It is not often that the general public gets an inside look at FBI cases. FBI Case Files Michigan: Tales of a G-Man gives a first-hand account of some of Michigan’s high-profile FBI cases ranging from the 1970s to the early 2000s. Former FBI agent Greg Stejskal writes about these cases thoroughly as he recalls uncovering his suspects.
FBI Case Files Michigan
While the book’s synopsis definitely piqued my interest, the first chapters did not. I liked the introduction to the author but the beginning stories felt bland and lacked emotion. I begrudged every page turn. However, as I kept going, I gradually became more interested in each story.
Stejskal truly considered the potential motivations of every conviction while also detailing the process of an FBI investigation. He would recall the tools and terms used by the FBI, which was interesting to see. The FBI has changed greatly since their investigations in the 90s and Stejskal tries to remind readers of these changes. In my mind, I was thinking about using current cell phone technology or even just highly accurate and vast databases for fingerprints and DNA samples. In these cases, FBI agents were relying on pay phones and fingerprint cards to uncover their suspects. While the technology developed in the latter cases, I appreciated the immense work that the FBI did with technology we now consider outdated.
Some of the cases focused solely on Michigan. However, others had connections to other cases in the United States or other countries. One of the stories that had international consequences was chapter 16, “They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?” My personal favorite chapter started out considering the impact of steroid use on university football teams in Michigan. Stejskal and his team, particularly with the help of fellow agent Bill Randall, who went undercover as a “gym rat,” were able to recover millions of steroids dosages. This case became widespread as some of the prosecuted steroid dealers had many connections to multiple Major League Baseball teams.
While no players or steroid users were prosecuted, many famous athletes admitted to using steroids during peak points in their careers. Even more interesting was the author’s discussion of the media response, with certain people coming after his statement and him later choosing to decline an appearance on 60 Minutes. Stejskal also mentioned his own children starting to play sports, and wondering if they would ever be pressured to do steroids in order to be successful, similar to the high school football players at training camps asking coaches when they should start using steroids. This connection hit home knowing that steroids continue to be a problem within both youth athletics and athletics in general.
A Variety of Cases to Investigate
Throughout the book, Stejskal laces together his stories with newspaper clippings and photos of key people in the related story. I enjoyed seeing some of the people described in the story and then read the impressions of media outlets on the cases Stejskal was covering. If necessary, Stejskal would mention other resources connected to the case whether it be Wikipedia or another case he discussed. Many of the stories developed on the previous stories or would even mention topics that occur in a later chapter. This demonstrates the intense and ongoing work of the FBI.
These stories cover many different fields ranging from mafia dealings, hospital poisonings, and murders making this book interesting to anyone. Furthermore, the stories represent the history of Michigan in a way that is outside of the norm. Before reading this book I did not realize that the mafia was so prominent in Detroit. I also wasn’t aware of the Washtenaw Payment Services agent who scammed thousands of dollars from people that were meant to receive assistance paying for their housing in Ann Arbor. Greg Stejskal opens readers’ eyes to another side of Michigan. I recommend that others give these stories, and this version of our state, a try as well.
Be sure to pick up a copy of Greg Stejskal’s FBI Case Files Michigan: Tales of a G-Man from your local bookstore or library!