Patrick Radden Keefe has garnered prizes ranging from the National Magazine Award to the Orwell Prize to the National Book Critics Circle Award for his work on the many ways people behave badly. "Rogues" brings together a dozen of his most celebrated articles from "The New Yorker".
Mr. Keefe is himself a witness: entering the narrative discreetly, attending court proceedings, poring over research materials, interviewing sources. His glimpses of people under stress are keen and often poignant, and his own discoveries can be profound ... Each of these stories could make a book in itself, not to mention an engrossing feature or documentary film ... [Keefe] does pay his unique subjects the compliment of his world-class attention, in works of deadline prose that shock, inform and entertain.
At one point, when Keefe scrutinises a few thriller novels Bishop had written years ago for clues, you can’t help but admire a preternaturally attentive reporter at work. In another unforgettable moment, he gets Bishop to admit that in the months before she went on a shooting spree, she often broke out in hives worrying about her career prospects ... Keefe may travel the world over to unearth facts and investigate allegations, but his fidelity is strictly to the story; anything erratic gets left out. The genre has its formulaic flourishes and Keefe doesn’t always avoid them in this collection ... Then there is the nut graph that dutifully surfaces in the opening pages of every new piece, the story striving to impress on you its newsworthiness, which might have been necessary in the magazine version, but feels oppressive years later in a book. But the indiscriminate use of omniscient narration is perhaps the most infectious of Keefe’s offences ... These questions are exhaustively explored, but Keefe doesn’t provide any pat answers. He illuminates how in the end we sift through a bulky catalogue of evidence and settle for the most plausible story.
Keefe collects a dozen thoroughly investigated and engagingly reported articles on a fascinating assortment of characters ... Keefe isn't a flashy writer, but he's able to summon an arresting phrase at just the right time ... Trusting the intelligence of his readers, he digs deeply into complex and often arcane topics ... Keefe painstakingly unearths and shares the details that render diverse true stories as engrossing as fiction.