Nonfiction November: The Forest City Killer

Posted November 8, 2019 by shooting in Book Review / 24 Comments

The Forest City Killer: A Serial Murderer, a Cold-Case Sleuth, and a Search for Justice by Vanessa Brown

Review by Lauren

source: copy from Edelweiss; all opinions are my own

Official Summary (add to Goodreads): Fifty years ago, a serial killer prowled the quiet city of London, Ontario, marking it as his hunting grounds. As young women and boys were abducted, raped, and murdered, residents of the area held their loved ones closer and closer, terrified of the monster — or monsters — stalking the streets. Homicide detective Dennis Alsop began hunting the killer in the 1960s, and he didn’t stop searching until his death 30 years later. For decades, detectives, actual and armchair, and the victims’ families and friends continued to ask questions: Who was the Forest City Killer? Was there more than one person? Or did a depraved individual commit all of these crimes on his own?

Combing through the files Detective Alsop left behind, researcher Vanessa Brown reopens the cases, revealing previously unpublished witness statements, details of evidence, and astonishing revelations about how this serial killer got away. And through her investigation, Vanessa discovers the unthinkable: like the notorious Golden State Killer, the Forest City Killer is still alive . . . and a simple DNA test could bring him to justice.

Review: It’s Nonfiction November and I’m here today to let you know about The Forest City Killer. I read this as an e-ARC, so I found it a bit disjointed and hard to read in some places. I think it would work better as a physical copy, but that’s just my opinion. At any rate, this book shines a light on a serial killer that many do not know about. There were many women and boys in the 60’s and 70’s who went missing, only to be found later raped and killed, around London, Ontario, Canada. I’d never heard of The Forest City Killer so I think it’s great that Brown is putting the name out there again in hopes to finally figuring out who this man was, or is, as he may still be alive.

Have you heard of The Forest City Killer? Learn more in this #nonfictionnovember book review! #bookbloggers Click To Tweet

One of the issues I had with this book is that it’s full of description – of the place, and the people – and while that’s good in smaller doses, I felt like it was a bit too long sometimes and took away from the overall story. However, I did find the rest of the book fascinating – and horrifying – in equal measures. Not all of the people mentioned in the book are necessarily victims of The Forest City Killer. Brown seems to think that more of them are connected than not though, based on the patterns, and I have to say, that she’s probably correct in that regard.

I think it’s great that she was able to speak to so many people that were personally affected by these tragedies – including a Forest City Killer suspect – as it lends more emotion and credibility to the book.

Spoiler Alert (maybe- highlight for more): There is no conclusion to this story; we still do not know who The Forest City Killer is, but the hopes that a DNA test will bring him down, like it did The Golden State Killer, is a possibility. 

All in all, this was an intriguing true crime book and I’d be curious to see what others think if/when they read it.

24 responses to “Nonfiction November: The Forest City Killer

  1. I love that non fiction books can draw attention to cold cases and help get them solved. It is on my tbr list to try one out and see how it reads. I hadn’t heard of this killer either.

  2. Oh wow, this sounds like a very interesting read. It almost sounds like the bookish version of Making a Murderer exploring an old case but it’s like crossed with something like the Zodiac Killer as it’s an unsolved case. I mean some of your issues may have come from reading an arc but it still sounds like an interesting case to explore… and terrifying to think the killer didn’t get caught.

    Becky @ A Fool's Ingenuity recently posted: Bookish home shopping… because why not?
  3. Interesting. I haven’t heard of this book (or the forest city killer!), but it does sound like something I enjoy since I love serial killer mysteries. Have you ever read Devil in the White City?? One of my favorite, favorite books ever and so incredibly fascinating. Thanks for sharing this review, Lauren!

  4. I haven’t read a non-fiction book in ages and this sounds interesting! I understand what you mean about a book being too descriptive – it can feel like a bit much at times.

    I think reading this and all the time knowing it actually happened makes it so different to reading fiction – lots more serious as the chapters are full of facts. Thank you for sharing this review.

    Anthea recently posted: Hello Friday
  5. This story does sound intriguing, although I don’t know if I would want all those details about the place either. I have to be in the mood for true crime too–sometimes it gives me nightmares!

  6. Ah, it seems like this one was focused on an interesting topic which you didn’t know about before, and was very well researched seeing as she talked to so many people… but that the writing and structure of the novel could’ve been better. I hope your next non-fiction November read goes better x

    Olivia Roach recently posted: A Dream So Dark [Book Review]
  7. I’ve never heard of this! In same ways nonfiction books like this are fascinating because you can look up real details, but other times they don’t quite fit together in a good story. I need to look into this book though! It sounds interesting!

  8. Oh wow, this sounds like my type of book — I’ve never heard of this killer before.I like that the author manages to make connections between the victims even though on the surface they might not necessarily be linked.

  9. I don’t love reading ebooks although now I’ve started to do it more, hoping the publishers will agree to eventually send me real copies!

  10. Oh wow what a horrifying series of events, but it does sound really interesting. Sorry it was a bit disjointed at times, but it’s also nice, like you said, that the events are not forgotten especially since the killer was never caught.

  11. Jen

    I do like a good true crime book. Sometimes though I hear you on the long descriptions that get a little weary. I know my oldest would really like this. She loves anything true crime. She wants to be a profiler as a career.

  12. I’ve definitely never heard of the Forest City Killer either but it does sound really interesting (and terrifying). I’d love to read this (even though it’d probably freak me out, haha).

Leave a Reply

(Enter your URL then click here to include a link to one of your blog posts.)

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.