Lost Girls: An Unsolved American Mystery by Robert Kolker is an investigative look into the lives of five murdered prostitutes. Kolker walks us through each girl’s upbringing and journey into the world of online escorts that ultimately got them killed.
Each victim grew up in poverty, their parents were stuck in the system and the children were never able to get out. To provide for their families, they chose to exploit themselves to make ends meet. Online escorting, drugs, and other addictions reigned them in for better money and an easier life. Unfortunately, it ended with bodies upon bodies buried on the beaches of New York.
Kolker does an excellent job in humanizing the victims. Each one had their own background and upbringing. All were fairly similar. They resorted to selling themselves on Craig’s list to make ends meet for their families. Yes, they were prostitutes, but they had to provide for their families somehow.
I picked up this book thinking it would be a gruesome true crime novel (like the podcasts I listen to), but it wasn’t. I ever heard of this case before and I was hoping for an exciting read. This book was a mini biography of each of the five victims. It was a slow walk through their lives, their entrance into online escorting, and what happened after their death.
Kolker doesn’t try to solve the case, he only brings facts from interviews, case reports, and knowledge from the victims’ families. It just straight up facts, with a few random possibilities of what might have happened.
I listened to this via audiobook as background noise while at work. I found my mind drifting away more than once. And the book has SO MANY characters, it was hard to keep up with them all.
It’s also hard to imagine that the case is unsolved. There were more victims than just these five girls and nothing has happened in the years it’s been open.
Lost Girls receives 2.5 stars.