Finding Finding Chandra

Story Surgeons’ first editing project to hit the book shelves is now out: Finding Chandra, by Scott Higham and Sari Horwitz , has already garnered some excellent early reviews, and it’s about to get a good dose of national attention. Serialized in The Washington Post already, the book on the strange and terrible saga of the Chandra Levy murder case is headed for some of the big morning shows and People magazine, among other things. Scott and Sari are such pros, and great to work with. We did it mostly over g-mail and the phone, but we finished up in an all day session on my back porch last fall, all three laptops plugged into an extension cord that ran out my back door, as we wrote the last chapter together over coffee and scones. It will be what I always remember when I look at the book on my shelf. The climax to the day came when the last few paragraphs of the book materialized unexpectedly. Sari mentioned that the last time she’d visited Chandra’s mom, Susan Levy revealed she STILL believed Gary Condit was involved in the crime, despite the arrest of an immigrant drifter. As Sari described that interview, she mentioned something that happened that absolutely screamed out: “SURPRISE ENDING.” I won’t describe what it was here, because I don’t want to spoil it, but when I heard Sari’s account, I practically shouted, “Put that in!”

They did, and you ought to check it out. The whole book reads like a great suspense thriller/psychological drama. Often when you are working on draft after draft of a long project, it can get to be something of  a chore reading through one more time. But with this project, every time I went through it I was almost shocked at how quickly it read. In the end, they made the writing seem effortless, and that’s how it is to read.

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