Unmasked: My Life Solving America’s Cold Cases

Celadon. Apr. 2022. 288p. ISBN 9781250622792. $28.99. CRIME
In this candid, poignant memoir, Holes, with cowriter Fisher (After the Fire: A True Story of Friendship and Survival), reflects on a long career as a criminalist and detective. Though Holes was involved in high-profile investigations, including the murder of Laci Peterson and the kidnapping of Jaycee Dugard, it wasn’t until he helped identify the Golden State Killer that he was catapulted into the public eye. Holes began searching for the Golden State Killer in 1994 after coming across an old file detailing years of crimes, and the case stayed with him over the course of his career. He retired in March 2018, and the alleged Golden State Killer was arrested the following month—in large part because of Holes’s work gathering evidence and using emerging technology in DNA profiling. Holes effectively balances true crime and memoir, writing with empathy and self-awareness about the emotional impact of his work and the toll it took on his marriage. His refreshing honesty sets the book apart from similar memoirs by detectives, who aren’t always this forthcoming about coping with trauma.
VERDICT A captivating memoir of a life dedicated to cold cases. Hand to readers who appreciated Sue Black’s All That Remains: A Renowned Forensic Scientist on Death, Mortality, and Solving Crimes.
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