Roulette Casino In Los Angeles

Konfidential KUWTK Producer Secrets: Season 19, Episode 5 - "Sister, Sister and a Babymoon"

Hello my fellow poor people! Welcome to this week's “Malikas Kards Konfidential," inside production details/family notes from KUWTK’s last episode, “Sister, Sister and a Babymoon”
Needing 2 weeks of multiple health screens after watching this Malika-filled episode, producers surprised us with a trip to Morongo where we could pretend that we really care about the Malikas just for a brief moment in time. They gambled, put their own health at risk, discussed the horrors of giving birth to a person that’s about to pop, and honestly, nothing more. I realize that for most people, this episode is something so far out of reach from the normal Kardashian realm, so in moments like these, I am humbly reminded why this show is coming to an end. #ThisIsTorture
Our A-plot is Khloe taking Malika on a babymoon, something that is apparently a very real thing, and our B-plot was Corey v. Kendall. Let’s dive in before we're all haunted by Robert Kardashian's hologram!
Cold Open/Scene 1: Kourtney and Kim discuss Kendall/Kylie fight
Scene 2: Kim and Khloe talk about the fight while Kourtney sits in the corner and says nothing
Scene 3: Kim, Khloe and Scott talk about the fight + Malika's babymoon
Scenes 4/5: Malika sits through labor horror stories during her baby moon lunch + en route to Malika's favorite spot in the world, Morongo
Scene 6: Kylie breaks away from STASSSIE BABBBYYY to fulfill her contractual obligations by participating in a scene w/Kris at her office
Scene 7: Khloe, Khadijah and the other girl day players celebrate Malika in their Morongo suites
Scene 8: A future boring plot is SAVED by Corey reading Kendall for the "asshole" that she really is
Scenes 9/10: Malika celebrates International Women's Day by telling the world she don't give a flying FUCK about her baby daddy's business + Khloe, Malika and their day players risk their health by playing in the casino amid a pandemic
Scene 11: This trip seems to never end as Khloe, Malika and their day players head to dinner
Scene 12: This episode still drags on as Malika gives her baby a real kick by drinking caffeine
Scene 13: Corey and Kris talk about the phone call w/Kendall
Scene 14: Khloe, masked up, is graced by a visit from Kris... who is shook by the new mask culture
Scene 15: Kendall shoots her Architectural Digest cover
submitted by LinusRanger13 to KUWTK [link] [comments]

JoJo's Bizarre OC Tournament #5: Round 2 Match 8 - Arpeggi and Agnes Versus Glitch and William

