FINALIST for the Hilary Weston Writers' Trust Prize for Non-fiction * Arthur Ellis Award for Best Crime Non-fiction * Evelyn Richardson Non-Fiction Award * Robbie Robertson Dartmouth Book Award for Non-Fiction * Democracy 250 Atlantic Book Award for Historical Writing
A Globe and Mail and National Post Best Book of the Year
WINNER of the Chicago Writers Association Book of the Year Award, Traditional Non-Fiction
In the tradition of bestselling books such as The Devil in the White City and The Man in the Rockefeller Suit, Empire of Deception combines investigative journalism and spellbinding storytelling to examine one of the greatest con men of the twentieth century It was a time of unregulated madness. And nowhere was it madder than in Chicago at the dawn of the Roaring Twenties. As Model Ts rumbled down Michigan Avenue, gang war shootings announced Al Capone’s rise to underworld domination. Bedecked partygoers thronged to the Drake Hotel’s opulent banquet rooms, corrupt politicians held court in thriving speakeasies, and the frenzy of stock market gambling was rampant. Enter a slick, smooth-talking, charismatic lawyer named Leo Koretz, who enticed hundreds of people (who should have known better) to invest as much as $30 million-upwards of $400 million today-in phantom timberland and nonexistent oil wells in Panama. It was an ingenious deceit, one that out-ponzied Charles Ponzi himself, who only a few years earlier had been arrested for a pyramid scheme. Leo had a good run-his was perhaps the longest fraud in history-and when his enterprise finally collapsed in 1923, he vanished. The Cook County state’s attorney, a man whose lust for power equaled Leo’s own lust for money, began an international manhunt that lasted almost a year. When finally apprehended, Leo was living a life of luxury in Nova Scotia under the assumed identity of a book dealer and literary critic. A salacious court hearing followed, and his mysterious death in a Chicago prison rivaled the rest of his almost too-bizarre-to-believe life. Destined to become an instant historical true crime classic, Empire of Deception is timeless and riveting.
Paperback, 362 pages
DEAN JOBB’s most recent book, Empire of Deception, won the Arthur Ellis Award for Best True Crime Book and the Chicago Writers Association Book of the Year Award. It was also a finalist for the Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize for Non-Fiction, as well as three Atlantic Canada book awards. Dean Jobb is the author of six other books, including Calculated Risk: Greed, Politics and the Westray Tragedy. His work has appeared in the Globe and Mail, the Toronto Star, the Chicago Tribune, the Irish Times and other major publications. He is a journalism professor and a faculty member in the MFA program in creative non-fiction at the University of King’s College in Halifax.