“Baby, There’s Always a Man with a Knife.”

UntitledNobody does a good true-crime investigative magazine piece like Texas Monthly, specifically journalists Skip Hollandsworth and Pamela Colloff.

It’s been several months since I read Colloff’s piece “Hannah and Andrew,” which I believe was nominated for a National Magazine Award — or if it wasn’t, it should have been — and I am still thinking about it. (I do know that Colloff won an AMA this year for another piece, the two-part “The Innocent Man,” which is also an amazing read if you’ve got the time.)

The “Hannah and Andrew” case centers on a foster mother wrongly accused of poisoning her troubled four-year-old foster child with… salt. Yeah, it’s pretty crazy.

But I digress. What prompted me to post today was that I just read one of Hollandsworth’s pieces, “If the Serial Killer Gets Us, He Gets Us,” which focuses on the difficulty of pursuing a serial killer who targets black prostitutes. (Cue collective societal shrug.) Here’s an excerpt:

“It’s like we did all this work to clean everything up, and life out there is already back to normal,” [Detective Darcus Shorten] said. 
She hung up and parked near a group of prostitutes on a street corner. She got out of the car and asked if they knew anything about a man with a knife.

The prostitutes stared at Shorten in her business suit and silver jewelry, and they started to laugh. “Baby, there’s always a man with a knife,” one of them said, and then she and the others turned away.

Wow. Amazing writing. Sad state of affairs.

Also recommended: An interview with Colloff about her writing and reporting process behind “Hannah and Andrew.”

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