The results are in for Match 6. The winner is…
Player Team, with a score of 83 to Ernie Ford’s 62!
Category Winner Point Totals Comments
Popularity Players 25-5
Quality TIE 24-24 Reasoning
JoJolity Players 24-23 Reasoning
Conduct TEAM 10-10
...“You know what I'm here for!” Effie’s words rang out as Ernie watched on at the unexpected turn of events.
“The funny thing is I really don’t know.” Ernie stood there and took in the scene. Was this the first time he had seen this type of outburst in the District? Ernie tried to recall, but now wasn’t really the time to reminisce on bad memories.
Something was afoot. Something about Ugo threatening them that was for sure. But if Ugo wanted somebody to fight him this would never be his plan of attack. “Would you care to enlighten me then, I wouldn’t mind this either way!” Ernie shouted back, his tone was neutral, the tension of the situation only increased, but he didn’t see a need to fight back even now.
“They sent us here, because they wanted us to steal your notebook!” Ernie heard the voice of Jenny behind a tree.
Things started to make sense to Ernie, the hiding, why it wasn’t Odin’s people doing this, and that outburst. “And what do you two intend to do?” Ernie moved his backpack from his back to carrying it on one arm.
“Well if you help us, you could send them a fake notebook! It’s not like we like those fuckers anyways!” Jenny replied beyond the trees.
Well that wasn’t so difficult was it, it only took one or maybe both of their ire to get to this arrangement. Ernie weighed this against the prospect that they were lying to him, but if it came down to it it would just be either a fight now or a fight later. “Alright I’ll help you! I’ll be in my cabin manuscripting! You two wait outside, this will take less than an hour!” Ernie shouted back over as he started to walk back to his cabin.
“Your funeral..wait what?!” Effie flipped as Jenny clapped an arm on her, “We did it, we can get out of this shitty situation.”
Effie looked around, The Murder receded back into herself. “Did that really just happen?” She held out the hope that it really would be that easy, she wanted to believe it but she felt a slight pang of confusion, guilt maybe?
Jenny continued on, “We just have to make sure that he does his end of the deal and we’ll be out of here in no time.” Jenny looked at Effie’s face as she noticed the change in expression, “You okay there? You let out a bunch just now and if you wanted to talk about it.”
“No I’m ok, come on we have to still keep an eye on him.” Effie brushed Jenny’s arm off and made her way closer into the clearing with Jenny following.
Well, that was somewhat anticlimactic. If you were hoping for a match with some more carnage in it, how about checking out a race out of a monster-filled urn and voting on it?
Scenario:
Sound’s Garden Eastern Strip - Heartache Casino VIP Room
“So kind of you all to come again,” a man dressed garishly in gold spoke to a roomful of wealthy highrollers, a lounge area with a wall taken up by a screen large enough to make the place double as something of a particularly cozy home theater, a setup which had typically been reserved for two things: watching games organized by Heartache Casino’s owner on the closed-circuits of buildings he owned, and being rented out for private parties and banquets.
“This is pretty unconventional,” a dark-haired sniper remarked between drinks, staring at the screen as it showed, largely, several shots of a building in Downtown Los Fortuna, which seemed to have rapidly grown occupied by a small group of Stand Users, some of whom familiar to the district’s regulars after some close shaves in the subways both occupied, “but it’s brilliant… Just needed to get your tech guy to get cameras in there, now you have a huge show for free.”
“Should you be drinking, Seido?” The gold-clad owner asked, raising an eyebrow, “I mean, if something comes up…”
“If something comes up, I’m off-duty, I’m just a guest right now, and I can shoot well enough sloshed to get myself out of a bind. If you wanted me as security, you should’ve hired me for that… Though really, I’d have rather been down there raising some hell if I was gonna shoot things.”
Tigran sighed, finding that fair enough, he supposed… He wasn’t going to hire this man when he was buzzed, and he wouldn’t do guard detail for free either. Apparently, the man literally came to the city walking out of a bar into the flag unveiling, so he shouldn’t have been surprised.
Still, though, even with moods high here, nobody seeming to mind the way anonymous characters like Oh No and Conqueror Worm mingled among them. Sure, they were kind of a low-priority target right now, with protests in the Business district, the hell-on-earth about to be unleashed Downtown keeping their worst nightmares busy, and the usual BS in places like the Waterfront and Industrial, but the man once noted for his supremely smarmy overconfidence had been feeling more anxious lately, probably because the Entertainment District’s criminal underground had taken some losses recently.
Things were riding high with several successful games, and the arrival of Conqueror Worm, revitalizing everything that they had thought they’d known and opening up whole new possibilities of what games might be possible to organize from a place of safety, all while not asking for a penny of payment. He was a weird guy, but a valuable asset, and all that was understood to be asked in return was that they pretend not to know exactly who it was underneath that big fleshy suit.
And then, the next time they had an in-person event, a bunch of them died in a fire, and on the way to… Well, who knew why he was there, but something happened that got a formerly active manager and ‘game’ organizer murdered blocks away from the site of the flames. Was it a sign, then, that the old ways really were dying, that they needed to change with the times or lose this subculture of theirs entirely?
Maybe, and maybe some would leave it like that, but Tigran “Golden” Sins knew another source of common ground with every one of their games to go wrong, to go awry, to risk the future and safety of all that they were, all that they had. Everything (besides that time he got punched in the face) that had gone wrong, from Thutmose leaving them, to events that were supposed to be disastrous bloodbaths going well for the ‘players’ and ruining bets, could trace back somewhere.
And she was sitting there looking very disinterested, nursing a sparkling juice in a very expensive evening dress and earrings, recently bought by the only man in the world he believed to be above himself.
“Having a good time, Metra?” Fox asked the star known to much of the city as TD/MD, smiling smoothly and paying her more attention than the event itself, where he was significantly more public than before. He’d spent how many thousands on her in a few days?
“Sure, yeah,” she answered, with a clear disinterest and foul mood.
“I understand if you’re not… we’re all sorry to have lost Thutmose. Most likely by where he was, whoever killed him would have done the same to us had he not interfered. So he would want you to have a good time, right?”
“Alright, everyone, last calls!” Conqueror Worm called out, many eyes looking all over. After getting back from camera work, he’d volunteered to handle bets, on account of his utter disinterest in profiting from his work there. Damn shame, honestly; Tigran loved that weird golden Stand-hurting sword he’d always been swinging around, and something belonging to a regional founder would be a hell of a get to wear around. “We know all the key players in that little downtown scuffle, so let’s hear it! Who’s biting it? Who’s comin’ out? Who’s gonna have the highest bodycount? Is anyone even gonna get IN?”
That Oh No guy, from the Institute, spoke up through that voice changer he almost always had on in his coverings. “I think that… Three people will manage to find their way inside. Nobody on this betting board.”
“Ooh, bold words from our boldest regular!” Worm leaned in close, asking, “how much’re you puttin’ on that?”
“Nothing,” No responded, “I just want to see what comes of it… I’m almost disappointed you needed to ask.”
Peas in a pod, those two. Tigran sighed, figuring he might need to drink through these proceedings, only to glance at Metra, suddenly, seeming to smirk, ears twitching as if that special pitch of hers had picked something up. “What? What’s so fun now, that-”
The heavily reinforced, hidden doorway to the VIP room burst open, bisecting the hollow yet burly door guard as sand and rocks spilled out of its hollow crevasse, the only herald within seconds of a quintet of Stand Users barreling in, led by a trio on two motorbikes as two others, curious but energetic, followed.
“All that you’ve done ends here, Fox!”
Around the same time, Heartache Casino Public Floors
“Uh… Glitch? I think… it might be good if we… go?” William Eyelash was not liking it here very much. His hyperactive coworker and teammate had practically dragged him here after what was otherwise a simple delivery performed in place of Zebra, who had been busy enough delivering food to the other side of the city. William was the one supposed to carry it out, but Glitch had practically jumped at the opportunity to do so.
Glitch herself, meanwhile, seemed to be very content eating some fries which she (very regrettably) had to actually buy instead of simply snatching it away from a poor, unaware bystander, and had already ordered another plate because they were just that good. Security was too tight, somewhat on edge - the moment she got close to someone or something, they immediately turned their attention to her. Still, she didn’t want to deprive herself of one of the many pleasures of life like that, so she didn’t mind paying too much. “Mmrgh..? Why sho?”
“W- well… you know… uh...” William wasn’t sure how to say it - he was scared enough of Glitch’s erratic mannerisms most days, and that was while he tried to steer clear of her. Were he to directly oppose her, he’d have no way of knowing what she’d do! On top of that, he couldn’t help but notice that she seemed slightly… on edge. She was usually hyperactive, but she seemed to be even more eager to jump from one thing to another recently, and to ignore anything that even slightly stressed her out. Considering everything that happened to the staff at the Elephant Bones recently, it made sense for her to be stressed, even if she didn’t really show it usually. “... um, you know the rumors about this place… right? ”
Glitch turned to look at William, tilting her head “Hm? What rumors?”. “Uh... well… about the ED… and the fighting rings… I saw an article about it on the Hermod, and… i- it could be dangerous to be here for too long...” hearing William say that, Glitch seemed to recede for a bit, thinking to herself. “Mmm... well, it hasn’t been a problem yet! Right? Besides, the other chips haven’t arrived yet!” Glitch didn’t want to think much about it - so long as these fighting rings were away from her, she could just ignore them and go on with her life, but if it really was here, then maybe it would be good to avoid this place… but the fries were so good... Glitch took another look at the table she was sitting at and at the plate of fries she’d ordered. She grabbed a handful and ate them. “Mmm… after the second order of chips comes! Then we leave! But only after then!”
“Alright...” William didn’t like this very much, and he couldn’t help but shoot nervous glances around as Glitch finished up. Just about every staff member here was on edge and uncomfortable - he knew how to notice these things, and it would make sense if this place really was connected to the underground. Ugh… Why did he come along with Glitch? He’d just have to hope that the second order would come soon, and then they’d be able leave just as quickly as they came in.
Naturally, as if fate itself had conspired to screw him over, he couldn’t help but pick up on ‘something’. Guards around the floor peered nervously into their phones, and most of them began rushing towards the stairwell. Glitch had noticed as well, her ears picking up on the nervous murmurings of the guards and their hasty footsteps.
“Uhh… G- Glitch, something’s happening, we should-” “Pleh! Can’t you wait just a second! The chips aren’t here yet! This isn’t-”
Before Glitch could finish her sentence, something flew into the room - the body of a security officer, clearly tossed away by some stand, flew from the entrance to the second floor, and landed right in the middle of a group of more security officers.
“Oh god oh god it’s happening oh no oh no oh no oh-” William was, as expected, positively freaking out by now. Meanwhile, Glitch was keeping her ears peeled out, having picked up on something… interesting. The voice of two people she vaguely recognized from “Taste of Fortuna” a month or so back.
“Hey! That’s Agnes! And that other chef whose food is good! Even better than the chips!! What are they doing here, fighting?!”
Soon enough, Agnes and Arpeggi really did pop into the room, their stands summoned as they staved off some guards with them. Much to William’s chagrin, Glitch grabbed onto his hand and summoned [Vida Loca], before hopping onto it, the massive feline hoisting him onto it as well, before running right towards the source of the commotion…
And right into the footpath of a terrifying giant who seemed to suddenly fall from the ceiling, several eyes along its body looking to them as its head rotated 180 degrees. “Well, wouldn’t you like to know?”
Several minutes earlier, A Few Stories Lower - Sound’s Garden Abandoned Subway
“Are you sure this is the place? Seems pretty fucking trashy to me, honestly…”
“That’s what makes it a secret passage, Agnes… They’re not exactly rolling out the red carpet to tell you how to get there.”
“Ugh, Astronomia wasn’t built for this shit. You’re paying if something gets stuck somewhere.”
“You’ve crashed it how many times this month alone?”
Arpeggi Osso Buco sat in the sidecar of a motorbike driven by one Ananas “Agnes” Bayley, through the abandoned subways of the Eastern strip. He’d meant to take this trip alone, like he had before, but of course, this fucking guy had to be the first on the team to learn that he was a Stand User, an active vigilante, and not only in part responsible for a certain cult’s influence plummeting to nothing in Los Fortuna, but had dedicated himself to making an enemy of the blight of the Entertainment District.
“Fuck it, I’m down.”
“You’re… What?”
“I’m down. Fuck those guys. I don’t even need to ask any more questions, they’re an absolute disgrace to be shown up by a real villain, and if you’re hunting their boss down, I’m with you.”
“You are the last person I would want watching my back in a-”
“Or I can tell Gabanna what you’re doing so soon after getting SHOT last time you tried your luck with these guys.”
“…bastard. Okay, just don’t get in the way.”
Minus a near-scare with RCR’s nightmarish train nearly running them down without noticing, and Arpeggi having to explain at some point that it was both private information from a set of informants and news now publicly printed in multiple sources about the higher-ups of this organization, it had mostly gone smoothly since then.
As they drove closer to the underside of Heartache, Arpeggi signaled for Agnes to stop, noting a destroyed set of hollowed-out mannequins of sorts, smoking and smelling like gunpowder.
“Hell is that?” Agnes asked, looking down, but Arpeggi, in turn, didn’t quite seem surprised. Before he could explain, however, another, distorted voice cut through.
“You’re late.”
The revving of a second motorcycle, a sport bike, had quietly synced with Astronomia, and the pair looked up to see a figure clad in orange and black, winglike scarf drooping upside-down, its rider atop the ceiling of the tunnel.
“You.” Agnes spoke with contempt, despite having never seen the Black Angel in person before, only for them and their bike to drop down right in front of them, flipping in midair to land gracefully.
“You didn’t tell me you were bringing a friend, let alone… Him.” The Angel sounded dubious about Agnes’ presence, adding, “since you took time picking him up, I’ve had to start picking off these weird… hollow doll-guards myself. They almost noticed me in time to signal the boss. I really don’t have the time for this today.”
“Sorry about that, he insisted,” Arpeggi wrote off, not wanting to explain the somewhat unsurprising (“ran into one another while doing their vigilante rounds, got to talking about the ED mainly”) story how he and the Angel met, “and he’s here right now… Say what you like about him, you saw that Being So Normal, I assume. He’ll be an asset.”
“I’ll kick your ass-et,” Agnes grumbled, “fighting them alone my ass. Ugh, teaming up with masked hero types like this… Pisses me off. We should be kicking each other’s asses, Angel.”
“Deal with it,” the Angel wrote off, before adding, “our contacts in there… They said basically everyone we might have any reason to get is on that floor with them, watching Downtown.”
“Right, some madman is acting out there,” Arpeggi noted, folding his arms and looking Westward, “I take it that’s why you’re in a hurry? You want to deal with them quickly and head out there next?”
“You got it,” they answered, “and admittedly, there’s a reason I had to come here first… Something I’m going to prioritize the highest, and if we take too long, I’ll have to leave having only done that.”
“You’ve got a grudge, is that it?” Agnes asked, “you wanna punt some fucker before moving on?”
“That’s… not why I’m targeting him,” The Angel noted, before adding, “that sword the Conqueror Worm always has on him… The ‘Sword of Sir Aurel…’ The future of the city might depend on me getting that Downtown. The contacts say he still has it with him, just like on that stream.”
“You’re pissing me off, pretending you don’t care about just one-upping that bastard,” Agnes chided, adding, “act like you’re ‘heroes of justice’ all you want… I’m doing this because these guys piss me the hell off, and seeing them fall will make me laugh. Do all of us a favor, cut the bullshit, and admit you’re gonna enjoy this, yeah?”
The others didn’t say too much more of note, then, beyond the Angel briefly examining Astronomia, putting something all over it that they claimed would ‘make it maneuver better,’ which Arpeggi had to calm Agnes into accepting, especially considering it meant they could ride up stairs with relative ease.
“Alright, from this secret passage, it’s a straight shot up a few flights of stairs to the VIP room… We should be able to burst it down without ever disrupting all the public patrons and fortifications up on 1F. Hold on tight, you got that?”
The motorbikes revved, then, and the Angel’s led Agnes in seeming to leap into the air, driving up and along the walls of the stairwell, before a long-haired figure emerged from the Angel, aiming something at a metal reinforced door, firing into it a few times, and it shifted in place as Pork Soda rushed towards it, placing a tab on the material before ripping it away, liquid metal blasting in the opposite direction the door would fly and swing at rapid speed, swinging like a deadly projectile and cutting more powerful puppet guards away as the three burst in.
Arpeggi called out, “All that you’ve done ends here, Fox!”
Not long after Arpeggi called that out, Fox himself, of course, was quick to stand, as were a few bold-looking members of the crowd, hurrying towards the fighters with his own accompanying doll-guard, small enough to hold in two hands and, with his large frame, swing like a hammer-thrower, lobbing up towards them and bursting open into a mess of pointed rocks as he drew closer, repelling Arpeggi’s immediate attempts to approach.
The swinging door, embedded with odd screws and still gushing metal soda, began to fly towards him, only for the sound of a rifle to fill the room, a single warping bullet putting out every one of the odd screws and careening it to strike Arpeggi back, sending him flying down the stairwell before either the Angel or Agnes could react.
Seido, sitting at his edge of the bar, finished downing his drink, holding his weapon in one hand and grinning a bit, slurring slightly, “thas’ goin’ on your tab, boss…”
Fox smirked, then, rocks and sand swirling around him and beating back the remaining attackers’ efforts to burst forward. “Let’s not fight up here, gentlemen… I’ve set this place up nice for a very special guest. Take it downstairs. Seido, consider yourself on the clock now.”
Worm, then, seemed to realize the Angel was staring at his movements, diving down into the floor below to the terror of the 1F patrons, and the rider hurriedly cut away from the clash, leaving Agnes to fend for himself against the rocky onslaught of Fox, all while Oh No watched and Seido, quickly, lined up another shot. Even on this upgraded bike, he knew the only response to make there. “Fffuck this!”
Pork Soda reached for Astronomia, a tab appearing on its wheel which, as the Stand weathered rocky blows, it pulled, blasting Agnes back into the stairwell, where he hit the wall with an, “oof!” before hopping off of his ride, which crashed and plummeted down as he abandoned it to slide down the railing, doing a cool combat roll to cover Arpeggi and the Angel as they rolled into the first floor, clearly concerned about what Conqueror Worm being there would mean for the patrons. Fox and others were shortly behind, with a certain exception.
Though nobody could hear it, by Metra Doria’s choice, as soon as Seido had spoken that aloud, she’d kicked up the chair she’d been sulking in all ‘party’ long, a pair of headphones appearing along her neck as a blast of sonic energy kicked it directly into the head of the hitman. Her heart skipped a beat, then, and she muttered under her breath, “shit, that actually worked… I got lucky, huh?”
“Entirely,” Oh No agreed, stepping forth himself and stretching, producing a very large, intimidating revolver from his cloak and beginning, idly, to load it, “but don’t treat that as a failing, TD/MD… You saw a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and you had the instincts to take it.” No closed the chamber, starting leisurely towards the stairs after the rest. “This is getting tiresome, isn’t it? You see it too, how dull this has gotten… What potential they’re wasting here. What do you say we speed along what’s been a long, long time coming?”
“Well, wouldn’t you like to know?”
A golden, shining sword appeared out of the giant’s gross hand, and his presence alone made Glitch want to wretch, the smell of the Conqueror Worm fell, and vibes even more rancid.
“We got two more troublemakers here, eh?” Worm asked her and William with an amused tone, “Hell just broke loose here, and you’re tryin’ to run headlong into it! I like that! I like that drive! So what do ya say? Attacka them!”
Glitch didn’t know this guy, but something about his gleeful nature, the way that William murmured to himself in alarm when he spoke those distorted words, made her hairs stand on end, made her want to hiss and immediately turn her attention to him, and it seemed, then, that Worm could sense this.
“Another one who ain’t a fan, huh?” He shook his head. “Disappointing, but typical.”
At that, he ducked into the floor, before attempting to burst out from underneath and drive his blade up into Vida Loca, barely being scraped before hopping away from the rising attack and meeting it with a sharp, harsh claw, beating back his raw strength with her Stand’s own.
“I don’t know who you are, but you’re really not the kind of bad news that’s any fun!” Glitch called out from atop her mount, pulling off in time to avoid the ambush of a hollowed-out guard and note two others bothering William.
“That guy looks underage… He ain’t allowed to be on a casino floor without ID!” Worm declared with amusement, fully expecting what came next as several of the doll-guards attempted to strong-arm him.
“G-get away… Get away from me!” William was freaking out, then, and fairly fearing for his life, allowed Ocean Eyes to manifest, swinging and spraying acid all around, which bounced uselessly off of Worm’s hide, didn’t so much as drop near Glitch or Vida Loca, and melted away the threats in an instant.
The casino floor was pandemonium then, several high rollers, some random patrons, and of course, every named member fighting, Stands flying. Arpeggi expertly caught rocks tossed by Fox, only for him to still control them even as they were made to burn by NEXT LEVEL 2, though this eroded away much of the sands of his barrier, backed up by Agnes as he very competently kept a rocky barrier up regardless, Metra standing close by, shifting her eyes. The Black Angel tried to drive headlong into Worm, continuing his mess of a situation, while Glitch, mostly, managed to sneak off on her own, trying to find a way to support William and calm him out of whatever this was.
“Don’t move,” a modulated voice behind her said, and she heard something click behind her.
“Mrr?” She turned, then, facing the barrel of Oh No’s revolver head-on.
“This might be a bit loud… But it’s about time this ended.”
Before Glitch could react, No had pulled the trigger twice. Neither shot so much as grazed her, but seemed to hit tables, cameras, walls, ricocheting about in apparent chaos, before finally…
“I… What did…” Blood ran down the organizational ringleader’s outfit, bleeding both from a massive wound to the back of his knee and opening a massive hole in his shoulder, as the rocks he had been flinging around dropped like… Rocks.
Tigran’s voice was the next thing to ring out through the casino, now mostly abandoned bar the combatants.
“TOBY!!!”
Fox hadn’t even heard the shots fired, thanks to Metra, let alone noticed their angles; after all, the only one he knew of who could make a shot like that was knocked out and drunk upstairs, not to mention loyal to Tigran’s paychecks.
No twirled his gun around, holstering it and patting the bewildered Glitch on the shoulder. “Thanks for holding still… Didn’t want to hit you and ruin it all, after all. Hmmhmmhmahaha!"
“You… You motherfuckers!” Tigran wanted to cry then, especially as the others drew closer, seeing everyone who had fought against an ally of his here as little more than an enemy. Still, though, facing them off, he had to calm himself.
“Stand down,” Arpeggi demanded, “you’re outnumbered, completely.”
Tigran, rather than giving up, began to speak again. “You know, as the owner of this casino, I know the power of ‘games’. You see, if you call it a ‘gamble’, that sounds so… negative, no? So you call it nothing more than a simple ‘game’. That’s what draws people in. Getting people to play ‘roulette’ is harder, but if you call it a ‘roulette game’ and mask it correctly, it’s so, so, easy… However, the moment the ball is launched, it doesn’t matter, does it? No difference between a ‘gamble’ and a ‘game’... the ‘contract’ is the same - you abandon your money for ‘entertainment’ and for a slim ‘hope’ that you’ll succeed this time and make bank… It’s all thanks to these ‘games’... All of you lot, don’t you think so? Aren’t ‘games’ great? Hell, I’ve got an idea for one we can play right now…”
“Wh- what the hell are you talking about!” Arpeggi shouted out in anger. “I’m not putting up with this shit! You want a ‘game’?! Sure, fine! Here, how about this one - I go up to you, and have fun beating the shit out of you!” rushing towards Tigran, Arpeggi readied a punch and swung towards him - only for his fist to stop in midair, hitting against some kind of invisible barrier. He reeled back from the impact, stumbling backwards, feeling… weak. A look behind him revealed that Agnes, Glitch, William, and even Metra, the Angel, and No seemed to be feeling the same, struggling to remain upright.
“Y- you ‘agreed’... heh…” Tigran’s previously panicked expression quickly faded, replaced by a wide grin. “You agreed to it! You agreed to the ‘game’!” By now, Tigran broke out into uproarious laughter. “Always! They always fall for it, tempted by ‘games’! You… you idiot! I put the answer right in front of you, and you still missed it! ‘Games’, by their very nature, are tricks! Illusions! And my [The Grid] has the power to facilitate that! By agreeing to the game, my [The Grid] forces you to participate! There’s no escape now - you’re trapped in this ‘game’ of mine!”
As he realized he had screwed them all right at the last moment, Arpeggi’s vision began fading, and he fell onto the ground with a thud, blacking out.
???, an hour later, Heartache Casino VIP room
“Alright! Seems like our contestants for the first impromptu match of the day are waking up!”
“Plrrr..?” Out of nowhere, Glitch found herself standing straight, awake, somewhere unfamiliar. She tried to listen to see what was going on, only hearing the groans of William, Agnes, and Arpeggi, indicating that they were in a similar position to her. Of course, there was also that voice - she was… a ‘contestant’. It wasn’t hard to roughly figure out what exactly she was a ‘contestant’ of. She, and...
“...William!” Behind her was a whimpering noise, evidently William, and the sound of droplets of some kind of liquid splashing onto the ground, clearly [Ocean Eyes]’s acid. Ahead of her were Agnes and Arpeggi, talking between themselves about what the hell happened. Arpeggi sounded mad. Agnes… she wasn’t sure how he sounded. But she gathered enough from their conversation to understand that somehow, they were currently inside of a roulette wheel. Or rather, she, and everyone else, was shrunk, and placed into a roulette wheel.
“Now, this match is simple - a deathmatch to see who manages to survive! However, since we’re at the heartache casino… there’s an appropriate twist involved! See, our combatants for today are fighting on a roulette table, and meanwhile, our spectators for today are placing ‘bets’ to see which colors win out! Representing ‘red’, we’ve got our very own ‘Fox’! On black, meanwhile, we’ve got ‘Tigran Sins’, who set this match up!”
She summoned [Vida Loca] besides her, taking a look through the stand’s eyes and seeing the environment for herself. She was dwarfed by the room, trapped inside of this small roulette wheel. There was nowhere to run. William’s whimpers had escalated into sobbing, as [Ocean Eyes] hugged him from behind. Arpeggi and Agnes were arguing by now, shouting at each other. She took a deep breath.
“Now… I won’t keep you waiting any longer, since I just know everyone here’s excited to see what happens! So...”
First, Glitch got tossed into Los Fortuna and found a new home there, with the rest of the staff at the Elephant Bones. Then, they started getting into fights with other stand users - Shelldrake, Effie, Byte, William. She hadn’t been in one yet, but she knew very well the effects of them. Her friends had gotten hurt, some such as Father Blue even dying. Then the situation in the slums got worse, her home becoming less and less safe by the minute, her friends getting extorted and forced to work for ODIN, and now she and William were trapped here.
“Three… Two… One...”
She needed to get out. She needed to fight. She needed to win. She could overhear Agnes and Arpeggi bickering on the other side of the wheel, but knew that they were going to try and fight her and William as well. They had to. They’d been trapped by that man’s stand, and none of them knew what could be done against it, if anything.
[Vida Loca] stood behind her, a constant vibration coming out of it and creating a loud hissing noise that was soon mimicked by [Ocean Eyes], drowning out William’s sobs. She knew full well that, even if he was her friend, William was also a dangerous killer, meek though he might have acted. As hard as that whole situation was to grasp, she understood something else - that the more she stayed near [Ocean Eyes], working alongside it, the safer she was. She and William had to get out of this. And if they wanted to get out of this...
They would have to fight for their lives.
OPEN THE GAME!
(credit to magistelles for the image, both the censored and uncensored version!(CW: trypophobia))
Location: A roulette wheel in Heartache Casino, upon which players have been forcibly placed.
The map here is roughly similar to the image of the roulette wheel above. The outer brown layer represents the rim, the yellow layer being the wooden slopes down towards the center, the black layer being the numbers, the red layer being the pockets, the next layer being sloped wood up towards the center, and the center being a metal tower.
The map is 30 by 30 meters relative to the players, with the dotted tile being 5 by 5 meters.
The diamonds are the metal bumpers, about half a meter tall, and the blue circle is a weighted metal roulette ball which is a meter tall, both heights relative to the players.
The metal tower in the center is 8 meters tall relative to the players and the outside walls are 5 meters relative to the players. Players can not go past the rim of the roulette wheel.
Goal: RETIRE your opponents!
Additional Information:
There is an invisible barrier keeping the players and their Stands inside the roulette wheel. Everything else will pass through as normal, but the players and their attacks will be blocked by this barrier. The barrier is cylindrical around the entire roulette wheel.
The roulette system is currently automatic, 5 seconds after the ball falls into a pocket or stops moving entirely, it will start rolling again at top speed clockwise. The max speed of the ball is equivalent to B SPD and the ball is A DUR. You can expect it to make around 8 revolutions around the wheel before losing most of its speed if it is unimpeded by the players.
If the ball is destroyed or unable to roll, a new one will be thrown in from outside.
Team Combatant JoJolity
The Graveyard Shift William Eyelash “W-Well, I'll be going now...” You’re being forced to fight, and you don’t want anything to do with this! During the match, try to stay on the backlines as much as possible, assisting from there!
The Graveyard Shift Tiger “Glitch” Ricky "Nowadays, 30,000 yen is gone after you make one or two trips... So all that's left is to make more money, or go flat broke." You are being forced to fight here, and you hate it, so you might as well do something to cause the casino to lose money! Do whatever you can to constantly rig the roulette in favor of odds!
BADD GUYS Arpeggi Osso Buco "Does that alien not know what 'holding back' means?" You were tricked by that asshole, and now you’ve got to fight these two bystanders?! Fuck, this makes you irritated. Destroy as much of the area as possible over the course of your strategy!
BADD GUYS Ananas “Agnes” Bayley "I did say this seemed fun, but I wasn't talking about Cee-lo. I meant that it'd be fun taking your 30,000 yen from you." That girl over there is trying to rig the game, so play the agent of chaos and rig it towards the other end! Do whatever you can to constantly rig the roulette in favor of evens!
Link to the Official Player Spreadsheet
Link to Match Schedule
As always, if you would like to interact with the tournament community and be among the first to get updates for the tournament, please feel free to PM a member of our Judge staff for an invite to our Official Discord Server!
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Logan and the Antarctic - Chapter One.

