Best Local Book
The False Prophet, by Claire Booth
In a lifetime of covering crime and courts, few reporters ever come across a tale like this. After following the story from breaking news to sentencing hearings, former Contra Costa Times reporter Claire Booth published a book on a local crime full of strange details, bizarre suspects, and even more bizarre motives. The book is an account of two Mormon brothers from Concord, Glenn "Taylor" Helzer and Justin Helzer, who conspire to use Taylor's astonishing talent for preaching and persuasion for their own gain. Nothing here is straightforward or predictable. Along the way come a famous singer's daughter, an elderly couple, a Playboy bunny, and a witch who kept a gun in a safe. As the scheme unravels, readers discover all this is part of a plot to restore harmony to the world through sex and blackmail. Yes, it's that strange, and yes, it did happen here.