1. Murder and Manifest Destiny on the Mosquito Coast — BuzzFeed
Fifteen years ago, a mysterious Greek entrepreneur bought and resold a series of tiny islands off the coast of Nicaragua, setting off a bizarre and tragic chain of events that included a reality-TV sensation and allegations of an insidious murder plot. The ensuing chaos brought to light a centuries-old question: Who does land really belong to? Read it at BuzzFeed.
Michael Frinkel brings the almost unbelievable story of a man who for nearly thirty years lived in the Maine woods until he was captured robbing a cabin last spring. Why did it he do it? And how did he survive? Read it at GQ.
3. The Witness — Texas Monthly
As the public face of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice for over a decade, Michelle Lyons witnessed 278 executions. Pam Colloff reports on the toll this took on her. Read it at Texas Monthly.
4. You Can’t Quit Cold Turkey — ESPN The Magazine
The story of Jared Lorenzen, a former NFL quarterback, still struggling as his weight rises well past 300 lbs.: “When you’re fat, every day is a prompt to start your life over. Lorenzen has a new office, a new apartment, a new life after football. He’s a Super Bowl champion, a cult hero, a father of two. Now he has to try to be a man.” Read it at ESPN the Magazine.
In 2006, Will Bruce — a Maine man diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia — killed his mother just weeks after being released from a mental health facility. Now he’s getting another chance: “Will feels the weight of past and future. If he screws up, he messes up everything. For everyone.” Read it at CNN.
6. Out Of Power — Sports Illustrated
Curtis Malone was one of the most powerful men in the world of high school basketball — until he was busted by the Feds. Writes Pete Thamel: “He left friends, family and the basketball world to figure out whether he was an AAU coach moonlighting as a drug dealer or a drug dealer masquerading as an AAU coach.” Read it at Sports Illustrated.
7. Bill Nye Fights Back — Popular Science
The beloved children’s television host is now taking on creationists and climate change deniers. Ryan Bradley asks: will he come out victorious? Read it at Popular Science.
8. DIY Diagnosis — Mosaic Science
Ed Yong brings the story of an extreme athlete who learned she had not one but two rare genetic flaws — and then sought to prove her hunch that they were related. Read it at Mosaic Science.
9. The Spy Who Loved Me — The New Yorker
In the late eighties, a British woman had a child with a man she understood to be a passionate animal rights advocate — who then disappeared forever. That was until two years ago when she saw his photo in the paper and learned that he’d been a spy. Lauren Collins brings this riveting story of an elaborate undercover police operation and its abuses. Read it at The New Yorker.