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Lost Girls: An Unsolved American Mystery by…

Lost Girls: An Unsolved American Mystery (2013)

by Robert Kolker

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4262335,902 (3.9)38

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Showing 1-5 of 23 (next | show all)
Lost Girls is a different kind of true crime book. Instead of focusing on the investigation and the hunt to find the Long Island Serial Killer, Kolker focuses on the victims.
  JRCornell | Nov 17, 2018 |
Lost Girls is a different kind of true crime book. If you crave police procedure, nitty gritty details of the investigation, gruesome murders, and even a suspect list, you will be disappointed by this book. Instead of focusing on the investigation and the hunt to find the Long Island Serial Killer (LISK), Kolker focuses on the victims. This book is mainly about the five most well-known victims of LISK. Kolker, through interviews with friends and family of the victims, provides a detailed biography of each victim.

These girls had strikingly similar backgrounds. They were troubled children, from broken homes, who grew into promiscuous young adults, experimenting with sex and drugs. Each of them eventually began to post adult ads on Craigslist, which is very likely how LISK identified his victims.

Kolker recognizes the value of Craigslist and Backpage: these services allow sexworkers to choose their clients from the comfort of their own homes and attempt to screen their clients before meeting. Prostitution is truly the world's oldest profession, and Kolker understands how the age of the internet has revolutionized sexwork. He doesn't quite advocate for decriminalization, but he acknowledges that society pushes women to post online to locate clients, which is safer than walking the streets, but there is ultimately no legal protection for sexworkers.

The stories of these victims was absolutely heartbreaking and vital to understanding this case, but Lost Girls left me unsatisfied. I want the details of the case. I want to know exactly how the investigation is going. I want more.

Still, this is an excellent work of journalism, and a riveting read. ( )
  bookishblond | Oct 24, 2018 |
I found this book to be quite a tedious read. Whilst it gathered facts and data together it was mostly beefed out by the subjective descriptions of life histories, family opinions and odd research all mixed up with dialogue from interviews. I found it difficult to keep the facts of each victim straight in my head and sometimes had to pause to figure out to whom a piece of interview dialogue related.

I read this book as an ebook and found the maps very dark and hard to read, which shouldn't really happen with a backlit kobo aura hd even with the brightness turned up high, unless the printed maps were also quite dark.

For people who are hard core true crime readers this book may hold their attention but it left me completely flat, which is such a shame since it details the lives and deaths of real people. I found it emotionless and lacking empathy. I understand this is the author's first full book rather than articles and reports, and it does show. Just because something is non-fiction doesn't mean it has to be an outpouring of facts, it can and should have a narrative voice in order to fully engage the reader. In this way, the dead are better honoured and not simply reduced to lines on a page. ( )
  KatiaMDavis | Dec 19, 2017 |
I came across this book after reading Richard Lloyd Parry's People Who Eat Darkness. While Kolker's coverage is great, unfortunately I found it hard to sympathize for the Lost Girls and their families. While it is truly unfortunate that these women met such horrific fates (and I do believe the people of Oak Island know more than they're letting on, and that the Dr. probably did have something to do with Shannan), I feel that if they had made better choices in life, they would still be alive today. There is no excuse for how they chose to live and nobody to blame but themselves. Plenty of people have equally or more difficult lives and manage to work legitimate jobs instead of choosing to whore themselves out and get high. I have a hard time even feeling pity for the families left behind because even they didn't care until it was too late -- it's easy to act high and mighty after the fact -- and then they wonder why the police were slow to get involved.

I look forward to a resolution of these cases because I'm sure Kolker talked to the killer and I can't wait to find out who it is. ( )
1 vote Sarahbel | Sep 1, 2017 |
Excellent telling of this situation that happened in New York City. I love that it starts from the beginning -- that we're introduced to the girls and why they (may have) done what they did and how they got into the position they found themselves in.

I found the author to be objective and honest. I did not feel like he favored one person or one family over another, or one theory, etc. Really well written! And still unsolved.

Adrianne ( )
  Adrianne_p | Apr 4, 2017 |
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To most travelers, the barrier islands of Long Island are just a featureless stretch between Jones Beach and Fire Island -- a narrow strip of marsh and dune, bramble and beach, where the grassy waters of South Oyster Bay meet the waves of the Atlantic Ocean.
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"A literary account of the lives and presumed serial killings of five Craigslist prostitutes, whose bodies were found on the same Long Island beach in 2010. Based on the New York magazine cover story"--

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