the families of the perpetrators are the forgotten secondary victims, and they suffer more than we can imagine.
Thank you, Branson & Branson, for paying attention to something that so many conveniently forget.
The book is split up in 10 chapters dealing with the analysis of cold cases. In the beginning, I got the impression that the book would not be able to hold my interest. If you have dealt with cold cases for a while, the start of the book does not bring anything new. I also missed important details in this book. For example, in chapter two I got engaged in the case of Roger & Dorothy Malcom and George & Mae Murray Dorsey. However, it lacked an explanation why Loy Harrison brought the Dorseys along when he bailed Roger out. Through a simple Google search, I learned that George was Dorothy’s sister.
Another example of things I missed or things that I did not like was that the early chapters “leave you hanging.” Cases are touched on, new people are introduced, lots of names fly by but the reader does not have an overview of where and when cases will be picked up again in the book. For example, you are introduced to the horrifying case of Gwendolyn Moore on page 62 but only find out the rest of the story on page 268. There is no sign in the beginning that the case will be explained in full later on. Some cases are explained in more detail but overall, the first chapters feel cluttered. In chapter 4 are list with useful resources, organizations, and what the organizations can contribute. But on page 138, social media is only touched on in two paragraphs.
In chapter 5, the authors discuss standard investigative techniques. One of the most valuable techniques is merely mentioned in one sentence at the bottom of page 162: the timeline. It does not get picked up elsewhere either. All DCC readers know that I am a huge fan of timelines. They make the case manageable and immediately show gaps in the investigation. Setting up time lines is crucial but I digress.
After chapter six, the book discusses investigative strategies for tackling a cold case with criteria from different investigators, steps to be taken to reopen a case and, the ideal set up of a cold case team. On page 213, the authors discuss common pitfalls we all need to be aware off when investigating cold cases.
The book ends with powerful stories in chapter 10. There I finally read more about Gwendolyn Moore and it is heartbreaking. Barely being given time to breath, the case of Cynthia Henry comes along to punch you in the guts. The chapter ends with the horror case of Jessica.
I became more interested in the book the further along I was with reading however, I stand by my earlier criticism. The book might have benefited from a simple listing of reasons why cases grow cold without adding case information in the beginning chapters. The book could then explain those reasons in-depth and highlight them with some expanded case studies in later chapters.
I received a free copy of the book through the authors in exchange for an honest review.
My other book reviews are here.