Unmasked: My Life Solving America’s Cold Cases

Paul Holes with Robin Gaby Fisher. Celadon, $28.99 (336p) ISBN 978-1-250-62279-2

Retired cold case investigator Holes debuts with an exceptional memoir coauthored with bestseller Fisher (After the Fire). His unflinching look at the emotional toll the more than 27 years he spent working in Contra Costa County in the San Francisco Bay Area took on him and his family distinguishes this from similar true crime narratives. The grisly violence he witnessed responding to crime scenes so pervaded his consciousness that sometimes, as he writes, when he looked at a woman “rather than seeing the beauty of the female body, I dissected it, layer by layer, as if she were on the autopsy table.” Holes was drawn to criminalistics as a child, fascinated by the TV series Quincy, and when he was 22 began his law enforcement career as a forensic toxicologist. Holes rose through the ranks, eventually concentrating on older, unsolved cases. He spent decades hunting the predator originally known as the East Area Rapist in the 1970s before his work led to the 2018 arrest of Joseph DeAngelo, identified as the Golden State Killer via DNA evidence. Holes’s lifelong struggles with panic attacks only make his professional achievements more impressive. This is an essential companion to Michelle McNamara’s I’ll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman’s Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer. Agent: Meredith Miller, UTA. (Apr.)
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