Logan age 26
Struggling musician, lives in Vegas. Takes odd jobs like magician's assistant and Ubering people around.
Cooks top ramen with a sprinkle of cheese and an egg because it makes him feel fancy.
Owns a YouTube channel although not a successful one. He's talented he just doesn't have the marketing savvy.
Into conspiracy theory videos. Stays up late sometimes watching 10-15 videos in a row going from simple UFO / Bob Lazar stuff, to debating whether the earth is flat using 6th grade Trigonometry. He knows it's not flat, but sometimes he looks up and can't help but wonder.

He's that shady guy at coffee houses. Wears a scarf to places that you don't expect people to wear scarfs. Always has stubble but never a full beard. Which is odd because you rarely see him shaving, you'd think his stubble was permanently tattooed on his face.

Hosts various open mic nights around the city every other week.
People mistake him for Russell Brand until they hear him speak.

"Russell! Russell!" you'd hear them running up on the strip trying to take a selfie, sometimes he just goes with it.

One night our would-be British celebrity picks up a couple in his Uber. They're young in their mid 20s.

The woman has wavy brown hair, in a navy blue mini skirt with dark red heels and a white blouse. As soon as they get in the car she starts crying begging the man who appears to be her husband to stay.

She appears to be a little tipsy and has a pizza stain on her right shoulder. Logan can see from the mirror, aside from being a messy eater, she's also very worried for her husband's well being.

"Honey I can't let you go all that way alone. Don't they have housing for spouses on the base?" She begs.

"No.. normally yes but... Baby we can talk about this when we get home. Please.." The man looks as though he fears she might say something that might get them both killed.

"How dare you leave me all alone while you go to fucking ANTARCTICA!!!! What the fuck is so great about Antarctica anyway? Do they have hot Antarctican strippers on the base? I bet that's what it is. You're cheating on me with a whale!!!!!"

She laughs with tears in her eyes.

"Baby I told you.. \Looking at Logan glaring at him in the rear-view\** It's.... it's classified".

"CLASSIFIED CLASSIFIED THAT'S ALL YOU EVER SAY! I'M YOUR WIFE!!!!!!! YOU'RE SUPPOSED TO TELL ME THINGS ANYWAY!!!
Like that time you told me about the space craft they found in New Mexico. And the portal in Africa. And the pasta colander Gina found in Switzerland"- hiccuuppp

"....The particle collider in Geneva, Switzerland*... Dear you're so drunk... Please.."

"YEAH THAT THING!!!! IF YOU TOLD ME ABOUT THAT WHY CAN'T YOU TELL ME WHAT'S GOING ON IN ANTARCTICA!?"

".... I'm so sorry sir she had a little too much to drink tonight. You can just let us out over here. Thank you. Here's a tip. For the disturbance."

He hands Logan $100 bill. As if to keep quiet about what he had just heard.

"Hey" said Logan to the man who had just handed him a crisp hundo.

Being a conspiracy nut himself and having done tons of research on Antarctica, Logan needed to know more but he couldn't let on that he wanted to know more.

"Are you guys hiring? For... for that trip I mean... Uber... doesn't pay very well at all. And well... I could reaaally get out of this damned heat, a change of pace in Antarctica sounds exciting."

Faking desperation, thinking it would help his case. People sometimes take pity on you if you plead nicely, Logan has learned.

"I'm not supposed to say... and normally I wouldn't. But.. you've got that same look in your eye that I once had. So... I definitely did not tell you that we're leaving from Los Angeles in 2 days. And if you were somehow to show up at this address with a suitcase and a sad story, you might get hired as a cook on board our ship. The captain has a soft spot for sad stories. But I didn't say that. Have a good night."

Logan thought for a minute.

"A cook... hmm... I don't know how to cook...But I gotta get on that boat somehow...
I don't have a lot of money either.. Ahhhh who am I kidding. Me? Antarctica? Pshhhhhhh"

With a swipe of his finger on his smart phone that fit snug into the cup holder of his silver and black SUV, he logged off the UBER app and headed to the Circus Circus with a crisp hundred dollar bill.

He hands his keys to the parking attendant who gives him a claim ticket.

"You can come to me later for free parking validation sir!!"

"Thanks......Hmm.. I like what they did with the remodel" Logan says under his breath as he passes a gaudy slot machine decorated with polar bears, ice bergs and a huge fan set up to blow cold air on your face every time you pull the lever.

"Worth it just to get out of the heat, I'd say.."
Something pulled him towards that specific slot machine. Maybe it was the remnant of a frantic woman drunkenly babbling on about government conspiracies or maybe it was... fate.

With a fold, a tug and a whirling grinding of the tiny conveyor belt, Logan had a feeling he would never see that hundred dollar bill again.

Part of a 50s doo-wap song begins to play on the machine before a loud obnoxious voice takes over.

"ARE YOU READY TO PLAY BYEEEEEEE POLARRRRRR!!!!!! LETS GET READY TO CRUMBLLLLLLLEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!.... THESE ICE BERGS!!!!!!! Choose your bet and pull the lever! Try max bet for a chance to win 20 free spins and an entry into our million dollar jackpot at the end of the night!!!!!"

"Yeah right... I just want the free buffet. It's reasonable? Come on. Give me a buffet"
As Logan presses max bet, pulls the lever and the warm musty air blows on his face from the fan that obviously needs a can of freon, Logan can't help but wonder if he should have just got a buffet with the hundred dollar bill.

"Well too late now"

The machine starts whirling and spinning, a video of a big ice wall pops up as a bunch of birds in military uniforms attempt to jump over it as each number counts down.

Sorry you lose. Admiral Bird is sad. Try again?

Logan goes to spin again but it won't budge. He glances over at the sign that reads "Max Bet $100"

"Wow I spent $100 on one spin???? Are you serious??? What a rip off..."

As Logan stands up from the chair that looked more like a throne and had 10 ice swords sticking out of it with a vortex in the middle, he hears another whirling printing noise coming from the machine.

"Keep this ticket for the million dollar drawing at the end of the night! Your number is 74819!! If 74819 gets called, show this ticket to the concierge to collect your prize. Not valid if you leave the casino before the drawing. Not valid if you go to the bathroom before the drawing. Not valid if folded. Not valid if you validate your parking. Void where prohibited"

"Geeez what a load of crap.. Not valid not valid, you'd think they would just print "GFYS" and be done with it".

$100 was all Logan was willing to spend at the casino. He knows the slots are rigged, but he also knows they're on a certain percentage payout, meaning if enough money goes in, some money has to come out. $100 is his limit. It's a rule. With a rule like that you'd think he knows what he's doing, except the most he's ever won was $900 on a malfunctioning roulette machine in Atlantic City.

Logan heads for the door to go validate his parking when he hears on the loud speaker:

"Greeeeetings Circus Circus fam!!! We're about to announce the winner of our million dollar jackpot drawing. BEtter not VaLidAte your parking just yet!! We'll be calling out one number every 5 minutes until the final number is drawn!!!!"

Logan looks at the parking attendant and snatches his ticket back before he had a chance to stamp it.

"Awe mannnnn they pay me for every stamp" The attendant with red hair and braces cried.

"Shut up kid, I'm trying to hear this"

"ANd nOw the MOMENT YOU'VE ALL been waiting for.... the million dollar drawing!! FIRST NUMBER IN 30 SECONDS!!!!!"

The parking attendant tries to stamp Logan's ticket without him noticing. Logan stares at him with a Bruce Lee stare that said "I'll kill you with subtitles".

"If your number has a 3 in itttttttttt!!!!!!!!" - Logan exhales and reaches to give the parking attendant the ticket he's been drooling over like Gollum at a wedding rehearsal.

"Then you're out of luck because the first number is 7!!!!!!!!"

"NOT TODAY GOLLUM!!!!!!!" - Logan snatches the ticket back and starts to run as the attendant hisses.

The attendant chases Logan around the casino with his freshly inked stamp while each number brings him closer to the prize. Logan careful not to fold it or enter any bathrooms before the final number gets called.

Finally Logan seemed to lose the red haired parking attendant and found refuge sitting near an old lady in fishnet stockings playing a fortune teller slot.

Trying to keep his cool knowing he's only 1 number away from a million dollar jackpot (minus taxes of course), he tries to make small talk with the aunt-like fishnet wearer.

"So.. do you have one of those tickets too?"

A little giggle comes out as the woman pulls the lever to the slot in front of her.

"No..... I don't. But I do have.... a PARKING VALIDATION STAMP!!!!!!!"

What Logan thought to be a nice old woman woman turns her head to reveal a toothy grin from the red haired parking attendant.

"Holy shit what are they paying you guys???? I'm not even mad.. That's impressive.. No really, like how you did your eye shadow? It's a lovely color on you. It looks like Egyptian markings!"

The parking attendant blushes.
"Oh you really think -"

*AND NOW THE FINAL NUMBER!!!! 9!!!!!! If your ticket says 74819 then head to the cashier right away to collect your prize!!!!!"

Logan takes off running towards the cashier. The attendant doesn't chase after him, instead just sits there feeling sad because he actually thought Logan was complimenting his eye shadow.

"I would have let him off the hook ya know. I've validated parking for so long, no one ever... validated my markings....."

Some time later, Logan sitting in the back room of the Circus Circus cashier cage with a team of people making sure that he didn't get his parking validated or took a bathroom break, trying to find any loop hole to deny him a payout.

A short chubby bald man holding a cigar, dressed in a short black suit snarled at Logan while a team of data scientists prepare Matplotlib graphs from camera footage in Jupyter Notebooks on a server a few feet away. The short man looked like Dr Eggman played by Danny Devito joining the Men in Black.

"Okay Fine you got us, kid. Here take your damned cash. You earned it fair and square."

Leading Logan into the "back-back" room filled with the sound of cash rolling through the electrical money counters and yellow paper bands with a tiny bit of glue being wrapped around and tightened against stacks of green currency with old men's pictures printed in the center to denote dollar amount.

"1 million dollars. Minus taxes and parking attendant therapy fee that's 6 hundred thousand, 3 hundred and 68 dollars annnnd 46 cents." The short balding Eggman said.

"Parking attendant therapy fee? Seriously?"

"Look kid, we can give you 6 hundred grand and change or free parking validation. Which will it be???"

Sensing that this isn't your average casino, and that this isn't an average situation, realizing the reality that he was just hours ago driving for $10 dollars a ride, now having over half a million after tax dollars in his face, he said what any human in his position would say.

"I'll take the cash...."

2 days, 40 grand and 5 high class call girls later..

Logan arrives to the address scribbled on the back of an Ale house business card. Turns out it was an abandoned building. The guy was just messing with him.

"I drove 4 hours for nothing.. Maybe she was just wasted. Antarctica sounded so cool though. The mystery. I need to know what they're hiding... Man how am I gonna get to Antarctica?"

