Essays

What I learned about journalism at the New York Post

Columbia Journalism Review, July 31, 2017

…”The New York Post taught me to read people quickly and to be brave in pursuit of a story. Asking intimate questions of strangers and powerful people is always going to be frightening. But you can’t be a journalist if you can’t handle the fear. You can’t even pretend you’re trying to get to the truth if you’re too scared or lazy or careless to ask the important question, or fight over a misleading headline with your editor, or acknowledge that the article you spent all day running around for is so trivial that it might as well be “fake.”…

Full article: What I learned about journalism at the New York Post

Columbia Journalism Review, Essays, Journalism, Selected

What I read while researching novels about the ultra-Orthodox

Jewish Book Council, March 16, 2015

Recommendations for books, articles and radio reports that helped me research my first novel, Invisible City, and its upcoming sequel, Run You Down. I hope they deepen your enjoyment of my books, spur discussion, and contribute to better understanding your fellow Jews.

Full article: What I read while researching novels about the ultra-Orthodox

Essays, Jewish Book Council, Journalism

“Are you Jewish?”

Jewish Book Council, May 9, 2014

Yes. But it’s complicated. My mother is Jewish, which, as my grandmother used to tell me, means that the Nazis would have come for me, too. My dad, on the other hand, is Christian. And not just a Christmas Christian, he is a church-going Christian; a Christian who left his career as a lawyer to be ordained when he was 55. A Christian who wears a cross around his neck. My sister and I grew up “both.”

Full article: “Are you Jewish?”

Essays, Jewish Book Council, Journalism

The Previous Tenant

Jewish Book Council, May 8, 2014

In October 2007, my husband and I were looking for an apartment in Brooklyn. We’d seen too many to count and none worth the price, so when a one-bedroom just off Prospect Park popped up for $1200 we jumped. On the way to the appointment, the broker gave us the news: The man who lived in the apartment until last month had committed suicide there.

Full article: The Previous Tenant

Essays, Jewish Book Council, Journalism

Why I Write About Crime

Jewish Book Council, May 5, 2014

For the past 10 years I have devoted my professional life – and my imagination – to things most people would rather not think about.

Full article: Why I Write About Crime

Essays, Jewish Book Council, Journalism

The Lives of Others

The Columbia Journalism Review, July 16, 2009

The story of my involvement with Tyeisha Martin, a Katrina survivor and murder victim. Watch Tyeisha’s America’s Most Wanted episode.  Listen to me speak about Tyeisha on NPR’s “On the Media.”

Full article: The Lives of Others

Columbia Journalism Review, Essays, Journalism

My Killer Apartment

The Morning News, October 30, 2008

Stories of slammed doors and sad spirits aside, the man who committed suicide in Julia Dahl’s apartment probably isn’t there anymore. Probably.

Full article: My Killer Apartment

Journalism, The Morning News

Is Tyra Banks Racist?

Slate, May 19, 2006

The peculiar politics of “America’s Next Top Model”

Full article: Is Tyra Banks Racist?

Essays, Journalism, Slate