Killers for Hire (A True Crime Short)

Tori Richards

December 17, 2017

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IN BRIEF

This explosive new book on the Mickey Thompson murder case reveals that convicted killer Michael Goodwin was believed to have committed three other murders. Veteran crime writer gives an insider’s view of how Detective Mark Lillienfeld solved one of L.A.’s most famous cold cases with riveting, never-before released information.


For the first time, dozens of exclusive interviews tell the inside story of how a dogged detective spent 12 years piecing together the murder of drag racing legend Mickey Thompson, who was gunned down with his wife on his driveway in 1988 by two masked men who fled on bicycles. Detective Mark Lillienfeld’s case would lead to Thompson’s former business partner Michael Goodwin and uncover evidence that Goodwin could have committed three additional murders, including his own brother who was believed to have been involved in the plot. With photographs.

“Lillienfeld loved the challenge of being immersed in a pile of cases that seemed unsolvable. Each one had a victim beckoning from the grave for someone who had the tenacity and wits to learn everything about their life until the moment they left this earth. Lillienfeld would think nothing of working 100 hours a week, with Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Eve thrown in. He’d follow suspects, tap their phones, turn their colleagues into snitches, befriend their enemies, dig through their trash and sic the press on them. Heaven help Michael Goodwin.” From Killers for Hire.

This riveting story is told as only insider and Pulitzer Prize nominee Tori Richards can tell it. In addition to working at the prosecutor’s office that first filed this case, she has been a crime writer for 20 years and covered hundreds of cases including Michael Jackson, Anna Nicole Smith and the trials of OJ Simpson and “The Night Stalker.” She has earned 11 national and regional awards including those from The Associated Press and California Newspapers Publishers Association. She has written for The New York Times, Bloomberg, Reuters, New York Post, Los Angeles Daily News and truTV’s Crime Library. She was also a producer at CBS News.

Crimescape® is a collection of compelling short nonfiction crime books by the best true crime authors in the business, many of whose books have been made into major motion pictures. Crimescape® is edited by Marilyn Bardsley, former executive editor and founder of Time Warner’s truTV Crime Library, the premiere true crime site on the Internet. Marilyn Bardsley has written extensively on true crime and is an expert on serial killers.

Tori Richards is a journalist who has lived and breathed the crime beat in Southern California during the past 20 years. Richards spent the first 12 years of her career at newspapers such as Los Angeles Daily News and San Gabriel Valley Tribune, where she was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize for an investigation into prisoners who mysteriously died in jail. She also won numerous journalism awards, including the coveted Associated Press Best of the West and two from the California Newspapers Publishers Association. 

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Foreword by Marilyn Bardsley

When Mickey Thompson and his wife were murdered in 1988, it shocked the sporting world and Los Angeles. Not only because of the crime’s brutality, but also because of the brazenness of two gunmen who did this in broad daylight and escaped on bicycles, of all things. It couldn’t have been a better movie script in a town that is used to high drama.

But then years dragged by and it faded from public scrutiny, seemingly destined, like so many other cases, to never reach a solution. However, behind the scenes a detective was hard at work playing a chess game with the mastermind behind the slayings, one that would continue for 12 years.

Much has been written about the victims, killers, and ensuing trial but never has the investigation been told in such intricate, thrilling detail. Detective Mark Lillienfeld is truly the modern-day incarnation of the old “Columbo” from television. In fact, they are so similar that even the suspect calls him as much in a wiretap.

Tori Richards is the only writer who could have done this justice. A journalist who has lived and breathed the crime beat in Southern California during the past 20 years, she had access to the players in this drama who gave her exclusive details. This book even includes startling information on suspect Michael Goodwin gleaned from interviews with two jail inmates who knew him.

Not only did Richards work at the Orange County District Attorney’s Office when this case was investigated there, she followed it through the ensuing years and covered the trial for CourtTV.com.

Richards spent the first 12 years of her career at newspapers such as Los Angeles Daily News and San Gabriel Valley Tribune, where she was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize for an investigation into prisoners who mysteriously died in jail. She also won numerous journalism awards, including the coveted Associated Press Best of the West and two from the California Newspapers Publishers Association.