Driving down the industrial complex, Logan spots a travel agency. "Maybe they have a cruise?"

The door opens with a BEEEEEEP and a jingle of door chimes with the atmosphere of a knock off 7/11 on a back alley road. It even had those little red and green door beads that lead to the back room where you just know there's a round table and an elderly group of ethnic gentlemen in tank tops smoking cigarettes and complaining about the "races".

"Can I help you?" A tall dark gentleman in a red and yellow Hawaiian shirt with curly black hair said in a rough southern British accent. Which was weird because he seemed.. not British.

"Uh...... yes do you guys have anything for Antarctica?"

"Ohhh quite booked up eeem'afraid. Yup till September."

"Well that's only next week..."

"Of 2022 eem'afrraiid, yup it's quite a while yup."

"Why... are you talking like that?"

"Look we're booked up bruv. If you wanna have a go at one of our Hawaiian cruises I can put you on the next boat to Waikiki which leaves in an hour."

"Dude come on, how can I get to Antarctica? I got money..."

"How much money?"

"I'll spend 100k on it if I have to. I want to go to Antarctica."

"Hmmmmmmmmm wellll woi didn'tcha say so govna, come on back let's have a look at our private charters why don't we".

The clearly not British man in the tacky Hawaiian shirt led Logan down past the rasta beads to the back room which.. looked exactly as Logan presumed


"Ayeeeeeee Earl man wants to go to Antarctica. Got 100k"

"100k? To go to Antarctica? Why? Can't he wait til 2022 it's only 4k. What's the rush?"

Both the tall dark gentleman stare confused at Logan. Logan himself looks a bit bewildered.

When he really thought about it, he hadn't even made a plan. "Just get to Antarctica" was the plan. But as to what was next once he got there he hadn't given really much thought.

"To be honest I have no clue myself, I just... wanna go. See the sights.."
Logan said not wanting to raise any red flags.

"THATS E SPEEEREEEET" the clearly not British man shouted, as both Logan and his counter-part looked frightened.

"Sorry... I mean... yeah man that's the spirit!"

Earl peered down at Logan through his black rimmed prescription glasses in confusion and doubt, wondering if he's actually got the 100k to spend.

"For 100k I'll take ye there and back. But how'loi know you got the monay" said Earl who didn't before but now has a very thick Scottish accent.

"Well I just won a jackpot from the Circus Circus in Vegas. See here's a bag full of money. They even zip locked stacks for me at a nominal fee."

"Circus Circus eh? A wise guy eh? Oi want payment up front and en cash. And ye gotta sign a waver, if'n ye die in and or around the boat during any time from here to Antarctica and back, you hold SaberTooth Charter LLC indemifiable for all liability and such."

The other clearly not British man chimed in "Yeah indemnifiable!"

".......I'm gonna have to think about it...." Logan said, backing away slowly, clearly uncomfortable, trying to peacefully exit the building.

"Okay fine fine... I'll drop the accent and you can pay half now, half when we get there. 3 meals a day, whole crew ready to do your bidding. It'll take 4 weeks. We'll stop in Guadalajara, El Salvador, Ecuador, Peru, Chile straight to Antarctica. If you've got any specific spots you'd like to check out along the way, we'll try to accommodate you. Fair enough?"

"Deal." said Logan.

(Chapter Two)
submitted by thabat to HFY [link] [comments]

My List Of True Crime Books That Are (Primarily) Not About Murder.

