David Howard is a journalist whose work you may have encountered without realizing it. But whether or not you knew his name when you read his pieces, you no doubt enjoyed them for his effortless, conversational style and way of presenting his topics and subjects. If you happen to be familiar with his work (like his previous book, Lost Relic), you know what to expect and will be happy with Chasing Phil. If you are unfamiliar with Howard’s work, Chasing Phil is an enjoyable read and a good good introduction to the author.
Chasing Phil is part true-crime narrative, part expose on big-bank con jobs, and part history profile on the early days of undercover operations in the FBI. Chasing Phil presents in narrative format J.J. Wedick and Jack Brennan’s pursuit and apprehension of big time con man Phil Kutzer, and how his capture lead to even more success for the two men. As Brennan and Wedick pursue Kutzer and figure out how to hook him, Howard traces out how the men almost seem to develop an interpersonal connection that makes it almost feel more like they are trying to chase a frienemy (friend+enemy) than catching a major criminal. The story on its own is interesting, but Howard’s writing style, which mixes subtle humor and accurate descriptive detail, captures the reader and keeps him moving along through this book. Howard does a good job of bringing out the nuance of the events in the book.
Chasing Phil is a good read for a cold winter afternoon with no place to go. Kick back and enjoy it for the crime story and the history it provides.
I received my copy of this book for free through Blogging for Books in exchange for reviewing it. I was not obligated to publish a positive review; the opinions expressed are mine.