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Busted: A Tale of Corruption and Betrayal in the City of Brotherly Love
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Busted: A Tale of Corruption and Betrayal in the City of Brotherly Love

3.72  ·  Rating details ·  735 ratings  ·  105 reviews
In the vein of Erin Brockovich, The Departed, and T. J. English's Savage City comes this shocking true story of the biggest police corruption scandal in Philadelphia history, a tale of drugs, power, and abuse involving a rogue narcotics squad, a confidential informant, and two veteran journalists whose reporting drove a full-scale FBI probe, rocked the City of Brotherly Lo ...more
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published March 11th 2014 by Harper
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Bill S.
Dec 29, 2014 rated it it was ok
The story of how a couple of scrappy chicks at a scrappy (and broke) tabloid won a Pulitzer prize for exposing out of control cops in Philadelphia — a tale which would have worked better had the authors not spent most of it telling you how they were a couple of scrappy chicks at a scrappy tabloid … blah, blah. It would be as if Woodward & Bernstein made AtPM 80% about themselves while only occasionally mentioning Nixon, Liddy, et al.
Michael Flanagan
Jan 29, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: true-crime
**I received an advanced copy of this book by the publisher for review**

I went into this book not quite knowing what to expect. Was it going to be a compendium of the newspaper articles that won the authors a Pulitzer or was it going to be the story behind the story? I was happy to find out that it was the latter.

The book starts off with a great first chapter that introduces us to all the main players in this real life thriller and sets the tone for the rest of the book. What we get from this bo
Sep 18, 2014 rated it it was ok
Only okay - more a story of how they wrote the story rather than what the story was. I was unfamilar with the corruption scandal so really kinda felt like part of the story was missing.
Oct 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
I added this book to my list after hearing the author speak (actually, she was interviewing two *other* authors about their book) at the Collingswood Book Festival. A fairly quick read, Busted details the investigation into police corruption in Philadelphia that won Ruderman and her co-author and colleague at the Philadelphia Daily News, Barbara Laker, the 2010 Pullitzer Prize for investigative journalism. Despite the accolades from their peers, and the concurrent investigations launched by the ...more
Kate  K. F.
Mar 22, 2014 rated it liked it
This is a book that left me with mixed feelings. I picked up my ARC at ALA Midwinter 2014, because it was about Philadephia and I find the how of journalism interesting. In the end, I was left feeling like it was a book that taught me a lot while being in a style that I don't like.

Wendy Ruderman and Barbara Laker were two reporters at the Philadelphia Daily News, a newspaper that sees itself as the scrappy underdog to the Philadelphia Inquirer. Busted is about how Ruderman and Laker put together
Mar 08, 2014 rated it really liked it
I very seldom read true crime, but I picked up an advance reader copy of this at the recent American Library Association meeting in Philadelphia and thought I'd give it a whirl and I'm glad I did.

I was quite pleased to find the book is not at all a rehash of their newspaper articles; although they won a Pulitzer, I don't care to read the sordid saga again, pieces of which I picked up as a regular reader of the competing Philadelphia Inquirer. Nor is it a reconstruction of the alleged criminal
Iren Mav
Sep 10, 2014 rated it did not like it
This book was a disappointment. I was expecting a good expose on police corruption from journalists, yet all I got was stories about Barbara's eating habbits, her flirting with her neighbor and the editor's office description. The actual part of the expose and the struggles of the reporters was badly written, with a weak prose for the most part, and some awful prose at others. I can only assume that the Pulitzer was awarded for the work and not the writing (weird).

Many, many, many pages on the
May 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: true-crime
Wow! This is journalism at its absolute best. I could have done without the commentary on Barbara's life. She is one of the journalists who helped uncover the police corruption going on in Philly. I really didn't care what she ate, how she dressed, how hung up on her ex she was, or who she dated. That aside, I loved every other word in this book. Extremely well written, gripping, and hard to put down. The story itself is even harder to believe.

The authors take the reader through the process of
Mar 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
More than anything, Busted is about journalism, about how the seismic shift in media over the last decade has played out at your average metropolitan daily, and for your average (and increasingly unemployed) newspaper reporter. The book is not so much a call to arms as a window into reality, a frank look at how the real work of reporting—already up against online aggregation and viral cat videos—is doubly challenged by the newspaper industry’s rapid desiccation.

Mar 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2014
It took me three sittings to read Busted, and each time I had to force myself to put it down. Riveting. Gripping. And not just because I'm a huge fan of Wendy Ruderman and Barbara Laker, but because the story itself about police corruption and misdeeds is so outrageous. You feel their anxiety as they knock on doors or wander down streets in the heart Philadelphia's worst neighborhoods. Balanced against their intense investigative work is the plight of the Daily News and their personal lives. I a ...more
Mar 20, 2014 rated it did not like it
Shelves: dnf, 2014
I tried, I really did. But way too much time spent going through very mundane details. Perhaps just not really interested in the subject.

