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Lost Girls
Lost Girls: An Unsolved American Mystery | Robert Kolker
Award-winning investigative reporter Robert Kolker delivers a haunting and humanizing account of the true-life search for a serial killer still at large on Long Island, in a compelling tale of unsolved murder and Internet prostitution. One late spring evening in 2010, Shannan Gilbert, after running through the oceanfront community of Oak Beach screaming for her life, went missing. No one who had heard of her disappearance thought much about what had happened to the twenty-four-year-old: she was a Craigslist prostitute who had been fleeing a sceneof what, no one could be sure. The Suffolk County Police, too, seemed to have paid little attentionuntil seven months later, when an unexpected discovery in a bramble alongside a nearby highway turned up four bodies, all evenly spaced, all wrapped in burlap. But none of them Shannan's. There was Maureen Brainard-Barnes, last seen at Penn Station in Manhattan three years earlier, and Melissa Barthelemy, last seen in the Bronx in 2009. There was Megan Waterman, last seen leaving a hotel in Hauppage, Long Island, just a month after Shannan's disappearance in 2010, and Amber Lynn Costello, last seen leaving a house in West Babylon a few months later that same year. Like Shannan, all four women were petite and in their twenties, they all came from out of town to work as escorts, and they all advertised on Craigslist and its competitor, Backpage. In a triumph of reportingand in a riveting narrativeRobert Kolker presents the first detailed look at the shadow world of escorts in the Internet age, where making a living is easier than ever and the dangers remain all too real. He has talked exhaustively with the friends and family of each woman to reveal the three-dimensional truths about their lives, the struggling towns they came from, and the dreams they chased. And he has gained unique access to the Oak Beach neighborhood that has found itself the focus of national media scrutinywhere the police have flailed, the body count has risen, and the neighbors have begun pointing fingers at one another. There, in a remote community, out of sight of the beaches and marinas scattered along the South Shore barrier islands, the women's stories come together in death and dark mystery. Lost Girls is a portrait not just of five women, but of unsolved murder in an idyllic part of America, of the underside of the Internet, and of the secrets we keep without admitting to ourselves that we keep them.
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DGRachel
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Pickpick

Several young women go missing, but police fail to take action because they were known to be drug users and prostitutes. This is the story of those women, and also how the internet, particularly Craig‘s List, plays a role in sex work. My heart breaks for the families who still do not have justice, as no one has been held accountable in these deaths. This is also a Netflix documentary. #booked2022 #adaptedforsmallscreen

Cinfhen I have this on audio…sounds like a difficult but important listen 5mo
DGRachel @Cinfhen It‘s so sad. 😢 5mo
46 likes3 stack adds2 comments
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Jadams1776
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#WeekendReading @Andrew65

I‘m about 25% through the tagged book for #LMPBC Group T. Very interesting so far!

Andrew65 Looks interesting. 11mo
Zuhkeeyah It‘s a well written heartbreaking read. 11mo
36 likes1 stack add2 comments
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Bookwormjillk
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Pickpick

#LMPBC round 13 Group T

Reading this right after The Five was quite the gut punch. It‘s amazing how many of the same themes people used to discard the lives of the victims of Jack The Ripper and The Long Island Serial Killer.

@BeckyWithTheGoodBooks @Jadams1776 @Annie1215

I‘ll get this in the mail next week if the Post Office isn‘t too terribly crowded.

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BeckyWithTheGoodBooks
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Pickpick

A departure from the typical focus of the true crime genre, Kolker centers exclusively on the Long Island Serial Killer‘s victims, the families left behind, and the small community impacted by these crimes. Though I missed reading thorough details of the investigation, forensics, theories, etc, Kolker‘s care in honoring the women on the fringes of our society and the various reasons they find themselves in sex work is to be admired. 3.5⭐️

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Hilary427
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Mehso-so

I really enjoy true crime, but sometimes investigative reporting is a little bland for me. I didn‘t connect memorably with the women, so much so I couldn‘t even remember who was who. Also super annoying the killer hasn‘t been found, but that‘s not the authors fault!
⭐️: 3/5

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BeckyWithTheGoodBooks
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Really excited for another round of Litsy Markup Postal Book Club! In #GroupD we are sharing favorite authors and #GroupT is reading True Crime. Happy Reading, everybody! #LMPBC

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PaperbackPirate
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💙 Thank you for the tag @Enchanted_Bibliophile !

