Top positive review
10 people found this helpful
on 27 August 2014
The book covers the fates of five sex workers. One disappears during a call at a Long Island address. The search for her uncovers the remains of the four others, wrapped in burlap on the beach nearby. Although the subsequent police investigation finds further bodies and body parts across several miles of the coast (who may or may not be by the same killer) the story stays central the five women.
The whole narrative is well structured and keeps you fascinated.
What comes across is the intention to portray the humans behind the headlines, and behind the instant stigma and assumptions that the public, media and police attach to women working in the sex industry. As the sister of one of the victims states : “… they only know what she was down there doing, and that’s what they look at her as”.
The life-histories and families of the victims are carefully constructed based upon interviews with the author. What emerges is a picture of a whole sub-culture living right in the middle of the American dream, one that involves broken families, absent or neglectful parents, rebellion and substance abuse that leads to chronic addiction. But as the same sister says “She was still a mother. She still meant the world to her daughter, she meant the world to me.”
The book also chronicles the victims’ families use of the media to push and fight against the apathy and inertia of the police, the secretive and closed community of the gated neighborhood in which the victims are found, as well as the psychics, internet sleuths and other oddballs who attach to the circus.
I typically only read fiction, but this is an absolutely astounding book and a great piece of investigative journalism.
Overall, the book offers a fascinating exposure of segments of the modern American culture. And it isn’t very pretty.