FBI: Fact and Fiction

The FBI has been in the news for a variety of reasons lately. There seems to be some confusion about what they do. Most people know that the FBI is the domestic side of the federal investigations as opposed to the CIA which is involved in international investigations. In reality there is a lot of overlap. On the FBI website they say that they investigate terrorism, counterintelligence, cybercrime, public corruption, civil rights, organized crime, white-collar crime, violent crime and weapons of mass destruction.

When I was in upper elementary school and throughout my teen years, I was fascinated by stories of the FBI. The books seemed to deal with exciting cases such as kidnapping (think of the Lindbergh case), organized crime (the gangsters of Chicago and New York), and spies. There were television shows such as The F.B.I. with Efrem Zimbalist, Jr. that showed the wonderful job the FBI did protecting us. This was all before I learned about what J. Edgar Hoover was really doing.

I was reminded of the role the FBI has played in my reading when I began listening to Anne Hillerman’s The Spiderwoman’s Daughter. The FBI is comes on to the Navajo reservation because a former Navajo policeman is shot. Turns out that the FBI covers major crimes on Native American reservations.

If you would like to read more about the FBI, try some of these books – both fiction and nonfiction.

Fiction Books

Catherine Coulter has a series of thrillers that feature FBI agents, most importantly Dillon Savich and Lacey Sherlock, husband and wife FBI agents and computer specialists, mostly based in San Francisco, California. Coulter started as a romance writer so expect some romantic suspense in her thrillers. First in the series is The Cove.

Allison Brennan’s Lucy Kincaid investigates murder, corruption, and cybercrime. First in the series is Love Me to Death.

David Baldacci’s Alex Decker starts out as a former policeman turned private investigator in the first book Memory Man, but by the second book he is working with the FBI as a special agent.

Irene Hannon has a series called Heroes of Quantico that feature different FBI agents dealing with issues such as abduction and terrorism. The first book is Against All Odds.

We have learned about profiling on many television shows. Alan Jacobson introduces FBI profiler Karen Vail in the book The 7th Victim.

Lisa Gardner has the team of FBI agents Pierce Quincy and Rainie Conner solve cases involving sadists, serial killers and other horrible people. The Perfect Husband is the first book that features Quincy. Rainie shows up in The Third Victim.

Spencer Kope’s book, Collecting the Dead, features an FBI man who is part of a Speical Tracking Unit.

Nonfiction Books

Alston Purvis has written the book, The Vendetta : FBI hero Melvin Purvis’s war against crime, and J. Edgar Hoover’s war against him. Purvis led the manhunts that tracked outlaws Baby Face Nelson and Pretty Boy Floyd, and most famously John Dillinger, which ended in Chicago on July 22, 1934. Hoover supposedly tried to change the history of these events because of his jealousy of Purvis.

In her memoir, No Backup: My Life as a Female FBI Special Agent, Rosemary Dew talks about what it was like from her initial training through her several year at the Bureau. Dew, who earned the title of Special Agent of the FBI, was recipient of eight commendations from FBI directors, and was the seventh woman to be named supervisor at FBI headquarters, has opened up the files on the agency and reveals a broken organization rife with discriminatory practices. Dew worked undercover against criminals, spies, and terrorists.

Enemies : a history of the FBI by Tim Weiner gives us the story of the FBI from its beginnings through the war on terrorism.

Inside the mind of BTK : the true story behind the thirty-year hunt for the notorious Wichita serial killer is written by former FBI profiler John Douglas (and Johnny Dodd) and follows the long search for a particularly evasive serial killer.

Cold zero : inside the FBI Hostage Rescue Team  is by Christopher Whitcomb. a member of the F.B.I.’s elite Hostage Rescue Team–its most highly trained and specialized squadron that handles large-scale emergencies in the U.S. He reveals his experiences, describing in breathtaking detail the brutal training, the weapons and tactics, and the dramatic showdowns that marked many of his missions, including Ruby Ridge and Waco.

Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI by David Grann tells the story of the Osage Indians who became rich as a result of oil on their land. Then someone began to kill the Osage tribe members. As the death toll surpassed more than twenty-four Osage, the newly created F.B.I. took up the case, in what became one of the organization’s first major homicide investigations. But the bureau was then notoriously corrupt and initially bungled the case. Eventually the young director, J. Edgar Hoover, turned to a former Texas Ranger named Tom White to try to unravel the mystery.

 

 

 

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