This is my third list for this sub. I hope you enjoy it.
ART THIEVES, FORGERS, SMUGGLERS.
The Art of the Steal by Christopher Mason. A true story about the auction houses Sotheby’s and Christie’s and how they conspired to cheat their clients out of millions of dollars.
The Billionaire’s Vinegar: The Mystery of the World’s Most Expensive Bottle of Wine by Benjamin Wallace. The most expensive bottle of wine and the conflicting reports about its history. This is a book that would enchant wine conessi… conues… lovers.
The Gardner Heist: The True Story of the World’s Largest Unsolved Art Theft by Ulrich Boser. Author Ulrich Boser looks at the unsolved art theft case of Boston’s Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.
The Golden Spruce: A True Story of Myth, Madness, and Greed by John Vaillant. Grant Hadwin, a logger-turned-activist, fells a unique 165 feet Sitka spruce in an act of protest. John Vaillant takes the readers into the heart of North America’s last great forest to find out why he did that.
Hitler’s Art Thief: Hildebrand Gurlitt, the Nazis, and the Looting of Europe’s Treasures by Susan Ronald. Hildebrand Gurlitt was an art thief, or as he put it himself, an ‘official dealer’ for Hitler and Goebbels. But he stole from the Jews and Nazis alike. This book was published after his hoard was recently (2013) discovered which created an international furor.
The Irish Game: A True Story of Crime and Art by Matthew Hart. This book is about the art theft at Ireland’s Russborough House in 1986. The suspect, a gangster named Martin Cahill, played cat and mouse with police for years.
The Island of Lost Maps: A True Story of Cartographic Crime by Miles Harvey. When you think about stealing some valuable art, do maps come to your mind? Then this book is for you. Gilbert Joseph Bland Jr. stole numerous centuries-old maps from research libraries in US and Canada.
I Was Vermeer: The Rise and Fall of the Twentieth Century’s Greatest Forger by Frank Wynne. Han van Meegeren became so much adapt at forging Vermeer paintings that it is said that even professional experts would find it difficult to point out his works from the originals. He earned more than $50 million by selling his forgeries – and he even swindled the Nazis.
The Lizard King: The True Crimes and Passions of the World’s Greatest Reptile Smugglers by Bryan Christy. Reptile smuggling is a big “business”. The author, a federal agent, suspected a reptile business owner of being a major smuggler and he started investigating. It was not as simple as it sounds because at one point he was chased by a mother alligator and even bitten by a python.
The Lost Chalice: The Epic Hunt for a Priceless Masterpiece by Vernon Silver. A 2500 year old cup made by the Greek master Euphronios which depicted the fall of Troy gets stolen and sold (along with 3 other such vessels). Then due to the questionable practice of some art dealers, no one can track down its last known owner.
The Lost Painting by Jonathan Harr. With nothing better to do, the author embarks on a journey to discover a Caravaggio painting which was lost to time two hundred years ago.
The Man Who Loved Books Too Much: The True Story of a Thief, a Detective, and a World of Literary Obsession by Allison Hoover Bartlett. John Charles Gilkey stole rare books not because he wanted to make profit as most thieves do, but because he loved books. I guess if you want to call yourself a book-reader but don’t actually want to say… read a book, you could just steal them and show them off to your friends. But who are we to question the wisdom of “booklovers”, right?
The Orchid Thief: A True Story of Beauty and Obsession by Susan Orlean. If you thought that stealing maps is a weird “job” to have, how about stealing a rare breed of flower? We all know about the Tulipomania that gripped Netherlands in the 1630s. But this is a modern tale, and the book is perhaps one of the most popular ones on this list.
Priceless: How I Went Undercover to Rescue the World’s Stolen Treasures by Robert K. Wittman, John Shiffman. This book is about Robert K. Wittman, FBI’s founder of the Art Crime Team and his undercover missions around the world to rescue various pieces of stolen art.
Provenance: How a Con Man and a Forger Rewrote the History of Modern Art by Laney Salisbury. You could have a Jackson Pollock lying around in your basement, but if you can’t prove that the piece is real, you might as well use it as a table cloth (I might have exaggerated there a bit, but you get the point). John Myatt, a struggling artist, and John Drewe, a conman who knew the importance of Provenance in the art world, duped many people and museums by creating a fake paper trial that seemed to prove that the art was a real thing and not a forgery. So much so that the experts believe that there might still be some fake paintings created by Myatt displayed in prominent places as the real thing.
The Rescue Artist: A True Story of Art, Thieves, and the Hunt for a Missing Masterpiece by Edward Dolnick. Dolnick writes about the theft of Edvard Munch’s The Scream from the National Gallery in Oslo in 1994 and the subsequent investigation that took place to track it down.
Selling Hitler by Robert Harris In mid-eighties, Hitler’s diaries were “discovered” and many experts fell for the con. The backpeddling many did when it was revealed that the diaries were not real is really amusing to read about.
Shell Games: Rogues, Smugglers, and the Hunt for Nature’s Bounty by Craig Welch. This book is about the poaching of a larger-than-life clam – a Geoduck, to be precise, and the subsequent chase from the wildlife police to nab the poacher.
Stealing History: Tomb Raiders, Smugglers and the Looting of the Ancient World by Roger Atwood. This book provides a sweeping history of thefts of various priceless antiques.
Stealing the Mystic Lamb: The True Story of the World’s Most Coveted Masterpiece by Noah Charney. The twelve panel oil-painting of the Mystic Lamb is the most frequently stolen artwork in the world. It was stolen 13 times. One wonders whether they could have guarded it a little better after the first couple of times, you know. Anyway, this book describes the events of each theft.
Stolen World: A Tale of Reptiles, Smugglers, and Skulduggery by Jennie Erin Smith. Two reptile smugglers compete against each other to conquer the illegal trade for themselves. The funny thing is, the Zoos stood against them in the courts, but they had no problem buying rare fauna from the two smugglers, sometimes simultaneously.
Tangled Vines: Greed, Murder, Obsession, and an Arsonist in the Vineyards of California by Frances Dinkelspiel. A massive fire destroyed wines worth $250 million in a California warehouse, making it the largest destruction of wine in history. It was done by a conman named Mark Anderson, who rented storage space at the same warehouse. This book tells why he did that and also goes into the surprisingly bloody history of wine trade in California. (reads well with cranberry juice).
Vanished Smile: The Mysterious Theft of Mona Lisa by R. A. Scotti. On August 21, 1911, a man walked out of the Louvre with the Mona Lisa tucked inside his coat (should have painted it bigger, eh Vinci?). I am not going to spoil this book for anyone. Read it if you want to know whether Mona Lisa was recovered or was lost to time forever.
CARTELS, GANGS, UNDERWORLD.
American Desperado: My Life --- From Mafia Soldier to Cocaine Cowboy to Secret Government Asset by Jon Roberts, Evan Wright. Jon Roberts, who starred in documentary Cocaine Cowboys tells his story to the journalist Evan Wright in this book. Roberts smuggled drugs to Miami for the Medellin Cartel (which will feature many times in this category).
At the Devil’s Table: The Untold Story of the Insider Who Brought Down the Cali Cartel by William C. Rempel. This is Narcos Season 3, basically. Remember the family guy who gets involved with the Cali Cartel and mops around for the whole season even though he had an unbelievably hot wife who was clearly out of his league? That character was based on Rempel. And if I must say so, the book is more compelling than that season of Narcos. Nothing can beat Agent Pena, though.
Black Mass: The True Story of an Unholy Alliance Between the FBI and the Irish Mob by Dick Lehr, Gerard O’Neill. The story of James ‘Whitey’ Bulger – the head of the Irish Mob in Boston - who became an informant for the FBI and chaos ensued. Depp plays Whitey Bulger in the movie adaptation with a soggy tortilla glued to his face as make-up.
Blow: How a Small -Town Bay Made $100 Million with the Medellin Cocaine Cartel and Lost it All by Bruce Porter. Another book where Johnny Depp plays the main character in the movie adaptation. This book is about George Jung, who after meeting Carlos Lehder, started selling cocaine in the United States through Medellin Cartel.
Cocaine Diaries: A Venezuelan Prison Nightmare by Paul Keany, Jeff Farrell. Paul Keany was caught smuggling half-a-million euro worth of cocaine into Venezuela. He was sentenced to 8 years in prison. Now, prisons everywhere aren’t exactly fun places to be, but Los Teques where Keany was incarcerated was nothing short of hell on earth.
Confessions of a Yakuza by Junichi Saga. Junichi Saga was a doctor by profession. A patient, who was a former Yakuza, recounted his life story before him. Saga recorded the conversations, and broke doctor-patient confidentiality by writing this book.
Doctor Dealer: The Rise and Fall of an All-American Boy and His Multimillion-Dollar Cocaine Empire by Mark Bowden. A dentist named Larry Lavin builds the foundation for a cocaine empire in the United States.
Donnie Brasco by Joseph D. Pistone, Richard Woodley. Joseph D. Pistone, an FBI agent, goes undercover for six years to infiltrate the Mafia. Do watch the movie too, it is Depp’s last movie without weird make-up.
El Narco: Inside Mexico’s Criminal Insurgency by Ioan Grillo. Journalist Ioan Grillo has written, arguably, the definitive book on Mexican drug cartels. Why he is still alive is anybody’s guess.
Gang Leader for a Day: A Rogue Sociologist Takes to the Streets by Sudhir Venkatesh. Venkatesh, who was a sociology grad student at the time, infiltrated one of Chicago’s most notorious gangs. This is one of a kind type of book.
Gomorrah by Roberto Saviano. This book is about the Italian Crime Network called Camorra in Naples, Italy. Due to his intensive investigative journalism which exposed lot of insider information about the crime syndicate, author Saviano still has to live under constant police protection.
The Good Mothers: The True Story of the Women Who Took on the World’s Most Powerful Mafia by Alex Perry. This is a recent book, where the author Alex Perry looks inside the ruthless Calabrian Mafia of Italy and three women who want to save their own and their children’s lives. This is a fascinating and courageous look into an aspect of the Mafia which is often overlooked by most.
Hunting El Chapo: The Inside Story of the American Lawman Who Captured the World’s Most Wanted Drug-Lord by Andrew Hogan, Douglas Century. Remember when Joaquin Guzman was caught for the first time and then he escaped and then he was caught again for good? Yes? Then read this one. But this book only focuses on the operation that nabbed him for the first time. I must warn you though – the author, Andrew Hogan – is really really in love with himself and it seeps into his writing.
The Infiltrator: My Secret Life Inside the Dirty Banks Behind Pablo Escobar’s Medellin Cartel by Robert Mazur. Mazur went undercover and actually became a money launderer for Pablo Escobar. This book is more about how bankers actively helped to launder the drug money and how Mazur helped to bring them down.
Killing Pablo: The Hunt for the World’s Greatest Outlaw by Mark Bowden. This is the best book about tracking and eventually killing Pablo Escobar. And as Walter Jr. pointed out to Walter White, it focuses on the good guys, not the bad ones. Good companion book to Pablo Escobar: My Father written by Escobar’s son.
Marching Powder: A True Story of Friendship, Cocaine, and South America’s Strangest Jail by Rusty Young. The author stays inside San Pedro jail for months with a drug smuggler to chronicle his tale. This is one of the most popular books written on cocaine smuggling.
McMafia: A Journey Through the Global Criminal Underworld by Misha Glenny. This is a thorough investigation into organized crime worldwide which accounts for 1/5th of total GDP of the world. This book would please readers who are into extensively researched true-crime history books, not so much a casual reader (inb4 - I just read 5 pages of McMafia and wow… just wow).
Mr. Blue: Memoirs of a Renegade by Edward Bunker. Edward Bunker had had an eventful life. Incarceration for two and a half decades, being on FBI’s most wanted list, and being a crime novelist. This is his autobiography.
Mr. Nice by Howard Marks. Howard Marks started dealing dope in small quantities while he was studying at Oxford – as you do – and then eventually graduated to dealing it in tons (what the hell was he studying there? Oh, philosophy). This is his fascinating story.
Narcoland: The Mexican Drug Lords and Their Godfathers by Anabel Hernandez. Yet another book that resulted in the author getting death threats. This proves the old cliché true that the pen is mightier than the sword; until the sword comes down and cuts your neck. That’s why the author has to live under constant protection.
Narconomics: How to Run a Drug Cartel by Tom Wainwright. Any aspiring drug lords should read this instruction manual. Just kidding. Wainwright goes deep into the functioning of various drug cartels and at the end also comes up with a plan to defeat them.
News of a Kidnapping by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Little known author tries his hand at true-crime. Pablo Escobar kidnapped 10 journalists when he was on the run from the authorities. This book revolves around that event.
The Night it Rained Guns: Unravelling the Purulia Arms Drop Conspiracy by Chandan Nandy. On a December night in 1995, someone airdropped three weapons-laden wooden pallets over Purulia, West Bengal. Who did it and why? This book tells the story about one of India’s greatest ever security breaches.
No Angel: My Undercover Journey to the Inner Circle of the Hells Angels by Jay Dobyns, Nils Johnson-Shelton. Dobyns was the first federal agent to infiltrate the inner circle of the notorious biker gang. This is his story.
Pablo Escobar: My Father by Juan Pablo Escobar. Juan Pablo is an architect and lives and practices his trade in Argentina. Even though Pablo was his father, Juan does not try to justify his actions even a little bit. This is one of the best books written on Pablo Escobar.
The Snakehead: An Epic Tale of the Chinatown Underworld and the American Dream by Patrick Radden Keefe. Sister Ping, leader of the Chinese underworld in the US, earned $40 million a year smuggling people from China. Told from the viewpoints of gangsters, investigators, and poor immigrants alike, this book provides a unique window into the world of human smuggling.
Scores: How I Opened the Hottest Strip Club in New York City, Was Extorted out of Millions by the Gambino Family, and Became One of the Most Successful Mafia Informants in FBI History by Michael D. Blutrich. I am disappointed that they went with FBI instead of Federal Bureau of Investigation in the title. Should have made it longer. Scores: How I Opened the Hottest Strip Club in New York City on the 34th Street Just Opposite the Starbucks, Was Extorted out of 4.54 Millions and 55 Cents Plus Taxes by the Gambino Family, and Became One of the Most Successful Mafia Informants in Federal Bureau of Investigation History by Michael Dostoyevsky Blutrich
Tokyo Vice: An American Reporter on the Police Beat in Japan by Jake Adelstein. The author, working as a reporter in Japan, writes about the seedy underbelly of crime in the country.
The Untouchables by Eliot Ness, Oscar Fraley. Where’s Nitty? He’s in the car. Great movie. How Eliot Ness and his team started the downward spiral in criminal career of Al Capone. A somewhat embellished account was also written in the book, but nonetheless, it is a gripping tale.
Veerappan: Chasing the Brigand by K. Vijay Kumar. Koose Muniswamy Veerappan was the last big outlaw of India. A sandalwood smuggler who lived in the forest to evade the police, Veerappan killed hundreds of policemen and civilians. K. Vijay Kumar, the officer who led the task force that ultimately brought down the brigand, is the author of this book.
Wiseguy: Life in a Mafia Family by Nicholas Pileggi. I’m funny how, I mean funny like I’m a clown, I amuse you? Goodfellas is perhaps the best Mafia movie ever made, so read it in his own words why Pileggi might fold under questioning.
Zero Zero Zero by Roberto Saviano, Virginia Jewiss. This Saviano guy must have a death wish. But as a handsome list-writer once eloquently said, “If bitten already by a King Cobra, what difference it makes if you French kiss a Black Mamba?” Since the publication of his book on the Italian crime syndicate, Saviano has to live under constant police protection. So to make sure they don’t slack off, he wrote a book on Cocaine Cartel, this time acquiring lots of admirers in Latin America.
CONMEN, IMPOSTORS.
The Art of Making Money: The Story of a Master Counterfeiter by Jason Kersten. The Art of making money is to make other people work for you; not the other way round. But more scrupulous method of making money would be to counterfeit it. Art Williams did exactly that.
Catch Me If You Can: The True Story of a Real Fake by Frank W. Abagnale. Maybe the most popular book on this list, Abagnale Jr.’s book is not to be missed even if you have watched the movie starring the actor who had sex with a bear (no, not Tormund).
Charlatan: America’s Most Dangerous Huckster, the Man Who Pursued Him, and the Age of Flimflam by Pope Brock. One “Dr.” John R. Brinkley, set-up a medical practice to surgically insert goat glands in human testicles to restore their fading sex drive. I am not joking, this happened.
Conman: A Master Swindler’s Own Story by J. R. Weil, W. T. Brannon. Known as “Yellow Kid” Weil was a master conman, who duped public of more than $8 million 100 years ago. He’s called by many as the greatest conman of all time (second to the companies that charge service fees on the internet, of course).
Eyeing the Flash: The Making of a Carnival Con Artist by Peter Fenton. Fenton was a math student until he turned into a carnival con artist. How many bananas he stole from the monkeys? How many bales of potatoes from the elephants? Read this book to find out.
Inconvenient People: Lunacy, Liberty and the Mad-Doctors in Victorian England by Sarah Wise. If you have any annoying friends who romanticize the Victorian era and say that they would have liked to live there, tell them to read this book and get back to you after that.
The Man in the Rockefeller Suit: The Astonishing Rise and Spectacular Fall of a Serial Impostor by Mark Seal. This is the true story of one of the greatest impostors of all time. The man could have impersonated a chihuahua if he wanted to.
