The Times vetted the hell out of Kate Brennan, who's written In His Sights, "one of the first full-length memoirs of a stalking victim." In the wake of fake memoirists—JT Leroy, James Frey, and Margaret Selzter (whose book they reviewed favorably before the jig was up)—one just can't be too careful these days! Because Kate's stalker is bug-fucking-crazy and has been stalking her for ten years, she lives and gives interviews under assumed names. She also gives her stalker "Paul" a different name in her book. However, the Times needed to check all of this out for reals in her profile:
The steps the newspaper took:
- "Her true identity and that of Paul were revealed to The New York Times so that the newspaper could confirm the outlines of her case." They also had her show her passport upon meeting the reporter.
- "The Times reviewed police reports, confirmed biographical information about Ms. Brennan and Paul on the Internet and spoke by telephone to the former detective who handled Ms. Brennan's case.
- With Brennan's permission, they also talked to her therapist.
The lesson? If you have a weird life story that you might like to write about someday—try to leave a paper trail.
Stalked: A Decade On the Run [NYT]