SOCIAL SCIENCES

Lost Girls: An Unsolved American Mystery

Harper: HarperCollins. Jul. 2013. 416p. maps. ISBN 9780062183637. $25.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062183675. CRIME
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The lack of resolution is a foregone conclusion in Kolker's (contributing editor, New York) book about the serial murders in Long Island from 2007 to 2010 of five sex workers who advertised their services on Craigslist: it's right there in the title. However, Kolker's portrait of the young women and their families will draw readers in despite the frustration they will feel at the book's end. Although all five of the victims profiled were sex workers, Kolker does not condescend or dismiss the women as lost causes. While the author doesn't shy away from the more brutal aspects of the women's lives, he avoids the what-did-they-expect undercurrent that pervades reporting about murdered or injured sex workers. He tells their stories as completely as possible, presenting them as whole people, reminding the reader with the complexity of each woman's story that "the issue of blame itself, in the end, may be a trap. They weren't angels. They weren't devils."
VERDICT Readers may find themselves checking in with the case in the future, hoping for some justice for the lost girls. Recommended for all true crime readers, particularly those in the New York area.

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