The assassination of Rodrigo Rosenberg

January 7th, 2012

You know those magazine features in which the very first paragraph reverberates throughout their lengths? The ones that you realise have seeded clues from their outsets that flower into revelation after revelation by their ends? The ones that tell stories about places and people you’ve never heard about before, and wonder how you never did until now? The ones that sweep from the personal to the national so naturally that one feels as consequential as the other?

David Grann’s piece on the assassination of Rodrigo Rosenberg for The New Yorker does all of it. The death of this Guatemalan lawyer, gunned down from his bicycle in 2009, threatens to topple his corrupt country’s government, providing intrigue, betrayal, murder and the dedication of the remarkably brave and tenacious Spanish ex-judge called Carlos Castresana to figure it all out.

It’s a murder mystery, political drama and gangster thriller all at once. Not to suggest that the best magazine features are simply stepping stones to a story’s manifest destiny of becoming a Hollywood film, but this would make a damn fine one.

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