📘 TBR: Lost Girls, recommended by @TiredLibrarian
🍓 strawberries
🤩 I‘m anticipating reading Dune for the 1st time next month!
💞 Today I‘m grateful for my husband.

👉 I tag my last 3 “likes” who haven‘t played yet.

💙 Thank you @Eggs for #WondrousWednesday!

Enchanted_Bibliophile You're welcome 🌼 I'm also intrigued by Lost Girl sounds right up my alley 1y
Eggs ❤️💕❤️💕❤️ 1y
PaperbackPirate @Enchanted_Bibliophile I liked Hidden Valley Road by the same author + I like true crime, so I‘m thinking it would be a winner with me. 🌻 1y
PaperbackPirate @Eggs 🌻🌻🌻 1y
32 likes4 comments
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ClairesReads
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Pickpick

Interesting true crime narrative about a Long Island serial killer. Kolker does and excellent job giving voice to the victims by exploring the circumstances which led them to escort work prior to the murders. In this way, the novel humanises this story, moving it beyond stereotypical characterisations. Unsolved true crime is a funny thing to read about; at once more compelling than a story with a predetermined ending, but also frustrating.

Emilymdxn I felt exactly the same about this one! Great review 1y
ClairesReads @Emilymdxn thank you 🙏🏻 1y
30 likes2 comments
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Emilymdxn
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Does anyone else find that after a really stressful work week when you‘ve got a full weekend of chores and errands, all you have energy to do is read true crime? I blame Karen and Georgia for this 100%

Tamra Sounds like you need a break. Take it! 1y
mdm139 I liked the show on Netflix. 1y
Ruthiella It‘s like slipping into a hot bath, reading for pure pleasure! 1y
See All 6 Comments
Hooked_on_books I hadn‘t noticed that, but this book is terrific! 1y
Zuhkeeyah This book is a great true crime read 1y
Zuhkeeyah And, yes, I also blame Karen and Georgia #ssdgm 1y
69 likes3 stack adds6 comments
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GidgetsTreasures75
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5-27-21: My 56th finished book of 2021! A thorough investigation into the mysterious disappearances of 5 escorts all found, close together, in a small beach town on Long Island. The author humanizes the girls in a wonderful way, giving us a glimpse into each of their lives. He also gives us a cast of characters including the people who lived in the community, the police and most importantly, the families. Very well written. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️👍🏼📖#️⃣5️⃣6️⃣

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DrLReads
Pickpick

A well-researched investigation into the still unsolved case of the Long Island Serial Killer. Unlike much of the reporting on LISK, Kolker humanizes the victims and their families, writing with compassion about sex work and addiction. Some of the terminology is outdated—but this seems to be something Kolker has righted in later discussions of the case.

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JenniferTapler
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Mehso-so

#bookreview ⭐️⭐️⭐️ I do like Kolker‘s writing style, but for me, this one focused a bit too much on background story. I‘m sure that was the point and these women do deserve to have their stories told. However, I typically read True Crime because I want more about the actual crime - the investigation, the forensics, and the serial killer stuff. I felt this one was lacking a lot of that.
#truecrime

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Skeebies05
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Pickpick

This one was very good. Sad of course. One complaint was his use of prostitute. But it was written in 2013 so it‘s forgiven. Good one if you like true crime.

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SkeletonKey
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Current audiobook. Didn‘t realize this was a Netflix film as well, might have to watch it when I finish. If I can handle suspenseful things by then, hah.

