CHIP JACOBS is a Los Angeles-area author and journalist. Besides The Ascension of Jerry, his books include Smogtown: the Lung-Burning History of Pollution in Los Angeles (with William J. Kelly), Wheeling the Deal: the Outrageous Legend of Gordon Zahler, and a profile published in Voices of the U.S.-Latino Experience. His reporting has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Daily News of Los Angeles, CNN, the New York Times, L.A. Weekly and Southland publishing, among other outlets. Jacobs, who lives in Southern California with his wife and two children, is the receipient of numerous honors. Visit chipjacobs.com to learn more about him and his future projects.
The Ascension of Jerry: Murder, Hitmen, and the Making of L.A. Muckraker Jerry Schneidermanby Chip Jacobs
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Bumbling hitmen. Burning corpses. A threatened son. Life in hiding. Jerry Schneiderman’s orderly world evaporated when his business partner was executed by an assassin in 1979 Los Angeles, and the buzzard-eyed ringleader came for him. Though the killers behind the murder-for-hire corporation were nabbed, the trauma annihilated Jerry’s family and strip-mined his trust. Recovery only came years later with Jerry’s improbable rebirth as a prank-loving activist who defended the weak by milking his scars.
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Chip Jacobs' chops as an accomplished newspaperman are on brilliant display in The Ascension of Jerry, a delightfully off-kilter true-crime tale of a hero (sorta) who is neither especially loathsome nor lovable ... maybe just lucky to get out alive. Jacobs' prose is intimate, darkly funny, and crisp as he follows the twisted path that leads SoCal businessman Jerry Schneiderman through a series of weird events - including crossing paths with some dumb-ass hitmen and some burning corpses - only to emerge as a merry prankster with a jones for social activism. (If you haven't yet deduced that this book is not your Mama's supermarket true-crime trash, then you're doing it wrong.) But here's the thing: Jacobs' ear for a good story is pitch perfect, and he tells it with all the smoggy pastel colors of post-noir LA. "The Ascension of Jerry" isn't an old song in a new key, but an entirely new song about crime, fear, and a weird kind of redemption that could only happen in the general vicinity of Hollywood. Jacobs is a genuine writer, not a wannabe scribbler. He knows what makes us keep turning pages. So for those few true-crime readers who like their mayhem served up in a sumptuous story, seek this one out.
Jerry Schneiderman would be 61 today, May 27, 2012, however we lost him a short while ago. I thought I knew Jerry well, even though I did not meet him until 2002. Chip Jacobs fills in some of the blanks. I worked as Jerry's' Construction Superintendent for quite a few years. My wife, daughter, and two of my sons also worked with Jerry. One would think that having so many eyes and ears, especially those of family members, available, there would be few secrets. For me there was always a mysterious side of Jerry. I and my family socialized with Jerry and his family. From the beginning of our relationship, I knew Jerry was brilliant. He had the ability to find a distressed property, put together a group of investors, and turn a Sows' Ear into a Silk Purse. Even though he wore an insulin pump and knew he was living on borrowed time due to his diabetes, he lived large and seemed fearless. Chip Jacobs' book gives me some idea of Jerry's' background. I understand better some of the personality traits that I saw in Jerry. Jerry chose to take the high road. He had a way with people that brought out their best qualities. He managed to surround himself with good, hardworking, ethical people. Once I read Chips' book I know why. If you enjoy a murder/mystery/crime story, with some psychodrama mixed in, you'll love "The Ascension of Jerry", especially if you like to read about Los Angeles/Hollywierd, and, you'll get to know Jerry too ! ! !
Fast-paced real life crime story. The author creates detailed pictures fo events and places - you'll stay up late with this to see it all unfold. In the end, you are left to reflect on the choices one makes in life - and how much small things do matter - and the value of one voice. A definate read this summer.
As one of the innocent victims of the monster who terrorized so many people, I can honestly say this book was very chilling for me to read. I discovered for the first time many unknown facts and people who had been touched by this criminal. The complexity of the background and events that ultimately led to the death of one person and the birth of a modern day activist were fascinating to read. Chip does a masterful job of telling the story of the monster and terror that unwittingly connected all the victims, and also does an excellent job of helping us relive the tumultous times in which they took place. Reality can truly be stranger than fiction as Chip takes us through the real life nightmare suffered by Jerry and the others. This book was a great read and hard to put down. A must read!