We asked writers and editors to choose some of their favorite stories of the year in various categories. Here is the best in crime reporting.
Contributor to The Atlantic, Los Angeles Magazine, and The Daily Beast. Author of The Spy with No Name.
Dirty John (Christopher Goffard, The Los Angeles Times)
I love a good villain, and my baddie of the year was John Meehan, a hazel-eyed Casanova who hid his murky past behind fake surgeon’s scrubs and a kaleidoscope of lies. This wannabe mobster lured a moneyed Orange County divorcée into a toxic relationship, creating an elevated psychodrama that recalled Gone Girl. Delivered as a six-part narrative on the web, Dirty John was also accompanied by a six-part podcast. Both were irresistible. Goffard’s spare prose kept this thriller racing towards its bloody end — the kind of murderous climax we were promised at the start of S-Town but never received — one that made an unlikely hero of a seemingly meek fan of The Walking Dead. Bravo to Goffard for divining this epic yarn from local news to national attention, and for his terrifying portrait of Meehan told through the eyes of his victims. This is the genius of the domestic horror genre: The monster is no longer under the bed but between the sheets.
Contributor to The New Yorker, New York Magazine, and The New Republic. Author a book on women, crime, and obsession will be published by Scribner in 2019.
The Tragic Story of a Texas Teen and the Marines Who Killed Him for No Reason (Sasha von Oldershausen, Splinter)
Contributor to Buzzfeed, The New Republic, and the Life of the Law podcast.
‘I Am a Girl Now,’ Sage Smith Wrote. Then She Went Missing (Emma Eisenberg, Splinter)
Carl Ichan’s Failed Raid on Washington (Patrick Radden Keefe, The New Yorker)
While it may not have been the juiciest crime story this year, Patrick Radden Keefe’s precise and damning piece on Carl Icahn’s stint in the Trump Administration chilled me more than I could have imagined. This is how the world works: We’re being taken for fools while the Masters of the Universe move from private to public positions. I can only hope to read about more financial crimes in 2018 that get appropriately punished.