Customer Reviews for

Lost Girls: An Unsolved American Mystery

Average Rating 3.5
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

30 out of 31 people found this review helpful.

Unable to sleep early this morning, I sleepily browsed new relea

Unable to sleep early this morning, I sleepily browsed new releases and ordered the electronic copy of Robert Kolker’s Lost Girls.  I read the prologue, and felt my eyes drowsy eyes widen.  After twenty pages, it was clear that I wasn’t going back to bed.  Twenty pages ...
Unable to sleep early this morning, I sleepily browsed new releases and ordered the electronic copy of Robert Kolker’s Lost Girls.  I read the prologue, and felt my eyes drowsy eyes widen.  After twenty pages, it was clear that I wasn’t going back to bed.  Twenty pages after that, it was clear I wasn’t going to work.  I emailed my boss and finished Lost Girls late in the afternoon.  I regret none of it.

Lost Girls hooks you with an unsolved mystery.  It leads you gently to unsolved social issues, too.  The book never preaches, though I suddenly can’t stop thinking about criminal and economic justice.  As broad as the societal implications may be, the five women of the title, and their families, are treated with unmistakable individuality.  Kolker skillfully humanizes each of them.

If you know Robert Kolker’s magazine pieces, you know they usually involve getting a broad circle of people with complex connections to each other to tell their own, often opposing, sides of a story.  To write Lost Girls, somehow, he earned rare candor and trust from families, friends, accusers, and suspects.  None of them wants to stop thinking of this story.  I faked a sick day because I couldn’t, either.

posted by Anonymous on July 9, 2013

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Most Helpful Critical Review

6 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

Very interesting take on this very controversial murder mystery.

Very interesting take on this very controversial murder mystery. If you know about the case, give this a try.

posted by 17440812 on July 17, 2013

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 9, 2013

    Unable to sleep early this morning, I sleepily browsed new relea

    Unable to sleep early this morning, I sleepily browsed new releases and ordered the electronic copy of Robert Kolker’s Lost Girls.  I read the prologue, and felt my eyes drowsy eyes widen.  After twenty pages, it was clear that I wasn’t going back to bed.  Twenty pages after that, it was clear I wasn’t going to work.  I emailed my boss and finished Lost Girls late in the afternoon.  I regret none of it.

    Lost Girls hooks you with an unsolved mystery.  It leads you gently to unsolved social issues, too.  The book never preaches, though I suddenly can’t stop thinking about criminal and economic justice.  As broad as the societal implications may be, the five women of the title, and their families, are treated with unmistakable individuality.  Kolker skillfully humanizes each of them.

    If you know Robert Kolker’s magazine pieces, you know they usually involve getting a broad circle of people with complex connections to each other to tell their own, often opposing, sides of a story.  To write Lost Girls, somehow, he earned rare candor and trust from families, friends, accusers, and suspects.  None of them wants to stop thinking of this story.  I faked a sick day because I couldn’t, either.

    30 out of 31 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 29, 2013

    Never read a true crime book quite like this

    Wow really interesting take on several murders that seem to be related on Lomg Island. Not so much the murders really but the lives of the women involved makes fascinating reading.

    7 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 17, 2013

    I Also Recommend:

    Very interesting take on this very controversial murder mystery.

    Very interesting take on this very controversial murder mystery. If you know about the case, give this a try.

    6 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 8, 2013

    Though the book was very informative, I felt it lacked the excit

    Though the book was very informative, I felt it lacked the excitement element that should draw you into a book and captivate you. I didn't really learn anything from this that i didn't already learn from newspapers and blogs.Though not totally based on the beach murders, I felt Confessions of the oak beach drifter was a far more entertaining book. In my opinion, I feel this "drifter" who is also mentioned in Lost Girls, is holding something back pertaining to this very mysterious case.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 24, 2013

    Great nonfiction read!

    This book does not "solve" anything and it doesn't conjecture, either. It presents information from a specific viewpoint. The author does a great job of leaving you in suspense, yet in a good way, while avoiding sensationalized writing. At the end, we may have more questions than answers, yet we are also satisfied at having learned more about the situations that face women daily who find themselves with few alternatives after tough family situations.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 23, 2013

    Recommended

    I thought the book was well researched and that Robert Kolker did an excellent job of presenting an unbiased account of the murders of these young women. The authors coverage of the lifestyle of these women was very interesting and shows just how the internet can make an another anonymous threat to someones life in the guise of efficient helpfullness, all the while making them alone and vulnable.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 15, 2013

    Just ok

    I love true crime but felt like thus book dragged on and on. The different characters were hard to follow and remember throughout the book.

    3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 2, 2014

    Serial Killer At Large December 2010, the Police discovered the

    Serial Killer At Large
    December 2010, the Police discovered the bodies of four women wrapped in burlap on a stretch of beach called Gilgo Beach. The corpses were later identified as those of four girls, Melissa Barthelemy, Megan Waterman, Maureen Brainard-Barnes and Amber Lynn Overstreet Costello.  A serial killer was on the loose and still at large. In the second half the book it covers the reaction of the families and friends and neighbors to the murders. One of the most interesting and surprising part of this book is when the police are revealed as a bureaucracy and insist that the girls somehow killed themselves and reassure the public that normal citizens have nothing to fear. The author discusses all the police activity and inactivity on the case. A fairly good read, it wasn’t the best but it wasn’t the worst. It starts off intriguing learning about the girls and families lives in the book, from where they worked at to the habits they had. Unfortunately their stories begin to get muddy and very similar. It’s hard to differentiate between them as their stories are being told, they almost all seem to be the same person but with the slightest differences in their lives. There are maps that help you visualize where the different girl were living at but even with that it is hard to keep it straight. Robert Kolker did an amazing job of keeping biases out of the story and really just used the facts that he had to work with to put together this although muddy at times very intriguing and compelling story of the still-at-large Long Island Serial Killer.



