True Story

  • by Michael Finkel
  • Narrated by Michael Finkel
  • 6 hrs and 18 mins
  • Abridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

In the haunting tradition of Joe McGinniss's Fatal Vision and Mikal Gilmore's Shot in the Heart, True Story: Murder, Memoir, Mea Culpa weaves a spellbinding tale of murder, love, and deceit with a deeply personal inquiry into the slippery nature of truth.The story begins in February of 2002, when a reporter in Oregon contacts New York Times Magazine writer Michael Finkel with a startling piece of news. A young, highly intelligent man named Christian Longo, on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted list for killing his entire family, has recently been captured in Mexico, where he'd taken on a new identity...Michael Finkel of The New York Times.The next day, on page A-3 of the Times, comes another bit of troubling news: a note, written by the paper's editors, explaining that Finkel has falsified parts of an investigative article and has been fired. This unlikely confluence sets the stage for a bizarre and intense relationship. After Longo's arrest, the only journalist the accused murderer will speak with is the real Michael Finkel. And as the months until Longo's trial tick away, the two men talk for dozens of hours on the telephone, meet in the jailhouse visiting room, and exchange nearly a thousand pages of handwritten letters.With Longo insisting he can prove his innocence, Finkel strives to uncover what really happened to Longo's family, and his quest becomes less a reporting job than a psychological cat-and-mouse game, sometimes redemptively honest, other times slyly manipulative. Finkel's pursuit pays off only at the end, when Longo, after a lifetime of deception, finally says what he wouldn't even admit in court, the whole, true story. Or so it seems.


Audible Editor Reviews

In this nightmare of identity theft, Oregon mass murderer Chris Longo (he killed his wife and children) escapes to Mexico where he assumes the identity of his favorite journalist, Michael Finkel, fired from The New York Times Magazine for falsifying facts in an article. After Longo is recaptured and jailed, Finkel gets in touch with him and begins a bizarre relationship. Finkel, as narrator, is matchless, telling all (both his story and Longo's) in an intimate, confidential voice, exposing himself and the killer as a mysterious, egocentric, and not always believable duo. Sometimes the explicit explanations slow the tempo, but Finkel manages to drive the story to a compelling climax.


What the Critics Say

"This book is absolutely riveting, as much for Finkel's own painful self-examination as for the evasions of an accused murderer." (Booklist) "Astute and hypnotically absorbing....There's a burning sincerity (and beautifully modulated writing) on every page, sufficient to convince most that this brilliant blend of true-crime and memoir does live up to its bald title." (Publishers Weekly)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Bad reader and a weak (true) story!

This is, by far, the worst audiobook that I've encountered. This is the second audiobook that I've purchased that employs the author as the reader and, in both cases, it ruins the story. The story "may" be worth telling but I couldn't get past the awkwardness of the reader -- it was painful. However, I don't believe that the story has much to offer either. This story felt like the author's attempt at an apology for past (journalistic) acts that the average reader couldn't care less about.
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- Jeff

The narration ruined it for me

The story is interesting, though I didn't find it spellbinding, but the narration is so bad that it
was hard for me to listen to. I agree with the woman who said it made her angry. Me too! I wanted to yell at him. Oddly stilted speech, lazy pronounciation, and a dramatic intonation at the end of just about every sentence was enough to interfere with the story.
In short bits I found it tolerable.
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- Betty

Book Details

  • Release Date: 05-27-2005
  • Publisher: HarperAudio