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Reviews for Unmasked

by Paul Holes

Kirkus
Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Occasionally overwrought but absorbing tale of criminal investigation long after the crime has been committed. A forensic specialist in California, Holes spent a long career studying cold-case crimes. When he started, four cities in the Bay Area were on the FBI’s list of 100 most dangerous places in the country. Many crimes went unnoticed by the general public, but then there were the cases such as Laci Peterson and her unborn son, washed up on a beach in Contra Costa County after her husband murdered her. “What kind of monster kills his eight-and-a-half-months pregnant wife and goes about his life knowing she and his unborn son are anchored to the cold ocean floor with concrete blocks?” asks the author, who chronicles the stories of many monsters, including the criminal first known as the East Area Rapist, later as the Golden State Killer. The author’s account of his chase for the GSK—much done surreptitiously since his boss ordered him to stop looking at cold cases—takes up much of this narrative. Interestingly, he writes, one helpful tool, besides DNA and other forms of biochemical and evidential analysis, is simply the use of genealogy websites to find relatives to help pinpoint the whereabouts of perpetrators (as well as collect corroborative DNA). Holes writes of panic attacks and PTSD, of marriages threatened and undone by his obsession to exact justice. The narrative is also occasionally gruesome. “We were on a steep slope,” he writes of one murder, “and decomposition fluid ran out of the plastic wrapping onto the ground, forming a puddle. One of the dead woman’s legs dropped down into the pool of foul liquid, splashing it up on my face and my leather crime scene boots.” Holes is sometimes a little too worked up and a little too focused on himself, but the stories he tells—and the solutions to the crimes—are fascinating. Grisly, matter-of-fact, and just the thing for aspiring detectives. Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.


Kirkus
Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Occasionally overwrought but absorbing tale of criminal investigation long after the crime has been committed.A forensic specialist in California, Holes spent a long career studying cold-case crimes. When he started, four cities in the Bay Area were on the FBIs list of 100 most dangerous places in the country. Many crimes went unnoticed by the general public, but then there were the cases such as Laci Peterson and her unborn son, washed up on a beach in Contra Costa County after her husband murdered her. What kind of monster kills his eight-and-a-half-months pregnant wife and goes about his life knowing she and his unborn son are anchored to the cold ocean floor with concrete blocks? asks the author, who chronicles the stories of many monsters, including the criminal first known as the East Area Rapist, later as the Golden State Killer. The authors account of his chase for the GSKmuch done surreptitiously since his boss ordered him to stop looking at cold casestakes up much of this narrative. Interestingly, he writes, one helpful tool, besides DNA and other forms of biochemical and evidential analysis, is simply the use of genealogy websites to find relatives to help pinpoint the whereabouts of perpetrators (as well as collect corroborative DNA). Holes writes of panic attacks and PTSD, of marriages threatened and undone by his obsession to exact justice. The narrative is also occasionally gruesome. We were on a steep slope, he writes of one murder, and decomposition fluid ran out of the plastic wrapping onto the ground, forming a puddle. One of the dead womans legs dropped down into the pool of foul liquid, splashing it up on my face and my leather crime scene boots. Holes is sometimes a little too worked up and a little too focused on himself, but the stories he tellsand the solutions to the crimesare fascinating.Grisly, matter-of-fact, and just the thing for aspiring detectives. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

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