Times Review for Finding Chandra

Good reviews are always nice, but the most gratifying reviews not only praise, but make it clear that a professional reader has found in your work exactly what you had worked so hard to put in to it. That’s what this Sunday’s New York Times Book Review does for Scott Higham’s and Sari Horwitz’s “Finding Chandra.”

When we began to shape the manuscript last spring, we knew that the biggest challenge we faced was the fact that our story had already played out twice, first in the media frenzy surrounding the case in the spring and summer of 2001, and then in the multi-part newspaper series on which the book was based. But I knew we still had an opportunity to make it seem new. So often when the parts of a story are dissected and minced under a microscope, everyone loses sight of the big picture, the context in which the parts belong, and make sense. Plus, Scott and Sari had some fabulous new reporting that got at the underlying forces which made of this sad case a tragic farce. We spent a lot of time and energy figuring out how to create suspense in a story of which the outline was so well known.

So it was especially gratifying to see the review Sunday, especially the following excerpt:

“[Finding Chandra] 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.”


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