Muscle-bound and dead

Reading what’s between the lines and outside the box is where Berkeley-based freelance writer Irvin Muchnick gets his mojo. As with his previous work, Wrestling Babylon, his latest book, Chris & Nancy: The True Story of the Benoit Murder-Suicide and Pro Wrestling’s Cocktail of Death goes where no one else cares to go. Muchnick often walks that thin line between paying far too much attention to detail and uncovering what others overlook—or conveniently bury. There are plenty of grisly images to contemplate, and enough facts to illuminate the wrong-headed behavior of Vince McMahon’s World Wrestling Entertainment; both come off as partners in crime. The subject of drugs, sex and scandal within the pro-wrestling world has been covered before, but with Chris & Nancy, Muchnick captures these elements and frames them in the death of a popular star and his family. The tragic events surrounding the Benoit murder-suicide calls out for greater scrutiny, and Muchnick painstakingly obliges.