29 likes1 stack add
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thereadingowlvina
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Pickpick

🖤 True Crime Thursday 🖤

An emotional unsolved case that focuses on the victims of The Gilgo Beach Killer/LISK/Craiglist Ripper.

Rating: 5⭐

For my full review please visit https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36104429-lost-girls

#truecrimethursday

CoffeeK8 This was really fascinating and well written! 3y
29 likes1 comment
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TheJuj
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Pickpick

2 likes2 stack adds
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fakesteph
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I cannot stop reading this. However, I just realized this mystery is unsolved.

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EmilieGR
Pickpick

Humanizing a portion of America that people don‘t like to even acknowledge exists

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Red.Reads
Pickpick

A heartbreaking look into the lives of the women who were found murdered in Long Island.
Often, when we read about the victims of a killer, they're just names. They're grouped together by defining features or, as in this case, how they made a living.
In this book, we learn about some of these women in more detail, and Kolker handles them with care (even if I personally prefer the term sex-worker). 5/5

#truecrime #LISK #rememberthevictims

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reema
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Mehso-so

This is a bit of a frustrating read because it is unsolved still. The whole case seemed horribly mismanaged by the police from the start. Kolker does a decent job of trying to get as much information as he can, humanizing the victims, portraying their families in their grief...but it never seems to go anywhere.

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SassyBookworm
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Leftcoastzen love this!Atwood in the Robber Bride describes the friends meeting for lunch so well ,I feel I am there with them. 4y
SassyBookworm @Leftcoastzen isn‘t that the best feeling! Like your not reading it your actually there! 🤓 4y
120 likes2 comments
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Readaholics
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Mehso-so

I liked how the author humanized the escorts who were killed and dumped off a stretch of coast off Long Island. But it ends without resolution ( in part because the killer has never been found). Overall a quick true crime thriller that highlights the struggles these women endure to make quick cash and how the internet has changed the business.

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Jessicaanne
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Pickpick

Maybe it‘s because this case is unsolved so there aren‘t many specifics about what happened to these women but I loved how much the book focused on the lives of the women. There were some theories about what happened but it mainly focused on the victims and their families.

These women led rough lives that ended unthinkably but their profession doesn‘t mean that they don‘t deserve justice.

8 likes1 stack add
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Reviewsbylola
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#losttogether #timbittunes

Another day, another serial killer targeting prostitutes. The prostitution victims in this case were all Craigslist prostitutes. This book is one of the better, more publicized true crime books of recent years. I thoroughly enjoyed it, despite the killer‘s unknown identity.

Hooked_on_books I agree. I found this book to be well done. 4y
Cinfhen I‘m amazed at how much true crime I read...I‘m almost at your level, but not quite there 😜 I‘ll keep my eye out for this one 4y
Reviewsbylola Yeah I‘ve got a problem. 😆 @Cinfhen 4y
97 likes3 stack adds3 comments
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mlzbthc
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FreeReadAndWrite
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Yes, two sock photos in a row because why not! All I‘m doing is laying around in socks and comfy clothes. Bad pain days are the best days to join #24in48 & read in your pajamas. So excited for this #TrueCrime book I was recently gifted

MyNamesParadise It‘s so good!! 4y
FreeReadAndWrite @MyNamesParadise so far it's been a rough read! Hard emotionally for me to read so much focus on the victims. I generally just read about the innocently incarcerated or the criminals. 4y
16 likes1 stack add2 comments
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Callemarie
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Pickpick

This was an extremely well written but sad story of sex workers in NYC whose bodies were found on a beach in Lomg Island. The story is frustrating at times, listening to how they grew up, and then how it really took the families pushing, for a legitimate investigation to occur with the girls and with Shannan. If you're a true crime enthusiast, I definitely recommend this book.

