Michael is a New York-based journalist and author of four non-fiction books. He writes in a storytelling style loosely known as narrative non-fiction — all true but influenced by the pace and structure of fiction. His recent and upcoming work focuses on the culture and history of crime in America.
Michael has worked as a reporter for U.P.I and Time magazine, and as an editor for The New York Times. His writing has appeared in The New Yorker, Newsweek, Sports Illustrated and many other publications.
Books by me
A Brotherhood Betrayed: The Man Behind the Rise and Fall of Murder, Inc.
"For a brief moment before World War II took over everything, America fixated on the delicate balance of trust and betrayal on the Brooklyn streets. One man tipped the balance. This is the true story of Abe Reles, the executioner-turned-informant whose curious death became gangland's greatest mystery."Buy this book
Incendiary: The Psychiatrist, the Mad Bomber and the Invention of Criminal Profiling
"Long before the specter of terrorism haunted the public imagination, a serial bomber stalked the streets of 1950s New York. The race to catch him would give birth to a new science called criminal profiling."Buy this book
The Limit: Life and Death on the 1961 Grand Prix Circuit
"Every memorable sports story is a pairing of opposites. This is the story of Wolfgang von Trips, a German count who escaped wartime death only to find it at the racetrack, and Phil Hill, a lowly Santa Monica mechanic who became the first American to win the Formula 1 world championship."Buy this book
Books that influenced me
The Passage of Power
"Robert Caro is an American national treasure. This book is the fourth volume of a five-part biography of Lyndon Johnson. (The final volume is to come.) It may sound like a serious, dutiful read, but in Caro's hands 'Passage of Power' comes across as a stirring and majestic account of Johnson's feud with the Kennedy family and his ultimate ascension to the presidency where he passed civil rights and other landmark legislation that eluded John Kennedy. This is important history that reads like a high-minded mini-series. "Buy this book
"For anyone aspiring to write non-fiction that jumps to life, here's how it's done — the truly cinematic story of an undersized and dismissed thoroughbred whose unlikely success uplifted Depression-era America. "Buy this book
"This is the final book of a coming-of-age trilogy that tells the story of the four Aubrey children and their eccentric circle of friends living on the outskirts of Edwardian London. It is a kind of masterpiece of domestic observation with language so vivid it almost seems unnecessary to have a conventional plot. Behind their everyday doings — piano lessons, baking scones, planting hyacinths — lies a world of emotion."Buy this book
Furious Hours: Murder, Fraud, and the Last Trial of Harper Lee
"In America, 'To Kill A Mockingbird' is practically required reading. Behind the classic was an enigmatic author who fell silent for fifty-something years. 'Furious Hours' is the story of the book Harper Lee researched but never wrote, a true-crime story of a rural preacher who turned out to be an elusive serial killer. Cep completes the story Lee could not finish while profiling one of America's most beloved — and anguished — authors. "Buy this book