Among the Bros: A Fraternity Crime Story

Among the Bros is Max Marshall's investigation into the series of arrests and criminal charges related to fraternities at the College of Charleston in South Carolina and the individuals involved. A press conference during the College of Charleston's 2016 summer break caught the attention of Marshall, a journalist, recent college graduate, and fraternity member himself. Mug shots showed five fraternity members and three friends. These eight young men were accused of selling a variety of controlled substances, including Xanax. According to authorities, this case was also related to the recent murder of another fraternity member. Intrigued, Marshall follows the story of those eight arrests and the changing cultural identity of Greek organizations in the United States.

Among the Bros focuses on Mikey Schmidt, a Kappa Alpha, to whom Marshall spoke via a series of contraband cell phones as Schmidt served 10 years without parole. Age 21 at the time of his arrest, Schmidt is one of the flashiest characters in the story Marshall unearths, and he receives the most serious sentence of the group. He and his best friend, Rob Liljeberg III (also a Kappa Alpha), form the backbone of Marshall's reporting. They put human faces on an investigation into the intersection of Greek life, drug dealing, and criminal activity by a particularly privileged and overwhelmingly white male demographic.

Over the course of four years, Marshall consulted police files, court transcripts, and other documents, and conducted more than 180 interviews with 124 sources. Among the Bros finishes without moral lessons or final conclusions, and instead combines excellent journalism and deftly paced storytelling to lift a veil from a decadent and troubling lifestyle. --Julia Kastner, librarian and blogger at pagesofjulia

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