Best Con-Friction: “Pill City” by Kevin Deutsch

An ambitious reporter drives in from New York City and writes a blistering account of drug dealing and murder, up close with the killers and the addicts as they kill and die on Baltimore’s mean streets. You’re there every step of the way as “Wax” and “Brick,” two teenaged gangsters, build a nationwide opioid empire using the internet’s dark web, plus pills looted from pharmacies during the Baltimore Uprising. Gripping stuff. But nobody in Baltimore knows any of these vivid characters, almost every name and place was changed to protect the guilty, and most of the murders don’t correspond to the city’s actual murders. Former employers of the author, Kevin Deutsch, have failed to corroborate many of his named sources’ existence.

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