cover image The Lazarus Files: A Cold Case Investigation

The Lazarus Files: A Cold Case Investigation

Matthew McGough. Holt, $35 (624p) ISBN 978-0-8050955-9-3

In this engrossing true crime account, McGough, the author of a memoir, Bat Boy, and a former legal consultant for TV’s Law & Order, exposes a horrifying Los Angeles murder that was not solved for decades—and an even more disturbing LAPD cover-up. In 1986, 29-year-old nurse Sherri Rasmussen was killed in her home by someone who battered her face and shot her multiple times, leaving the corpse to be found by her husband, John Ruetten. Though there was an obvious suspect—Ruetten’s ex-girlfriend, Stephanie Lazarus, who had threatened Rasmussen—the investigating officers pursued the theory that burglars killed Rasmussen. McGough proposes a possible explanation for that choice: since Lazarus was an LAPD officer, some of her colleagues were less than diligent in exploring any possibility that led to her. Eventually, a cold case investigator tracked down DNA evidence from a bite mark on the victim’s arm that implicated Lazarus. By then an LAPD detective, Lazarus was arrested in 2009 and convicted in 2012. Despite that verdict, readers will be left with a sense that justice has not been done, since no one at the LAPD was held accountable for the many mistakes that enabled Lazarus to get away with murder for more than 20 years. This memorable and powerful work deserves a wide readership. [em]Agent: Andrew Blauner, Blauner Books Literary. (Apr.) [/em]