Michael Finkel was a top New York Times Magazine journalist publicly fired and disgraced for making up a composite character for a big investigative news piece about Africa. This book is about how this brilliant, hardliving, high achieving journalist found himself at that point in his life; but in parallel it's also about Christian Longo, a man accused of the multiple murder of his own wife and 3 children (their bodies were found in Oregon waterways, the largest and the smallest in suitcases), who then passed himself off as Michael Finkel, NY journalist, while on the run in Mexico.These two weird stories come together as Finkel in turn becomes fascinated (obsessed, even) with Longo the accused murderer, who while in prison would talk only to Finkel. Who is using whom? It's all about truth and lies, and where journalistic truth deviates from reality; and about lives that take a wrong turning. It's very well written, disturbing in many ways and utterly gripping. There is an acknowledged moral ambiguity about the whole venture which makes it problematic but even more interesting- And in April 2003 Longo, who had pleaded guilty only to 2 counts of murder, was sentenced to death for all 4. Finkel visited and talked to him throughout the trial.