Lost Girls

. 2012. 384p. 978-0-78602-218-2. 6.99.
New York Times–best-selling author and Pulitzer–nominated journalist Rother (Dead Reckoning) follows the disturbing story of John Gardner, who kidnapped, raped, and murdered two teenage girls in San Diego. The victims’ families did not speak with the author for her book, but the killer’s family did. Unsurprisingly, Rother paints a sympathetic portrait of Gardner’s family, particularly his mother, who struggled to raise her troubled son. The story is gruesome and upsetting, with a seemingly endless supply of horrible events, indefensible people, and family anguish. The case did result in a California law designed to oversee and punish sex offenders, and Rother addresses the complexity and difficulty of managing paroled sexual predators.
VERDICT For true crime fans who can stomach a story about murdered teenagers. This book will be popular with fans of Rother, Ann Rule, and other popular true crime writers.
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