AmyG This was a good book. My daughter lent it to me. 4y
MyNamesParadise I read this back in 2013. Wonderful read! 4y
FreeReadAndWrite I just received this as a belated birthday present! Good to know it‘s solid 4y
85 likes6 stack adds3 comments
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Callemarie
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Listening to this on audio. I've learned I focus more on audio books if it's true crime. This is really good so far... so sad... but that's normally how it goes for true crime.

sk888888 This book was really interesting. I felt like I was in the salt marshes while reading it. So sad about these girls. 4y
Callemarie @sk888888 yeah I agree. It's definitely been a sad story 😥 4y
93 likes2 stack adds2 comments
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mlzbthc

“The demand for commercial sex will never go away. Neither will the internet; they‘re stuck with each other. It may no longer even matter anymore whether the sale of sex among consenting adults is wrong or right, immoral or empowering. What‘s clear is that no good can come from pretending that the people who participate in prostitution don‘t exist. That, after all, is what the killer was counting on.”

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Hforrester12
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JPeterson
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Mehso-so

I‘m glad this book exists and showcases these particular murders. An individuals life choices should not dictate the level of effort solving or caring about their cases.
With that, I didn‘t enjoy the style of writing. It was all over the place, jumping from one person and their family to another, making it hard to follow, and was a bit longer then it needed to be (being an unsolved case).

Lizpixie I wasn‘t a fan either, and I usually love true crime.💁🏻‍♀️ 4y
JPeterson @Lizpixie Same! It seemed more retrospective on the victim lives then “true crime.” I think if I wasn‘t in that mindset, I‘d enjoy (is that a good word for true crime haha) it more. 4y
63 likes2 comments
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Morr_Books
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Pickpick

Continued my fascination of true crime by listening to Lost Girls, about multiple bodies of women found on Long Island. The case was never solved. This book reads a bit like a lifetime movie instead of a fact based analysis. I would like to have heard more from the point of view of the police and why these crimes weren't investigated more thoroughly.

Reviewsbylola I really liked this one. 4y
62 likes1 stack add1 comment
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NatalieR
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Mehso-so

I chose to read this book because I watched the 48 Hours episode when it aired. The book was just okay for me. I don‘t have any complaints with the writing; I just didn‘t get sucked in like I hoped. I truly feel for the victims and their families. #nonfiction2018

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Victoriahoperose
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Pickpick

This was a great book for a long travel. It was absolutely engrossing and well written. This is great for a true crime addict. The writer really went into detail about each girl‘s story and broke the book down so that it kept the reader completely interested.

34 likes2 stack adds
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CoffeeK8
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Pickpick

This was a fascinating and compassionate recounting of the 5 women who were found dead on a beach on Long Island and their lives, their difficulties and the way their families dealt with their disappearance and death.

Hazel0303 I‘ve wanted to read this, but have seen conflicting reviews so I have held off. I‘m glad you enjoyed it!! 4y
CoffeeK8 @Hazel0303, yes the reviews are totally all over the place. It had the same type of feel as American Fire or Into the Wild if it helps. Not overly sensationalized and a little sad with a focus on the minutia of the lives of the victims vs the sensationalizing of the crime itself. 4y
Cinfhen @Reviewsbylola have u read this one??? 4y
See All 7 Comments
Reviewsbylola I have! It‘s good—I gave it four stars! @Cinfhen 4y
Cinfhen Yea, it had your name all over it @reviewsbylola 4y
CoffeeK8 @Cinfhen I think you‘d really enjoy it! 4y
Cinfhen Thanks, Kate!! I‘m stacking 😄 4y
66 likes5 stack adds7 comments
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CoffeeK8
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Enjoying my last week before school starts.

dylanisreading Oh man that book is so well written. And so difficult to read at times. 4y
CoffeeK8 @Bianca yes, glad I‘m reading after I spent the week at a beach community not while I was there 4y
JSW Hey nice mug! I live in Santa Cruz, were you in town recently? 4y
CoffeeK8 @JSW yes, we just got back in town yesterday... we were in San Francisco for a couple days and then spent the rest of the week in Santa Cruz! It‘s so lovely out there! 4y
JSW Agreed! I love it here. Glad you enjoyed it. 4y
51 likes5 comments
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CoffeeK8
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Mostly unpacked and starting this book from my #itcs goodies. Thanks again @MidnightBookGirl

