make for easy reading, whichever way you look at it.

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