The Man Who Sold the Eiffel Tower by James Francis Johnson. Viktor Lustig sold the Eiffel Tower not once, but twice. I still have the relevant papers that my great grandfather left us. I’m going to shift it to Nauru or Detroit.
The Mark Inside: A Perfect Swindle, a Cunning Revenge, and a Small History of the Big Con by Amy Reading. This is a revenge story of a man who sets out to con the conmen who conned him twice. Unfortunately, the book could have been written better, but it is still worth having a look at.
Playing Dead: A Journey Through the World of Death Fraud by Elizabeth Greenwood. I once tried playing dead in a meeting when asked about the progress on my project. But there are people who fake their death for lesser gains, such as insurance fraud and debt fraud. Author Elizabeth Greenwood journeys into the dark world of death fraud to find out more.
Ponzi’s Scheme: The True Story of a Financial Legend by Mitchell Zuckoff. Charles Ponzi was so successful in duping people that we have immortalized his name by terming such swindles after him. At one point, he was raking in $2 millions a week. How many weeks would it take you to earn 2 million dollars at your current income? (sorry, that got heavy fast. It hurt me too).
A Rum Affair: A True Story of Botanical Fraud by Karl Sabbagh. One botanist claimed that some species of plants on the islands south of Scotland survived the last Ice Age. Another botanist doubted him. This might not sound like a big fraud if you are not into plants, but believe me when I say that the 2 botanists who just read this threw their phones away in disgust and disbelief.
Starvation Heights: A True Story of Murder and Malice in the Woods of the Pacific Northwest by Gregg Olsen. A quack doctor named Linda Hazard developed a technique called “fasting treatment”. The story focuses on two sisters who fell for the quack’s assurances that they would be cured of all the diseases - real or imagined. This book is quite infuriating to read. Hazard was a despicable human being.
Swindled: From Poison Sweets to Counterfeit Coffee – The Dark History of the Food Cheats by Bee Wilson. Wilson looks from ancient Rome to current times for food frauds. And she finds them aplenty (companion read - while having a nice snack).
A Treasury of Deception: Liars, Misleaders, Hoodwinkers, and the Extraordinary True Stories of History’s Greatest Hoaxes, Fakes and Frauds by Michael Farquhar. This is a good bathroom book about fakers through history.
The Woman Who Wasn’t There: The True Story of an Incredible Deception by Robin Gaby Fisher, Angelo J. Guglielmo Jr. Have you heard about Tania Head? If you haven’t, I urge you to skip this book. Tania Head duped survivors of 9/11 and the whole world alike into believing that she was one of the survivors from the South Tower of World Trade Center. I feel enraged just by typing this. So just read this book if you want to know more about her. There are a couple of documentaries out there too.
HACKERS.
The Cuckoo’s Egg: Tracking a Spy Through the Maze of Computer Espionage by Clifford Stoll. Long before internet became a place for cat memes, Cliff Stoll was working at a research lab as a systems manager. One day he found 75 cents of accounting error. This made him alert that an unauthorized person was logging into the system. Thus began his lone effort of tracking down the spy.
Exploding the Phone: The Untold Story of the Teenagers and Outlaws Who Hacked Ma Bell by Phil Lapsley. Before there was internet, or even personal computers, mobsters and teenagers hacked the telephone system.
Ghost in the Wires: My Adventures as the World’s Most Wanted Hacker by Kevin D. Mitnick, William L. Simon. The book tells the story of one of the best hackers of all times, Kevin Mitnick, and his cat and mouse game with the FBI.
The Spider Network: The Wild Story of a Math Genius, a Gang of Backstabbing Bankers, and One of the Greatest Scams in Financial History by David Enrich. A group of bankers manipulated daily interest rates just a fraction here and there on loans worth trillions of dollars and made some serious cash for themselves. This book also rocks one of the ugliest book covers of 2017.
MUTINEERS, PIRATES, OUTLAWS.
Batavia’s Graveyard: The True Story of the Mad Heretic Who Led History’s Bloodiest Mutiny by Mike Dash. I was torn whether to include this book in the list as the history of Batavia’s mutiny is littered with corpses. But as the focus is on the mutiny, I am going to keep it here. This event could give the Medusa’s raft a run for its money.
The Floating Brothel: The Extraordinary True Story of an Eighteenth-Century Ship and its Cargo of Female Convicts by Sian Rees. Poor girls in England, most of who were petty thieves, were given a chance to sail to Botany Bay in Australia to create a new life for themselves and the male population of New South Wales. But the real story happened at the sea on board the ship Lady Julian.
The Last Outlaws: The Lives and Legends of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid by Thom Hatch. Butch: What happened to the old bank? It was beautiful. Guard: People kept robbing it. Butch: Small price to pay for beauty. The book might not be full of memorable dialogues as the movie, but if you want to know more about the legendary outlaws, give this book a chance.
Lost Paradise: From Mutiny on the Bounty to a Modern-Day Legacy of Sexual Mayhem, the Dark Secrets of Pitcairn Island Revealed by Kathy Marks. Mutiny of the Bounty is perhaps the most infamous of mutinies that occurred at sea. Even after the event and hundreds of years later, the descendants of Fletcher Christian and his sailors continue to live a crime-filled life like their forefathers on Pitcairn Island.
The Pirate Hunter: The True Story of Captain Kidd by Richard Zacks. This book will change your perception of Captain Kidd, that’s for sure.
To Hell on a Fast Horse: Billy the Kid, Pat Garrett, and the Epic Chase to Justice in the Old West by Mark Lee Gardner. This non-fiction book concentrates on Sheriff Pat Garrett’s chase in pursuit of the bandit Billy the Kid. If you like reading westerns, this one and The Last Outlaws are not to be missed.
Under the Black Flag: The Romance and the Reality of Life Among the Pirates by David Cordingly. Cordingly takes a look at life among the pirates. Some of your romanticism would be squashed, but there were some good things about being a pirate too. Life among the pirates was neither black nor white; it was beige.
POLITICAL CRIMES
Arms and the Dudes: How Three Stoners from Miami Beach Became the Most Unlikely Gunrunners in History by Guy Lawson. Three kids won a 300 million dollar contract – legitimately – I must add, to supply ammunition to the Afghanistan military. They had no money, but still they almost pulled it off. I don’t know, read this book, and if you’re a US citizen, visit the websites mentioned in the book, see if they are still doing business the same way, and if you want, you can become a supplier to the army too. Don’t forget to send me my cut (the movie War Dogs was trash).
The Brother: The Untold Story of Atomic Spy David Greenglass and How He Sent His Sister, Ethel Rosenberg, to the Electric Chair by Sam Roberts. Even if you’re not a United Statian of American (USians?), chances are you might have read at least something about the execution of the Rosenberg couple as spies. This is probably the best book about the subject.
Curveball: Spies, Lies, and the Man Behind Them: How America Went to War in Iraq by Bob Drogin. How many weapons of mass destruction were found in Iraq? If your answer is “what’s that?” then congratulations, you’re not unlike one of your former presidents. Who told the USians that there were WMDs with Saddam? Curveball.
The Confessions of an Economic Hitman by John Perkins. Perkins was an economic hitman, who at the instruction of US intelligence agencies and giant corporations cajoled and blackmailed other country leaders to serve US foreign policy and award lucrative contracts to American businesses (now that job has been transferred to the White House).
A Kim Jong – Il Production: The Extraordinary True Story of a Kidnapped Filmmaker, His Star Actress, and a Young Dictator’s Rise to Power by Paul Fischer. Say you want to make a big movie for your country. But there is no one in your country who can handle such an ambitious project. What do you do? Hire some talent from other country? But you’re Kim Jong – Il. Oh. Then you just kidnap them, and force them to make the glorious movie of yours. Read this book. It’s pretty absurd (the movie they eventually made for Kim was utter shit. The Room would look like Gone with the Wind compared to that abomination).
The Nuclear Jihadist: The True Story of the Man Who Sold the World’s Most Dangerous Secrets… And How We Could Have Stopped Him by Douglas Frantz, Catherine Collins. One day a man Abdul Qadeer Khan caught a plane to Pakistan from Europe. With him he had blueprints of the mechanism that could prepare weapons grade Uranium that he had stolen from the lab he worked at in the last 3 years. He would make the first atomic bomb for Pakistan with that information. Then he sold the tech to stable countries like Iran, North Korea and Libya. How can someone get away with stealing such powerful information? Read this book to find out.
Operation Paperclip: The Secret Intelligence Program that Brought Nazi Scientists to America by Annie Jacobsen. This is a pretty controversial topic that has only gained wider acknowledgement in recent decades. Read this book to know in detail how bogus the claims of justice being served to the perpetrators of the Holocaust were. Basically, if you were a scientist, you were very likely to be acquitted from any War Crimes allegations.
The Real Odessa: How Peron Brought the Nazi War Criminals to Argentina by Uki Goni. How did most of the Nazis who managed to escape from Germany ended up in South America? Read about the collusion of various entities and institutions that made it possible in this book.
The Spy Who Couldn’t Spell: A Dyslexic Traitor, an Unbreakable Code, and the FBI’s Hunt for America’s Stolen Secrets by Yudhijit Bhattacharjee. This is the true story of a mole in FBI, how he attempted to sell classified information and how FBI tried to track him down.
ROBBERIES, HEISTS.
Ballad of the Whiskey Robber: A True Story of Bank Heists, Ice Hockey, Transylvanian Pelt Smuggling, Moonlighting Detectives, and Broken Hearts by Julian Rubinstein. If there is one thief in this list that I admire, it is without a doubt, Attila Ambrus. Ambrus was known as a gentleman thief, who would ask – no, request - the teller to fill his bag with money. If you read this book, it would be hard for you to dislike Attila even though he was a thief.
Confessions of a Master Jewel Thief by Bill Mason, Lee Gruenfeld. Bill Mason looted many famous personalities in his long career as a jewel thief. In this book he tells how he did it.
The Feather Thief: Beauty, Obsession, and the Natural History Heist of the Century by Kirk W. Johnson. Do you know there are people whose hobby is fly tying? The feathery thing that you attach to the hook to catch fish? But these are not your average fly tiers. They use feathers from exotic birds to create different ties whose total cost could run in thousands of dollars. Moreover, many of the most coveted birds are either protected or extinct. So one night a man named Edwin Rist broke into Tring museum and took hundreds of bird skins, some that belonged to Darwin, to fuel his hobby and even getting rich by selling precious feathers to other tiers. Don’t miss this book.
Finders Keepers: The Story of a Man Who Found $1 Million by Mark Bowden. Who hasn’t dreamt of finding a big bag of money? It couldn’t have happened to a more clueless person. Joey Coyle, to be exact.
Flawless: Inside the Largest Diamond Heist in History by Scott Andrew Selby. The theft from Antwerp that still raises many questions.
Go Down Together: The True, Untold Story of Bonnie and Clyde by Jeff Guinn. The truth is not that romantic.
The Great Pearl Heist: London’s Greatest Thief and Scotland Yard’s Hunt for the World’s Most Valuable Necklace by Molly Caldwell Crosby. Pearls, more valuable than the Hope Diamond, are stolen by thieves in Edwardian London.
The Great Train Robbery by Michael Crichton. My favorite Crichton book. Stealing gold from a running train! Watch the movie too that stars the great Sean Connery.
Heist: The Oddball Crew Behind the $17 Million Loomis Fargo Theft by Jeff Diamant. How hard is it to steal 17 million dollars? As far as these thieves were concerned, not much. Getting away with it was another thing altogether. The movie was pretty average, I think.
Into the Blast: The True Story of DB Cooper by Skipp Porteous, Robert Blevins. Is Tommy Wiseau DB Cooper? If only that was true. Read the book but don’t expect any clear-cut answers (I think most people would agree that the clumsy bastard died after he jumped from the plane).
A Pickpocket’s Tale: The Underworld of Nineteenth-Century New York by Timothy J. Gilfoyle. True story of George Appo, a pickpocket living in nineteenth-century New York.
Sex on the Moon: The Amazing Story Behind the Most Audacious Heist in History by Ben Mezrich. A guy steals moon rocks from NASA and then had sex on them with his girlfriend (how the hell is that comfortable?)
The Stranger in the Woods: The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit by Michael Finkel. The last hermit was not a hermit in true sense. He didn’t rely on land to feed himself. He stole from the nearby community. Before someone says I have spoiled the book for them, it is revealed in the first chapter that he is a thief.
WHITE COLLAR CRIMES.
Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup by John Carreyrou. The Steve Jobs impersonator, Elizabeth Holmes, CEO of Theranos, and her old boyfriend, Sunny, are some of the most vile people that I have come across while reading about corporate crime. This is one of the best books that I have read this year.
Den of Thieves by James B. Stewart. This is probably the most famous book written about those Wall Street scoundrels.
Empire of Deception: The Incredible Story of a Master Swindler Who Seduced a City and Captivated the Nation by Dean Jobb. The story of Leo Koretz, who created one of the longest running Ponzi schemes in the 1920s Chicago.
The Informant by Kurt Eichenwald. Mark Whitacre becomes an FBI informant against his own corporation. But as time goes by, the FBI starts to realize that Mark is not as truthful as he seems to be, and he has his own agenda (they made a movie with Matt Damon).
Octopus: Sam Israel, the Secret Market, and Wall Street’s Wildest Con by Guy Lawson. Sam Israel’s hedge fund was making heavy losses. So naturally, he fabricated fake returns to fool the investors. Then he heard about a secret market from where he could convert his millions into billions. That’s how he lost the last 150 million dollars of his invertors’ money.
Red Notice: A True Story of High Finance, Murder, and One Man’s Fight for Justice by Bill Browder. Only thing you are going to learn from this book is don’t do business in Russia.
The Smartest Guys in the Room: The Amazing Rise and Scandalous Fall of Enron by Bethany McLean, Peter Elkind. Bethany McLean asked one simple question in her article when everyone else was going gaga over Enron. “What does Enron actually do?” Nobody knew. Even Enron couldn’t give a specific answer. They were not just committing accounting fraud; they were looting ordinary people by creating fake shortage of electricity and driving the prices high. The documentary is worth watching too.
Stung: The Incredible Obsession of Brian Molony by Gary Stephen Ross. The guy Molony debited huge amounts of money from the bank he worked at to feed his gambling addiction. Oh, and he took the money in other people’s name who held huge accounts there. This is one of the best true-crime books that I have ever read.
Three Cups of Deceit: How Greg Mortenson, Humanitarian Hero, Lost His Way by Jon Krakauer. You know the man who builds schools in remote regions of Afghanistan and Pakistan? Great guy, right? Krakauer doesn’t think so. And he’ll tell you why in this short book.
The Wizard of Lies: Bernie Madoff and the Death of Trust by Diana B. Henriques. 65 billion dollars. That’s the amount that Madoff swindled from people through decades of fraud. I think I can buy a small island country with this much money. The idiot is in jail though. I don’t know, maybe after a couple of billion, skip to a country with no extradition treaty and live the rest of your life without the fear of being getting caught? But then, these types of people don’t know when to stop.
OTHER.
American Roulette: How I Turned the Odds Upside Down --- My Wild Twenty-Five-Year Ride Ripping Off World’s Casinos by Richard Marcus. The guy ripped-off casinos all over the world by stealing gaming chips while maintaining an illusion of a highroller to lend his eventual take required legitimacy.
Breaking the Rock: The Great Escape from Alcatraz by Jolene Babyak. Written by the daughter of a guard at Alcatraz, this book tells the story of the infamous escape from the prison island. Don’t forget to watch the classic movie too.
Bringing Down the House: The Inside Story of Six MIT Students Who Took Vegas for Millions by Ben Mezrich. The movie 21 was based on this book. But if you want to know the real story, without the whitewashing, you have no choice but to read this book.
Disposable People: New Slavery in the Global Economy by Kevin Bales. Kevin Bales estimates that there are 27 million people worldwide who live as slaves, right now. And yes, slavery still exists in United States of America in case you were wondering. This is a depressing book.
Fish: A Memoir of a Boy in a Man’s Prison by T. J. Parsell. Rape in prison is absolutely overlooked almost everywhere. Read this book if you can endure reading about helplessness page after page.
Hotel K: The Shocking Inside Story of Bali’s Most Notorious Jail by Kathryn Bonella. Prison systems in developing world differ from the developed one in one regard that the guards and officials there are more corrupt and hence are likely to look the other way when something bad is going down amongst the inmates. Kerobokan Jail in Bali is one of the worst among those.
The Hot House: Life Inside Leavenworth Prison by Pete Earley. The author interviewed inmates from Leavenworth Prison for two years. The book is the result of that labor.
The Laundrymen: Inside the World’s Third Largest Business by Jeffrey Robinson. I have a perfect idea to launder money. Laser Tag! Robinson looks at the third largest business in the world. The book was published a while ago, but still hasn’t lost most of its relevancy.
Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town by Jon Krakauer. Jon releases the Krakauer on one of the most relevant subjects of today. Rapes in colleges. These institutes would do anything to sweep things under the rug to maintain the illusion of clean image in the public eye.
Newjack: Guarding Sing Sing by Ted Conover. The author worked as a prison guard for a year at one of the most notorious prisons of the United States. This book is about his experience.
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My List Of True Crime Books That Are (Primarily) Not About Murder.