After her stint at the DA’s Office, Richards was in demand by several of the biggest news agencies in the world and started working as a correspondent for the New York Times, Reuters, Bloomberg, Agence France Presse, New York Post, New York Daily News, AOL News and TruTV’s Crime Library. She also worked as a producer for CBS News in Los Angeles.

Not content with just sitting behind her desk at a computer, Richards is an old-school reporter who likes to dig for information at crime scenes, track down witnesses and attend criminal trials. During her career, she has covered more than 100 trials at various stages including those of OJ Simpson, Michael Jackson, Anna Nicole Smith and the Night Stalker.

She often says that in another life she would have become a homicide detective.

“I met Tori Richards when she covered Richard Ramirez “The Night Stalker” as a reporter and I was a lead detective on the case. Through the years, we’d work together on other murders and she was one of the few journalists I would trust with inside information. Aggressive, tenacious and bright — I always thought she’d make one hell of a detective in another lifetime.”
—Lt. Gil Carrillo (ret.), Los Angeles County Sheriff ‘s Dept. Homicide Bureau

Killers for Hire  is awesome! Tori Richards is a master true crime storyteller. Hands down one of the best in the business.”
—Chuck Hustmyre, bestselling crime novelist and screenwriter, A Killer Like Me and House of the Rising Sun

“I read with great interest this book on the Mickey Thompson case because I was the first prosecutor to file criminal charges against the killer, Michael Goodwin. Tori Richards worked for me in the District Attorney’s Office while we were investigating this case and I think it helped her get the true inside story of what happened in this investigation. Much of the information here is coming out for the first time and has never been introduced in court. Knowing Michael Goodwin as I do, I believe he may well be responsible for other murders described in this book by Detective Lillienfeld.”
–Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas.

 

Press Release

 

“I met Tori Richards when she covered Richard Ramirez “The Night Stalker” as a reporter and I was a lead detective on the case. Through the years, we’d work together on other murders and she was one of the few journalists I would trust with inside information. Aggressive, tenacious and bright — I always thought she’d make one hell of a detective in another lifetime.”
Lt. Gil Carrillo (ret.), Los Angeles County Sheriff ‘s Dept. Homicide Bureau

Killers for Hire  is awesome! Tori Richards is a master true crime storyteller. Hands down one of the best in the business.”
—Chuck Hustmyre, bestselling crime novelist and screenwriter, A Killer Like Me and House of the Rising Sun

 

An explosive new book on the Mickey Thompson murder case, Killers for Hire by Tori Richards reveals that convicted killer Michael Goodwin was believed to have committed three other murders. In fact, in two of the murders, the detective and prosecutor teamed up before the trial in hunting for evidence to prove the additional cases. Veteran crime writer and a news reporter for two decades, Tori Richards gets an insider’s view of how Los Angeles Sheriff’s Detective Mark Lillienfeld solved one of Los Angeles’ most famous cold cases with riveting, never-before released information.
 
From the best true crime authors in the business, many of whom have seen their books made into major motion pictures, comes Crimescap®e — a new collection of compelling short nonfiction crime e-books from leading independent e-book publisher RosettaBooks. Taking readers into the dark heart of the criminal mind and the tense hunt to bring perpetrators to justice, Crimescape® authors stand apart from other true crime writers because they have personal experience in crime investigation, whether as police detectives, investigative reporters, forensics professionals or criminal psychologists. Riveting storytellers, Crimescape® short nonfiction writers give readers all the information they need to understand relevant clues and the interwoven influences in each criminal case.
 
Paul Alexander, the #1 bestselling true crime Kindle Singles author of Murdered and Accused said, “What makes for a good true-crime story? Interesting characters, an engrossing plot, situations that often teeter between life and death. But here’s the MacGuffin about true crime: What you’re reading actually happened. Sometimes truth really is more compelling than fiction. And that’s why you will enjoy reading Crimescape® true crime series.”
 
Killers for Hire is one of the first six releases in the continuing Crimescape® series from RosettaBooks. For an author interview or a PDF review copy, please contact:
 
Hilsinger-Mendelson East
Sandi Mendelson — 212.725.7707 — [email protected]