Gone at Midnight: The Mysterious Death of Elisa Lam

Jake Anderson. Citadel, $26 (352p) ISBN 978-0-8065-4005-4
Investigative journalist Anderson looks into the case of 21-year-old Elisa Lam, a student diagnosed as bipolar who vanished from L.A.’s seedy Cecil Hotel one day in 2013, in this outstanding debut. As days went by, residents of the hotel began to complain about the water quality and pressure. Finally, a maintenance worker went to the roof to check the hotel’s cisterns, only to find Lam’s naked, dead body floating in one of them. The coroner ruled her death an accident by drowning with bipolar disorder a contributing factor. But Anderson found too many inconsistencies in the case, and the internet went wild with conspiracy theories. Lam was no stranger to the blogging world, having a Tumblr account where she documented her mental health problems and where her scheduled updates appeared for months after her death. That Anderson’s obsession with the case led him to examine his own mental health issues adds depth. He ponders whether it was suicide or a psychotic breakdown—or something more sinister that killed Lam. Anderson also vividly details the dark delusions he suffered while making a documentary at the Cecil Hotel. What really happened to Lam may never be known, but true crime buffs won’t want to miss this gripping search for the truth. (Mar.)
Reviewed on : 01/09/2020
Release date: 02/25/2020
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 352 pages - 978-0-8065-4006-1
Compact Disc - 978-1-68457-756-9
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