    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 28, 2014

    The definitive writing on the case

    Mr. Kolker has written an excellent true crime book here. I love that he made the victims come alive and made the reader see them as people. He shows great deference to these women whom many would and do see as disposable entities and "just" prostitutes. These women were someone's daughter, sister, mother, friend, and people need to remember that. I came away from this book extremely frustrated that the police seem to have done such a poor job in investigating these murders, particularly Shannan Gilbert's, the one victim in whose case there were all the pieces available needed to find the perpetrator, but were not used to put the puzzle together. Why was the security tape not seized immediately? Why were her clothes and possessions not tested for DNA? Why was her bone marrow not tested for all drugs, not just cocaine? I think it's painfully obvious that the reason is because she was viewed as a disposable victim because she was a prostitute. The police didn't want to "waste" resources on her. If she was an upstanding, middle- or upper-class woman, I think someone would be in prison right now. I pray that Shannan, Maureen, Melissa, Megan, and Amber may rest in peace and that their family and friends are at peace as well.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 15, 2013

    Great

    Fascinating.

    Terrifying.

    Unbeliably true.

    This book has received some phenomenal reviews and it is easy to see why. The author is obviously a journalist and he knows his stuff. He sticks to the 5 W's of Journalism: who, what, when, where and why.

    I knew nothing of this case and I live in New Jersey not far from where it happened! I am not one to follow local news which is undoubtly why. Now I am in the author's debt for educating.

    Well written and easy to read, this books goes down smooth like an extended newspaper article. I could not stop reading it.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 19, 2013

    TMI

    This book is very well researched but suffers from too much information and poor presentation. I didn't think a book about a serial killer could be dull, but this one is boring in spades. You will be introduced to literally everyone the victims ever knew and will have dozens of unconnected stories to keep straight. Do not expect suspense or even diversion. This book is only for people who have a STRONG interest in details and NO interest in plot development.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 30, 2013

    Great writing. Compelling insights

    A great read that turns a spotlight on a part of our society that we'd grown used to ignoring. So well researched and well written!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 22, 2013

    Wow

    Havent read it and not sure i wanna read it

    1 out of 78 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 8, 2014

    More of a recital of names and places. A compelling mystery, bu

    More of a recital of names and places. A compelling mystery, but the book is a bit of a maze.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 1, 2014

    Great Read

    I really enjoyed this book, but I do wish the author had spent a little more time with his findings to present some sort of theory or sense of closure of his own. Definitely worth reading, and maybe even re-reading for the amature detective who might want to do some digging of their own.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 26, 2013

    I want the time I invested reading this book back!

    This book was poorly written, rambled on about 250 pages too long, and was very hard to follow. I found myself skimming it just to get thru it! Not sure how it got so many positive reviews...but it was a huge dissapointment in my opinion!

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 12, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Kolker's book grew out of a New York magazine article he wrote a

    Kolker's book grew out of a New York magazine article he wrote about the disappearance of Shannan Gilbert, a prostitute who ran into the dark of the isolated Oak Beach area of Long Island. Months after her disappearance, the bodies of four other young women, all prostitutes, were found buried in Gilgo Beach and a serial killer was on the loose. The book examines the lives of all five of the women, how they got involved in prostitution and what led them to their deaths.

     Kolker does an amazing job examining this story from all angles. He talks to all of the families and friends, and draws sharp portraits of each of the women. These women had much in common: many of them were born to young women themselves, lived in poverty, dropped out of school, used drugs, had sex at a young age, did not use contraception and ended up having babies of their own at a young age and unable to support them. They turned to prostitution because they saw no other opportunities and because social media like Facebook and Craigslist made it easy.After we meet all of the women, Kolker turns his attention to the place they disappeared and the police investigation. No one has been arrested for these murders, but Kolker interviewed people who lived in this unique oceanfront community, some of whom have been considered suspects at one time.The Lost Girls is a meticulously researched piece of well-written narrative non-fiction. It reads like a good mystery novel and this is one of the best non-fiction books I have read. This year Publisher's Weekly chose it as one of their ten best books of 2013.

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  • Posted October 31, 2013

    I finally finished it. I did like the book, especially all the

    I finally finished it.

    I did like the book, especially all the background information in the beginning. I wish the list of characters and how who the people they were involved with had been in the beginning of the book. I read an e-book version and don't typically skip to the back, where the characters were listed. I had trouble keeping track of whom was whom. Sure would like to know who did it!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 29, 2013

    Good

    I havent read this book yet bnt it looks prety good.

    0 out of 23 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 13, 2013

    Strip club for big boobs

    Hey

    0 out of 23 people found this review helpful.

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