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Let’s talk about Unmasked: My Life Solving America’s Cold Cases by Paul Holes. From the detective who found The Golden State Killer, Unmasked is a memoir of investigating America’s toughest cold cases and the rewards–and toll–of a life solving crime.
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Unmasked: My Life Solving America’s Cold Cases
Author: Paul Holes
Genre: True Crime, Non-Fiction
I order another bourbon, neat. This is the drink that will flip the switch. I don’t even know how I got here, to this place, to this point. Something has been happening to me lately. I’m drinking too much. My sheets are soaking wet when I wake up from nightmares of decaying corpses. I order another drink and swig it, trying to forget about the latest case I can’t shake.
Crime solving, for me, is more complex than the challenge of the hunt or the process of piecing together a scientific puzzle. The thought of good people suffering drives me, for better or worse, to the point of obsession. People always ask how I can detach from the horrors of my work. Part of it is an innate capacity to compartmentalize; the rest is experience and exposure, and I’ve had plenty of both. But I have always taken pride in the fact that I can keep my feelings locked up to get the job done. It’s only been recent that it feels like all that suppressed darkness is beginning to seep out.
When I look back at my long career, there is a lot I am proud of. I have caught some of the most notorious killers of the twenty-first century and brought justice and closure to their victims and families. I want to tell you about a lifetime of solving these cold cases, from Laci Peterson to Jaycee Dugard to the Pittsburg homicides to my twenty-year-long hunt for the Golden State Killer.
But a deeper question eats at me as I ask myself, at what cost? I have sacrificed relationships, joy―even fatherhood―because the pursuit of evil always came first. Did I make the right choice? It’s something I grapple with every day. Yet as I stand in the spot where a young girl took her last breath, as I look into the eyes of her family, I know that there has never been a choice for me. “I don’t know if I can solve your case,” I whisper. “But I promise I will do my best.”
It is a promise I know I can keep.
This book was so fascinating! Paul Holes is a criminologist who worked on some of the most famous cases like Lacy Peterson, but most of his focus was spent trying to solve The Golden State Killer. If you like true crime, this one was great. It was a nice break from my normal rom-com.
I give Unmasked: My Life Solving America’s Cold Cases by Paul Holes 4 out of 5 stars.
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- Unmasked: My Life Solving America’s Cold Cases by Paul Holes - August 3, 2022