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Lee Coppola


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NONFICTION The Operator: Firing the Shots that killed Osama bin Laden and My Years as a SEAL Team Warrior by Robert O'Neal Scribner 358 pages, $28 The historic mission that brought him worldwide fame started when Robert O'Neal was trying to decide what tequila drink to order. He was on a training session in Miami when the call came for him and others with hi…

NONFICTION Anatomy of Innocence: Testimonies of the Wrongly Convicted Edited by Laura Caldwell and Leslie S. Klinger Liveright 260 pages, $26.95 By Lee Coppola Audrey Edmunds spent more than 10 years in Wisconsin prisons for a crime she didn't commit. She had been convicted of shaking to death an infant in her care. But she refused to admit her guilt…

Books

BIOGRAPHY How America Lost Its Secrets: Edward Snowden, the Man and the Theft By Edward Jay Epstein Knopf 359 pages, $27.95 • Edward Snowden is an American patriot. He saw a wrong within his government and told the world about it – a courageous act of true patriotism. • Edward Snowden is a traitor. He revealed secrets about his government’s espionage meth…

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NONFICTION Al Capone: His Life, Legacy, and Legend By Deidre Bair Doubleday 395 pages,  $30 Al Capone keeps some heady company in Deidre Bair’s literary work. After all, the biographer has previously examined the lives of such cultural icons as French writer Simone de Beauvoir, Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung and Romanian-born New Yorker cartoonist Saul Steinbe…

NONFICTION True Crime Addict: How I Lost Myself in the Mysterious Disappearance of Maura Murray By James Renner St. Martin’s Press 280 pages, $25.99 What’s a reporter to do when he suddenly finds himself out of work? How about writing a book? But about what? Let’s see: If he had successfully written a book about a missing girl found dead, why not write an…

FICTION The Girl from Venice By Martin Cruz Smith Simon & Schuster 352 pages, $27 Girl professes to be a love story (of sorts,) a mystery (of sorts) and a look into Italian history (of sorts.) It takes place as World War II comes to end. Cenzo, 26, a simple fisherman, finds the body of an eighteen-year-old girl in his net, only she’s not dead. She’s a…

The title stems from what the author would have shouted had he been there the night his brother was killed. But he wasn’t there, so instead he crafts a detailed analysis of what happened and how the man accused of the murder was acquitted.The author, a lawyer, blends his older brother’s life with his – children of a broken home, grandsons of Jewish immigrants battling ethn…

Lifestyles

Jonathan Alter, a longtime and respected columnist for once-important media outlet Newsweek, credits his daughter for the title of his latest book. That’s a nice accolade, but she might better have offered: “My Dad Defends the Obama Administration.” Because that’s what Alter does in “Center,” basically assailing Obama’s enemies and justifying the administration’s strategie…

It's a culinary romp through the French countryside.Or it's a murder mystery, albeit the murder took place decades ago. Or perhaps a romance story, with a terrorist threat thrown in the mix."Grave," of course, is all the above, another in a series centered around Benoit Courreges, the chief of police of the small French town of St. Denis. Bruno, as he's called, is aptly de…

Should society care about what happens to convicted killers once they're released from prison? Are their lives redeemable? Does it even matter if they are?Nancy Mullane tries to provide the answers without ever asking the questions. She does it by tracking the lives of five convicted murderers during and after their time in San Quentin Prison.It all started when Mullane, a…

Much has been written about Buffalo area mobsters in newspaper articles, magazines and, of course, in police and FBI files. But never has anyone put it all together… until now.Michael Rizzo, to his credit, compiled the reams of information from various published and unpublished accounts and combined them with details from a former FBI agent and a mob informant to produce…

The jury in the Fort Lauderdale courtroom had just reached a verdict in the case against Thomas Griffin. It found the brother of Buffalo's mayor and onetime city parks commissioner guilty of falsely claiming he lived in Florida to obtain a break on property taxes.In her closing argument, Griffin's attorney pointed to the television cameras in the back of the court. "This…

Anthony Swofford's second memoir carries a catchy title borrowed from the first line of a poem about melancholy. But a more appropriate title might be, "Bless Me Father for I Have Sinned, and, By the Way, I Hate My Birth Father."The bless-me title captures the essence of the work: Swofford writes of his bouts with drugs, alcohol and women as if he were confessing…

Benjamin Busch has found an intriguing method for telling readers about his life. He categorizes his memories according to the elements: water, soil, wood and stone, for instance.In "Arms," he opens by relating how, as a boy, he was never allowed to own a gun, his parents being war-abhorrers since the days of Vietnam. And that element plays significantly in his lif…

Southern style.The victim was a 72-year-old white widow. She had been murdered, and the prosecutor said she was raped.The accused was an illiterate 23-year-old black handyman.The police investigation was shoddy at best, and most likely fraudulent.The prosecutor was a pillar in the small South Carolina town where he lived.The defense attorneys were uncaring and lackad…