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Maximum Harm
The Tsarnaev Brothers, the FBI, and the Road to the Marathon Bombing
Michele R. McPhee

2017 • 340 pp. 34 illus. 6 x 9"
True Crime - Murder

$29.95 Hardcover, 978-1-61168-849-8

$17.99 Ebook, 978-1-5126-0072-8

Check your ebook retailer or local library for ebook availability.

“Investigative journalist McPhee’s latest true crime narrative takes the story of the Boston Marathon bombing to new levels with her gripping account of the explosion, the frantic search for the... [continued in Reviews below]”—Publishers Weekly

The chaos, complicity, and deadly consequences of the Boston Marathon bombing

In Maximum Harm, veteran investigative journalist Michele R. McPhee unravels the complex story behind the public facts of the Boston Marathon bombing. She examines the bombers’ roots in Dagestan and Chechnya, their struggle to assimilate in America, and their growing hatred of the United States—a deepening antagonism that would prompt federal prosecutors to dub Dzhokhar Tsarnaev “America's worst nightmare.” The difficulties faced by the Tsarnaev family of Cambridge, Massachusetts, are part of the public record. Circumstances less widely known are the FBI’s recruitment of the older brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, as a “mosque crawler” to inform on radical separatists here and in Chechnya; the tracking down and killing of radical Islamic separatists during the six months he spent in Russia—travel that raised eyebrows, since he was on several terrorist watchlists; the FBI’s botched deals and broken promises with regard to his immigration; and the disenchantment, rage, and growing radicalization of Tamerlan and Dzhokhar, along with their mother, sisters, and Tamerlan’s wife, Katherine.

Maximum Harm is also a compelling examination of the Tsarnaev brothers’ movements in the days leading up to the Boston Marathon bombing on April 15, 2013, the subsequent investigation, the Tsarnaevs’ murder of MIT police officer Sean Collier, the high-speed chase and shootout that killed Tamerlan, and the manhunt in which the authorities finally captured Dzhokhar, hiding in a Watertown backyard. McPhee untangles the many threads of circumstance, coincidence, collusion, motive, and opportunity that resulted in the deadliest attack on the city of Boston to date.

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Reviews / Endorsements

“Investigative journalist McPhee’s latest true crime narrative takes the story of the Boston Marathon bombing to new levels with her gripping account of the explosion, the frantic search for the culprits, and the eventual trial of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. Even readers familiar with the contours of the tragedy are likely to find McPhee’s narrative terrifying and moving.”—Publishers Weekly

“Graphic. . . Heart-wrenching. . . Passionate”—New York Journal of Books

“No single reporter has covered the Boston bombing as thoroughly as Michele McPhee. She knows Boston—its streets, its cops, and its corridors of power. Maximum Harm is riveting—a tribute to the first responders, and, startlingly, a troubling exposé of the FBI’s botched handling of the Tsarnaev brothers. You may think you know this story, but until you read this book, you don’t.”—T. J. English, New York Times–bestselling author of Where the Bodies Were Buried and The Westies

“In Maximum Harm, Michele McPhee uncovers shocking new truths about the Boston Marathon bombers and those in government, law enforcement, and their own community who gave them free rein to plot and execute one of the most vicious terror attacks ever carried out on American soil. This book will grab you, shake you, and will not let you go!”—Casey Sherman, New York Times–bestselling author of The Finest Hours and Boston Strong

“While the government quietly closed their case against the lone terrorist brought to trial in the Boston Marathon bombing, Michele McPhee continued to work behind the scenes developing investigative leads through her cadre of sources.
Maximum Harm is the latest example of McPhee’s investigative excellence and exposes many of the details kept secret from the public, leaving the reader questioning if justice was truly served.”—Thomas Pasquarello, former Somerville, MA, police chief and special agent of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (retired)

"McPhee nails it. Happiness,fear, tragedy, anger heroism, and hope are all on display in this riveting new book about terror in Boston. A must-read, so we never forget, and learn from, the lessons of that historic day."—Scott Brown, former United States senator and author of
Against All Odds: My Life of Hardship, Fast Breaks, and Second Chances

“McPhee digs deeper than anyone else and rewrites the Boston Marathon bombing narrative. . . . This isn't some crackpot conspiracy story, but an extraordinary piece of fact-based journalism. McPhee names names and reveals official documents not made public before. . . . McPhee has done her work, and now it's time for Congress to reopen the Marathon bombing investigation.”—Bruce Gellerman, Senior Correspondent and Investigative Reporter, WBUR Boston

“The journalistic integrity and investigative skills of Michele R. McPhee have once again proven to be a rare commodity. Her reporting in Maximum Harm clearly proves the government at best lied or covered up, at worse falsified, the facts of a terrorist attack on American soil. Yet McPhee not only dug up the truth through her innumerable law enforcement sources, she exploited the fact that justice has yet to be served. A great read for those of us who are fascinated with the truth.”—Jerry Flynn, Executive Director New England Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, retired Lowell, MA police officer

“Michele, like all great investigators, well understands one of the keys to unraveling a major case is the ability to recover unseen and seemingly irretrievable facts through the use of well placed sources.  Michele's tenacious investigative acumen and virtuous reporting, on display for years in New York City and Boston, have culminated in a thoroughly engrossing account of the Boston Marathon Bombing and the in-depth investigation which followed.  Michele's chronicling of the staggering details surrounding this act of terror is light years ahead of the standard Hollywood crime drama and what she has uncovered is truly fascinating.”—Sean Foley retired NYPD detective first grade

“If you're from Boston, April 15, 2013 is a day you will never, ever forget. So it's only fitting that one of our own would write a book about it. Investigative Reporter Michele McPhee is that person and her groundbreaking book is Maximum Harm. What you will learn will infuriate you and just might break your heart all over again, but we all owe it to ourselves to find out.”—Candy O'Terry, 2015-2016 Massachusetts Broadcaster of the Year; Co-Founder & President, Boston Women in Media & Entertainment

“Our nation's leaders would do well to wise up and pay attention to the lessons Michele teaches us about the Boston bombing and the serious gaps in intelligence and law-enforcement collaboration.”—Scott Mann, former Green Beret

Maximum Harm is a riveting, eye-opening page-turner that takes you into the real world of international terrorism and the difficulties for local, state, and federal law enforcement. . . . It raises the question: Are we prepared?”—Bernard B. Kerik, New York City police commissioner (retired)


Winner of the Jennie F. McLauthlen Award for Lifelong Learning

MICHELE R. MCPHEE has been nominated for three Emmy awards for investigative journalism and works as a Boston-based producer for the Brian Ross Investigative Unit at ABC News. She is the host of a daily radio talk show on Boston’s WMEX. McPhee earned many journalism awards as the police bureau chief at the New York Daily News and wrote an award-winning column at the Boston Herald. She has written for New York, Newsweek, People, Boston, and other national and international magazines. She is the author of five true crime titles: A Date with Death, which became a Lifetime movie; A Professor’s Rage; When Evil Rules; Heartless; and A Mob Story, currently in development as a feature film. She lives in Boston.

Thu, 14 Mar 2019 13:08:04 -0500