Two years after writing about LAPD Det. Ector Garcia, I finally located a copy of his book, “Portraits of Crime,” which arrived in the mail from the U.K. while I was on vacation. No one will ever mistake this book for great literature. The editing is weak (as in “Leo” LaBianca) but the rough, raw writing gives “Portraits” a freshness and immediacy that might be missing in a more polished work.
Written by LAPD artist Garcia (d. 1987) and Charles E. Pike, “Portraits” consists of composite sketches and brief summaries of 29 cases from the 1950s to the 1970s. Aside from the Tate-LaBianca and Son of Sam murders, most of the subjects are obscure killings, kidnappings and rapes that could easily be the raw material for several seasons of TV crime shows.