For Christmas this year, my brother and his fiancee Dawn gifted me with all the books a girl could need to get through life in a Post-Serial world. (You can see my latest book haul here.) For me, Serial spoke to my love of conspiracies, true-crime, mind-bending analysis and search engine fodder. And first up in the self-appointed “No More Serial Episodes” book-club does not disappoint on any of those counts.
Lost Girls: An Unsolved American Mystery by Robert Kolker tells the story of a serial killer still at large by delving into the lives of 5 of his victims. The disappearance of one woman, an internet prostitute, led to the discovery of four other women’s bodies, all wrapped in burlap, in the brambles along a highway just blocks from where the missing was last seen. These four, too, were prostitutes. The book dissects the trajectory of these women’s lives, the struggles that would usher in their profession of choice, details their last known whereabouts. And then showcases the heart-breaking reality of the lives they left behind, their family and friends engaged in a years long media blitzkrieg to keep their loved ones’ case alive in the hope of one day finding a notorious killer. The pain-staking care Kolker utilizes to bring these peripheral characters to light, as well as the reality that, according to a recent study, 70% of serial killer victims are prostitutes, “Lost Girls” AND this case prove that prostitution is anything but a victimless crime. While keeping up with the many story-lines within this book (there are a LOT of characters) was at times taxing, the overall themes and mystery of the case as a whole made the confusion more than worth it. Plus, there’s a handy key at the back. As the sub-title says, this case IS unsolved. So, much like Serial, there’s plenty of room for developing your own theories and plenty of conspiracies available online. So Google away! In the end, I think whether you were head over heels for Sarah Koenig’s podcast or not, “Lost Girls” will be a definite page turner for you. Especially you Law & Order loving lot!
For some extended reading about this thrilling, journalistic book…
Check out these reviews by The New York Times and The Guardian.
Explore the book website.
And read about why serial killers target sex workers.
Do you love true-crime? Have any recommendations for post-Serial unsolved mystery madness?
(Bottom photo via here.)