Hitman of the Year

You know those scenes in TV movies where the bad guy hires a hitman who turns out to be a cop? They’re real.

Just ask Jack Ballentine, author and former Phoenix police officer, who became one of the most successful undercover operatives in the history of our or any other police force. His work as a faux killer-for-hire led to 24 convictions out of 24 indictments on murder-conspiracy charges, a slew of merit awards, and a new career as an author. Ballentine’s recently released memoir, Murder for Hire, tells tales of vengeful people and the characters that Ballentine created -- often based on thugs he’d seen in films and television dramas -- to capture them.

Ballentine signs Murder for Hire at Poisoned Pen.

Tue., June 9, 7 p.m., 2009