Cross-posting my list from books.
ART THIEVES, FORGERS, SMUGGLERS.
The Art of the Steal by Christopher Mason. A true story about the auction houses Sotheby’s and Christie’s and how they conspired to cheat their clients out of millions of dollars.
The Billionaire’s Vinegar: The Mystery of the World’s Most Expensive Bottle of Wine by Benjamin Wallace. The most expensive bottle of wine and the conflicting reports about its history. This is a book that would enchant wine conessi… conues… lovers.
The Gardner Heist: The True Story of the World’s Largest Unsolved Art Theft by Ulrich Boser. Author Ulrich Boser looks at the unsolved art theft case of Boston’s Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.
The Golden Spruce: A True Story of Myth, Madness, and Greed by John Vaillant. Grant Hadwin, a logger-turned-activist, fells a unique 165 feet Sitka spruce in an act of protest. John Vaillant takes the readers into the heart of North America’s last great forest to find out why he did that.
Hitler’s Art Thief: Hildebrand Gurlitt, the Nazis, and the Looting of Europe’s Treasures by Susan Ronald. Hildebrand Gurlitt was an art thief, or as he put it himself, an ‘official dealer’ for Hitler and Goebbels. But he stole from the Jews and Nazis alike. This book was published after his hoard was recently (2013) discovered which created an international furor.
The Irish Game: A True Story of Crime and Art by Matthew Hart. This book is about the art theft at Ireland’s Russborough House in 1986. The suspect, a gangster named Martin Cahill, played cat and mouse with police for years.
The Island of Lost Maps: A True Story of Cartographic Crime by Miles Harvey. When you think about stealing some valuable art, do maps come to your mind? Then this book is for you. Gilbert Joseph Bland Jr. stole numerous centuries-old maps from research libraries in US and Canada.
I Was Vermeer: The Rise and Fall of the Twentieth Century’s Greatest Forger by Frank Wynne. Han van Meegeren became so much adapt at forging Vermeer paintings that it is said that even professional experts would find it difficult to point out his works from the originals. He earned more than $50 million by selling his forgeries – and he even swindled the Nazis.
The Lizard King: The True Crimes and Passions of the World’s Greatest Reptile Smugglers by Bryan Christy. Reptile smuggling is a big “business”. The author, a federal agent, suspected a reptile business owner of being a major smuggler and he started investigating. It was not as simple as it sounds because at one point he was chased by a mother alligator and even bitten by a python.
The Lost Chalice: The Epic Hunt for a Priceless Masterpiece by Vernon Silver. A 2500 year old cup made by the Greek master Euphronios which depicted the fall of Troy gets stolen and sold (along with 3 other such vessels). Then due to the questionable practice of some art dealers, no one can track down its last known owner.
The Lost Painting by Jonathan Harr. With nothing better to do, the author embarks on a journey to discover a Caravaggio painting which was lost to time two hundred years ago.
The Man Who Loved Books Too Much: The True Story of a Thief, a Detective, and a World of Literary Obsession by Allison Hoover Bartlett. John Charles Gilkey stole rare books not because he wanted to make profit as most thieves do, but because he loved books. I guess if you want to call yourself a book-reader but don’t actually want to say… read a book, you could just steal them and show them off to your friends. But who are we to question the wisdom of “booklovers”, right?
The Orchid Thief: A True Story of Beauty and Obsession by Susan Orlean. If you thought that stealing maps is a weird “job” to have, how about stealing a rare breed of flower? We all know about the Tulipomania that gripped Netherlands in the 1630s. But this is a modern tale, and the book is perhaps one of the most popular ones on this list.
Priceless: How I Went Undercover to Rescue the World’s Stolen Treasures by Robert K. Wittman, John Shiffman. This book is about Robert K. Wittman, FBI’s founder of the Art Crime Team and his undercover missions around the world to rescue various pieces of stolen art.
Provenance: How a Con Man and a Forger Rewrote the History of Modern Art by Laney Salisbury. You could have a Jackson Pollock lying around in your basement, but if you can’t prove that the piece is real, you might as well use it as a table cloth (I might have exaggerated there a bit, but you get the point). John Myatt, a struggling artist, and John Drewe, a conman who knew the importance of Provenance in the art world, duped many people and museums by creating a fake paper trial that seemed to prove that the art was a real thing and not a forgery. So much so that the experts believe that there might still be some fake paintings created by Myatt displayed in prominent places as the real thing.
The Rescue Artist: A True Story of Art, Thieves, and the Hunt for a Missing Masterpiece by Edward Dolnick. Dolnick writes about the theft of Edvard Munch’s The Scream from the National Gallery in Oslo in 1994 and the subsequent investigation that took place to track it down.
Selling Hitler by Robert Harris In mid-eighties, Hitler’s diaries were “discovered” and many experts fell for the con. The backpeddling many did when it was revealed that the diaries were not real is really amusing to read about.
Shell Games: Rogues, Smugglers, and the Hunt for Nature’s Bounty by Craig Welch. This book is about the poaching of a larger-than-life clam – a Geoduck, to be precise, and the subsequent chase from the wildlife police to nab the poacher.
Stealing History: Tomb Raiders, Smugglers and the Looting of the Ancient World by Roger Atwood. This book provides a sweeping history of thefts of various priceless antiques.
Stealing the Mystic Lamb: The True Story of the World’s Most Coveted Masterpiece by Noah Charney. The twelve panel oil-painting of the Mystic Lamb is the most frequently stolen artwork in the world. It was stolen 13 times. One wonders whether they could have guarded it a little better after the first couple of times, you know. Anyway, this book describes the events of each theft.
Stolen World: A Tale of Reptiles, Smugglers, and Skulduggery by Jennie Erin Smith. Two reptile smugglers compete against each other to conquer the illegal trade for themselves. The funny thing is, the Zoos stood against them in the courts, but they had no problem buying rare fauna from the two smugglers, sometimes simultaneously.
Tangled Vines: Greed, Murder, Obsession, and an Arsonist in the Vineyards of California by Frances Dinkelspiel. A massive fire destroyed wines worth $250 million in a California warehouse, making it the largest destruction of wine in history. It was done by a conman named Mark Anderson, who rented storage space at the same warehouse. This book tells why he did that and also goes into the surprisingly bloody history of wine trade in California. (reads well with cranberry juice).
Vanished Smile: The Mysterious Theft of Mona Lisa by R. A. Scotti. On August 21, 1911, a man walked out of the Louvre with the Mona Lisa tucked inside his coat (should have painted it bigger, eh Vinci?). I am not going to spoil this book for anyone. Read it if you want to know whether Mona Lisa was recovered or was lost to time forever.
CARTELS, GANGS, UNDERWORLD.
American Desperado: My Life --- From Mafia Soldier to Cocaine Cowboy to Secret Government Asset by Jon Roberts, Evan Wright. Jon Roberts, who starred in documentary Cocaine Cowboys tells his story to the journalist Evan Wright in this book. Roberts smuggled drugs to Miami for the Medellin Cartel (which will feature many times in this category).
At the Devil’s Table: The Untold Story of the Insider Who Brought Down the Cali Cartel by William C. Rempel. This is Narcos Season 3, basically. Remember the family guy who gets involved with the Cali Cartel and mops around for the whole season even though he had an unbelievably hot wife who was clearly out of his league? That character was based on Rempel. And if I must say so, the book is more compelling than that season of Narcos. Nothing can beat Agent Pena, though.
Black Mass: The True Story of an Unholy Alliance Between the FBI and the Irish Mob by Dick Lehr, Gerard O’Neill. The story of James ‘Whitey’ Bulger – the head of the Irish Mob in Boston - who became an informant for the FBI and chaos ensued. Depp plays Whitey Bulger in the movie adaptation with a soggy tortilla glued to his face as make-up.
Blow: How a Small -Town Bay Made $100 Million with the Medellin Cocaine Cartel and Lost it All by Bruce Porter. Another book where Johnny Depp plays the main character in the movie adaptation. This book is about George Jung, who after meeting Carlos Lehder, started selling cocaine in the United States through Medellin Cartel.
Cocaine Diaries: A Venezuelan Prison Nightmare by Paul Keany, Jeff Farrell. Paul Keany was caught smuggling half-a-million euro worth of cocaine into Venezuela. He was sentenced to 8 years in prison. Now, prisons everywhere aren’t exactly fun places to be, but Los Teques where Keany was incarcerated was nothing short of hell on earth.
Confessions of a Yakuza by Junichi Saga. Junichi Saga was a doctor by profession. A patient, who was a former Yakuza, recounted his life story before him. Saga recorded the conversations, and broke doctor-patient confidentiality by writing this book.
Doctor Dealer: The Rise and Fall of an All-American Boy and His Multimillion-Dollar Cocaine Empire by Mark Bowden. A dentist named Larry Lavin builds the foundation for a cocaine empire in the United States.
Donnie Brasco by Joseph D. Pistone, Richard Woodley. Joseph D. Pistone, an FBI agent, goes undercover for six years to infiltrate the Mafia. Do watch the movie too, it is Depp’s last movie without weird make-up.
El Narco: Inside Mexico’s Criminal Insurgency by Ioan Grillo. Journalist Ioan Grillo has written, arguably, the definitive book on Mexican drug cartels. Why he is still alive is anybody’s guess.
Gang Leader for a Day: A Rouge Sociologist Takes to the Streets by Sudhir Venkatesh. Venkatesh, who was a sociology grad student at the time, infiltrated one of Chicago’s most notorious gangs. This is one of a kind type of book.
Gomorrah by Roberto Saviano. This book is about the Italian Crime Network called Camorra in Naples, Italy. Due to his intensive investigative journalism which exposed lot of insider information about the crime syndicate, author Saviano still has to live under constant police protection.
The Good Mothers: The True Story of the Women Who Took on the World’s Most Powerful Mafia by Alex Perry. This is a recent book, where the author Alex Perry looks inside the ruthless Calabrian Mafia of Italy and three women who want to save their own and their children’s lives. This is a fascinating and courageous look into an aspect of the Mafia which is often overlooked by most.
Hunting El Chapo: The Inside Story of the American Lawman Who Captured the World’s Most Wanted Drug-Lord by Andrew Hogan, Douglas Century. Remember when Joaquin Guzman was caught for the first time and then he escaped and then he was caught again for good? Yes? Then read this one. But this book only focuses on the operation that nabbed him for the first time. I must warn you though – the author, Andrew Hogan – is really really in love with himself and it seeps into his writing.
The Infiltrator: My Secret Life Inside the Dirty Banks Behind Pablo Escobar’s Medellin Cartel by Robert Mazur. Mazur went undercover and actually became a money launderer for Pablo Escobar. This book is more about how bankers actively helped to launder the drug money and how Mazur helped to bring them down.
Killing Pablo: The Hunt for the World’s Greatest Outlaw by Mark Bowden. This is the best book about tracking and eventually killing Pablo Escobar. And as Walter Jr. pointed out to Walter White, it focuses on the good guys, not the bad ones. Good companion book to Pablo Escobar: My Father written by Escobar’s son.
Marching Powder: A True Story of Friendship, Cocaine, and South America’s Strangest Jail by Rusty Young. The author stays inside San Pedro jail for months with a drug smuggler to chronicle his tale. This is one of the most popular books written on cocaine smuggling.
McMafia: A Journey Through the Global Criminal Underworld by Misha Glenny. This is a thorough investigation into organized crime worldwide which accounts for 1/5th of total GDP of the world. This book would please readers who are into extensively researched true-crime history books, not so much a casual reader (inb4 - I just read 5 pages of McMafia and wow… just wow).
Mr. Blue: Memoirs of a Renegade by Edward Bunker. Edward Bunker had had an eventful life. Incarceration for two and a half decades, being on FBI’s most wanted list, and being a crime novelist. This is his autobiography.
Mr. Nice by Howard Marks. Howard Marks started dealing dope in small quantities while he was studying at Oxford – as you do – and then eventually graduated to dealing it in tons (what the hell was he studying there? Oh, philosophy). This is his fascinating story.
Narcoland: The Mexican Drug Lords and Their Godfathers by Anabel Hernandez. Yet another book that resulted in the author getting death threats. This proves the old cliché true that the pen is mightier than the sword; until the sword comes down and cuts your neck. That’s why the author has to live under constant protection.
Narconomics: How to Run a Drug Cartel by Tom Wainwright. Any aspiring drug lords should read this instruction manual. Just kidding. Wainwright goes deep into the functioning of various drug cartels and at the end also comes up with a plan to defeat them.
News of a Kidnapping by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Little known author tries his hand at true-crime. Pablo Escobar kidnapped 10 journalists when he was on the run from the authorities. This book revolves around that event.
The Night it Rained Guns: Unravelling the Purulia Arms Drop Conspiracy by Chandan Nandy. On a December night in 1995, someone airdropped three weapons-laden wooden pallets over Purulia, West Bengal. Who did it and why? This book tells the story about one of India’s greatest ever security breaches.
No Angel: My Undercover Journey to the Inner Circle of the Hells Angels by Jay Dobyns, Nils Johnson-Shelton. Dobyns was the first federal agent to infiltrate the inner circle of the notorious biker gang. This is his story.
Pablo Escobar: My Father by Juan Pablo Escobar. Juan Pablo is an architect and lives and practices his trade in Argentina. Even though Pablo was his father, Juan does not try to justify his actions even a little bit. This is one of the best books written on Pablo Escobar.
The Snakehead: An Epic Tale of the Chinatown Underworld and the American Dream by Patrick Radden Keefe. Sister Ping, leader of the Chinese underworld in the US, earned $40 million a year smuggling people from China. Told from the viewpoints of gangsters, investigators, and poor immigrants alike, this book provides a unique window into the world of human smuggling.
Scores: How I Opened the Hottest Strip Club in New York City, Was Extorted out of Millions by the Gambino Family, and Became One of the Most Successful Mafia Informants in FBI History by Michael D. Blutrich. I am disappointed that they went with FBI instead of Federal Bureau of Investigation in the title. Should have made it longer. Scores: How I Opened the Hottest Strip Club in New York City on the 34th Street Just Opposite the Starbucks, Was Extorted out of 4.54 Millions and 55 Cents Plus Taxes by the Gambino Family, and Became One of the Most Successful Mafia Informants in Federal Bureau of Investigation History by Michael Dostoyevsky Blutrich
Tokyo Vice: An American Reporter on the Police Beat in Japan by Jake Adelstein. The author, working as a reporter in Japan, writes about the seedy underbelly of crime in the country.
The Untouchables by Eliot Ness, Oscar Fraley. Where’s Nitty? He’s in the car.” Great movie. How Eliot Ness and his team started the downward spiral in criminal career of Al Capone. A somewhat embellished account was also written in the book, but nonetheless, it is a gripping tale.
Veerappan: Chasing the Brigand by K. Vijay Kumar. Koose Muniswamy Veerappan was the last big outlaw of India. A sandalwood smuggler who lived in the forest to evade the police, Veerappan killed hundreds of policemen and civilians. K. Vijay Kumar, the officer who led the task force that ultimately brought down the brigand, is the author of this book.
Wiseguy: Life in a Mafia Family by Nicholas Pileggi. ” I’m funny how, I mean funny like I’m a clown, I amuse you? Goodfellas is perhaps the best Mafia movie ever made, so read it in his own words why Pileggi might fold under questioning.
Zero Zero Zero by Roberto Saviano, Virginia Jewiss. This Saviano guy must have a death wish. But as a handsome list-writer once eloquently said, “If bitten already by a King Cobra, what difference it makes if you French kiss a Black Mamba?” Since the publication of his book on the Italian crime syndicate, Saviano has to live under constant police protection. So to make sure they don’t slack off, he wrote a book on Cocaine Cartel, this time acquiring lots of admirers in Latin America.
CONMEN, IMPOSTORS.
The Art of Making Money: The Story of a Master Counterfeiter by Jason Kersten. The Art of making money is to make other people work for you; not the other way round. But more scrupulous method of making money would be to counterfeit it. Art Williams did exactly that.
Catch Me If You Can: The True Story of a Real Fake by Frank W. Abagnale. Maybe the most popular book on this list, Abagnale Jr.’s book is not to be missed even if you have watched the movie starring the actor who had sex with a bear (no, not Tormund).
Charlatan: America’s Most Dangerous Huckster, the Man Who Pursued Him, and the Age of Flimflam by Pope Brock. One “Dr.” John R. Brinkley, set-up a medical practice to surgically insert goat glands in human testicles to restore their fading sex drive. I am not joking, this happened.
Conman: A Master Swindler’s Own Story by J. R. Weil, W. T. Brannon. Known as “Yellow Kid” Weil was a master conman, who duped public of more than $8 million 100 years ago. He’s called by many as the greatest conman of all time (second to the companies that charge service fees on the internet, of course).
Eyeing the Flash: The Making of a Carnival Con Artist by Peter Fenton. Fenton was a math student until he turned into a carnival con artist. How many bananas he stole from the monkeys? How many bales of potatoes from the elephants? Read this book to find out.
Inconvenient People: Lunacy, Liberty and the Mad-Doctors in Victorian England by Sarah Wise. If you have any annoying friends who romanticize the Victorian era and say that they would have liked to live there, tell them to read this book and get back to you after that.
The Man in the Rockefeller Suit: The Astonishing Rise and Spectacular Fall of a Serial Impostor by Mark Seal. This is the true story of one of the greatest impostors of all time. The man could have impersonated a chihuahua if he wanted to.
