Goodreads Review: Lost Girls: An Unsolved American Mystery by Robert Kolker

Four star review, originally posted here on June 20, 2019.

I’m a little behind and catching up the last few weeks worth of book reviews, so I’m a little surprised to see that I put 4 stars; current memory would have put it at 3 stars, because I am remembering the issues I had with the book. I’d almost forgotten that I did actually like reading it!

The thing that this book does above all else is humanizes the victims. These weren’t just a bunch of nameless hookers; each victim receives a detailed, thorough, extensive biography. This achievement was both the best and the worst thing about this book. I admit that despite the efforts to humanize, these bios got so long, and had so many similarities to one another, that I could not for the life of me keep track of which victim was which, thus rendering the humanizing bios almost useless. It did not help that I did this one as an audiobook; it would have been helpful to have referred to photos and/or a list of victims as I read to keep them straight.

Like many other reviewers, I was surprised to find this book surprisingly lacking in the usual true crime components. The investigation was sloppily covered, lacking almost to the point where it felt like an afterthought. Details about feuding families abounded, but details about investigators and crime-solving were severely lacking. If you’re hoping for a whodunit, this ain’t it.

Still, I liked this book. The story is pretty crazy, and I learned a lot about real life as a real prostitute. I just found the balance of material selection to be a wee bit off.


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