Murder in the Bayou: Who Killed the Women Known as the Jeff Davis 8?

Ethan Brown. Scribner, $26 (272p) ISBN 978-1-4767-9325-2
Brown (Shake the Devil Off: A True Story of the Murder that Rocked New Orleans) has crafted a gripping narrative that will revive curiosity about eight unsolved murders that had at one time been front-page news in the New York Times. Between 2005 and 2009, eight women, all sex workers, were found murdered in Louisiana’s Jefferson Davis Parish, most of their bodies too decomposed to determine the cause of death. Brown makes a convincing case that Loretta Chaisson and the other seven women were not the prey of a serial killer; instead, he asserts, the victims, who were all snitches about the local drug trade, were killed because they knew too much. The first sign that there was something amiss with the official inquiry was a counterintuitive one. After the corpse of 28-year-old Chaisson was recovered from the Grand Marais Canal, her husband wondered why he was never considered a suspect. Her friends and family were also unsettled by deputy sheriff Terrie Guillory’s visit to her home before the discovery of Chaisson’s body; he stated that she was believed by the authorities to be missing, even though no one close to her had reported concerns to the police or sheriff’s office. Brown’s spare but effective prose and measured analysis of the evidence makes this a must-read for true-crime fans. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 09/19/2016
Release date: 09/01/2016
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