The Man Who Sold the Eiffel Tower by James Francis Johnson. Viktor Lustig sold the Eiffel Tower not once, but twice. I still have the relevant papers that my great grandfather left us. I’m going to shift it to Nauru or Detroit.
The Mark Inside: A Perfect Swindle, a Cunning Revenge, and a Small History of the Big Con by Amy Reading. This is a revenge story of a man who sets out to con the conmen who conned him twice. Unfortunately, the book could have been written better, but it is still worth having a look at.
Playing Dead: A Journey Through the World of Death Fraud by Elizabeth Greenwood. I once tried playing dead in a meeting when asked about the progress on my project. But there are people who fake their death for lesser gains, such as insurance fraud and debt fraud. Author Elizabeth Greenwood journeys into the dark world of death fraud to find out more.
Ponzi’s Scheme: The True Story of a Financial Legend by Mitchell Zuckoff. Charles Ponzi was so successful in duping people that we have immortalized his name by terming such swindles after him. At one point, he was raking in $2 millions a week. How many weeks would it take you to earn 2 million dollars at your current income? (sorry, that got heavy fast. It hurt me too).
A Rum Affair: A True Story of Botanical Fraud by Karl Sabbagh. One botanist claimed that some species of plants on the islands south of Scotland survived the last Ice Age. Another botanist doubted him. This might not sound like a big fraud if you are not into plants, but believe me when I say that the 2 botanists who just read this threw their phones away in disgust and disbelief.
Starvation Heights: A True Story of Murder and Malice in the Woods of the Pacific Northwest by Gregg Olsen. A quack doctor named Linda Hazard developed a technique called “fasting treatment”. The story focuses on two sisters who fell for the quack’s assurances that they would be cured of all the diseases - real or imagined. This book is quite infuriating to read. Hazard was a despicable human being.
Swindled: From Poison Sweets to Counterfeit Coffee – The Dark History of the Food Cheats by Bee Wilson. Wilson looks from ancient Rome to current times for food frauds. And she finds them aplenty (companion read - while having a nice snack).
A Treasury of Deception: Liars, Misleaders, Hoodwinkers, and the Extraordinary True Stories of History’s Greatest Hoaxes, Fakes and Frauds by Michael Farquhar. This is a good bathroom book about fakers through history.
The Woman Who Wasn’t There: The True Story of an Incredible Deception by Robin Gaby Fisher, Angelo J. Guglielmo Jr. Have you heard about Tania Head? If you haven’t, I urge you to skip this book. Tania Head duped survivors of 9/11 and the whole world alike into believing that she was one of the survivors from the South Tower of World Trade Center. I feel enraged just by typing this. So just read this book if you want to know more about her. There are a couple of documentaries out there too.
HACKERS.
The Cuckoo’s Egg: Tracking a Spy Through the Maze of Computer Espionage by Clifford Stoll. Long before internet became a place for cat memes, Cliff Stoll was working at a research lab as a systems manager. One day he found 75 cents of accounting error. This made him alert that an unauthorized person was logging into the system. Thus began his lone effort of tracking down the spy.
Exploding the Phone: The Untold Story of the Teenagers and Outlaws Who Hacked Ma Bell by Phil Lapsley. Before there was internet, or even personal computers, mobsters and teenagers hacked the telephone system.
Ghost in the Wires: My Adventures as the World’s Most Wanted Hacker by Kevin D. Mitnick, William L. Simon. The book tells the story of one of the best hackers of all times, Kevin Mitnick, and his cat and mouse game with the FBI.
The Spider Network: The Wild Story of a Math Genius, a Gang of Backstabbing Bankers, and One of the Greatest Scams in Financial History by David Enrich. A group of bankers manipulated daily interest rates just a fraction here and there on loans worth trillions of dollars and made some serious cash for themselves. This book also rocks one of the ugliest book covers of 2017.
MUTINEERS, PIRATES, OUTLAWS.
Batavia’s Graveyard: The True Story of the Mad Heretic Who Led History’s Bloodiest Mutiny by Mike Dash. I was torn whether to include this book in the list as the history of Batavia’s mutiny is littered with corpses. But as the focus is on the mutiny, I am going to keep it here. This event could give the Medusa’s raft a run for its money.
The Floating Brothel: The Extraordinary True Story of an Eighteenth-Century Ship and its Cargo of Female Convicts by Sian Rees. Poor girls in England, most of who were petty thieves, were given a chance to sail to Botany Bay in Australia to create a new life for themselves and the male population of New South Wales. But the real story happened at the sea on board the ship Lady Julian.
The Last Outlaws: The Lives and Legends of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid by Thom Hatch. Butch: What happened to the old bank? It was beautiful. Guard: People kept robbing it. Butch: Small price to pay for beauty. The book might not be full of memorable dialogues as the movie, but if you want to know more about the legendary outlaws, give this book a chance.
Lost Paradise: From Mutiny on the Bounty to a Modern-Day Legacy of Sexual Mayhem, the Dark Secrets of Pitcairn Island Revealed by Kathy Marks. Mutiny of the Bounty is perhaps the most infamous of mutinies that occurred at sea. Even after the event and hundreds of years later, the descendants of Fletcher Christian and his sailors continue to live a crime-filled life like their forefathers on Pitcairn Island.
The Pirate Hunter: The True Story of Captain Kidd by Richard Zacks. This book will change your perception of Captain Kidd, that’s for sure.
To Hell on a Fast Horse: Billy the Kid, Pat Garrett, and the Epic Chase to Justice in the Old West by Mark Lee Gardner. This non-fiction book concentrates on Sheriff Pat Garrett’s chase in pursuit of the bandit Billy the Kid. If you like reading westerns, this one and The Last Outlaws are not to be missed.
Under the Black Flag: The Romance and the Reality of Life Among the Pirates by David Cordingly. Cordingly takes a look at life among the pirates. Some of your romanticism would be squashed, but there were some good things about being a pirate too. Life among the pirates was neither black nor white; it was beige.
POLITICAL CRIMES
Arms and the Dudes: How Three Stoners from Miami Beach Became the Most Unlikely Gunrunners in History by Guy Lawson. Three kids won a 300 million dollar contract – legitimately – I must add, to supply ammunition to the Afghanistan military. They had no money, but still they almost pulled it off. I don’t know, read this book, and if you’re a US citizen, visit the websites mentioned in the book, see if they are still doing business the same way, and if you want, you can become a supplier to the army too. Don’t forget to send me my cut (the movie War Dogs was trash).
The Brother: The Untold Story of Atomic Spy David Greenglass and How He Sent His Sister, Ethel Rosenberg, to the Electric Chair by Sam Roberts. Even if you’re not a United Statian of American (USians?), chances are you might have read at least something about the execution of the Rosenberg couple as spies. This is probably the best book about the subject.
Curveball: Spies, Lies, and the Man Behind Them: How America Went to War in Iraq by Bob Drogin. How many weapons of mass destruction were found in Iraq? If your answer is “what’s that?” then congratulations, you’re not unlike one of your former presidents. Who told the USians that there were WMDs with Saddam? Curveball.
The Confessions of an Economic Hitman by John Perkins. Perkins was an economic hitman, who at the instruction of US intelligence agencies and giant corporations cajoled and blackmailed other country leaders to serve US foreign policy and award lucrative contracts to American businesses (now that job has been transferred to the White House).
A Kim Jong – Il Production: The Extraordinary True Story of a Kidnapped Filmmaker, His Star Actress, and a Young Dictator’s Rise to Power by Paul Fischer. Say you want to make a big movie for your country. But there is no one in your country who can handle such an ambitious project. What do you do? Hire some talent from other country? But you’re Kim Jong – Il. Oh. Then you just kidnap them, and force them to make the glorious movie of yours. Read this book. It’s pretty absurd (the movie they eventually made for Kim was utter shit. The Room would look like Gone with the Wind compared to that abomination).
The Nuclear Jihadist: The True Story of the Man Who Sold the World’s Most Dangerous Secrets… And How We Could Have Stopped Him by Douglas Frantz, Catherine Collins. One day a man Abdul Qadeer Khan caught a plane to Pakistan from Europe. With him he had blueprints of the mechanism that could prepare weapons grade Uranium that he had stolen from the lab he worked at in the last 3 years. He would make the first atomic bomb for Pakistan with that information. Then he sold the tech to stable countries like Iran, North Korea and Libya. How can someone get away with stealing such powerful information? Read this book to find out.
Operation Paperclip: The Secret Intelligence Program that Brought Nazi Scientists to America by Annie Jacobsen. This is a pretty controversial topic that has only gained wider acknowledgement in recent decades. Read this book to know in detail how bogus the claims of justice being served to the perpetrators of the Holocaust were. Basically, if you were a scientist, you were very likely to be acquitted from any War Crimes allegations.
The Real Odessa: How Peron Brought the Nazi War Criminals to Argentina by Uki Goni. How did most of the Nazis who managed to escape from Germany ended up in South America? Read about the collusion of various entities and institutions that made it possible in this book.
The Spy Who Couldn’t Spell: A Dyslexic Traitor, an Unbreakable Code, and the FBI’s Hunt for America’s Stolen Secrets by Yudhijit Bhattacharjee. This is the true story of a mole in FBI, how he attempted to sell classified information and how FBI tried to track him down.
ROBBERIES, HEISTS.
Ballad of the Whiskey Robber: A True Story of Bank Heists, Ice Hockey, Transylvanian Pelt Smuggling, Moonlighting Detectives, and Broken Hearts by Julian Rubinstein. If there is one thief in this list that I admire, it is without a doubt, Attila Ambrus. Ambrus was known as a gentleman thief, who would ask – no, request - the teller to fill his bag with money. If you read this book, it would be hard for you to dislike Attila even though he was a thief.
Confessions of a Master Jewel Thief by Bill Mason, Lee Gruenfeld. Bill Mason looted many famous personalities in his long career as a jewel thief. In this book he tells how he did it.
The Feather Thief: Beauty, Obsession, and the Natural History Heist of the Century by Kirk W. Johnson. Do you know there are people whose hobby is fly tying? The feathery thing that you attach to the hook to catch fish? But these are not your average fly tiers. They use feathers from exotic birds to create different ties whose total cost could run in thousands of dollars. Moreover, many of the most coveted birds are either protected or extinct. So one night a man named Edwin Rist broke into Tring museum and took hundreds of bird skins, some that belonged to Darwin, to fuel his hobby and even getting rich by selling precious feathers to other tiers. Don’t miss this book.
Finders Keepers: The Story of a Man Who Found $1 Million by Mark Bowden. Who hasn’t dreamt of finding a big bag of money? It couldn’t have happened to a more clueless person. Joey Coyle, to be exact.
Flawless: Inside the Largest Diamond Heist in History by Scott Andrew Selby. The theft from Antwerp that still raises many questions.
Go Down Together: The True, Untold Story of Bonnie and Clyde by Jeff Guinn. The truth is not that romantic.
The Great Pearl Heist: London’s Greatest Thief and Scotland Yard’s Hunt for the World’s Most Valuable Necklace by Molly Caldwell Crosby. Pearls, more valuable than the Hope Diamond, are stolen by thieves in Edwardian London.
The Great Train Robbery by Michael Crichton. My favorite Crichton book. Stealing gold from a running train! Watch the movie too that stars the great Sean Connery.
Heist: The Oddball Crew Behind the $17 Million Loomis Fargo Theft by Jeff Diamant. How easy is it to steal 17 million dollars? As far as these thieves were concerned, not much. Getting away with it was another thing altogether. The movie was pretty average, I think.
Into the Blast: The True Story of DB Cooper by Skipp Porteous, Robert Blevins. Is Tommy Wiseau DB Cooper? If only that was true. Read the book but don’t expect any clear-cut answers (I think most people would agree that the clumsy bastard died after he jumped from the plane).
A Pickpocket’s Tale: The Underworld of Nineteenth-Century New York by Timothy J. Gilfoyle. True story of George Appo, a pickpocket living in nineteenth-century New York.
Sex on the Moon: The Amazing Story Behind the Most Audacious Heist in History by Ben Mezrich. A guy steals moon rocks from NASA and then had sex on them with his girlfriend (how the hell is that comfortable?)
The Stranger in the Woods: The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit by Michael Finkel. The last hermit was not a hermit in true sense. He didn’t rely on land to feed himself. He stole from the nearby community. Before someone says I have spoiled the book for them, it is revealed in the first chapter that he is a thief.
WHITE COLLAR CRIMES.
Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup by John Carreyrou. The Steve Jobs impersonator, Elizabeth Holmes, CEO of Theranos, and her old boyfriend, Sunny, are some of the most vile people that I have come across while reading about corporate crime. This is one of the best books that I have read this year.
Den of Thieves by James B. Stewart. This is probably the most famous book written about those Wall Street scoundrels.
Empire of Deception: The Incredible Story of a Master Swindler Who Seduced a City and Captivated the Nation by Dean Jobb. The story of Leo Koretz, who created one of the longest running Ponzi scheme in the 1920s Chicago.
The Informant by Kurt Eichenwald. Mark Whitacre becomes an FBI informant against his own corporation. But as time goes by, the FBI starts to realize that Mark is not as truthful as he seems to be, and he has his own agenda (they made a movie with Matt Damon).
Octopus: Sam Israel, the Secret Market, and Wall Street’s Wildest Con by Guy Lawson. Sam Israel’s hedge fund was making heavy losses. So naturally, he fabricated fake returns to fool the investors. Then he heard about a secret market from where he could convert his millions into billions. That’s how he lost the last 150 million dollars of his invertors’ money.
Red Notice: A True Story of High Finance, Murder, and One Man’s Fight for Justice by Bill Browder. Only thing you are going to learn from this book is don’t do business in Russia.
The Smartest Guys in the Room: The Amazing Rise and Scandalous Fall of Enron by Bethany McLean, Peter Elkind. Bethany McLean asked one simple question in her article when everyone else was going gaga over Enron. “What does Enron actually do?” Nobody knew. Even Enron couldn’t give a specific answer. They were not just committing accounting fraud; they were looting ordinary people by creating fake shortage of electricity and driving the prices high. The documentary is worth watching too.
Stung: The Incredible Obsession of Brian Molony by Gary Stephen Ross. The guy Molony debited huge amounts of money from the bank he worked at to feed his gambling addiction. Oh, and he took the money in other people’s name who held huge accounts there. This is one of the best true-crime books that I have ever read.
Three Cups of Deceit: How Greg Mortenson, Humanitarian Hero, Lost His Way by Jon Krakauer. You know the man who builds schools in remote regions of Afghanistan and Pakistan? Great guy, right? Krakauer doesn’t think so. And he’ll tell you why in this short book.
The Wizard of Lies: Bernie Madoff and the Death of Trust by Diana B. Henriques. 65 billion dollars. That’s the amount that Madoff swindled from people through decades of fraud. I think I can buy a small island country with this much money. The idiot is in jail though. I don’t know, maybe after a couple of billion, skip to a country with no extradition treaty and live the rest of your life without the fear of being getting caught? But then, these types of people don’t know when to stop.
OTHER.
American Roulette: How I Turned the Odds Upside Down --- My Wild Twenty-Five-Year Ride Ripping Off World’s Casinos by Richard Marcus. The guy ripped-off casinos all over the world by stealing gaming chips while maintaining an illusion of a highroller to lend his eventual take required legitimacy.
Breaking the Rock: The Great Escape from Alcatraz by Jolene Babyak. Written by the daughter of a guard at Alcatraz, this book tells the story of the infamous escape from the prison island. Don’t forget to watch the classic movie too.
Bringing Down the House: The Inside Story of Six MIT Students Who Took Vegas for Millions by Ben Mezrich. The movie 21 was based on this book. But if you want to know the real story, without the whitewashing, you have no choice but to read this book.
Disposable People: New Slavery in the Global Economy by Kevin Bales. Kevin Bales estimates that there are 27 million people worldwide who live as slaves, right now. And yes, slavery still exists in United States of America in case you were wondering. This is a depressing book.
Fish: A Memoir of a Boy in a Man’s Prison by T. J. Parsell. Rape in prison is absolutely overlooked almost everywhere. Read this book if you can endure reading about helplessness page after page.
Hotel K: The Shocking Inside Story of Bali’s Most Notorious Jail by Kathryn Bonella. Prison systems in developing world differ from the developed one in one regard that the guards and officials there are more corrupt and hence are likely to look the other way when something bad is going down amongst the inmates. Kerobokan Jail in Bali is one of the worst among those.
The Hot House: Life Inside Leavenworth Prison by Pete Earley. The author interviewed inmates from Leavenworth Prison for two years. The book is the result of that labor.
The Laundrymen: Inside the World’s Third Largest Business by Jeffrey Robinson. I have a perfect idea to launder money. Laser Tag! Robinson looks at the third largest business in the world. The book was published a while ago, but still hasn’t lost most of its relevancy.
Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town by Jon Krakauer. Jon releases the Krakauer on one of the most relevant subjects of today. Rapes in colleges. These institutes would do anything to sweep things under the rug to maintain the illusion of clean image in the public eye.
Newjack: Guarding Sing Sing by Ted Conover. The author worked as a prison guard for a year at one of the most notorious prisons of the United States. This book is about his experience.
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