Kristy_K I‘ve seen this book around but never any reviews. Interested to see what you think! 4y
CoffeeK8 @Kristy_K I‘m really enjoying this book! It‘s so much more about the women who were killed and their lives and families and less sensationalized or crime thriller. 4y
Kristy_K @CoffeeK8 Sounds good! That‘s rare to find in a true crime novel. (edited) 4y
CoffeeK8 @Kristy_K agreed, it was very compassionate 4y
58 likes1 stack add4 comments
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cathysaid
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Pickpick

I haven't been so infuriated by a #nonfiction book since reading Missoula by Krakauer. As of now, there are at least 17 victims of a serial killer or killers that have been found near or on Oak Beach (near Fire Island). And no useful leads or suspects have been found. Inertia has taken hold of the case and all signs indicate that interest is practically nonexistent because the victims were prostitutes. Still, I recommend this #truecrime read.

59 likes7 stack adds
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cathysaid
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Guys...this #nonfiction #truecrime book reads just like a novel. It's horrifying and fascinating and I can't look away. Simply because they were prostitutes, the authorities don't appear to care that the bodies are piling up. But Kolker is doing an amazing job in telling the stories of these girls who were far more than just prostitutes.

(I'm somewhere in the 8th hour of #13inThree but I'm terrible at keeping up with my time.)

@Samplergal

Samplergal 8is great! Keep going. 5y
Linsy 😱 5y
Hooked_on_books Yeah, this book is really good. Very readable and horrifyingly fascinating. 5y
45 likes3 stack adds4 comments
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cathysaid
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Weekend plans = #13inThree

Almost finished with my #LMPBC read (bizarre, unique, engaging). Started Lost Girls last night and after two hours of reading, I'm completely hooked on this #nonfiction book. Jar City is my #crimefiction Brain Candy, while Boyne's book hits all the feels. That's my lineup! What are your #13inThree selections?

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Jgotham
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I‘d like to go outside and continue to read after lunch..but now I have to wait til she‘s done with lunch or she will cry 🙄

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megt
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So excited to have a cozy new blanket to wrap up in this weekend! And a true crime Book is perfect for my current reading mood. Thank you so much Laurie! ❤️ @Scurvygirl

And a big thanks to @Tiffy_Reads and @JoeStalksBeck for organizing this #blanketandabookswap!!

Scurvygirl Glad you like it! I got this one too! There is a great documentary on this as well called the Killing Season. Now just to find the time! 😬💚 5y
MallenNC That's a good book! I learned about it from a 48 Hours Mystery episode. 5y
95 likes5 stack adds2 comments
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caslinj
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Pickpick

This was a great read. Kolker devotes a chapter to each woman who died and really treats them like humans. He talked to a lot of the family, community members, and law enforcement, but didn‘t exploit them. The book brings together the facts but in a compelling way.

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caslinj
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Not super stoked to see my former town of Wilmington in a book like this and described like this...but the book is still good.

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caslinj
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I might actually finish this one before book club on Saturday!

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Meganbub
Pickpick

This book was hard for a few reasons, narratively it was a little hard to keep track of each girl and her family when switching between their stories. Then subject matter-wise it was just such a f*cking bummer. These poor girls, these poor families, and the whole case is still unsolved! I may need to stick with crime *fiction* so I can at least console myself that it‘s not real. Still a #murderino but might stick to listening v. reading.

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Meganbub
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Technically started this in 2017 but didn‘t get to finish yet. I‘m about halfway through so this‘ll be book one of ‘18. It‘s a punch in the gut every time I remember this isn‘t fiction.

8 likes1 stack add
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Velvetsun
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Sunday night reading.