Kudos to the authors for the Pulitzer though.
Apr 29, 2018 rated it liked it
This is a solid story about two women investigative reporters who uncover crooked Philadelphia cops. They won a Pulitzer Prize for their work. As with the much more famous story about reporters uncovering the priest molestation scandal in Boston (now movie, "Spotlight"), this is a classic good guy vs. bad guy story that is actually true. The reporters uncover a narcotics unit in Philadelphia that is lying to make arrests, stealing from arrested people and from shop owners, and even committing se ...more
Aug 22, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An absorbing story about two self-described "hillbilly Jews" who write for a Philadelphia tabloid about to declare bankruptcy. The two women win a Pulitzer prize for bringing down the corrupt narcotics division of the Philadelphia police. They suspect that a single narc cop is dirty and find the whole department fairly reeks with corruption. The book includes security photos of cops about to slice the wires to a bodega's security camera system before they pillage the store for money and merchand ...more
Ronnie Cramer
Nov 06, 2017 rated it it was ok
Ostensibly about police corruption in Philadelphia, but mostly about the two reporters who authored the book. The sub-plot of their newspaper going broke is okay, and the passages that actually address corruption are interesting, but they are buried in a heaping mound of weird and inappropriate personal minutia. Examples:

"I had met (my husband) in a tae kwon do class back in the early 1990s. He was a second-degree black belt and taught classes three nights a week. I spent the entire class watch
Oct 24, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: abandoned-dnf
I was so excited to read this, but it turned out to be pretty awful. I was hoping for a book version of the actual Tainted Justice story, but instead it was, I dunno, kind of a memoir? But with a lot of weird, borderline-racist descriptions of characters that left such a bad taste in my mouth I couldn't stick with it. The passage that finally got me reads like something out of a white midwestern college student's parody of an urban romance novel:

Sonia and Benny went way back. She'd fallen for hi
Sep 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shocking corruption without penalty for those dirty cops who may have saved lives, but also destroyed lives. The fact that they were merely put on desk duty and then returned to the streets, despite the abundance of evidence against them, is an absolute disgrace. The account of this betrayal and corruption is bravely told. In order to get the story, these 2 reporters put themselves in danger from both criminals as well as police officers. I have enormous respect for the police force and their ef ...more
Michael D. Brooks
Jan 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
Busted is an insightful look at the world of investigative reporting written with a flair that belies a perception of how you might think a book on police corruption or any kind of investigative reporting might be like: boring. It is far from it. Wendy Ruderman and Barbara Laker have written a page-turning book where the players are treated with a humanistic approach peppered with objective reporting and subjective humor and compassion for both perpetrators and victims.

It's easy to see why they
Anirvan Ghosh
Sep 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is top drawer investigative journalism. Best part about the book is that the authors, who won Pulitzers for their series of newspaper stories that led to this book, make the reader feel what they went through while reporting: the long days, seeing little of their families, and eventually the toll it took on their personal lives. They uncovered deep-rooted corruption in Philadelphia, but also paid a price for it. This book brilliantly brings out the power of journalism and also paints a real ...more
Oct 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The search for truth, for fairness, for justice, the way newspapers used to investigate and report it, and in a pst not so very long ago, this book is in your face exciting on a non-sensationalized way...probably because it is the cold hard bare truth. I commend their women, who like stubborn tenacious terriers, ferreted out the facts, no matter the danger or the risk, and presented it all for the world to read.
Oct 02, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great research that only a newspaper reporter could discover

Been locked into corrupt cop books for a year or so and kindle suggested this book. Glad they did, this story is the reason we need newspapers in the US. A lot of random crimes by cops that only a reporter could weave together. A snitch and a bad cop who made a lot of money and came for selfish reasons. Worth your time to read.
Mary Miller
Apr 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I couldn't put this down. I grew up in a suburb of Philly.
Ed Ruggero
Sep 25, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Two brave reporters take on corrupt cops in the Philly PD. Wendy Ruderman tells the story in the first person, and she's a hoot.
Feb 25, 2018 rated it liked it
Didn't exactly read "like a turbocharged thriller," as stated on the front cover. Still an interesting look into the corruption that existed in the narcotics unit of the Philly PD.
Jane Thompson
Aug 09, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
True Crime

This book tells the story oof two gutsy women who took on a newspaper story about police corruption in Philadelphia. For this, they won a
Jeffrey Bumiller
Jun 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
A great read about top-notch journalism and deeply corrupt police officers. Recommended for fans of true crime and fans of Philadelphia!
Mar 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
I thought the author was annoying at first, but she grew on me! Was searching for a book about the thin blue line and this didn't quite satiate that hunger, but I was pleased overall.
Mar 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing


Today’s nonfiction post is Busted: A Tale of Corruption and Betrayal in the City of Brotherly Love by Wendy Ruderman and Barbara Laker. It is 233 pages long and is published by HarperCollins. It is told from the first person account of Wendy Ruderman with Laker’s thought and actions thrown in. The cover is a long view of Philadelphia at sunset. There is strong language, rape, and lots of violence in this book; 18 and up because of the content. There Be Spoilers Ahead.

From the dust jacket
Jan 23, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wendy Ruderman's book "Busted" started slowly for me. I expected the book to focus specifically on the story of "... Corruption and Betrayal" in the Philadelphia police department. But instead I found I was reading more about the lives of the two female reporters. But I gradually bought into the book, and began to appreciate the work and the story of the reporters and how they went about investigating and detailing the police corruption they uncovered. So while the book is not focused solely on ...more
Mar 12, 2014 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Deb Schell
Mar 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This is the most honest book I've read.
These two women, Barbara Laker and Wendy Ruderman, sacrifice their career, their families, their lives, for this true story.
They take on police officers, drug dealers, pimps, and addicts, forcing themselves to find the story, get the interviews, get the facts.
This story doesn't have a happy ending, it is life, real life.
Every journalists' dream, to win a Pulitzer, Barbara and Wendy succeed, but throughout the entire painful time of newspaper bankruptcy
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Hear her and Barbara read! 1 4 Aug 06, 2014 08:19AM  
Lit Lawvers: "Busted" by Ruderman & Laker 11 9 Jul 25, 2014 06:47PM  
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