LAW & CRIME

The Less People Know About Us: A Mystery of Betrayal, Family Secrets, and Stolen Identity

Grand Central. Oct. 2019. 320p. ISBN 9781538730287. $27; ebk. ISBN 9781538730270. CRIME
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Debut author Betz-Hamilton expertly blends true crime and memoir in this tale of family, lies, and identity. As an 11-year-old, her world is turned upside down when her identity, as well as her parents’ identities, is stolen. In a time before computers, police were baffled by the case, and unable to offer the support and services the family needed to recuperate. The author’s formative years were spent traveling from place to place, trying unsuccessfully to outrun the ubiquitous identity theft. As a result of their trauma, Betz-Hamilton’s parents isolated and insulated the family from outsiders, causing the young woman to develop severe anxiety and other mental health issues. As an adult, with a poor credit score owing to faulty lines of credit extended from her childhood, Betz-Hamilton grapples with the fallout of lives consumed by the crime and its lasting effects. Her ability to untangle the intricacies surrounding this case highlights a brave, candid examination of her painful past.
VERDICT A poignant and fascinating exploration of identity theft. This book will appeal to those with an interest in family-centered memoirs and crime.

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