Saturday, March 8, 2014

Wendy Ruderman and Barbara Laker's "Busted"

Wendy Ruderman has a master's degree from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. Before joining the Philadelphia Daily News in 2007, she worked at several media outlets, including the Philadelphia Inquirer, WHYY-TV and WHYY-FM, the Trenton Times, the Associated Press, and the Bergen Record.

Barbara Laker graduated from the University of Missouri Journalism School and worked for several newspapers, including the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the Dallas Times Herald, and the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. She began working at the Philadelphia Daily News in 1993 and has been a general assignment reporter, an assistant city editor, and an investigative reporter.

Ruderman and Laker won the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting.

Laker applied the “Page 99 Test” to their new book, Busted: A Tale of Corruption and Betrayal in the City of Brotherly Love, and reported the following:
Open, Busted: A Tale of Corruption and Betrayal in the City of Brotherly Love, to page 99 and hopefully, you’ll feel as if you’re on an exhilarating ride into Philadelphia’s underbelly with Wendy and me.

In this part of the book, we’re beginning our search for women who say they were victimized by Officer Tom Tolstoy, a cop known as the “Boob Man,” because he had allegedly sexually assaulted and terrorized large-breasted women during drug raids.

Even cops outside Philly were familiar with Tolstoy’s nickname and told me about it. So we now knew that the cop with the breast fetish wasn’t urban myth. We just had no idea how many women he had allegedly assaulted – and whether we could find them.

On page 99, we meet Lady Gonzalez, a soft-spoken, almost demure woman who, during a drug raid, was cornered by a cop who lifted her shirt, fondled her breasts and pushed her jeans down to see the “crack of her ass.” She didn’t know the cop’s name. But she could describe him: a husky, barrel-bellied cop of average height. He led her into a small room off her kitchen. He shuffled his feet closer to hers. She tried to back up and there was nowhere to go.

Although Wendy and I knew the cop’s name we couldn’t use it yet. We didn’t have the goods. We believed and trusted Lady Gonzalez. She had told her husband and neighbors the very night the assault had happened. But we needed more.

The reader will wonder if we ever get the “goods” on this cop. And if so, how we get them.

Without names of other victims, addresses or dates, it would take unrelenting perseverance and using the kind of shoe-leather reporting that is at the heart of Busted.

So by page 99, we believe the reader will be hooked, already at one peak of a roller coaster and heading into another – with anticipation.

Welcome to the breathtaking, thrilling ride.
Learn more about Busted at the publisher's website.

--Marshal Zeringue