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IN BRIEF

Non Fiction

March 15, 1992|CHRIS GOODRICH

NEVER LET THEM SEE YOU CRY: More From Miami, America's Hottest Beat by Edna Buchanan (Random House: $20; 303 pp.). Edna Buchanan, the Pulitzer Prize-winning crime reporter for the Miami Herald, hit the big time in 1988 with the best-selling "The Corpse Had a Familiar Face." She opens up case files once more in "Never Let Them See You Cry," and while true-crime fans will surely rejoice, the follow-up is no match for its predecessor. The problem is largely one of familiarity; although Buchanan's stories make for compulsive reading, they wear you out too. Buchanan is terrific at sketching the victims of crime and the cops who track down the perpetrators--it's amazing how many cops work on cases during their off hours--but she covers so much murder and mayhem that her stories eventually run together.

The result is that "Never Let Them See You Cry" is memorable more for Buchanan's intense desire to memorialize victims than for the victims' stories--an odd effect, but one that shows why Buchanan is considered by many to be the nation's foremost crime reporter. She gets involved in her reporting--not over-involved, to the point of sentimentality or partiality, but enough to make her stories seem as important to the reader as they are to the crime victims. That's high praise, and makes up for--truth be told, is partly a result of--Buchanan's melodramatic writing style.

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