…Higham and Horwitz have written a remarkably detailed, straight-up exposé of bureaucratic incompetence and human folly, set against the alluring backdrop of Washington…the book sheds new light on this sex scandal turned murder mystery and media circus. It builds suspense through the careful articulation of the things that the police and the media botched, and through the revelation of how various players in the case had a hand in their own undoing. It's an impressive feat of reporting and storytelling, full of the kind of plot elements that seem unbelievable and are made all the more engrossing because they're true.
The New York Times
The case of missing congressional intern Chandra Levy gripped the nation during spring 2001. After leaving her apartment in Washington, DC, she was never seen alive again. As presented here by two esteemed Pulitzer Prize-winning reporters from the Washington Post, the mystery of Chandra's disappearance is a riveting one, filled with the details of many false starts and frustrations on the part of her parents and the police agencies assigned to solve the case. Added to the mystery are questions about Rep. Gary Condit, with whom she was involved. After a summer of constant media attention, her story was abruptly pushed from the headlines by the events of 9/11. The authors show how her parents continued their efforts, both in California and in Washington, to find out what happened to their daughter. After many setbacks, and with a wide range of experts trying to solve the case, evidence of what happened to Chandra was ultimately found by accident near the apartment where she lived. VERDICT Essential for those interested in true crime mysteries or the world of Washington, DC, politics.—Claire Franek, MSLS, Brockport, NY
Two Pulitzer Prize-winning journalists for the Washington Post document what went wrong during the investigation of the high-profile Chandra Levy case. Upon her mysterious death in spring 2001, Levy had been serving as an intern at the U.S. Bureau of Prisons just before graduating from college. While visiting Congressional offices with a friend seeking a job, Levy met Gary Condit, an elected representative from California. Levy and Condit, a married man more than twice her age, became involved romantically, and only a few people knew about the relationship. But when Levy disappeared after telling her parents that she would return to their California home just before the college graduation ceremony, those who knew mentioned Condit to D.C. police. What began as a missing-persons case morphed into a criminal investigation with Condit as the lead suspect. Although Condit seemed like a natural suspect, tunnel vision prevented the investigators from considering other credible alternatives. Higham and Horwitz (co-author: Sniper: Inside the Hunt for the Killers Who Terrorized the Nation, 2003) covered the case for the Post in 2001-02 amid the media frenzy. Police never arrested Condit and the case went cold, but the Post reporters kept looking for leads. Almost one year after Levy disappeared, a hiker in Rock Creek Park located Levy's remains in an area supposedly searched previously by law-enforcement officers. That portion of the park had experienced violent attacks on other women by Ingmar Adalid Guandique, a 19-year-old immigrant from El Salvador who eventually ended up in prison for two of the attacks. Some police and prosecutors believed the immigrant had killed Levy in a crime ofopportunity. But those in charge continued to focus on Condit, and he lost his Congressional seat in the next election. The case is still not closed-and the publisher promises "new material on recent developments"-but the Post investigation forming the basis of the book strongly suggests that Guandique was the murderer. A well-reported, well-written chronicle of a botched criminal investigation and its disturbing aftermath. Agent: Gail Ross/Gail Ross Literary Agency
The 2001 disappearance of Washington, D.C., intern Chandra Levy, and the discovery of her remains a year later in a remote area of D.C.'s Rock Creek Park, made headlines, especially when her affair with Congressman Gary Condit became known. Pulitzer Prize-winning reporters Higham and Horwitz expand on their 13-part Washington Post investigation that in 2008 identified Levy's likely killer, delivering a meticulous study of the case and the media circus surrounding it. The police immediately focused on Condit in Levy's disappearance. Though the California Democrat eventually admitted to the liaison, he denied involvement in her death. Higham and Horwitz draw attention to the critical mistakes of law enforcement and the media's dogged pursuit of Condit despite the lack of evidence linking him to Levy's murder. In their Post reporting, the authors pointed instead to Salvadoran immigrant Ingmar Guandique, already convicted of two similar assaults on women committed in the same park around the time Levy disappeared. Guandique is now facing trial on first-degree murder charges; he has pleaded not guilty. Higham and Horwitz's compelling story brings hope that justice may finally come for Levy. Photos. (May)
“A remarkably detailed, straight-up exposé of bureaucratic incompetence and human folly, set against the alluring backdrop of Washington. It’s an impressive feat of reporting and storytelling, full of the kind of plot elements that seem unbelievable and are made all the more engrossing because they’re true.”
The New York Times Book Review
“[A] triumph of investigative journalism. Its authors did what the D.C. police and the FBI had not done: They exonerated Condit and identified Guandique as Levy's likely killer. Their reporting was thorough and focused, and they provide readers with detailed notes about where their facts come from.”
San Francisco Chronicle
“An exhaustive and authoritative account.”
Wall Street Journal
"A meticulous study of the case and the media circus surrounding it... Higham and Horwitz's compelling story brings hope that justice may finally come for Levys."
– Publisher's Weekly
"Fine reporting and behind-the-scenes drama; a must for true-crime fans."
"Essential for those interested in true crime mysteries or the world of Washington, DC, politics."
– Library Journal
"A well-reported, well-written chronicle of a botched criminal investigation and its disturbing aftermath."