The Temple Israel Book Club is excited to announce our guest speaker for September: Brian Bogdanoff, retired Omaha homicide detective and author of “Three Bodies Burning: The Anatomy of an Investigation into Murder, Money, and Mexican Marijuana.”

Born and raised in Omaha, Brian grew up at Beth Israel, attended Central High School like his parents and grandfather, and headed to UNO to figure out what he wanted to do in life. After taking a class called “Deviant Behaviors in Criminal Justice,” he decided to take more criminal justice classes, and in the mid-80’s Brian got an internship with the police department. It was during this time that a child tragically went missing and a task force was created. Brian’s duty was to answer hot line phone calls for tips, right alongside FBI agents. Brian knew he wanted to become a cop.

Brian began his career walking a foot patrol for roughly three years. He was recruited to narcotics and worked undercover for 12 years, then he made his move to homicide where he worked to solve drug-related murders.

Since the 90’s, Brian has also been teaching high schoolers about laws like search and seizure and probable cause. It was during one of these later demonstrations that Brian gave a presentation on one of his biggest cases

“One of the student said it was the best case he ever heard and that I should write a book about it,” said Brian.

When you read the book’s description, it’s easy to see why this case is so fascinating:

“A haunting triple murder… the inside story of the investigation. When two worlds collide—the illegal transportation of tons of Mexican cartel marijuana to inner city gang members in a Midwestern city’s “hood”—three bodies end up burning, caught in a web of greed as a major international drug deal goes very bad.

The chilling trail of evidence from a remote wooded area where three bodies are set on fire leads homicide detectives across the country chasing down witnesses and conspirators in a two-year search for cold-blooded killers. This case has it all: murder, piles of cash stashed in the most unlikely of places, a blood-soaked crime scene, the remote dump site for bodies, luxury cars, flashy jewelry, and hundreds of pounds of illegal dope. An unbelievable break takes detectives down the rabbit hole where CSI meets Law & Order and where good old gumshoeing and meticulous forensic procedures bring down a mega-million-dollar drug conspiracy and lock up the bad guys for life.

Follow the case through the eyes of the gritty homicide/narcotics detective. A handbook for the amateur criminologist, this book is for true crime fans, prosecutors and defense attorneys, and cops and robbers. Warning: This book contains graphic crime scene photos and adult language.”

Brian published the book in 2010 and tells the exact story of the case how it happened. The only thing he changed were some of the names of the characters.

“The way you solve one of these crimes is you need people to cooperate,” said Brian. “You have to find out who’s involved in your conspiracy and then you have to attack that circle and you get lower-end people to cooperate. I’m successful in that and I get people to cooperate and testify in open court.”

And what’s even more interesting? Brian has even brought a couple of the folks who testified in the case to his high school and book club talks to help tell the story!

“Three Bodies Burning” is full of stories, crime scene photos and even humor.

The Temple Israel Book Club will meet at the home of Susie and Jim Silverman on Sunday, September 13, at 10:30 a.m. We will gather on their deck for a socially-distanced morning. You can also join us via Zoom at For more information, please contact Justin Cooper,, or Susie Silverman,