Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
- Age: 9 to 12
- Grade: 5
Experience all the thrills and suspense of chasing down the world’s highest-profile criminals.
What does it take to catch a criminal? Not just any criminal, but one of the world’s most wanted? In Outlaws, Spies, and Gangsters, Laura Scandiffo chronicles eight of history’s most famous manhunts, from searches for drug dealers to dictators, hackers to henchmen. Discover the danger and intrigue behind these riveting stories of daring and perseverance. Read about the great lengths authorities went to, to catch:
• Albert “Mad Trapper” Johnson, an unpredictable and violent fugitive in Canada’s Northwest Territories
• Bank robber and escape artist extraordinaire John Dillinger, America’s frst “Public Enemy Number One”
• Adolf Eichmann, Hitler’s right-hand man and the world’s most notorious war criminal
• Manuel Noriega, Panama’s corrupt and tyrannical president
• CIA mole Aldrich Ames, whose longing for the high life led to the disappearances and murders of many of his fellow colleagues
• Vladimir Levin, the world’s frst high-profle computer hacker
• Christopher “Dudus” Coke—a dangerous, but also revered, Jamaican gang leader
• Osama bin Laden, the terrorist who became a household name after the attacks of September 11, 2001.
An introduction and afterword help frame these remarkable stories, which also address how manhunts have changed over time. Gareth Williams’ bright, dramatic art makes each exciting tale jump off the page.
About the authors
Laura Scandiffio has worked as an editor for both children's and adult trade books. As an author, her previous book, The Martial Arts Book, showcased her love of history, her meticulous research, and her knack for storytelling.
Northern Irish composer Gareth Williams lives in Edinburgh, Scotland, where he makes work that seeks to find new participants, collaborators, and audiences for opera and music theatre to shed light on stories and communities that have been overlooked, and to explore ideas of vulnerability in vocal writing. His music is often site-specific and responsive, with performances happening in lighthouses, whisky distilleries, nuclear bunkers, and libraries. From 2015 to 2018, Williams collaborated with Oliver Emanuel to create the critically acclaimed 306 Trilogy, a collection of music theatre works telling the story of the British soldiers shot for cowardice during WWI, produced by the National Theatre of Scotland. The album from the trilogy, Lost Light: Music from the 306, was released in 2020. Rocking Horse Winner, produced by Tapestry Opera, was nominated for nine Dora Mavor Moore Awards in 2017, winning five, including Outstanding Musical Production. The opera was recorded and released in 2020 by Tapestry Opera. Currently, Gareth lectures in composition at the University of Edinburgh, and is working on new operas and musicals, as well as a new album as a singer-songwriter.
“An appealing way to bring reluctant readers to history.”
Kirkus Reviews, 05/28/14
“An excellent tool to start a discussion about the nature of crime.”
National Reading Campaign, 01/24/14
“Scandiffio has authored fast-paced narratives that will appeal to the male readership.”
CM Reviews, 04/11/14
“Engagingly written . . . would be a welcome addition, especially . . . where high-interest, collective biographies are in demand.”
School Library Journal, 08/14
Library Media Connection, 06/14
“An engaging narrative nonfiction voice . . . Scandiffio threads the tales with thoughtful reflection on the changing modes of hunting down criminals.”
“Middle school students interested in crime and criminals will be fascinated by this easy-to-pick-up book.”
Resource Links, 10/14
“Well written . . . artwork is dramatic and compelling.”
Sal’s Fiction Addiction, 07/21/15
“It was nice to see that there were plenty of things here that I didn't know yet.”
Second Bookshelf on the Right, 09/20/14