The Last Stone: A Masterpiece of Criminal Interrogation

Atlantic Monthly. Apr. 2019. 304p.ISBN 9780802147301. $27. CRIME
The latest from Bowden (Black Hawk Down) marks the conclusion of five decades of reporting on the 1975 murder of the Lyon sisters in Maryland, a case the author began covering for the Baltimore Sun. The disappearance of the two sisters from a mall outside Silver Spring remained unsolved for decades, despite many promising leads. Bowden focuses on the transcripts of interviews with a convicted pedophile that had come forward with information in 1975, his story then dismissed as a fabrication. Fabrication plays a large role in the interviews; both the suspect and the interrogators use lies and deception to reveal the truth, or at least some semblance of it. Bowden largely stays in the background, offering commentary on the interviews and new leads the investigators follow based on them. This account doesn't break new genre ground, but Bowden's journalistic expertise provides a gripping and detailed narrative of cold case justice and exposes the delicate and often futile nature of police investigations.
VERDICT An intriguing firsthand look at the nebulous justice meted out by necessities of time and the desire for closure, as seen through the focused lens of a seasoned journalist.
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