Denver columnist Michael Roberts of the Westword wrote about Diary of a Predator Wednesday.
Diary of a Predator, a new book by Amy Herdy, isn’t simply a true-crime tale based on the disturbing actions of serial rapist Brent J. Brents. It’s also a memoir that pulls back the curtains on Herdy’s reporting of the Brents story for the Denver Post, revealing conflicts with editors involving everything from their suggestion to use Brents’ off-the-record comments because he was “a piece of shit” who would never sue to their opening of her mail.
Roberts goes on to talk about the story behind the story (behind the story), including his own involvement. Roberts reported on Herdy’s involvement with the Brent Brents story, as detailed in this excerpt from Diary of a Predator:
An editor appearing at my desk to tell me that Michael Roberts, the media columnist from Westword, wanted to talk to me about Brents.
It was Monday, July 11, following Friday’s sentencing in Aurora, and I was in pretty good spirits. Until I was told Roberts was on the phone.
“I have some questions for you, and I’ll just go down the list,” he said nearly as soon as I picked up the line.
“First question: Did you send Brents a photo of yourself, as is rumored?”
And just like that, my temper lit. My reply was as swift as his question.
“Off the record, Mike?” I asked, and waited. “OK,” he confirmed, but still I repeated it again.
“Off the record?”
“Fuck you. Fuck you for asking that question. I’m not gonna talk to you.”
And I hung up.
Less than five minutes later, one of the editors was standing next to me, clearing his throat uncomfortably while I ignored him and stared at my computer screen, trying to appear as if I were riveted by fascinating email.
“You really should give Michael Roberts an interview,” he said.
“And he says you sent Brents a picture of yourself. Did you?”
I shook my head as my eyes narrowed, and despite my attempts to contain my irritation, I found myself glaring at him. Et tu, Brutus? I thought. “No, I never sent him a picture. And p.s., he never asked for one, either.”
“Well, I still need to get a statement from you.”
“OK,” I said, spinning around in my wheeled chair to face him. “My statement is short: ‘Fuck you.’”
He blinked and then eyed me curiously, as if trying to figure out whether I was joking, or whether I was going to start speaking in tongues or perhaps leap out of the chair and scream.
In return, I tried to grin cheerfully at him, although I was still angry, so the result ended up with me pulling my lips back from my teeth. In the animal kingdom, I thought, that’s what we call a snarl.Not a good way to reassure him that while he may think me crazy, he needn’t fear that I was going to flip out. Not today, anyway.
Faced with clear insubordination, he took the only route he knew: dictatorship.
“Harrumph,” he began, and I realized with some amusement that it was the first time I had actually ever heard someone make that sound. “It’s best that you talk to him. So I expect you to call him back. Soon.”
He then turned and left. Cursing, I looked up Robert’s number and dialed it, punching each digit with irritation.
Maybe I had to talk to Roberts, I thought, but it didn’t have to be officially.
“OK, I’ll talk to you,” I told him when he answered his phone, “but only on background, all of it off the record. Agreed?”
“Agreed,” Roberts said, sounding cheerful. I decided to let that go.